Introduction to 1 Chronicles
and Study of 1 Chronicles 1-2
April 24th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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1 Chronicles (Overview)

The two books of Chronicles provide a summarized history of Israel and Judah up to the point of exile to Babylon. We may be tempted to skip over it when we open the first chapter and notice a genealogy that begins with Adam and continues through the first chapter, the next one, the next one, and so on, for nine chapters. Don’t give in to that temptation because these books contain important truths for us.

The author of Chronicles is assumed to be Ezra, who wrote these books to educate and inspire the survivors of the twelve tribes of Israel that were living in Babylon after the exile of the southern kingdom. The genealogical records helped the people to trace their histories and also authenticate their relationships to the twelve tribes. The summaries of the histories of the kings of Israel and Judah helped to educate them on how to build the new temple in Jerusalem.

In the Christian Bible, the books of Chronicles appear within the series of books of history and before the books of the prophets. But they are in a different location in the Hebrew Scriptures used by our Jewish brethren today and studied by our friend Jesus in his day. In that version of the Bible, the Chronicles are the last two books. We are reminded by Jesus of this order when he rebukes the Pharisees and others in Matthew chapter 23:

    "And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I tell you, all this will come on this generation.

    - Matthew 23:35-36 (NIV)

Jesus' reference to the murder of Abel points to the beginning of the Bible and his reference to the murder of Zechariah points to the end of the Hebrew Bible, in the latter part of the book we refer to as 2 Chronicles.

    Then the Spirit of God came on Zechariah son of Jehoiada the priest. He stood before the people and said, “This is what God says: ‘Why do you disobey the LORD’s commands? You will not prosper. Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.’”

    But they plotted against him, and by order of the king they stoned him to death in the courtyard of the LORD’s temple.

    - 2 Chronicles 24:20-21 (NIV)

Therefore, Chronicles has an important position as the container of the last word in the Hebrew Bible. It also has a special role in the annual Yom Kippur ceremonies. One source of Jewish law and traditions list it as “one of the books to be read by the high priest on the night before Yom Kippur so that he will stay awake (1).” From the Christian perspective we can refer to a quote from the 5th Century A.D. scholar, Jerome, who translated the Old Testament books from Hebrew directly into Latin, as opposed to relying on the Greek translations. Jerome said that Chronicles contains “the meaning of the whole of sacred history (2).”

Consequently, I urge you, don’t be put off by an apparently tedious beginning and the perception of repetitious information, but instead search for the meanings that have been appreciated by Jerome and other scholars and priests.

The first book of Chronicles can be divided into two parts:

    Genealogies Chapters 1-9
    1 Chronicles 1-2 (Adam to David) - April 24th
    1 Chronicles 3-4 (David, Solomon, and Jabez) - April 25th
    1 Chronicles 5-6 (Genealogy Continued) - April 26th
    1 Chronicles 7-9 (Genealogy Concluded) - April 27th

    David's Reign Chapters 10-29
    1 Chronicles 10-12 (Review of Saul and David) - April 28th
    1 Chronicles 13-16 (Arrival of the Ark) - April 29th
    1 Chronicles 17-19 (The LORD Defers the Temple Project) - April 30th
    Day of Rest (Bible 365 is one-third complete!) - May 1st
    1 Chronicles 20-22 (David Forgets What Counts) - May 2nd
    1 Chronicles 23-26 (Different Gifts - One Body of Service) - May 3rd
    1 Chronicles 27-29 (David's Final Words) - May 4th

References used for the analysis of this book include the following:

  • Abegg, Martin Jr., Flint Peter, and Ulrich, Eugene; The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, HarperCollins Publishers, NY, NY, 1999
  • Boadt, Lawrence, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, Paulist Press, Mahwah, NJ; 1984
  • Fee, Gordon D., Stuart Douglas, How to Read the Bible Book by Book, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2002
  • Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI; 1993
  • Life Application Study Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, M; 1991 (with commentary from an inter-denominational team of experts)
  • Men's Devotional Bible, New International Version, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI; 1993 (with daily devotionals from Godly men)
  • The New American Bible, Sponsored by the Bishop's Committee of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Catholic Bible Publishers, Wichita, KS, 1970
  • Peterson, Eugene, The Message, The Bible in Contemporary Language, NavPress, Colorado Springs, CO, 80920, 2005
  • Tuell, Steven S. First and Second Chronicles, Interpretation, John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2001

1 Chronicles 1-2 (Adam to David)

Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

And Abraham begat Isaac. The sons of Isaac; Esau and Israel.

- 1 Chronicles 1:34

Summary of Chapters

The first two chapters review the genealogies from Adam to David. In the concise summary of many generations documunted in chapter 1 we can see the names of the forefathers of Edom, Canaan, Egypt, and other nations. Chapter 2 begins with Jacob, aka Israel, and the names of his sons for whom the twelve tribes of Israel had been named. Each tribe was named after one of these sons, except that the descendants of Levi were dedicated to a priesthood serving all the tribes and the descendants of Joseph were divided into two tribes named after his sons, Manasseh and Ephraim.

The genealogy of the immediate family of David is tucked into the middle of chapter 2, from verses 10-17. Ram was the father of Salmon, who was the father of Boaz. Although not mentioned here, we know from earlier books that Boaz married Ruth, who gave birth to Obed, who was the father of Jesse, who had seven sons, including the youngest, David, and three daughters. The chapter then continues with other families from Judah, but the beginning of the following chapter (in tomorrow's study) features a record of the sons and daughters.

Please note that the phrase “sons of” may not always necessarily mean the next generation but could refer to a son or sons several generations later. Also note that the Caleb mentioned in chapter 2 is not the same brave spy named Caleb who tried to encourage the first generation of exodites to take over Canaan.

Reflection and Application

As we read this genealogy we ought to give thanks for our spiritual forefathers, because we are connected to this chain. The stories of these families and the faith of Abraham have been passed down from one generation to the next, and to the next, and so on, and now rests in our hands. How will we ensure that these stories are told and for what accomplishments will we be remembered?

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. Who is the earliest ancestor in your family that you know about?
    2. In what ways are Christians and Jews related to Abraham?
    3. How do we find the deepest meanings of the sacred history in Chronicles?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in heaven, we acknowledge you as the creator of the first man. Help us to pass your story to the next generations.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns


    (1) Tuell, Steven S. First and Second Chronicles, Interpretation, John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2001, p.2
    (2) Ibid, p.3

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Chronicles 3-4 (Prayer of Jabez)

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