the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary Keil & Delitzsch
- 1 Chronicles
by Karl Keil and Franz Delitzsch
Introduction to the Hagiographic Historical Books of the Old Testament
Besides the prophetico-historic writings - Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings - which describe from a prophetic point of view the development of the kingdom of God established by means of the mediatorial office of Moses, from the time of the bringing of the tribes of Israel into the land promised to the fathers till the Babylonian exile, the Old Testament contains five historical books - Ruth, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. These latter stand in the Hebrew canon among the כּתוּבים , i.e., in the hagiography, and are at once distinguished from the above-mentioned prophetico-historic writings by this characteristic, that they treat only of single parts of the history of the covenant people from individual points of view. The book of Ruth gives a charming historical picture from the life of the ancestors of King David. The Chronicles, indeed, extend over a very long period of the historical development of the Israelite kingdom of God, embrace the history from the death of King Saul till the Babylonian exile, and go back in the genealogies which precede the narrative of the history to Adam, the father of the human race; yet neither in the genealogical part do they give a perfect review of the genealogical ramifications of the twelve tribes of the covenant people, nor in their historical portion contain the history of the whole people from the death of Saul till the exile. Besides the tables of the first progenitors of humanity and the tribal ancestors of the people of Israel, borrowed from Genesis, the genealogical part contains only a collection of genealogical and topographical fragments differing in plan, execution, and extent, relating to the chief families of the most prominent tribes and their dwelling-places. The historical part contains, certainly, historical sketches from the history of all Israel during the reigns of the kings David and Solomon; but from the division of the kingdom, after the death of Solomon, they contain only the history of the kingdom of Judah, with special reference to the Levitical worship, to the exclusion of the history of the kingdom of the ten tribes. From a comparison of the manner of representing the history in the Chronicles with that in the books of Samuel and the Kings, we can clearly see that the chronicler did not purpose to portray the development of the Israelitic theocracy in general, nor the facts and events which conditioned and constituted that development objectively, according to their general course. He has, on the contrary, so connected the historical facts with the attitude of the kings and the people to the Lord, and to His law, that they teach how the Lord rewarded fidelity to His covenant with blessing and success both to people and kingdom, but punished with calamity and judgments every faithless revolt from His covenant ordinances. Now since Israel, as the people and congregation of Jahve, could openly show its adherence to the covenant only by faithful observance of the covenant laws, particularly of the ordinances for worship, the author of the Chronicles has kept this side of the life of the people especially in view, in order that he might hold up before his contemporaries as a mirror the attitude of the fathers to the God-appointed dwelling-place of His gracious presence in the holy place of the congregation. He does this, that they might behold how the faithful maintenance of communion with the covenant God in His temple would assure to them the fulfilment of the gracious promises of the covenant, and how falling away into idolatry, on the contrary, would bring misfortune and destruction. This special reference to the worship meets us also in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which describe the deliverance of the Jews from exile, and their restoration as the covenant people in the land of their fathers. The book of Ezra narrates, on the one hand, the return out of the Babylonian exile into the land of their fathers of a great part of the Jews who had been led away by Nebuchadnezzar, - partly in the first year of the reign of Cyrus over Babylon, with Zerubbabel, a prince of the royal race of David, and Joshua the high priest as leaders; partly at a later period with the scribe Ezra, under Artaxerxes. On the other hand, it relates the restoration of the altar of burnt-offering, and of the divine service; together with the re-erection of the temple, and the effort of Ezra to regulate the affairs of the community according to the precepts of the Mosaic law, by doing away with the illegal marriages with heathen women. And Nehemiah describes in his book what he had accomplished in the direction of giving a firm foundation to the civil welfare of the newly-founded community in Judah: in the first place, by building the walls of Jerusalem so as to defend the city and holy place against the attacks and surprises of the hostile peoples in the neighbourhood; and secondly, by various measures for the strengthening of the capital by increasing the number of its inhabitants, and for the more exact modelling of the civil, moral, and religious life of the community on the precepts of the law of Moses, in order to lay enduring foundations for the prosperous development of the covenant people. In the book of Esther, finally, it is recounted how the Jewish inhabitants of the various parts of the great Persian kingdom were delivered by the Jewess Esther (who had been raised to the position of queen by a peculiar concatenation of circumstances) from the destruction which the Grand Vizier Haman, in the reign of King Ahashverosh (i.e., Xerxes), had determined upon, on account of the refusal of adoration by the Jew Mordecai.
