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An Introduction to First and Second Chronicles

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I. TITLE OF THE BOOKS:

A. The Hebrew Title is <ymyh yrbd “The Words [or Events] of the Days,” hence “The Annals”

1. This is not taken from the first verse but from 1 Chronicles 27:24

2. The Targum starts “This is the book of genealogies, the Chronicles from days of Antiquity” emphasizing the enormous historical scope of the book as it reached from Adam to the establishment of the Persian empire (2 Chronicles 36:20)

B. The Greek Title is PARALEIPOMENWN A’, B’ [The Books] of Things Left Out

1. This title identifies the fact that Chronicles supplements the history in Samuel and Kings in many places

2. Nevertheless, the name is misleading:

a. Chronicles also repeats much of the material in Samuel and Kings

b. The name fails to note that Chronicles own positive purpose which has decided his selection and arrangement of material to include in these books1

C. The English Title is First and Second Chronicles:

1. Jerome noted the enormous extent of these books (as with the Targum above) and thus stated in his prologue to the books of Samuel and Kings that “we might more significantly call it the chronikon of the whole sacred history.’

2. Even though Jerome used the Greek title for the books, his suggestion influenced Luther and thus became the title for the books which is used in English today2

D. One should not confuse the references to the “Chronicles” mentioned in the books of Kings with the book of Chronicles

1. Both Kings and Chronicles drew from earlier court chronicles3 (see below)

2. Court scribes probably produced a number of scrolls which recorded the daily events of each monarch’s rule (Est. 2:23; 6:1; 10:2)

II. AUTHOR: Either Ezra the Scribe or an unknown Levite-scribe

A. Technically, the book is anonymous--no author or compiler is named

B. An unknown chronicler who was a priest or Levite because of the writer’s interest in the temple4

C. Ezra the Scribe:

1. The Jewish Babylonian Talmud identifies Ezra the scribe as the author who “wrote the genealogy of Chronicles unto himself” or down unto his own time5

2. The description of the decree by Cyrus in II.36:22 supports a time close to that of Ezra--at least not much before his time

3. The genealogy in I.3:19-24 traces the descendants of Zerubbabel to the sixth generation. If Zerubbabel can be dated at 520 B.C. this would result in a date of 400 B.C. for the latest descendant of Zerubbabel (counting 20 years for each generation). That would require the book to have been written c. 400 B.C. which would make it reasonably compatible with Ezra the scribe6

4. Similarity of literary and linguistic features in Ezra-Nehemiah and Chronicles suggest a single author (Ezra) for these works7

III. DATE: 450-400 B.C.

A. Some identify the date of Chronicles to have been during the mid-fourth century B.C. because of style, vocabulary, and genealogies8

B. The earliest possible date for the book is 538 B.C. when Persia was established over Babylon and Cyrus issued the decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and build the temple (2 Chron. 36:20-23)

C. The latest possible date for the book is the mid-second century B.C. with the textual attestation of the existence of the LXX of Chronicles by Eupolemos9

D. Most conservative scholars date the book between 450-400 B.C.10

1. Chronicles 3:1-24 lists David’s descendants unto the eighth generation after Jehoiakim (3:16-24); this could allow for a 400 B.C. date:

a. Jehoiakim was 18 years old in 597 B.C. when he was taken captive by the Babylonians (2 Kings 24:18)

b. An average of 25 years times eight generations would yield 200 years

c. This places the earliest date around 400 B.C.

2. Chronicles 3:17-24 may not be a straight line of descent from Jehoiachin through Anani--some of the persons mentioned may be contemporaneous and not successive11

a. Jehoiakim was 18 years old in 597 B.C. when he was taken captive by the Babylonians (2 Kings 24:18)

b. This would make for at least five generations

c. An average of 25 years times five generations would yield 125 years

d. This places the earliest date at a mid-fifth century B.C.

