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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

1 Chronicles 1

Verses 1-24

A. The Lineage of David chs. 1-3

The writer evidently chose, under divine inspiration, to open his book with genealogies to help his readers appreciate their heritage and to tie themselves to Adam, Abraham, and David in particular. Adam was important as the head of the human race. Abraham was important because of the promises God gave him and his descendants in the Abrahamic Covenant. David was important because of his role as Israel’s divinely chosen king and because of the promises God gave him in the Davidic Covenant. This section shows Israel’s place among the nations. Both the Old and New Testaments open with genealogies, in Genesis, Matthew, and Luke.

One of the major themes of Chronicles is that the Davidic dynasty would be the instrument through which God promised that salvation and blessing would come to Israel, and through Israel to the whole world. The final Davidic king, Jesus Christ, was the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45), as well as the Person who would fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic Covenants completely.

"The genealogy of David in the Book of Ruth and in 1 Chronicles 2:3-17 unambiguously establishes the connection between patriarchal promise and historical fulfillment and demonstrates once and for all Judah’s theological primacy amongst the tribes despite its geographical handicap." [Note: Eugene H. Merrill, Kingdom of Priests, p. 316.]

The writer probably also went back to Adam for another reason. He tied God’s provision of salvation in David and his descendants to the first promise of salvation given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15.

In 1 Chronicles 3:19-24 the Chronicler traced David’s descendants into the restoration period. David’s kingdom ended temporarily with the Babylonian exile (cf. Amos 9:11), but by tracing David’s line the writer was giving his original readers hope that God would fulfill His promises. The future did not depend ultimately on the decisions of Cyrus, king of the Persian Empire, but on the faithfulness of Yahweh (cf. Haggai 2:21-22).

In 1 Chronicles 3:19 the writer said Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah. Other references to Zerubbabel call him the son of Shealtiel (cf. Ezra 3:2; Nehemiah 12:1; Haggai 1:12; Matthew 1:12; Luke 3:27; et al.). This may be a scribal error, or perhaps Shealtiel died early and his brother or other close relative, Pedaiah, reared Zerubbabel.

The original readers of Chronicles, freshly transplanted into the Promised Land from Babylonian captivity, were having an identity crisis. They needed to remember what they were and what God intended for them to be. They lived in a culture that wanted to use them for its own ends. By piecing together name lists from the previous historical books of the Old Testament, and perhaps other sources, the writer was able to preach the meaning of his people’s history. This he continued to do throughout Chronicles.

"The framework of history is . . . seen to comprise three pairs of events. God creates all things; in due course Adam procreates the rest of mankind. God calls Abraham; in due course Israel sires the twelve patriarchs. God calls Moses; in due course David sets up the kingdom. In each of these three pairs, it is with the second member that the Chronicler is concerned." [Note: Michael Wilcock, The Message of Chronicles, p. 28.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 1". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-1.html. 2012.