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Morrish Bible Dictionary

Chronicles, Books of the

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Like the Gospel of John among the Gospels, so these books among the historical books of the O.T. have a special character. John goes back to the 'beginning,' when the Eternal Word was with God: the Chronicles go back to the beginning of man's history: "Adam, Sheth, Enosh," in order to develop that history in the chosen line of promise and grace. The peculiarities of the Chronicles have been a stumbling block to some of the learned critics. It is evident from 1 Chronicles 6:15 and 2 Chronicles 36:22,23 that they date after the captivity of Judah, the writer compiling the records of the chosen line according to grace — grace which restored them from their captivity. It may be asked, Why omit so many things found in the books of Samuel and the Kings? and why add events not in those early books? There is design in the differences, God being the author of them. One fact should help the elucidation, namely, that after the division of the kingdom, the history of Judah only is given. Therefore more is said of David, and of his preparations and pattern for the Temple, and the history of David's line is traced, with which the mercies of God for Israel were connected in the aspect of grace and of the blessing and ways of God with that people.

Like Deuteronomy, the Chronicles rehearse and show blessing to be consequent on obedience. The history in Samuel and Kings is far more general, and gives the history of the nation to whom the testimony of God was confided in the midst of other nations.

It is not known who wrote the Chronicles, but this is of little consequence, seeing that it does not touch the question of their inspiration, which is strongly marked by the peculiar character of their contents. It is thought that they were written by Ezra, and it will be seen that the end of 2Chronicles agrees with the beginning of Ezra. The learned say that there are also internal resemblances which make it very probable that they are by the same writer. This has been objected to on the ground of the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 3:1-24 : it is contended that the number of generations after Zerubbabel in 1 Chronicles 3:19 is so large that the writer must have lived in the days of Alexander the Great, and therefore could not have been contemporary with Ezra. But there is a break in the genealogy in the middle of 1 Chronicles 3:21 : "the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah, and Jesaiah" closes one list; and what follows is a separate list, and may have run parallel with the other.

The Chronicles are by the Jews included in the Hagiographa, or 'Sacred Books,' and are placed at the end of the Hebrew Bible. "They were regarded as a summary of sacred history."

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Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Chronicles, Books of the '. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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