3. The question around the mention of money in “darics” during the time of David in 1 Chronicles 19:7 does not necessarily require an early date of Chronicles to be anachronistic since the “daric” need not be a reference to Darius I (c. 520-486)12

IV. CANONICITY:

A. Nature of the Books:

1. Originally they were one scroll13

2. The Greek LXX first divided the material into two books c. 200 B.C.14

3. The first Hebrew division of the material into two books was not until 1448 A.D.15

B. Greek LXX and English:

1. In the Greek and English OT canons the books of Chronicles PARALEIPOMENWN A’, B’ “[The Books] of Things Left Out)” are placed among the historical books following the books of Kings (BASILEIWN A’ - D’ )

2. Even the book of Ezra may have had an original unity with Chronicles it is placed after Chronicles in both the LXX and our English canons16

3. When the Greek Canon expanded with the inclusion of apocryphal books it separated Chronicles and Ezra with the inclusion of I Esdras.17

C. The Hebrew Canon:

1. At an undocumented point prior to the fourth century A.D. Rabbinic authorities made up a third division of the canon called “The Writings” probably for liturgical reasons by:

a. combining the former and latter prophets

b. transferring some of the former prophets (Chronicles), some of the shorter scrolls and one latter prophet (Daniel) into a single group

2. Therefore, Chronicles now stands at the end of the Hebrew Canon (<ymyh yrbd ; “Events of the Days”, hence “Annals”)18

V. SOURCES USED19

A. Canonical Sources:20

1. Genesis

2. Samuel

3. Kings

B. Extracanonical Sources:

1. The Book of the Kingdoms (or Kings) of Judah and Israel (or of Israel and Judah)21

2. The Story (midrash) of the Book of the Kings22

3. The Words of Ussiah composed by the prophet Isaiah

4. The Words of Shemaiah the Prophet of Iddo the Seer

5. The Midrash of the Prophet Iddo

6. The Words of Jehu the son of Hanani

7. The Words of Hozai

C. The author used his sources with an intentional understanding and design23

VI. NUMBERS IN CHRONICLES THAT DISAGREE WITH THEIR OT PARALLELS:24

#

Higher

Lower

Description

Parallel Passage

Evaluation of Chronicles

a

 

1Chr 11:11

300 slain by Jashobeam, not 800

2Sa 23:8

Scribal error

b

1Chr 18:4

 

Hadadezer’s 1,000 chariots and 7,000 horsemen, not 1,000 and 700 horsemen

2Sa 8:4

Correct

c

1Chr 19:18a

 

7,000 Syrian charioteers slain, not 700

2Sa 10:18a

Correct

d

 

1Chr 19:18b

and 40,000 foot soldiers, not horsemen

2Sa 10:18b

Correct

e

1Chr 21:5a

 

Israel’s 1,100,000 troops, not 800,000

2Sa 24:9a

Different objects

f

 

1Chr 21:5b

Judah’s 470,000 troops, not 500,000

2Sa 24:9b

More precise

g

 

1Chr 21:12

Three years of famine, not seven

2Sa 24:13

Correct

h

1Chr 21:25

 

Ornan paid 600 gold shekels, not 50 silver

2Sa 24:24

Different objects

i,j

2Chr 2:2,18

 

3,600 to supervise the temple construction, not 3,300

1Kg 5:16

Different method of reckoning

k

2Chr 2:10

 

20,000 baths of oil to Hiram’s woodman, not 20 kors (=200 baths)

1Kg 5:11

Different objects

l

2Chr 3:15

 

Temple pillars 35 cubits, not 18

1Kg 7:15

Scribal error

m

2Chr 4:5

 

Sea holding 3,000 baths, not 2,000

1Kg 7:26

Scribal error

n

 

2Chr 8:10

250 chief officers for building the temple, not 550

1Kg 9:23

Different method of reckoning

o

2Chr 8:18

 

450 gold talents from Ophir, not 420

1Kg 9:28

Correct or scribal error

p

 

2Chr 9:16

300 gold bekas per shield, not 3 minas

1Kg 10:17

Different method of reckoning

q

 

2Chr 9:25

4,000 stalls for horses, not 40,000

1Kg 4:26

Correct

r

2Chr 22:2

 

Ahaziah king at 42 years, not 22

2Kg 8:26

Scribal error

s

 

2Chr 36:9

Jehoiachin king at 8, not 18

2Kg 24:8

Scribal error

Compared with its parallels, Chronicles is the same once, higher 10 times, and lower 7 times.

