Encountering the Old Testament, 3rd Edition

A Christian Survey

series: Encountering Biblical Studies


17. First and Second Chronicles: A Look Back

Chapter Intro Video

Chapter Objectives

  • Identify the author’s purpose for writing Chronicles
  • Explain the position of Chronicles in the canon
  • Outline the content of Chronicles
  • Justify the genealogical lists in 1 Chronicles 1–9
  • Explain why only Saul’s sin and punishment are recorded in Chronicles
  • Tell the meaning of Chronicles for contemporary Christians
  • Show how the context surrounding Chronicles affected the way the author wrote
  • Point out the role of the temple in Chronicles

Chapter Summary

  1. Opinions have differed in the past about who wrote 1 and 2 Chronicles, but recent scholarship attributes it to an anonymous postexilic author.
  2. Chronicles constituted what may be called the first biblical commentary, with the primary sources being the books of Samuel and Kings.
  3. Chronicles is located at the end of the biblical books in the Hebrew canon, but in the English Bible it follows the books of Kings and comes before Ezra and Nehemiah.
  4. The book of Chronicles focuses on the reigns of David and Solomon.
  5. The genealogical lists demonstrate a national identity going back before the exile and provide a continuity between generations.
  6. The author of Chronicles was most interested in the Davidic line of kings, the city of Jerusalem, and the temple as God’s instruments of salvation.
  7. The Chronicler was more interested in the construction and dedication of the temple than he was in the details of the grandeur of Solomon’s kingdom.
  8. The author of Chronicles calls the readers to assess their own situations in light of the two models—restoration and exile—that he presents.
  9. The themes that appear to be especially important to the chronicler are: (1) David and his dynasty and (2) the temple and the proper worship of God.

Study Questions

  1. Who is traditionally viewed as the author of 1–2 Chronicles?
  2. In what time period were these books composed? How do we know?
  3. How are 1–2 Chronicles the “first commentary on the Scriptures”?
  4. What was the author’s purpose in writing 1–2 Chronicles?
  5. What message of hope do these two books contain?
  6. Briefly describe the relationship between Chronicles and the other books in the canon.
  7. How is the location of 1–2 Chronicles in the Hebrew Bible important?
  8. Why are the genealogies important to the purpose of 1–2 Chronicles?
  9. What role does the Davidic royal line play in Chronicles?
  10. What are some of the major themes of Chronicles?