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Bible Commentaries

Arno Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

1 Chronicles Overview

 

 


THE BOOK OF FIRST CHRONICLES

Introduction

The books of the Chronicles are called in the Hebrew “Dbri-Hayyomim” which means “words of the days,” that is the events of the times. In the Greek translation they are known by the name “Paraleipomena,” that is “things omitted.” Our English title “Chronicles” is adopted from the Latin translation, the Vulgate, because the title there is “Liber Chronicorum.”

In the English Bible the Chronicles occupy a different place from that in the original Hebrew Bible. As stated before, the Hebrew Scriptures are divided into three main divisions; the law, the prophets and the writings. This last section of the Hebrew Scriptures contains the following books: Psalms, Proverbs, Job; the five books known as Megilloth, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and Esther. These are followed by Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles. The Chronicles therefore stand at the close of the Hebrew Scriptures. That this arrangement is not without meaning in connection with the New Testament, has been pointed out by others. “The genealogies with which Chronicles begins lead up to the genealogy of Matthew 1 and the commencement of the New Testament. They end with the ending of the kingdom, and the question of Cyrus, ‘who is there?’ (2 Chronicles 36:23) is followed by another ‘Where is He?’ (Matthew 2:2) and the proclamation of the kingdom by the true King and His forerunner. Chronicles begins with the first Adam and leads on to the last Adam.”

Authorship and Date

Ezra has been mentioned as the possible author of Chronicles, which, however, cannot be proven. Nothing whatever is known of the instrument who was used to write these historical books. From the prominence which is given to the history and organization of the Levitic priesthood and the deep interest shown in the minor officials of the temple, especially the singers, it has been surmised that the author may have been a Levite. Beyond this nothing definite can be said. The author used by the Spirit of God must remain unknown to man, but he is known to God. In the books are mentioned repeatedly other books and histories to which the author of Chronicles refers. These include the following: a book of the kings of Israel and Judah, (2 Chronicles 27:7; 2 Chronicles 35:27; 2 Chronicles 36:8); a book of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 16:11; 2 Chronicles 25:26; 2 Chronicles 28:26; 2 Chronicles 32:32); a book of the kings of Israel (2 Chronicles 24:27); a commentary of the books of Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27); a history of the prophets Samuel, Nathan and Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29); a history of the prophets Nathan, Abijah, the Shilonite, and Iddo (2 Chronicles 9:29); a history of the prophets, Shemaiah and Iddo (2 Chronicles 12:15); a history of the prophet Jehu (2 Chronicles 20:34); a commentary of the prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22); Isaiah’s history of Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:22); a history of the prophet Isaiah (2 Chronicles 32:32) and a history of the prophet of Manasseh’s day (2 Chronicles 33:19). It will be seen that there are just twelve sources mentioned. It will be seen that the first four are historical and the remaining eight are prophetic. While some of these references must have been books and histories now unknown to us, the main references are to the preceding books of the kings and to the first part of the prophet Isaiah.

The date of Chronicles is fixed by the first book. 1 Chronicles 6:15 shows that the book was written after the captivity. We find also the names of the descendants of Zerubbabel given in 1 Chronicles 3:19-24. Inasmuch as Zerubbabel was one of the leaders of the exile, who returned from the captivity, and his descendants are given, Chronicles must have been written some time after the return from Babylon. The diction of the books of Chronicles also bears witness to this. The Hebrew is substantially the same which is employed in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther, which were written immediately after the captivity. It is mixed with Aramaeisms, which marks the corruption of the pure Hebrew by the Chaldaean language which the captives learned in Babylon. The pure Hebrew had been lost in Babylon. Even the orthography bears witness to it as every Hebrew scholar knows.

Rationalistic Objections

Rationalists, the so-called higher critics, speak much of the discrepancies and contradictions contained in Chronicles. That there are variations from previous records cannot be denied, but variations are not contradictions. That there are certain corruptions in the text must be acknowledged, and some of them will be pointed out in the annotations. But the charge that the writer of Chronicles contradicts himself, is wholly unfounded. The following passages have been used to demonstrate this supposed contradiction: 2 Chronicles 14:1 and 2 Chronicles 15:19; 2 Chronicles 14:2 and 2 Chronicles 15:17; 2 Chronicles 17:6 and 2 Chronicles 20:33; 2 Chronicles 30:26; 2 Chronicles 35:18. A careful perusal will show that there is nothing contradictory between these passages. Higher criticism is often superficial and we fear just as often wilfully blind and even ready to cast doubt upon the inspired records.