Total disagreements; 19 (j repeats i) out of 213 parallel numbers

VII. PURPOSES FOR THE BOOKS OF CHRONICLES

A. To bear witness to the “unity of God’s will for his people.”25

B. To bear witness to “the continuity of the obedient response within the history of Israel.”26

C. To bear witness to “the fundamental correspondence between an action and its outcome.”27

D. To “give the Jews of the Second Commonwealth the true spiritual foundations of their theocracy as the covenant people of Jehovah”28

E. To bear witness to the “role of sacred scripture as providing the rule of faith by which the community lives.”29

F. To “interpret to the restored community in Jerusalem the history of Israel as an eternal covenant between God and David which demanded an obedient response to the divine law.”30

G. To reveal God’s desire to bless those who wholeheartedly worship Him and to curse those who resist Him in rebellion according to the Mosaic system of Temple worship31


1 Williamson writes, it may be said that the influence of this misnomer in LXX and V on the Christian church has contributed significantly to the undervaluing and consequent neglect of these books until comparatively recent times (H. G. M. Williamson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 4).

Merrill writes, The Books of 1 and 2 Chronicles provide the only Old Testament example of a 'synoptic problem,' since they parallel the contents of Samuel and Kings to a great extent. That is, they recount the history and theology of Israel from a slightly different perspective than that of Samuel and Kings. Likewise, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke view the life and teachings of Jesus in similar but by no means identical ways. Students of the Old Testament are sometimes confused by this repetitious yet alternative approach to God's revelation. Why, it is asked, should there be two versions of the same set of circumstances and events?

These same kinds of questions have been asked relative to the Gospels. The most satisfying evangelical response has been that each gospel writer was a unique individual who witnessed personally and otherwise came to understand the life and message of Jesus in a unique way. Furthermore, each recounted the tradition as the Spirit of God prompted and corrected him. Thus, the quotations of Jesus' words differ from gospel to gospel and the order of events likewise varies according to the interests, emphases, and literary structures peculiar to each writer. This freedom of literary creativity within the boundaries of divine supervision is well understood and accepted by those who have engaged themselves in serious study of the Gospels.

Careful reading of Samuel-Kings and of Chronicles reveals the same approaches and processes. Though the two respective accounts deal largely with the same essential subject matter, they vary in their emphases, in what they include or exclude and in their theological interests. And yet, just as reverent gospel studies have shown that there is no demonstrable case for contradiction among them, so Samuel-Kings and Chronicles evidence no insoluble disharmonies. The exposition to follow will make this clear.

To see Chronicles as synoptic to Samuel-Kings is not to deny its independent importance and significance, for it is in those very areas of its topical, thematic, and theological divergences that its justification lies. Its authors and compilers were sensitive to the fact that the Holy Spirit desired to use them to communicate the truth of revelation in ways that paralleled the message of Sammuel-Kings from a different perspective and with different objectives. Thus, no study of the Old Testament is complete that dismisses Chronicles as a mere repetition of Samuel-Kings and fails to see it for what it is--a fresh, alternative way to view God's dealings with his people in Old Testament times (Eugene H. Merrill, 1, 2 Chronicles: Bible Study Commentary, 9-10).

57.8% of Chronicles is unique in Old Testament Literature (J. B. Pyne, The Validity of the Numbers in Chronicles, Bibliotheca Sacra, 136 (1979): 111. Donald Holdridge writes, Aside from Solomon, the Chronicler writes 8.5 verses more on each Judean king than does the writer of 'Kings' (Donald Wesley Holdridge, The Argument of 2 Chronicles, paper submitted for course 327 Seminar in Old Testament Historical Literature. Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1989, 21 n. 6).

Johnson writes, Evaluation is the point of the narrative history. The author of Chronicles is an author in the sense of a historian. Continuity and selectivity are the twin considerations for a historian. Continuity is necessary because of the interrelatedness of history. Each event bears a definite relationship to others--like a thread in a fabric--and cannot be understood in isolation. Selectivity is mandatory because no one could record everything that happened in any given era. The historian, therefore, singles out and highlights what is significant. An event is significant because it expresses his evaluation of the period. An event is measured as valuable when it expresses whole-hearted worship and is dangerous when it involves turning away and forsaking God. A valued event reflects what was pleasing to YHWH then and what is now pleasing to YHWH in the recently constructed Temple. What was dangerous bears all the marks of warning for the repetition of the same response to God. This was the criterion of selection. The criteria of continuity involved the establishment of the Davidic mediated Kingdom and the factors related to its continuation (Elliott E. Johnson, Synopsis and Selective Analysis of 1 and 2 Chronicles [unpublished class notes in 327 Seminar in Old Testament Historical Literature, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1989], 2-3).

