Studies in the Books of Chronicles
Introduction to the Books
The Books of Chronicles were written, in the opinion of most scholars, after the Jewish people had returned from Babylon, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. This conclusion is drawn chiefly because the Books of Chronicles conclude where Ezra begins:
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me; and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? The LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.
2nd Chronicles 36:21-22
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
It is apparent therefore that Ezra is a continuation of the same history. There is an obvious and important purpose in view. For seventy years Israel had been captive in Babylon, subsequently in Persia. Many of those who returned to re-establish their nation had been born in captivity. Millions, indeed the majority of Israel, had so assimilated themselves into the lives of the countries where they had been scattered that they did not heed the call to return. Therefore, the remnant whom God stirred up to make the return needed to be encouraged and fortified in their convictions.
The Books of Chronicles reminded these people who they were.
That they came from a long and illustrious lineage that had been preserved by God for a grand and noble purpose. The Books Chronicles begins with a what we would call a family tree. With amazing accuracy and attention to detail the inspired chronicler traces the history of Israel back through Abraham and Noah and eventually to Adam. After concluding his family tree or genealogy in the opening nine chapters he proceeds to chart a spiritual history of Israel as a nation from the days of Saul.
The author is interested in the history of Judah, not of the apostate northern kingdom, which was known as Israel.
Only Judah was loyal to the House of David and it was only in Judah where true worship was preserved. Therefore, the importance of true worship in the history of Israel is a vital thread that runs through these books. As Jerusalem was populated once again the returning captives would re-establish the temple. Therefore, they were reminded that the worship instituted in this place must follow the pattern that God had laid down for previous generations. Therefore, Chronicles is a spiritual history of Israel with emphasis being given to the great revivals which rescued the people after times of declension.
The Books of Chronicles teaches us:
A To preserve the records of God’s works in the past.
B To be strengthened in our faith and conviction because the God of the past is the God of today.
C To only permit worship which is regulated by Scripture.
D To seek revival in days of departure from the faith.
As with every part of Scripture these long lists of names are important in that they reveal a God who works through families, to achieve His purpose for the Church and even for the world.
Every name is known by Him.
While we may be tempted to skip past these nine chapters, to the Jews this was the most important aspect of the chronicler’s work, because they could trace their own individual lineage which marked their place among the people of God:
These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. (Nehemiah 7:64)
How marvellous to know that there is another record in glory which seals our place among the General Assembly and Church of the First-Born!