The Marks of Inspiration

The omissions and additions we find in the Chronicles in comparison with the books of Samuel and Kings are not the marks of an imperfect human hand. They are the marks of inspiration. We found that the books of Kings contained the history of God’s government in Israel. Kings omits much of the history of the house of Judah and only touches upon that which relates to the connection of Judah with the house of Israel during that period.

“The books of the Chronicles give us the history of the same period under another aspect, that is, that of blessing and of the grace of God: and, more particularly, they give us the history of the house of David with respect to which this grace was manifested. We shall see this verified in a multitude of instances.

“These books preserve God’s history of His people, recorded by the Holy Ghost, as He loved to remember it, exhibiting only such faults as require to be known in order to understand the instructions of His grace” (Synopsis of the Bible).

It is in these distinctions we discover the supernatural guidance of the penman.

Parallel Passages

A comparison with the books of Samuel, Kings and certain chapters in Isaiah is necessary in the study of Chronicles. To assist in this, we give a complete list of the parallel passages with which Chronicles should be studied.

1 Sam. 27 - 1 Chronicles 12:1-7

1 Samuel 29:1-3 - 1 Chronicles 12:19-22

1 Sam. 31 - 1 Chron. 10

2 Samuel 5:1-5 - 1 Chronicles 11:1-3

2 Sam. 5:6-10 - 1Chron. 11:4-9

2 Samuel 5:11-16 - 1 Chronicles 14:1-7

2 Samuel 5:17-25 - 1 Chronicles 14:8-17

2 Samuel 6:1-11 - 1 Chron. 13

2 Samuel 6:12-23 - 1 Chron. 15 and 16

2 Sam. 7 - 1 Chron. 17

2 Sam. 8 - 1 Chron. 18

2 Sam. 10 - 1 Chron. 19

2 Samuel 11:1-27 - 1 Chronicles 20:1

2 Samuel 12:29-31 - 1 Chronicles 20:1-3

2 Samuel 23:8-39 - 1 Chronicles 11:10-47

2 Samuel 24:1-9 - 1 Chronicles 21:1-6

2 Samuel 24:1-9 - 1 Chronicles 27:23-24

2 Samuel 24:10-17 - 1 Chronicles 21:7-17

2 Samuel 24:18-24 - 1 Chronicles 21:18-30; 1 Chronicles 22:1

1 Kings 2:1 - 1 Chronicles 23:1

1 Kings 2:1 - - 1 Chronicles 28:20-21

1 Kings 2:10-12 - 1 Chronicles 29:23-30

1 Kings 2:46 - 2 Chronicles 1:1

1 Kings 3:4-15 - 2 Chronicles 1:2-13

1 Kings 5 - 2 Chron. 2

1 Kings 6 - 2 Chronicles 3:1-14; 2 Chronicles 4:9

1 Kings 7:15-21 - 2 Chronicles 3:15-17

1 Kings 7:23-26 - 2 Chronicles 4:2-5

1 Kings 7:38-46 - 2 Chronicles 4:6; 2 Chronicles 4:10; 2 Chronicles 4:17

1 Kings 7:47-50 - 2 Chronicles 4:18-22

1 Kings 7:51 - 2 Chronicles 5:1

1 Kings 8 - 2 Chronicles 5:2; 2 Chronicles 7:10

1 Kings 9:1-9 - 2 Chronicles 7:11-22

1 Kings 9:10-28 - 2 Chron. 8

1 Kings 10:1-13 - 2 Chronicles 9:1-12

1 Kings 10:14-25 - 2 Chronicles 9:13-24

1 Kings 10:26-29 - 2 Chronicles 9:25-28; 2 Chronicles 1:14-17

1 Kings 11:41-43 - 2 Chronicles 9:29-31

1 Kings 12:1-19 - 2 Chron. 10

1 Kings 12:21-24 - 2 Chronicles 11:1-4

1 Kings 12:25 - 2 Chronicles 11:5-12

1 Kings 12:26-31 - 2 Chronicles 11:13-17

1 Kings 14:22-24 - 2 Chronicles 12:1

1 Kings 14:25-28 - 2 Chronicles 12:2-12

1 Kings 14:21; 1 Kings 14:29-31 - 2 Chronicles 12:13-16

1 Kings 15:1 - 2 Chronicles 13:1-2

1 Kings 15:6 - 2 Chron. 13:2-31

1 Kings 15:7-8 - 2 Chronicles 13:22; 2 Chronicles 14:1

1 Kings 15:11-12 - 2 Chronicles 14:1-5

1 Kings 15:13-15 - 2 Chronicles 15:16-18

1 Kings 15:16-22 - 2 Chronicles 16:1-6

1 Kings 15:23-24 - 2 Chronicles 16:11-14

1 Kings 22:1-40; 1 Kings 22:44 - 2 Chron. 18

1 Kings 22:41-43 - 2 Chronicles 17:1; 2 Chronicles 20:31-33

1 Kings 22:45 - 2 Chronicles 20:34

1 Kings 22:47-49 - 2 Chronicles 20:35-37

1 Kings 22:50 - 2 Chronicles 21:1

2 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 3:4-5 - 2 Chronicles 20:1-3