2 See H. G. M. Williamson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 3-4.

3 See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament: With a Comprehensive Review of Old Testament Studies and a Special Supplement on the Apocrypha, 1160.

4 Andrew E. Hill, and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 217; See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament: With a Comprehensive Review of Old Testament Studies and a Special Supplement on the Apocrypha, 1157; Eugene H. Merrill, 1, 2 Chronicles, 12.

5 Baba Bathra 15a. Archer writes, It is quite possible that the Talmudic tradition (Baba Bathra, 15a) is correct in assigning the authorship to Ezra. As the chief architect of the spiritual and moral revival of the Second Commonwealth, he would have had every incentive to produce a historical survey of this sort. As a Levite from the priestly line, his viewpoint would have been in perfect agreement with that of the author of this work, and he would be very apt to lay the stress just where the chronicler has. It is pertinent to note that there was embodied in 2 Maccabees 2:13-15 a tradition that Governor Nehemiah owned a considerable library: 'He, founding a library, gathered together the books about the kings and prophets, and the books of David and letters of the kings about sacred gifts.' If Nehemiah did possess such a sizable collection of reference works, it might very well be that his close collaborator, Ezra, would have had ready access to these reference works and used them in the compilation of Chronicles (Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 413).

Nevertheless, Merrill writes, Moreover, there is nothing in the Baba Bathra statement that says Chronicles was completed by Ezra, but only that he 'wrote the genealogy of Chronicles unto himself' (15a). This leaves room for genealogical records beyond his own time and, of course, it may intend to say only that Ezra contributed to the genealogies and to nothing else (Eugene H. Merrill, 1, 2 Chronicles, 12).

6 See R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament: With a Comprehensive Review of Old Testament Studies and a Special Supplement on the Apocrypha, 1153, 1156-57.

7 R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament: With a Comprehensive Review of Old Testament Studies and a Special Supplement on the Apocrypha, 1153; William. F. Albright, The Date and Personality of the Chronicler, Journal of Biblical Literature 40 (1921): 104-119. Note also that 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 is repeated as the opening verses of Ezra 1:1-3a.

Harrison (and others like Newsome, Hill & Walton, and Samir B. Massouh in J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, in The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:306-307) argues against this very point later when he writes, Attempts to identify the Chronicler with Ezra appear inadvisable because of significant differences in style, historical and theological perspective, the treatment of source material, and the basic metaphysic of history as exhibited in the two compositions (R. K. Harrison, 1157). However, these objections are not determinative since Chronicles seems to be a completely different genre than that of Ezra-Nehemiah. Therefore, style and treatment of material is not determinative of the author here any more than it would be for Luke as the writer of the Gospel and then the book of Acts. Genre can determine literary choices. In addition the purpose of the author can be as determinative of what is included and what is excluded as the concept of a different author.

8 R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament, 1154; H. G. M. Williamson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 15-16. For an overview of positions see Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 413-14.

However, these objections are not determinative since Chronicles seems to be a completely different genre than that of Ezra-Nehemiah. Therefore, style and treatment of material is not determinative of the author here any more than it would be for Luke as the writer of the Gospel and then the book of Acts. Genre can determine literary choices.

9 H. G. M. Williamson, 1 and 2 Chronicles, 15. However, Payne observes that this is actually obsolete now since an actual MS of Chronicles has been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran cave four making a third-centry date difficult to maintain (J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:305).

10 C. F. Keil, The Books of the Chronicles, in Commentary on the Old Testament in Ten Volumes, III:27; Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 418; Andrew E. Hill, and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 217; Eugene H. Merrill, 1, 2 Chronicles, 11-12. This allows for Ezra to be the chronicler, but does not prove it.

11 Eugene H. Merrill, 1, 2 Chronicles, 12. Merrill writes, The chronicler obviously does not trace the genealogies past his own time so that further descendants of David through Zerubbabel (and perhaps otherwise) continue for only two or three more generations (3.21-24). Hananiah, a son of Zerubbabel, has only one generation in his succession. Then there follow four families whose connection is unstated, with the last of these extending through five generations--Shecanian, Shemaiah, Neariah, Elioenai, and Anani. If Shecaniah was contemporary with Hananiah, the son of Zerubbabel (which seems reasonable), five generations inclusive would place the date of Anani, the last named, about 425 B.C., a generally accepted date for Chronicles (Ibid., 28).