Now, if we look somewhat more narrowly at the relation of these five historical books to the prophetico-historic writings, more especially in the first place in reference to their contents, we see that the books of Ruth and the Chronicles furnish us with not unimportant additions to the books of Samuel and Kings. The book of Ruth introduces us into the family life of the ancestors of King David, and shows the life-spring from which proceeded the man after God's own heart, whom God called from being a shepherd of sheep to be the shepherd of His people, that He might deliver Israel out of the power of his enemies, and found a kingdom, which received the promise of eternal duration, and which was to be established to all eternity through Christ the Son of David and the Son of God. The Chronicles supplement the history of the covenant people, principally during the period of the kings, by detailed accounts of the form of the public worship of the congregation; from which we see how, in spite of the continual inclination of the people to idolatry, and to the worship of heathen gods, the service in the temple, according to the law, was the spiritual centre about which the pious in Israel crowded, to worship the Lord their God, and to serve Him by sacrifice. We see, too, how this holy place formed throughout a lengthened period a mighty bulwark, which prevented moral and religious decay from gaining the upper hand, until at length, through the godless conduct of the kings Asa and Manasseh, the holy place itself was profaned by the idolatrous abomination, and judgment broke in upon the incorrigible race in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the driving out of Judah from the presence of the Lord. But the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are the only historical writings we possess concerning the times of the restoration of the covenant people after their emancipation from the captivity, and their return into the promised land; and even in this respect they are very valuable component parts of the Old Testament canon. The first two show how God the Lord fulfilled His promise, that He would again receive His people into favour, and collect them out of their dispersion among the heathen, if they should, in their misery under the oppression of the heathen, come to a knowledge of their sins, and turn unto Him; and how, after the expiry of the seventy years of the Babylonian exile which had been prophesied, He opened up to them, through Cyrus the king of Persia, their return into the land of their fathers, and restored Jerusalem and the temple, that He might preserve inviolate, and thereafter perfect, by the appearance of the promised David who was to come, that gracious covenant which He had entered into with their fathers. But the providence of God ruled also over the members of the covenant people who had remained behind in heathen lands, to preserve them from the ruin which had been prepared for them by the heathen, in order that from among them also a remnant might be saved, and become partakers of the salvation promised in Christ. To show this by a great historical example is the aim of the book of Esther, and the meaning of its reception into the canon of the Holy Scriptures of the old covenant.
If, finally, we consider the style of historical writing found in these five books, we can scarcely characterize it in its relation to the prophetic books by a fitting word. The manner of writing history which is prevalent in the hagiography has been, it is true, called the national ( volksthümlich ) or annalistic, but by this name the peculiarity of it has in no respect been correctly expressed. The narrative bears a national impress only in the book of Esther, and relatively also in the book of Ruth; but even between these two writings a great difference exists. The narrative in Ruth ends with the genealogy of the ancestors of King David; whereas in the book of Esther all reference to the theocratic relation, any, even the religious contemplation of the events, is wholly wanting. But the books of the Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, have no national impress; in them, on the contrary, the Levitico-priestly manner of viewing history prevails. Still less can the hagiographic histories be called annalistic. The books of Ruth and Esther follow definite aims, which clearly appear towards the end. Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah contain, it is true, in the genealogical, geographical, and historical registers, a mass of annalistic material; but we find this also in the prophetico-historic works, and even in the books of Moses. The only thing which is common to and characteristic of the whole of the hagiographic historical books, is that the prophetic contemplation of the course of history according to the divine plan of salvation which unfolds itself in the events, either falls into the background or is wanting altogether; while in its place individual points of view appear which show themselves in the pursuit of paraenetico-didactic aims, which have acted as a determining influence on the selection and treatment of the historical facts, as the introduction to the individual writings will show.
