The Books of Chronicles
Chronicles 28:9 - And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the
God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a
willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and
understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek
him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will
cast thee off for ever.
1 Chronicles 28:10 - Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do [it].
The Old Testament - A Brief Overview
Bible Survey - Chronicles
Hebrew Name - Divrei Hayamim "Words of the Days"
Greek Name - Paralipomenon (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Ezra (According to Tradition)
Date - From 4004-536 BC Approximately
Theme of 1 Chronicles - The reign of King David
Theme of 2 Chronicles - The history of the Southern Kingdom of Judah
Types and Shadows - In Chronicles Jesus is the builder of the house of God
Ark Relief at Capernaum Synagogue
The ancient Ark of the covenant of Israel is one the most famous items in all of antiquity. There is no trace of the Ark of the covenant, yet it is memorialized by this Scripture block at the synagogue of Capernaum, created in Greco-Roman style. In the Bible the Ark of the Covenant was captured by the Philistines, and later returned because of sudden plagues that happened upon their lands. Through the valley of sorek it was taken back to Israel to Beth-shemesh.
Summary of The Books of Chronicles
The English version of the Bible places the books of Chronicles after Kings, but in the Hebrew text they are placed at the very end of the Old Testament. (See this chart of Old Testament books in Hebrew order). The books of Chronicles were originally one book, as in the case of Samuel and Kings. The Hebrew title is translated the "words of the days", yet the word Chronicles is mainly adopted by a theologian named Jerome who thought that they ought to bear the title from the Greek word for time which is "Chronos". This title created a distraction from the true meaning and purpose of this wonderful book. The main purpose of Chronicles was to form a genealogical description of the 12 tribes of Israel from the earliest recorded time. This was very important considering that there was a mixed multitude that had returned from Babylon, and it was also important to determine the lineage of Judah, and to reestablish the functions and order in which each individual tribe was required to perform.
The author of Chronicles has a fervent desire to make the people of Israel aware of the true glory of their kingdom, realizing that it traces back to David and Solomon. There is nothing that would impress upon them a greater understanding than taking them back through a detailed history of their kingdom, with all of its glory and prosperity and also the horrible sin that led to the captivity and the downfall of the theocracy. The author of Chronicles had a constant focus on the Temple which had been destroyed and the dynasty of King David. There is hardly any mention of the northern kingdom of Israel, it is mainly concerned with Judah and the events in connection with King David, and the building of the Temple. Solomon is not necessarily a huge focus other than his preparations for building the Temple and its dedication. The worship of the Temple is paramount and the functions of the Levites as well. The Kings of Judah are stressed with great importance as well as the idolatry that seduced the people of God.
Hebrew tradition credits Ezra has the author of the books of Chronicles, in the beginning of the books trace the genealogical records all the way back to Adam which took place in approximately 4004 BC. The book concludes with the Jews in Babylon after the captivity.
Quick Reference Map
Map of the Empires of David and Solomon (Click to Enlarge)
The contents of the books of Chronicles may be outlined as follows:
Outline of the Books of Chronicles
I. Genealogical Matters (1 Chronicles 1-9) These genealogies begin with Adam (1 Chronicles 1:1) and are brought up to the time of the writer (1 Chronicles 9). It is surprising to note the large number of historical incidents mentioned in connection with the individuals named in these lists. Many of these are taken from other Old Testament scripture, but some find their origin elsewhere (1 Chronicles 4:9, 10, 38-43).
II. The Reign of David (1 Chronicles 10 -29)
1) The last days and death of Saul and the early reign of David (1 Chronicles 10-12).
2) The return of the ark to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13-16). Included in this section is the account of the misfortune of Uzzah, who was killed when he reached forth to save the ark from falling (1 Chronicles 13).
3) David purposes to build the temple but is forbidden because of the great amount of bloodshed to which he has been a party (1 Chronicles 17).
4) The account of David's conquests (1 Chronicles 18-20).
5) The census and the plague (1 Chronicles 21).
6) David's preparations for building the temple (1 Chronicles 22). Although David was himself forbidden to build a temple for God, he set about to collect the necessary materials for such a temple, that the task of his son Solomon might be easier.
7) Designation of the duties of the Levites (1 Chronicles 23).
8) Organization of the government (1 Chronicles 24).
9) David's last words and his death (1 Chronicles 28-29).
III. The Reign of Solomon (2 Chronicles 1-9) This section includes the further preparation, the building and the dedication of the Temple, as well as various other activities of Solomon.
IV. The History of Judah to Its Fall (2 Chronicles 10 -36)
1) The revolt of the ten tribes and the reign of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 10-12).
2) The reign of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13).
3) The reign of Asa (2 Chronicles 14-16). This was a period of prosperity in Judah as Asa instituted a number of moral and religious reforms, establishing himself as a servant of the Lord.
4) The reign of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17-20). This king was also diligent in his efforts to serve God. He made considerable efforts to acquaint his people with the Law.
5) The reigns of Jehoram and Ahaziah (2 Chronicles 21:1—22:9).
6) The reign of Athaliah, the only queen of Judah (2 Chronicles 22:10-23:21).
7) The reign of Joash (2 Chronicles 24). Ascending to the throne at the age of seven, Joash, advised by the high priest Jehoida, brought about the restoration of true worship. After Jehoida's death, however, Joash himself slipped into the worship of idols.
8) Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz (2 Chronicles 25-28).
9) The reign of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29-32). After beginning his rule with a great religious restoration, Hezekiah helped his nation to regain a measure of power and glory.
10) Manasseh and Amon (2 Chronicles 33).
11) The reign of Josiah (2 Chronicles 34-35). In the eighteenth year of a reign that began when he was only eight years old, Josiah began the most sweeping religious reforms which Judah had ever known. During the renovation of the temple, the "book of the Law" was found, encouraging the people greatly in this time of revival.
12) The last days of Judah (2 Chronicles 36). After a brief reign by Jehoahaz, the throne was taken by Jehoiakim, who reigned for eleven years. During this period he was a vassal alternatively to Egypt and Babylon. In an effort to revolt against the Babylonian rule, he lost his life. He was succeeded by Jehoiachin, who reigned only three months, after which he was carried to Babylon, where he lived a number of years. The last of the Judean kings was Zedekiah. Nebuchadnezzar had already plundered Jerusalem of much of its treasures and a considerable number of its most promising men. This took place in two raids, in 606 and 597 BC. In 586 BC, during the reign of Zedekiah, the Babylonians struck once again, this time leaving none but the poorest class of people to remain in Jerusalem. Five years later, the Babylonians came to collect about 750 more captives, even after a number, including Jeremiah, had fled to Egypt (Jeremiah 43).
Quick Reference Maps - 1 Chronicles
The Empire of David and Solomon during the Chronicles
The Period of the Kings
The Empire of David and Solomon
The Kingdom of David
Solomon's Temple Illustration
Chart - The House of the LORD
Ophir and Tarshish
Israel and Judah During the Time of Rehoboam
Zaraphath and Mount Carmel
1 Chronicles Resources
Israel's First King
The Divided Kingdom
The Northern Kingdom of Israel
The Southern Kingdom of Judah
The Assyrian Captivity
The Babylonian Captivity
More About the Book of
More About the Book of 2 Chronicles
1 Chronicles in the Picture Study Bible
2 Chronicles in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to the Old Testament
Back to Bible History Online