2 Kings 8:16-19 - 2 Chronicles 21:2-7

2 Kings 8:20-22 - 2 Chronicles 21:8-15

2 Kings 8:23-24 - 2 Chronicles 21:18-20

2 Kings 8:25-27 - 2 Chronicles 22:1-4

2 Kings 8:28-29; 2 Kings 9:1-28 - 2 Chronicles 22:5-7; 2 Chronicles 22:9

2 Kings 10:11-14 - 2 Chronicles 22:8

2 Kings 11:1-3 - 2 Chronicles 22:10-12

2 Kings 11:4-20 - 2 Chron. 23

2 Kings 11:21; 2 Kings 12:1-3 - 2 Chronicles 24:1-3

2 Kings 12:6-16 - 2 Chronicles 24:4-14

2 Kings 12:17-18 - 2 Chronicles 24:23-24

2 Kings 12:19-21 - 2 Chronicles 24:25-27

2 Kings 14:1-6 - 2 Chronicles 25:1-4

2 Kings 14:7 - 2 Chronicles 25:11-16

2 Kings 14:8-14 - 2 Chronicles 25:17-24

2 Kings 14:17-20 - 2 Chronicles 25:25-28

2 Kings 14:21-22; 2 Kings 15:1-4 - 2 Chronicles 26:1-15

2 Kings 15:6-7; 2 Kings 15:27-28 - 2 Chronicles 26:22-23

2 Kings 15:32-35 - 2 Chronicles 27:1-8

2 Kings 15:38 - 2 Chronicles 27:9

2 Kings 16:1-2 - 2 Chronicles 28:1-2

2 Kings 16:3-4; 2 Kings 16:6 - 2 Chronicles 28:3-8

2 Kings 16:7 - 2 Chronicles 28:16-19

2 Kings 15:29 - 2 Chronicles 28:20

2 Kings 16:8-18 - 2 Chronicles 28:21-25

2 Kings 16:19-20 - 2 Chronicles 28:26-27

2 Kings 18:1-3 - 2 Chronicles 29:1-2

2 Kings 18:13 - Isaiah 36:1

2 Kings 18:14-16 - 2 Chronicles 32:2-8

2 Kings 20:1-11 - 2 Chronicles 32:24; Isa. 38

2 Kings 20:12-19 - Isaiah 39:1-8

2 Kings 18:17-37 - 2 Chronicles 32:9-19; Isaiah 36:2-22

2 Kings 19:1-5 - 2 Chronicles 32:20; Isaiah 37:1-4

2 Kings 19:6-7 - Isaiah 37:6-7

2 Kings 19:8-19 - 2 Chronicles 32:17; Isaiah 37:8-20

2 Kings 19:20-37 - 2 Chronicles 32:21; Isaiah 37:21-38

2 Kings 20:20-21 - 2 Chronicles 32:32-33

2 Kings 21:1-16 - 2 Chronicles 33:1-9

2 Kings 21:17-18 - 2 Chronicles 33:18-20

2 Kings 21:19-26 - 2 Chronicles 33:21-25

2 Kings 22:1-2 - 2 Chronicles 34:1-7

2 Kings 22:3-20 - 2 Chronicles 34:8-28

2 Kings 23:1-3 - 2 Chronicles 34:29-32

2 Kings 23:21-23 - 2 Chronicles 35:1-19

2 Kings 23:24-26 - 2 Chronicles 34:33

2 Kings 23:28-30 - 2 Chronicles 35:20-27

2 Kings 23:30-33 - 2 Chronicles 36:1-3

2 Kings 23:34-37 - 2 Chronicles 36:4-5

2 Kings 24:8-9 - 2 Chronicles 36:9

2 Kings 24:15-17 - 2 Chronicles 36:10

2 Kings 24:18-19 - 2 Chronicles 36:11-12

2 Kings 24:20 - 2 Chronicles 36:13-16

2 Kings 25:8-21 - 2 Chronicles 36:18-21

The reader should look up these parallel passages. Especially should the previous annotations in Samuel and Kings be read in connection with Chronicles.

The Division of the First Book of the Chronicles