The Book of 1 Chronicles
1. Name, Contents, Plan, and Aim of the Chronicles.
The two books of the Chronicles originally formed one work, as their plan at once makes manifest, and were received into the Hebrew canon as such. Not only were they reckoned as one in the enumeration of the books of the Old Testament (cf. Joseph. c. Apion, i. 8; Origen, in Euseb. Hist. eccl. vi. 25; and Hieronym. Prolog. galeat.), but they were also regarded by the Masorites as one single work, as we learn from a remark of the Masora at the end of the Chronicle, that the verse 1 Chronicles 27:25 is the middle of the book. The division into two books originated with the Alexandrian translators (lxx), and has been transmitted by the Latin translation of Hieronymus (Vulgata) not only to all the later translations of the Bible, but also, along with the division into chapters, into our versions of the Hebrew Bible. The first book closes, 1 Chronicles 29:29., with the end of the reign of David, which formed a fitting epoch for the division of the work into two books. The Hebrew name of this book in our Bible, by which it was known even by Hieronymus, is הימים דברי , verba , or more correctly res gestae dierum , events of the days, before which ceper is to be supplied (cf. e.g., 1 Kings 14:19, 1 Kings 14:29; 1 Kings 15:7, 1 Kings 15:23).
Its full title therefore is, Book of the Events of the Time ( Zeitereignisse ), corresponding to the annalistic work so often quoted in our canonical books of Kings and Chronicles, the Book of the Events of the Time (Chronicle) of the Kings of Israel and Judah. Instead of this the lxx have chosen the name Baraleipo'mena, in order to mark more exactly the relation of our work to the earlier historical books of the Old Testament, as containing much historical information which is not to be found in them. But the name is not used in the sense of supplementa, - “fragments of other historical works,” as Movers, die Bibl. Chron. S. 95, interprets it, - but in the signification “praetermissa;” because, according to the explanation in the Synopsis script. sacr. in Athanasii Opera, ii. p. 84, παραλειφθέντα πολλὰ ἐν ταῖς βασιλειαῖς (i.e., in the books of Samuel and Kings) περιέχεται ἐν τούτοις , “many things passed over in the Kings are contained in these.” Likewise Isidorus, lib. vi. Origin. c. i. p. 45: Paralipomenon graece dicitur, quod praetermissorum vel reliquorum nos dicere possumus, quia ea quae in lege vel in Regum libris vel omissa vel non plene relata sunt, in isto summatim et breviter explicantur. This interpretation of the word παραλειπόμενα is confirmed by Hieronymus, who, in his Epist. ad Paulin. ( Opp. ti. i. ed. Vallars, p. 279), says: Paralipomenon liber, id est instrumenti veteris epitome tantus et talis est, ut absque illo, si quis scientiam scripturarum sibi voluerit arrogare, seipsum irrideat; per singula quippe nomina juncturasque verborum et praetermissae in Regum libris tanguntur historiae et innumerabiles explicantur Evangelii quaestones. He himself, however, suggested the name Chronicon, in order more clearly to characterize both the contents of the work and at the same its relation to the historical books from Gen 1 to 2 Kings; as he says in Prolog. galeat.: הימים דברי , i.e., verba dierum, quod significantius chronicon totius divinae historiae possumus appellare, qui liber apud nos Paralipomenon primus et secundus inscribitur. Through Hieronymus the name Chronicles came into use, and became the prevailing title.
