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Getting to Know the Bible: 1 Chronicles Overview



Peace & Blessings Beloved,

TGBTG for allowing us to see another day. I pray all is well with you and yours, and that your week has been fruitful & blessed thus far.


Today we are going to visit our Getting to Know the Bible Series. In this series, our goal is to come to a comprehensive understanding of each book of the bible. At this point of the series we're going to focus on 1 Chronicles. But before we get to 1 Chronicles 1, I want to ensure we have a baseline understanding of the book of 1 Chronicles. This way we can have a full appreciation for the exquisiteness of the entire book, as well as each individual chapter.


And so, in that spirit, see below for a comprehensive overview of the book of 1 Chronicles, as we prepare to behold and discern 1 Chronicles.


Book Type: Writings (Hebrew); Historical (Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox); the thirteenth book of the Old Testament.


Authors:

According to ancient Jewish tradition, Ezra wrote Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, but this cannot be established with certainty. A growing consensus dates Chronicles in the latter half of the fifth century B.C., thus possibly within Ezra's lifetime. And it must be acknowledged that the author, if not Ezra himself, at least shared many basic concerns with that reforming priest -- though Chronicles is not so narrowly priestly in its perspective as was long affirmed.


Date of Writing: The Book of 1 Chronicles was likely written between 450 and 425 B.C.


Audience:

First and Second Chronicles were originally completed as one book, written to the Jewish people in Jerusalem surrounding regions following the return from Babylonian exile. Its words reminded them of their history, God's promises, the consequences of sin, and God's promised future hope for the Jewish people.


Original Language: Hebrew


Genre: Narrative


Setting:

The time frame covered in 1 Chronicles mirrors parts of 2 Samuel and 1 Kings. The chronicler focused on David’s reign in 1 Chronicles, including and omitting different events recorded in the other biblical histories, so that his document recorded those events significant to his purpose. For instance, 1 Chronicles does not include David’s adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), which was a well-known fact even before the chronicler began his work, and so it did not bear repeating.


Chronicles was most likely written during the time of Ezra or Nehemiah, while the Jews were dispersed throughout Persia, some having returned to Israel. Archaeological evidence supports this premise. Fragments of an actual manuscript of Chronicles found at Qumran makes a date in the Persian period (538–333 BC) almost certain.


Timeline: First Chronicles begins with Israel's genealogical records from Adam to King Saul and then focuses more extensively on an idealized portrait of King David's reign.


Theme:

Just as the author of Kings had organized and interpreted the data of Israel's history to address the needs of the exiled community, so the Chronicler wrote for the restored community. The burning issue was the question of continuity with the past: Is God still interested in us? Are his covenants still in force? Now that we have no Davidic king and are subject to Persia, do God's promises to David still have meaning for us? After the great judgment (the dethroning of the house of David, the destruction of the nation, of Jerusalem and of the temple, and the exile to Babylon), what is our relationship to Israel of old? Several elements go into the

Purpose of Writing:

The Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles cover mostly the same information as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. Perhaps the biggest distinction is that 1 & 2 Chronicles focus more on the priestly aspect of the time period. The Book of 1 Chronicles was written after the exile to help those returning to Israel understand how to worship God. The history focused on the Southern Kingdom, the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. These tribes tended to be more faithful to God.


Overview:

This book consists of 29 chapters and includes three main sections. The first section records the genealogy of the Jewish people from Adam to those living in Jerusalem near the time of the book's writing (1 Chronicles 1-9). It starts with the family history of God's people from the first man, Adam, to the time just before the reign of King David (1 Chronicles 1-2). Chapter 3 then lists Jewish genealogy from David to the Babylonian captivity. Chapters 4-9 include a family list of the 12 tribes, with most of chapter 9 focusing on those living in Jerusalem following the return from Babylonian exile.


The second section emphasizes David's coming to power and his reign (1 Chronicles 9:35-12:40). Beginning with Saul's life and the death of Saul and his sons (1 Chronicles 9:35-10:14), the book records David's anointing (1 Chronicles 11:1-3), his conquest of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 11:4-9), and his list of mighty men (1 Chronicles 11:10-12:40).


The third section of 1 Chronicles emphasizes the reign of David and the transition of royal power to his son Solomon (1 Chronicles 13-29). Great importance is placed on the ark of the covenant's relocation to Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 13-16), as well as the Davidic covenant (1 Chronicles 17). Various military battles are then mentioned (1 Chronicles 18-21) followed by the many preparations David took for the Lord's temple in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 22-29). The book ends with a transition of royal power from David to his son Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:21-30).