12 Archer writes, At the same time it must be conceded that darics had for many decades been in circulation before Ezra's time, and there would be no difficulty in his referring to them as a current unit of exchange. Since the daric represented a well-known weight in gold, there is no particular reason why Ezra could not have computed the amount of bullion actually contributed by the Israelite princes for the service of the temple and then have convereted the sum into an equivalent number of darics as more meaningful to the public of Ezra's own generation (Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 415). See also R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament: With a Comprehensive Review of Old Testament Studies and a Special Supplement on the Apocrypha, 1157.

13 A Masoretic notation at the end of a manuscript of Chronicles noted the middle of the book as being 1 Chronicles 27:25 (ZPEB s.v. Chronicles, Books of, by S. J. Schultz, I:809.

14 This was probably done due to the books length. They would divide the books at the death of a key figure, which was David here.

15 Ibid.

16 See Josephus, Against Apion I.38 [8] for the earliest description. Payne writes, Moreover the incompleteness of form with which the decree of Cyrus appears--breaking off in the middle of the king's decree--at the close of 2 Chronicles, and with which Ezra opens, suggests that Chronicles was added to the canon after Ezra was already there.

A plausible explanation is as follows: when God inspired Ezra in 450 to write the total volume, he also inspired him to place the last part of it (= Ezra) within the OT canon, as the divinely authorized sequel to the historical record of Kings. Only subsequently, perhaps at the canon's final compilation shortly before 420, did God lead him to insert the rest (= Chron), as supplementary parallels to the materials found in Samuel and Kings (J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:312).

The inclusion of Chronicles with Ezra in the LXX supports a canonization of the books from at least the middle of the second century B.C.

17 Esdras B = our Ezra-Nehemiah. Meyers writes, Chronicles, Esdras A, Esdras B (our Ezra-Nehemiah). That was the order followed by St. Jerome and Luther, and hence in our English Bibles, except that Esdras A (apocryphal Ezra) has been relegated to the Apocrypha while Esdras B appears as Ezra and Nehemiah (Jacob M. Meyers, I Chronicles: Introduction, Translation, and Notes, XVII).

18 Payne writes, But though Chronicles, as a result, now stands at the very end of printed Hebrew Bibles, the English (and Greek) arrangement is the one that corresponds to the order of the canon in NT Times. For in Matthew 23:35 Christ spoke of all the martyrs from Abel in the first book (Gen) down to the last martyred minor prophet (Zechariah, who was 'slain in the sanctuary'; Malachi is not known to have suffered martyrdom) (J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:312).

19 Hill and Walton follow Payne and divide the categories of sources into (1) genealogical records, (2) letters and official documents, (3) poems, prayers, speeches, and songs, (4) other histories, (5) prophetic writings, and (6) canonical sources (Andrew E. Hill, and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 217-18; cf. J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:309-11).

20 Archer writes, It is much disputed whether the chronicler actually copied from Samuel and Kings; most authorities assume that he did so (cf. New Bible Commentary). Others, like Zoeckler (in Lange's Commentary, pp. 18-20) and E. J. Young (IOT, pp. 384-85), believe that he copied from common earlier sources, but that differences in detail and arrangement preclude the possibility of any direct borrowing (Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 415).

21 Archer writes that these may be the same as the Book of the Kings of Israel and the Words of the Kings of Israel (Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 415).

22 Archer writes (which may or not be different from the one previously mentioned) (Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 415).

23 Childs writes, What can one say about the author's own understanding of his sources? First of all, it is clear that the chronicler is making a selection of material from a much larger source which is available to him. Thus, for example, he passes over in silence the whole history of the Northern Kingdom after the division of the nation and only uses it when it has a direct bearing on Judah (II Chron. 18). However, it is a basic error of interpretation to infer from this method of selection that the Chronicler's purpose lies in suppressing or replacing the earlier tradition with his own account. Two reasons speak directly against this assumption. First, the Chronicler often assumes a knowledge of the whole tradition on the part of his readers to such an extent that his account is virtually incomprehensible without the implied relationship with the other accounts (cf. I Chron. 12.19ff.; II Chron. 32.24-33). Secondly, even when he omits a story in his selection he often makes explicit reference to it by his use of sources. For example, the Chronicler omits reference to Jeroboam's divine election (I Kings 11), but his explicit reference to the prophecy of Ahijah (II Chron. 9.29) rules out a theory of conscious suppression. Then again, the Chronicler's frequent method of repeating large sections of earlier material to which he supplies a theological explanation of its causes indicates that the author views his work, not simply as a supplement, but as a necessary explication of the tradition (Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 646-47).