Contents. - The Chronicles begin with genealogical registers of primeval times, and of the tribes of Israel (1 Chron 1-9); then follow the history of the reign of King David (1 Chron 10-29) and of King Solomon (2 Chron 1-9); the narrative of the revolt of the ten tribes from the kingdom of the house of David (2 Chron 10); the history of the kingdom of Judah from Rehoboam to the ruin of the kingdom, its inhabitants being led away into exile to Babylon (2 Chron 11-36:21); and at the close we find the edict of Cyrus, which allowed the Jews to return into their country (2 Chronicles 36:22-23). Each of the two books, therefore, falls into two, and the whole work into four divisions. If we examine these divisions more minutely, six groups can be without difficulty recognised in the genealogical part (1 Chron 1-9). These are: (1) The families of primeval and ancient times, from Adam to the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and his sons Edom and Israel, together with the posterity of Edom (1 Chron 1); (2) the sons of Israel and the families of Judah, with the sons and posterity of David (1 Chron 2-4:23); (3) the families of the tribe of Simeon, whose inheritance lay within the tribal domain of Judah, and those of the trans-Jordanic tribes Reuben and Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh (1 Chron 4:24-5:26); (4) the families of Levi, or of the priests and Levites, with an account of the dwelling-places assigned to them (1 Chron 5:27- 1 Chronicles 6:66); (5) the families of the remaining tribes, viz., Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, the half-tribe of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher (only Dan and Zebulun being omitted), with the genealogy of the house of Saul (7, 8); and (6) a register of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem (9:1-34), and a second enumeration of the family of Saul, preparing us for the transition to the history of the kingdom of Israel (1 Chronicles 9:35-44). The history of David's kingship which follows is introduced by an account of the ruin of Saul and his house (1 Chronicles 10:1-14), and then the narrative falls into two sections. (1) In the first we have David's election to be king over all Israel, and the taking of the Jebusite fort in Jerusalem, which was built upon Mount Zion (1 Chronicles 11:1-9); then a list of David's heroes, and the valiant men out of all the tribes who made him king (11:10-12:40); the removal of the ark to Jerusalem, the founding of his house, and the establishment of the Levitical worship before the ark in Zion (13-16); David's design to build a temple to the Lord (17); then his wars (18-20); the numbering of the people, the pestilence which followed, and the fixing of the place for the future temple (21). (2) In the second section are related David's preparations for the building of the temple (22); the numbering of the Levites, and the arrangement of their service (23-26); the arrangement of the military service (27); David's surrender of the kingdom to his son, and the close of his life (28 and 29). The history of the reign of Solomon begins with his solemn sacrifice at Gibeon, and some remarks on his wealth (2 Chron 1); then follows the building of the temple, with the consecration of the completed holy place (2 Chron 2-7). To these are added short aphoristic accounts of the cities which Solomon built, the statute labour which he exacted, the arrangement of the public worship, the voyage to Ophir, the visit of the queen of Sheba, and of the might and glory of his kingdom, closing with remarks on the length of his reign, and an account of his death (2 Chron 8-9). The history of the kingdom of Judah beings with the narrative of the revolt of the ten tribes from Rehoboam (2 Chron 10), and then in 2 Chron 11-36 it flows on according to the succession of the kings of Judah from Rehoboam to Zedekiah, the reigns of the individual kings forming the sections of the narrative.
