“Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” 1 Corinthians 10:6
What’s Going On?
We have now entered the “Déjà Vu” section of the Old Testament. When you turn the page from 2 Kings to 1 Chronicles, there is a leap back in time that goes all the way back to Adam. The first ten chapters are mostly family lists and records that are repeated here for the purpose of having all of the genealogies in one place. The author will trace the lines of Abraham’s family and the twelve tribes of Israel all the way up to Saul who was in the tribe of Benjamin. The rest of the book is going to concentrate on David and we’ll learn more about his reign as King over the then United Kingdom of Israel and his plans for building the Temple that will come later when his son Solomon is king. There is enough new information to keep it interesting, but there is also a lot that will sound familiar.
It’s important to know WHY we are going back over all of this again. While 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings were probably written in an effort to record what had happened, the Chronicles seem to be more about WHY these things happened. It is as though Israel is looking back over her life and trying to figure out just where she went wrong. All of the accounts were likely written many years after the events, most likely during the time Israel was in exile which we’ll read about in a few weeks. But Chronicles was likely written much later than Samuel and Kings and utilizes hindsight for reflection and the search to make sense of what has happened and why. The author seems to assume you have read Samuel and Kings and doesn’t go into as much detail but still references the events as though you know them already. This time, however, the focus is on linking the events together to show that the destruction of Israel was justified based on Her actions. We’ll see this contagion pick up speed in 2 Chronicles next week.
We’re only getting half of the repeated story this week as 1 Chronicles coverers the history of Israel up to the time of King David. Don’t get tempted to skip the reading this week because you just read all this a few weeks ago. There are going to be details here that we didn’t get the first time around. Look for those differences and think about why the author felt the need to include them here. We’re going to be watching the story unfold through different eyes and while the information is familiar, the telling of it is different.
When and Where Are We?
The first chapters contain lists of genealogies going back all the way to Adam and brings us up to the life of David and Solomon. So, over three thousand years are summarized very quickly! Remember that we can safely put David’s lifetime about 1,000 BC. 1 Chronicles brings us up to the time Israel was still one kingdom, before it was divided into the two nations of Israel and Judah.
The names will be familiar since this is a repeat of information we’ve already covered. Some believe that Ezra, who we’ll meet in a couple of weeks, wrote the next four books as one continuous story, but we really can’t say with any certainty that he was the author here. Whoever the author was, he must have had access to many different previous writings and records as he traces and integrates them to tell the history of Israel.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom He hath chosen for His own inheritance. Psalm 33:12 KJV
Weekly Reading Assignment:
- Monday: 1 Chronicles 1-5
- Tuesday: 1 Chronicles 6-10
- Wednesday: 1 Chronicles 11-14
- Thursday: 1 Chronicles 15-19
- Friday: 1 Chronicles 20-24
- Saturday: 1 Chronicles 25-29