24 J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:561; cf. also Andrew E. Hill, and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 220.

25 Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 654. This point has often been lost in the modern concern over the issue of historicity. Childs writes, The author relativizes all issues of historical change and development, and deals with God's will for his people as eternal and unchanging. The Word of God addressed ancient patriarchs, pre-exilic kings, and exiles from the Babylonian captivity with the same imperatives and accompanied them with the same promise. In other words, the Chronicler speaks to the ontological question and faithfully testifies to the unchanging reality of the One God (Ibid., 654-55).

26 Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 655. Childs writes, Because God did not change his will, demanding one thing of his people earlier and something different later, there emerged a common profile of the faithful within Israel. There is a family resemblance in their praise and thanksgiving, in prayers and laments which extends throughout all ages. The Chronicler shaped his material to highlight the continuity within the community of faith (Ibid.).

27 Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 655.

28 Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 412. Continuing he writes, The historian's purpose is to show that the true glory of the Hebrew nation was found in its covenant relationship to God, as safeguarded by the prescribed forms of worship in the temple and administered by the divinely ordained priesthood under the protection of the divinely ordained dynasty of David. Always the emphasis is upon that which is sound and valid in Israel's past as furnishing a reliable basis for the task of reconstruction which lay ahead. Great stress is placed upon the rich heritage of Israel and its unbroken connection with the patriarchal beginnings (hence the prominence accorded to genealogical lists) (Ibid).

Holdridge writes, He stressed the Davidic and Mosaic covenants in the examples of their former kings, so that they would live in hope and obedience to these covenants respectively during the second temple era (Donald Wesley Holdridge, The Argument of 2 Chronicles, paper submitted for course 327 Seminar in Old Testament Historical Literature, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1989, 15).

Merrill writes, There could hardly have been a more fitting and encouraging message for the post-exilic Jewish community than that of Chronicles. The people had returned, a temple had been rebuilt, and a cultus with its priesthood and other institutions continued. There was no monarchy, to be sure, but the merging of the offices of priest and king along with the prophetic promises of contemporary men of God, such as Haggai (2:4-9) and Zechariah (9:9-10; 14:9-21), were reason enough to fill the remnant with hope that the covenant promises of the Lord could not fail and would surely come to pass (Eugene H. Merrill, 1, 2 Chronicles, 14; cf also J. Barton Payne, 1, 2 Chronicles, In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 4:312-14).

29 Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 655. Continuing he writes, Far from being a dead hand of the past, the writings of the prophets offer both a chart and a compass for the boldest possible exploration of the inner and out structure of faith within the world and without. The fact that the book of Chronicles does not replace Samuel and Kings, but stands along side the earlier traditions, illustrates the function of the canon as a means of enrichment of the biblical traditions in the process of critical reflection (Ibid.).

30 Brevard S. Childs, Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture, 644. Continuing he writes, On the basis of past history he sought repeatedly to draw the lesson that Israel prospered when obedient but courted God's wrath and the destruction of the nation through disobedience. In spite of continual warnings from the prophets, Israel abandoned God's law and suffered the consequences (II Chron. 36.15f.). However, after the judgment, God once again restored his people who continue to stand under the same divine imperatives. The author assumes that the will of God has been made known through revelation. It does not need to be actualized or reinterpreted for a new era. Rather, both the judgments which the writer cites upon disobedience in the past (I Chron. 10.13f; II Chron. 12.2; II Chron. 36.15f.) as well as the promises proffered for a faithful response remain authoritative for every generation (II Chron. 6.1ff.; 7.11ff.; 21.7). Significantly, the term Israel retains for the Chronicler its basically religious connotation of the people of God and does not become simply a political designation (cf. Williamson) (Ibid.).