Plan and Aim. - From this general sketch of the contents of our history, it will be already apparent that the author had not in view a general history of the covenant people from the time of David to the Babylonian exile, but purposed only to give an outline of the history of the kingship of David and his successors, Solomon and the kings of the kingdom of Judah to its fall. If, whoever, in order to define more clearly the plan and purpose of the historical parts of our book in the first place, we compare them with the representation given us of the history of Israel in those times in the books of Samuel and Kings, we can see that the chronicler has passed over much of the history. ( a) He has omitted, in the history of David, not only his seven years' reign at Hebron over the tribe of Judah, and his conduct to the fallen King Saul and to his house, especially towards Ishbosheth, Saul's son, who had been set up as rival king by Abner (2 Sam 1-4 and 2 Samuel 9:1-13), but in general has passed over all the events referring to and connected with David's family relations. He makes no mention, for instance, of the scene between David and Michal (2 Samuel 6:20-23); the adultery with Bathsheba, with its immediate and more distant results (2 Samuel 11:2-12); Amnon's outrage upon Tamar, the slaying of Amnon by Absalom and his flight to the king of Geshur, his return to Jerusalem, his rising against David, with its issues, and the tumult of Sheba (2 Sam 13-20); and, finally, also omits the thanksgiving psalm and the last words of David (2 Sam 22:1-23:7). Then ( b) in the history of Solomon there have been left unrecorded the attempt of Adonijah to usurp the throne, with the anointing of Solomon at Gihon, which it brought about; David's last command in reference to Joab and Shimei; the punishment of these men and of Adonijah; Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter (1 Kings 1:1-3:3); his wise judgment, the catalogue of his officials, the description of his royal magnificence and glory, and of his wisdom (1 Kings 3:16-5:14); the building of the royal palace (1 Kings 7:1-12); and Solomon's polygamy and idolatry, with their immediate results (1 Kings 11:1-40). Finally, ( c) there is no reference to the history of the kingdom of Israel founded by Jeroboam, or to the lives of the prophets Elijah and Elisha, which are related in such detail in the books of Kings, while mention is made of the kings of the kingdom of the ten tribes only in so far as they came into hostile struggle or friendly union with the kingdom of Judah. But, in compensation for these omissions, the author of the Chronicle has brought together in his work a considerable number of facts and events which are omitted in the books of Samuel and the Kings.
For example, in the history of David, he gives us the list of the valiant men out of all the tribes who, partly before and partly after the death of Saul, went over to David to help him in his struggle with Saul and his house, and to bring the royal honour to him (1 Chron 12); the detailed account of the participation of the Levites in the transfer of the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, and of the arrangements made by David for worship around this sanctuary (1 Chron 15 and 16); and the whole section concerning David's preparations for the building of the temple, his arrangements for public worship, the regulation of the army, and his last commands (1 Chron 22-29). Further, the history of the kingdom of Judah from Rehoboam to Joram is narrated throughout at greater length than in the books of Kings, and is considerably supplemented by detailed accounts, not only of the work of the prophets in Judah, of Shemaiah under Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 12:5-8), of Azariah and Hanani under Asa (2 Chronicles 15:1-8; 2 Chronicles 16:7-9), of Jehu son of Hanani, Jehaziel, and Ebenezer son of Dodava, under Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 19:1-3; 2 Chronicles 20:14-20 and 2 Chronicles 20:37), and concerning Elijah's letter under Joram (2 Chronicles 21:12-15); but also of the efforts of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:5-17), Asa (2 Chronicles 14:5-7), and Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:2, 2 Chronicles 