Date: Fifth Century B.C.
The books of Chronicles seem boring to some people because of all the genealogies and because they cover the same material as Kings. Isn’t that unnecessary? When properly understood, however, these Chronicles are important books. The key to understanding them is to remember that the Bible was written with a religious purpose in mind, not a political or historical one. This is not to say that history isn’t there, or is false, but that whatever is said is recorded primarily for religious reasons.
The genealogies are important because the Messiah would someday be a human being. These records show the family histories of God’s people as a whole, from which the Messiah came, as well as of his family in particular. They are also important because they show God’s faithfulness through the passing centuries. His promises can be checked by looking at the records.
These books also lay heavy stress on Judah’s history, rather than Israel’s. This is because Judah represents the family of David and it was from David’s line that the Messiah would come. The northern kingdom of Israel lived in a state of virtual anarchy, with assassinations and governmental turmoil almost a way of life. There was a measure of stability in Judah, with the rulers all coming from one family. Chronicles attributes this to religious faithfulness on the part of the South and apostasy on the part of the North. Not that God didn’t love the people of Israel. He continually sent prophets to them to plead for their return. They would not come, however, and their destruction in 722 B.C. was the result of their hard-heartedness. The religious aspects of Judah’s history are also prominent. A lot of space is given to the temple, its worship, the priests, and the Levites. Stress is also laid on the revivals that took place under Hezekiah.
Theological Themes in Books of I and II Chronicles
Certain theological principles stand out in the Chronicles. First, there is the centrality of worship. So much time is devoted to the temple because it was to be central in the life of God’s people. The same is true today. Where worship is routine or missing, whether in a nation or a person’s life, spiritual death is just around the corner.
Second, the faithfulness of God is clearly seen. Throughout the many years when the nations’ behavior merited only judgment, God remained true to his agreements (called “covenants” in Old Testament times) with his people. He remains true to them today.
Third, the justice of God is painfully clear. As much as he disliked doing it, and the Old Testament says this clearly, God had no other choice but to punish his people. This should be a warning to us all. God does not play favorites. All will be blessed and judged alike.
Finally, the need for daily watchfulness is evident. Too often our concern is for what might be, or for tomorrow. What we ought to do is watch out for today. Israel and Judah never seemed to learn that, and the result was their destruction. This need not happen to us, if we learn from their tragic examples.
Outline for the Book of I Chronicles
- Genealogies from Adam to Saul I Chronicles 1:1-9:34
- The life of Saul I Chronicles 9:35-10:14
- The life and reign of David I Chronicles 11:1-21:30
- The organization of David’s government I Chronicles 22:1-27:34
- The death of David and the inauguration of Solomon I Chronicles 28:1-29:30