The word Chronicles in Hebrew has the meaning of an ongoing account, almost like a journal or diary or minutes taken at a meeting. They are the first and second books of a four-book series that includes Ezra and Nehemiah. Together these four books provide a priestly history of Israel from the time of Adam to the rebuilding of the house of God and the walls of Jerusalem. At one time the book of Chronicles was probably one single scroll, which was divided later for convenience by those who translated the Old Testament into Greek (the Septuagint, aka LXX).
CIRCUMSTANCES OF WRITING
AUTHOR: An ancient tradition ascribes the authorship of Chronicles to Ezra. The author must have lived sometime after the return of the Jews to Israel from the Babylonian exile. He also had a strong interest in the reimplementation of the law and the temple, and he must have had access to historical records. All of these criteria suit Ezra, and this identification is corroborated by the fact that the last verses of Chronicles are the first verses of the book of Ezra. However, since the book does not explicitly claim Ezra for its author, in these notes we will refer to him simply as the “Chronicler.”
BACKGROUND: The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles include extensive genealogies from the time of Adam and take the reader up to the period of the nation’s exile and restoration. First Chronicles gives us the genealogies and focuses on the reign of King David. Second Chronicles focuses on all the kings who followed David up to the exile and restoration. It covers the same time period as 1 and 2 Kings, but 2 Chronicles focuses exclusively on the kings of Judah. The content of the books necessitates that they were written sometime after the return from the exile, perhaps the middle of the fifth century BC.
MESSAGE AND PURPOSE
The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles convey several key themes. These include:
GOD’S CONTROL OF HISTORY: God desires to dwell among his people in a perfect relationship of holiness in which he is God and the redeemed live as his people. The tabernacle and the temple symbolize that desire, a desire that was ultimately fulfilled through Jesus Christ—the Son of David. Chronicles shows how God worked from the time of Adam but particularly in the time of David through Ezra and Nehemiah to accomplish his desire to dwell in holiness with his people.
THE COVENANT WITH DAVID: God chose David and his lineage to build his house. The final ruler in this lineage is the Son of David—the Messiah. Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem, but it is Jesus who is building and shall build to completion God’s true house. Christ is the one who will reign forever. His people are those of Israel and indeed of all nations who will put their trust in him.
THE HOLY GOD IS TO BE WORSHIPED PROPERLY: The two books of Chronicles show us that the God who dwells in holiness must be approached according to the law that God gave to Moses. David, in seeking to unite his people around the presence of God, learned that God must be sought in the proper way. Worship by way of the altar of sacrifice as ministered by the Levitical priesthood was important, and the place of the altar of sacrifice was to be in Jerusalem at the threshing floor of Ornan (aka Araunah). There David erected the altar and Solomon built the temple according to God’s directions.
THE HOUSE OF GOD: The books of Chronicles intended to encourage God’s people to work together with God and with one another to build God’s house. The people were challenged through these books to go up to Jerusalem to build God’s house. Chronicles reminds the people of God’s history of faithfulness to his people and to his house. God promised that he would bless their obedience to this challenge.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE BIBLE
I.The Genealogies (1:1-9:44)
A.Genealogies of the human race (1:1-54)
B.Genealogies of the twelve tribes (2:1-9:44)
II.The Reign of David (10:1-29:30)
A.Fall of Saul’s house and rise of David (10:1-14:17)
B.Removal of the ark to Jerusalem (15:1-16:43)
C.David’s desire to build God a house (17:1-27)
D.David’s victories over Israel’s enemies (18:1-21:30)
E.David’s preparations for building the temple (22:1-19)
F.Arrangements for the service of the Levites (23:1-26:32)
G.David’s final days (27:1-29:30)
With the death of Saul, David becomes king of Judah. 1010
David becomes king over all Israel. 1003
David moves the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. 1000
God’s covenant with David 995
Solomon becomes Israel’s third king. 970
Construction of the temple begins. 966
Solomon dedicates the temple. 959
Notched flute is developed in Peru and Chile. 900
First temple repair and reform under Asa 897
Etruscans settle in central Italy. 850-800
Second temple reform under Joash 812
First Olympiad in Greece 776
Traditional date for the founding of Rome 753
|Hezekiah 715-687||Josiah 641-609|
Third temple reform under Hezekiah 715
Fourth temple reform under Josiah 622
Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar II becomes the largest city on earth. 600
The temple in Jerusalem is destroyed under Zedekiah. 586
Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, third of seven wonders of the ancient world 550
Statue of Zeus at Olympia, fourth of seven wonders of the ancient world 466-456