17:12-19) to fortify the kingdom of Asa to raise and vivify the Jahve-worship (2 Chronicles 15:9-15), of Jehoshaphat to purify the administration of justice and increase the knowledge of the law (2 Chronicles 17:7-9 and 2 Chronicles 19:5-11), of the wars of Abijah against Jeroboam, and his victories (13:3-20), of Asa's war against the Cushite Zerah (2 Chronicles 14:8-14), of Jehoshaphat's conquest of the Ammonites and Moabites (20:1-30), and, finally, also of the family relations of Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:18-22), the wives and children of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13:21), and Joram's brothers and his sickness (2 Chronicles 21:2-4 and 2 Chronicles 21:18.). Of the succeeding kings also various undertakings are reported which are not found in the books of Kings. In this way we are informed of Joash's defection from the Lord, and his fall into idolatry after the death of the high priest Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:15-22); how Amaziah increased his military power (2 Chronicles 25:5-10), and worshipped idols (2 Chronicles 25:14-16); of Uzziah's victorious wars against the Philistines and Arabs, and his fortress-building, etc. (2 Chronicles 26:6-15); of Jotham's fortress-building, and his victory over the Ammonites (2 Chronicles 27:4-6); of the increase of Hezekiah's riches (2 Chronicles 32:27-30); of Manasseh's capture and removal to Babylon, and his return out of captivity (2 Chronicles 33:11-17). But the history of Hezekiah and Josiah more especially is rendered more complete by special accounts of reforms in worship, and of celebrations of the passover (29:3-31, 2 Chronicles 30:21, and 2 Chronicles 35:2-15); while we have only summary notices of the godless conduct of Ahaz (2 Chron 28) and Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:3-10), of the campaign of Sennacherib against Jerusalem and Judah, of Hezekiah's sickness and the reception of the Babylonian embassy in Jerusalem (2 Chron 32, cf. 2 Kings 28:13-20, 19); as also of the reigns of the last kings, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. From all this, it is clear that the author of the Chronicle, as Bertheau expresses it, “has turned his attention to those times especially in which Israel's religion had showed itself to be a power dominating the people and their leaders, and bringing them prosperity; and to those men who had endeavoured to give a more enduring form to the arrangements for the service of God, and to restore the true worship of Jahve; and to those events in the history of the worship so intimately bound up with Jerusalem, which had important bearings.”
This purpose appears much more clearly when we take into consideration the narratives which are common to the Chronicle and the books of Samuel and Kings, and observe the difference which is perceptible in the mode of conception and representation in those parallel sections. For our present purpose, however, those narratives in which the chronicler supplements and completes the accounts given in the books of Samuel and Kings by more exact and detailed information, or shortens them by the omission of unimportant details, come less into consideration.
(Note: Additions are to be found, e.g., in the list of David ' s heroes, 1 Chronicles 11:42-47; in the history of the building and consecration of Solomon ' s temple; in the enumeration of the candlesticks, tables, and courts, 2 Chronicles 4:6-9; in the notice of the copper platform on which Solomon kneeled at prayer, 2 Chronicles 6:12-13; and of the fire which fell from heaven upon the burnt-offering, 2 Chronicles 7:1. Also in the histories of the wars they are met with, 1 Chronicles 11:6, 1 Chronicles 11:8, 1 Chronicles 11:23, cf. 2 Samuel 5:8-9; 2 Samuel 23:21; 1 Chronicles 18:8, 1 Chronicles 18:12, cf. 2 Samuel 8:8, 2 Samuel 8:13, etc. More may be found in my Handbook of Introd. §139, 5. Abridgments by the rejection of unimportant details are very frequent; e.g., omission of the Jebusites ' mockery of David ' s attack on their fortress, 1 Chronicles 11:5-6, cf. 2 Samuel 5:6, 2 Samuel 5:8; of the details of the storming of Rabbah, 1 Chronicles 20:1-2, cf. 2 Samuel 12:27-29; and of many more, vide my Handbook of Introduction, 139, 8.)