Foreshadowing:

In David’s song of thanksgiving to God in 1 Chronicles 16:33, he refers to the time when God will come to judge the earth. This foreshadows Matthew 25, in which Jesus describes the time when He will come to judge the earth. Through the parables of the ten virgins and the talents, He warns that those who are found without the blood of Christ covering their sins will be cast into outer darkness. He encourages His people to be ready because when He comes, He will separate the sheep from the goats in judgment.


Part of the Davidic Covenant which God reiterates in chapter 17 refers to the future Messiah who would be a descendant of David. Verses 13-14 describe the Son who will be established in God’s house and whose throne will be established forever. This can only refer to Jesus Christ.


Application:

Genealogies such as the ones in 1 Chronicles may seem dry to us, but they remind us that God knows each of His children personally, even down to the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30). We can take comfort in the fact that who we are and what we do is written forever in God’s mind. If we belong to Christ, our names are written forever in the Lamb’s book of Life (Revelation 13:8). God is faithful to His people and keeps His promises. In the Book of 1 Chronicles, we see the fulfillment of God’s promise to David when he is made king over all Israel (1 Chronicles 11:1-3). We can be sure that His promises to us will be fulfilled as well. He has promised blessings to those who follow Him, who come to Christ in repentance, and who obey His Word. Obedience brings blessing; disobedience brings judgment. The Book of 1 Chronicles, as well as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings, is a chronicle of the pattern of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and restoration of the nation of Israel. In the same way, God is patient with us and forgives our sin when we come to Him in true repentance (1 John 1:9). We can take comfort in the fact that He hears our prayer of sorrow, forgives our sin, restores us to fellowship with Him, and sets us on the path to joy.


Key Verses (ESV):


1 Chronicles 11:1-2, "All Israel came together to David at Hebron and said, 'We are your own flesh and blood. In the past, even while Saul was king, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, "You will shepherd my people Israel, and you will become their ruler."


1 Chronicles 21:13, "David said to Gad, 'I am in deep distress. Let me fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is very great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.'"


1 Chronicles 29:11, "Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all."



*Note:

Some believe the text contains evidence here and there of later expansions after the basic work had been composed. While editorial revisions are not unlikely, all specific proposals regarding them remain tentative.


In his recounting of history long past, the Chronicler relied on many written sources. About half his work was taken from Samuel and Kings; he also drew on the Pentateuch, Judges, Ruth, Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and Zechariah (though he used texts of these books that varied somewhat from those that have been preserved in the later standardized Hebrew texts). And there are frequent references to still other sources: the book of the kings of Israel (9:1; 2 Chronicles 20:34; cf. 2 Chronicles 33:18), the book of the annals of King David (27:24), the book of the kings of Judah and Israel or . . . of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 16:11; 25:26; 27:7; 28:26; 32:32; 35:27; 36:8), the annotations on the book of the kings (2 Chronicles 24:27). It is unclear whether these all refer to the same source or to different sources, and what their relationship is to Samuel and Kings or to the royal annals referred to in Kings. In addition, the author cites a number of prophetic writings: those of Samuel the seer (29:29), Nathan the prophet (29:29; 2Ch 9:29), Gad the seer (29:29), Ahijah the Shilonite (2Ch 9:29), Iddo the seer (2Ch 9:29; 12:15; 13:22), Shemaiah the prophet (2Ch 12:15), "the prophet Isaiah" (2Ch 26:22), the seers (2Ch 33:19). All these he used, often with only minor changes, to tell his own story of the past. He did not invent, but he did select, arrange and integrate his sources to compose a narrative "sermon" for postexilic Israel as she struggled to reorient herself as the people of God in a new situation.


May we establish, nurture, and grow a sincere love for the word of God, and study it lovingly & faithfully.


I pray you receive this with the love intended, and apply it to wisdom.


May the joy of the Lord continue to be your strength.


Love you much.


Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay Blessed!


-Humble Servant


P.S- If you have not given your life to Jesus Christ, I implore you to take the time to do so right now. Use John 3:16 & Romans 10:9-10 as a foundation for making your confession of faith. And use Ephesians 2:1-10 to provide proper context for your salvation.

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