31 Elliott Johnson writes, The Chronicler's overarching concern is the theocratic character of the community of [the] returned remnant. God's direct activity, the pattern of retribution, scriptural authority, and centrality of the temple are all components in the providential rule of God over his people. The Chronicler longs for and seeks to contribute to a recovery of the glorious days of David and Solomon--not by the reestablishment of the mediatoral rule of God through the monarchy but by a return to obedient worship. To a people stripped of kings (monarchy) and forced to obey Persian law and to submit to Persian government (times of the Gentiles), he writes about the glory days with an implication of hope. God adores and blesses those who worship Him with a pure heart. The book selects events surrounding the Temple (I.6:31, 49, 9:27; 17:1; 22:6; 28:11; II.5:1; 7:1; 22:12; 24:4; 29:3; 24:1-33; 36:7, 22, 23) and features experience worship (I.14:10; 14; 16:7ff.; 17:16ff.; 21:17; 29:10; II.5:2--7:10; 14:11; 20:5-12; 26:4; 30:6; 31:2; 35:1). For the restored remnant, the clear implication is that God relishes such worship in the restored Temple and purposes to bless these worshippers.

In addition, God's pattern of retribution also implied that the resistant ones in rebellion would be the object of God's covenant curses. This was a remnant surviving in the midst of Gentile nations whose own destiny would relate to their worship. They were linked to the experiences of the Davidic line not because the Davidic heir was recognized but because the same God would be worshipped. The purposes of God toward his people remained unchanged in spite of their change in status from nation to worshipping community (Elliott E. Johnson, Synopsis and Selective Analysis of 1 and 2 Chronicles [unpublished class notes in 327 Seminar in Old Testament Historical Literature, Dallas Theological Seminary, Spring 1989], 1).

Continuing he writes, Perhaps the dominant theological emphasis of Chronicles is the constant concern for the temple, its worship, and its officials, the Levites. Comparison of the accounts of the inauguration of worship in Jerusalem under David (2 Sam. 6:12-19; 1 Chron. 15:1--16:3) or Hezekiah's reform (2 Kings 18:4-7; 2 Chron. 29--31) reveals the Chronicler's avid interest in the structure and personnel of Israel's religion. Though he is by no means disinterested in the Hebrew Prophets, (I.21:18; II.15:1; 2; 18:6; 19:2; 21:12-15; 25:7; 28:9; 36:21-22) the Levites, who assisted the priests in preparing sacrifices and who served as temple attendants, singers, and gatekeepers are particularly dear to his heart (I.23; 24; 25; 26:2--20:14; 23:11; 24:20). Little attention is given to these in Kings.

Although his priestly perspective cannot be doubted, one need not hold that 'the Chronicler gave the Levites a higher place than they ever actually had' (N. H. Snaith OTMS, 111). The complex history of the relationship between priests and levites brooks no sweeping generalities of any kind. The author of Chronicles simply lingers on those individuals who valued and supported worship. Worship according to the Mosaic order was valued and the preparation of David which established the order for worship received detailed attention. David restored the ark to Jerusalem which is distinctly identified as the throne of God (I.13:6) and prepared a temporary dwelling (I.15:1). In addition, a Psalm (105) written by Asaph whom David commissioned is included in David's worship (I.16:1, 8-36). That narration of David's worship is matched by a narration of Solomon's worship (5:1--7:22). Solomon worships in the completed Temple as YHWH settles in a cloud displayin impenetrable glory in His presence (II.5:13, 14). Then Solomon celebrates the coming of YHWH's glory as a realization of YHWH's promise to David (II.6:1-11). and worships as He petitions YHWH to respond to prayers offered in the Temple (II.6:12-42). YHWH's second appearance to Solomon defines the Mosaic [provisions] as conditional blessing; if they humbly pray, then YHWH will forgive (7:14) but if they turn away and forsake His commands to worship other gods, then they will be uprooted from the land (7:19, 20). This pattern of worship or rejection of worship governs the remainder of the Davidic kings (II.36:15 and 18-20); blessing (II.11:16, 17; 12:7, 12; 15:5; 17:3-10; 26:5; 32:5) and judgment (II.12:1, 2; 21:6, 7; 22:3, 4; 24:18; 26:16; 32:25; 36:9, 12; 36:21, 22) (Ibid., 1-2).

Related Topics: Introductions, Arguments, Outlines