For both additions and abridgments show only that the chronicler has not drawn his information from the canonical books of Samuel and Kings, but from other more circumstantial original documents which he had at his command, and has used these sources independently. Much more important for a knowledge of the plan of the Chronicle are the variations in the parallel places between it and the other narrative; for in them the point of view from which the chronicler regarded, and has described, the events clearly appears. In the number of such passages is to be reckoned the narrative of the transfer of the ark (1 Chronicles 13:1-14 and 15, cf. 2 Sam 6), where the chronicler presents the fact in its religious import as the beginning of the restoration of the worship of Jahve according to the law, which had fallen into decay; while the author of the books of Samuel describes it only in its political import, in its bearing on the Davidic kingship. Of this character also is the narrative of the raising of Joash to the throne (2 Chron 23, cf. 2 Kings 11), where the share of the Levites in the completion of the work begun by the high priest Jehoiada is prominently brought forward, while in Kings it is not expressly mentioned. The whole account also of the reign of Hezekiah, as well as other passages, belong to this category. Now from these and other descriptions of the part the Levites played in events, and the share they took in assisting the efforts of the pious kings to revivify and maintain the temple worship, the conclusion has been rightly drawn that the chronicler describes with special interest the fostering of the Levitic worship according to the precepts of the law of Moses, and hold it up to his contemporaries for earnest imitation; yet this has been too often done in such a way as to cause this one element in the plans of the Chronicle to be looked upon as its main object, which has led to a very onesided conception of the character of the book. The chronicler does not desire to bring honour to the Levites and to the temple worship: his object is rather to draw from the history of the kingship in Israel a proof that faithful adherence to the covenant which the Lord had made with Israel brings happiness and blessing; the forsaking of it, on the contrary, ensures ruin and a curse. But Israel could show its faithfulness to the covenant only by walking according to the ordinances of the law given by Moses, and in worshipping Jahve, the God of their fathers, in His holy place in that way which He had established by the ceremonial ordinances. The author of the Chronicle attaches importance to the Levitic worship only because the fidelity of Israel to the covenant manifested itself in the careful maintenance of it.
This point of view appears clearly in the selection and treatment of the material drawn by our historian from older histories and prophetic writings. His history begins with the death of Saul and the anointing of David to be king over the whole of Israel, and confines itself, after the division of the kingdom, to the history of the kingdom of Judah. In the time of the judges especially, the Levitic worship had fallen more and more into decay; and even Samuel had done nothing for it, or perhaps could do nothing, and the ark remained during that whole period at a distance from the tabernacle. Still less was done under Saul for the restoration of the worship in the tabernacle; for “Saul died,” as we read in 1 Chronicles 10:13., “for his transgression which he had transgressed against the Lord;...and because he inquired not of the Lord, therefore He slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” After the death of Saul the elders of all Israel came to David with the confession, “Jahve thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel; and thou shalt be ruler over my people Israel” (1 Chronicles 11:2). David's first care, after he had as king over all Israel conquered the Jebusite hold on Mount Zion, and made Jerusalem the capital of the kingdom, was to bring the ark from its obscurity into the city of David, and to establish the sacrificial worship according to the law near that sanctuary (1 Chronicles 11:5-6). Shortly afterwards he formed the resolution of building for the Lord a permanent house (a temple), that He might dwell among His people, for which he received from the Lord the promise of the establishment of his kingdom for ever, although the execution of his design was denied to him, and was committed to his son (1 Chron 17). Only after all this has been related do we find narratives of David's wars and his victories over all hostile peoples (1 Chron 18-20), of the numbering of the people, and the pestilence, which, in consequence of the repentant resignation of David to the will of the Lord, gave occasion to the determination of the place for the erection of the temple (1 Chron 21). The second section of the history of the Davidic kingship contains the preparations for the building of the temple, and the laying down of more permanent regulations for the ordering of the worship; and that which David had prepared for, and so earnestly impressed upon his son Solomon at the transfer of the crown, Solomon carried out. Immediately after the throne had been secured to him, he took in hand the building of the temple; and the account of this work fills the greater part of the history of his reign, while the description of his kingly power and splendour and wisdom, and of all the other undertakings which he carried out, is of the shortest. When ten tribes revolted from the house of David after his death, Rehoboam's design of bringing the rebellious people again under his dominion by force of arms was checked by the prophet Shemaiah with the words, “Thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren, for this thing is done of me” (2 Chronicles 11:4). But in their revolt from the house of David, which Jeroboam sought to perpetuate by the establishment of an idolatrous national worship, Israel of the ten tribes had departed from the covenant communion with Jahve; and on this ground, and on this account, the history of that kingdom is no further noticed by the chronicler. The priests and Levites came out of the whole Israelite dominion to Judah and Jerusalem, because Jeroboam and his sons expelled them from the priesthood. After them, from all the tribes of Israel came those who gave their hearts to seek Jahve the God of Israel to Jerusalem to sacrifice to Jahve the God of their fathers (2 Chronicles 11:13-16), for “Jerusalem is the city which Jahve has chosen out of all the tribes of Israel to put His name there” (2 Chronicles 12:13). The priests, Levites, and pious people who went over from Israel made the kingdom of Judah strong, and confirmed Rehoboam's power, for they walked in the ways of David and Solomon (2 Chronicles 11:17).