The first book of the Chronicles begins with genealogies which start with Adam and lead up to the time of the restoration from the captivity and sometime after. The tables do not mention all the names; many are omitted. This makes clear at once the object of these long lists of names. Only those are recorded who were related to the accomplishment of the purpose of God and who were the divinely chosen channels through whom the Lord carried out His purpose. Many lessons may be gathered from these genealogies, so often considered unprofitable. Even to those opening chapters of Chronicles, applies the statement in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” The main part of the book begins with the miserable end of Saul, the crowning of David at Hebron and the establishment of his kingdom. Especially is that made prominent which is passed over in the books of the Kings, David’s relation to the public worship of God and to the building of the temple, which his son Solomon built after him.

We divide the first book of the Chronicles into four parts:

I. THE GENEALOGIES

1. From Adam to the Edomites (1 Chronicles 1:1-54)

2. The Sons of Israel and the Tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 2:1-4:23)

3. Simeon, Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (1 Chronicles 4:24-43; 1 Chronicles 5:1-26)

4. Levi (1 Chronicles 6:1-81)

5. Issachar, Naphtali, half Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher (1 Chronicles 7:1-40)

6. Benjamin (1 Chronicles 8:1-40)

7. The Record of the Inhabitants of Jerusalem after the Return (1 Chronicles 9:1-44)

II. THE OVERTHROW AND END OF SAUL (1 Chronicles 10:1-14)

III. THE CROWNING OF DAVID AND ESTABLISHMENT OF HIS KINGDOM

1. David in Hebron (1 Chronicles 11:1-47)

2. David’s Warriors and Friends (1 Chronicles 12:1-40)

3. The Ark removed from Kirjath-jearim (1 Chronicles 13:1-14)

4. David’s Increase and Blessing (1 Chronicles 14:1-17)

5. The Ark Brought to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 15:1-29; 1 Chronicles 16:1-3)

6. The Great Celebration (1 Chronicles 16:4-43)

7. The Covenant and the Promise (1 Chronicles 17:1-27)

8. David’s Wars and Successful Reign (1 Chronicles 18:1-17)

9. The Wars with Ammon, Syria and the Philistines (1 Chron. 19-20)

10. The Numbering of the People and the Punishment (1 Chronicles 21:1-30)

IV. PREPARATIONS FOR THE BUILDING OF THE TEMPLE AND DAVID’S DEATH

1. The Preparations and Charge to Solomon (1 Chronicles 22:1-19)

2. The Numbering and Arrangement of the Levites (1 Chronicles 23:1-32)

3. The Twenty-four Courses of the Priests (1 Chronicles 24:1-31)

4. The Singers and Musicians of the Temple (1 Chronicles 25:1-31)

5. The Porters and other Temple Officers (1 Chronicles 26:1-32)

6. The Captains, Princes, and Various Officers and Counsellors (1 Chronicles 27:1-34)

7. The Last Acts of David and His Death (1 Chron. 28-29)

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles:4 Overview". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gab/1-chronicles-0.html. 1913-1922.

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