Chronicles

Ancient WordsIf you open the index to your Bible, you will find the Books 1st and 2nd Chronicles follow The Book of the Prophet Samuel (1st and 2nd) and Kings (1st and 2nd). These volumes recount the history of Israel and Judah from the period at the end of the age of Judges (of whom Samuel was the last), through the establishment of the monarchy, up until the end of the kingdoms as the last remnant moved to exile in Babylon. Interestingly, the same period of time is covered in Chronicles. The Greek title of the book, paraleipomena, means “things omitted,” or “passed over” (i.e., in the accounts found in Samuel and Kings). The Books of Chronicles, however, are much more than a supplement to Samuel and Kings; a comparison of the two histories discloses striking differences of scope and purpose. One should not think of Chronicles as a history of filling in the blanks. Biblical history is primarily interpretative, and its purpose was to disclose the action of the living God in human affairs rather than compiles the facts as we would consider an endeavor of history.In the ancient Hebrew ordering of the Scriptures, the books of Chronicles is the final book of the Old Testament. Significant? Perhaps. The book of Chronicles ends with a decree to build a temple. This is the same decree that is told in the book of Ezra-Nehemiah. But Ezra and Nehemiah have already built the temple. So the fact that the whole Hebrew Bible ends on this note suggested that there must be another return from exile, another temple that will be built up and a better leader to come—a Messiah who will lead the people back to communion with God. The Hebrew Bible ends in anticipation for all that’s to come.

Given the situation which confronted the Jewish people at this time (the end of the fifth century B.C.), the Chronicler realized that Israel’s political greatness was a thing of the past. Yet, for the Chronicler, Israel’s past held the key to the people’s future. The Chronicler will hold up the reigns of David and Solomon (early reign) as the ideal so that when Israel of the future leans upon a new leader, they will look to its past to see the pathway to its future.

If you are interested in the Books of Chronicles, take a few  minutes and watch this video from the good people at The Bible Project. As always, consider giving to support their not-for-profit ministry and their great evangelical work.

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