The Book of 1-2 Chronicles

I. Title

       The Hebrew title for the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles (which were originally one book) is dibere ha-yamim, "The Words of the Days". In the Septuagint, it receives the title Paraleipomenon, "Of things that have been left untold"; some copies of the Septuagint add "concerning the kings of Judah". Jerome accepted the Greek title, but suggested that the Hebrew title would be better represented by a derivative from the Greek word chronos. He thought such a designation would better fit the character of the book, which he saw as a chronicle of the whole of sacred history. Jerome's suggestion is followed in the title give to the book in English.

II. Authorship and Sources

       A. Authorship

       The Talmud (Baba Bathra 15a) attributes Chronicles to Ezra. However, the book itself makes no claim of authorship and no firm conclusions can be drawn as to authorship. The interest taken by the author or authors in the Levites has lead some to speculate that perhaps someone from among them is responsible for the book, but that is not a necessary inference.
       The last event alluded to in the book (in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23) is the return from Babylonian exile, which would suggest that the book was written shortly that time. The genealogy in 1 Chronicles 3:17-24, which lists the descendants of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) seems to cover six generations from the exile, which would take the book down to about 400 BC, as the earliest date for its completion.

       B. History

       The story of Chronicles is continued in Ezra-Nehemiah, and in fact 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 is virtually identical to Ezra 1:1-3a. As a result, some have speculated that perhaps Ezra 1-6 should be considered part of the book of Chronicles, rather than part of Ezra-Nehemiah.
       Chronicles has been regarded as a poorer history that Samuel-Kings because of its concentration on ecclesiastical rather than political affairs, although such a conclusion says more about the bias of modern critics than expressing a genuine problem with Chronicles.
       Some of the differences between Chronicles and Samuel-Kings does raise historical problems, most noticeably in the fact that Chronicles vastly inflates financial and military figures. This might be the ancient equivalent of adjusting for inflation, though most likely the differences in numbers are simply the result of textual corruption.
       Other key differences exist between Samuel-Kings and Chronicles; below are just a few of the more significant:

Present in Samuel-Kings, absent in Chronicles:

1. David's early life
2. David's kingdom in Hebron
3. David's adultery
4. Amnon and Tamar
5. Absalom's revolt
6. Solomon's apostasy
7. The kings and history of the Northern Kingdom, for the most part

Present in Chronicles, absent in Samuel-Kings

1. David's preparation for building the temple
2. David numbers and distributes the Levites
3. David arranges the singers, players and temple ritual
4. David prepares for temple officers
5. The war between Abijah and Jeroboam
6. The reform of Manasseh,
7. The Passover of Josiah
8. Extra genealogical materials
       C. Sources for Chronicles

       Considerably more than half of the contents of 1-2 Chronicles is derived from other Old Testament books, especially from Samuel-Kings. Other sources mentioned in Chronicles include:

1. The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chron. 16:11, 25:26, 28:26, 32:32)
2. The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chron 27:7; 35:27, 36:8)
3. The Book of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron. 20:34)
4. The Book of the Kings of the Kings (2 Chron. 24:27)

       It is possible that these may be four variant forms of the same title; it is also possible that they may be references to the books of Samuel-Kings.

5. The Book of the Kings of Israel (1 Chron. 9:1)
6. The Words of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron. 33:18)
7. The Annotations on the Book of the Kings (2 Chron. 24:27)
8. The Words of Samuel the Man of Vision and the Words of Nathan the Prophet and the Words of Gad the Seer (1 Chron. 29:29). May be one work; may refer to the books of Judges and Samuel.
9. The Words of Nathan the Prophet (2 Chron. 9:29; cf. 1 Kings 11:41-53)
10. The Prophesy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chron. 9:29; cf. 1 Kings 11:29ff; 14:2ff, etc.)
11. The Visions of Jedo the Seer (2 Chron 9:29; cf. 1 Kings 13)
12. The Words of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chron. 12:15; cf. 1 Kings 12:22ff)
13. "Shemaiah wrote" (1 Chron. 24:6)
14. The Records of Shemaiah the Prophet and Iddo the Seer that deal with genealogies (2 Chron. 12:15)
15. The Annals of Jehu the son of Hanani, which are recorded in the book of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron. 20:34; cf. 1 Kings 16:1, 7, 12)
16. "The rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the Prophet, the son of Amoz, write" (2 Chron. 26:22; cf. Isaiah 1 and 6)
17. "The Vision of Isaiah....in the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel" (2 Chron. 32:32; cf. 2 Kings 18-20; Isaiah 36-39)
18. The Words of the Seers (2 Chron. 33:19)
19. References to "Lamentations" and "Jeremiah" (2 Chron. 35:25)
20. The Annotations of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22)
21. Liturgical writings of David and Solomon (2 Chron. 35:4; cf. Ezra 3:10)
22. Commandments of David and Gad and Nathan (2 Chron. 29:25)
23. The Commandment of David and Asaph and Heman and Jeduthun (2 Chron. 35:15)
24. Chronicles of King David (1 Chron. 27:24)
25. The Last Words of David (1 Chron. 23:27)

III. An Outline of 1-2 Chronicles

I. The Genealogies 1:1-9:44
II. The Acts of David 10:1-29:30
III. The Acts of Solomon 1:1-9:31
IV. The Acts of the Kings of Judah 10:1-36:23

Questions on 1-2 Chronicles

1. What is the difference in perspective between 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings and 1- 2 Chronicles? Why were 1-2 Chronicles written?
2. What purpose is served by the genealogies that form the bulk of the first nine chapters of 1-2 Chronicles?
3. Be able to identify and write a biography on the following people:

a. David
b. Solomon
c. Rehoboam
d. Jeroboam
e. Abijah
f. Asa
g. Jehoshaphat
h. Micaiah
i. Ahab
j. Jehoram
k. Ahaziah
l. Athaliah
m. Joash
n. Jehoiada
o. Amaziah
p. Uziah (Azariah)
q. Jotham
r. Ahaz
s. Hezekiah
t. Sennacherib
u. Isaiah
v. Manasseh
w. Amon
x. Josiah
y. Jehoahaz
z. Jehoiakim
aa. Jehoiachin
bb. Zedekiah