But when the kingdom of Rehoboam had been firmly established, he forsook the law of Jahve, and all Israel with him (2 Chronicles 12:1). Then the Egyptian king Shishak came up against Jerusalem, “because they had transgressed against the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:2). The prophet Shemaiah proclaimed the word of the Lord: “Ye have forsaken me, and therefore have I also left you in the hand of Shishak” (2 Chronicles 12:5). Yet when Rehoboam and the princes of Israel humbled themselves, the anger of the Lord turned from him, that He would not destroy him altogether (2 Chronicles 12:6, 2 Chronicles 12:12). King Abijah reproaches Jeroboam in his speech with his defection from Jahve, and concludes with the words, “O children of Israel, fight not ye against the Lord God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper” (2 Chronicles 13:12); and when the men of Judah cried unto the Lord in the battle, and the priests blew the trumpets, then did God smite Jeroboam and all Israel (2 Chronicles 13:15). “Thus the children of Israel were brought under at that time, and the children of Judah prevailed, because they relied upon the Lord God of their fathers” (2 Chronicles 13:18). King Asa commanded his subjects to seek Jahve the God of their fathers, and to do the law and the commandments (2 Chronicles 14:3). In the war against the Cushites, he cried unto Jahve his God, “Help us, for we rest on Thee;” and Jahve smote the Cushites before Judah (2 Chronicles 14:10). After this victory Asa and Judah sacrificed unto the Lord of their spoil, and entered into a covenant to seek Jahve the God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul. And the Lord was found of them, and the Lord gave them rest round about (2 Chronicles 15:11.). But when Asa afterwards, in the war against Baasha of Israel, made an alliance with the Syrian king Benhadad, the prophet Hanani censured this act in the words, “Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and hast not relied on Jahve thy God, therefore has the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thy hand... Herein thou hast done foolishly,” etc. (2 Chronicles 16:7-9). Jehoshaphat became mighty against Israel, and Jahve was with him; for he walked in the ways of his father David, and sought not unto the Baals, but sought the God of his father, and walked in His commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. And Jahve established his kingdom in his hand, and he attained to riches and great splendour (2 Chronicles 17:1-5).
After this fashion does the chronicler show how God blessed the reigns and prospered all the undertakings of all the kings of Judah who sought the Lord and walked in His commandments; but at the same time also, how every defection from the Lord brought with it misfortune and chastisement. Under Joram of Judah, Edom and Libnah freed themselves from the supremacy of Judah, “because Joram had forsaken Jahve the God of his fathers” (2 Chronicles 21:10). Because Joram had walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and had seduced the inhabitants of Jerusalem to whoredom (i.e., idolatry), and had slain his brothers, God punished him in the invasion of Judah by the Philistines and Arabs, who stormed Jerusalem, took away with them all the furniture of the royal palace, and took captive his sons and wives, while He smote him besides with incurable disease (2 Chronicles 21:11., 2 Chronicles 21:16-18). Because of the visit which Ahaziah made to Joram of Israel, when he lay sick of his wound at Jezreel, the judgment was (2 Chronicles 22:7) pronounced: “The destruction of Ahaziah was of God by his coming to Joram.” When Amaziah, after his victory over the Edomites, brought back the gods of Seir and set them up for himself as gods, before whom he worshipped, the anger of Jahve was kindled against him. In spite of the warning of the prophets, he sought a quarrel with King Joash of Israel, who likewise advised him to abandon his design. “But Amaziah would not hear; for it was of God, that He might deliver them over, because they had sought the gods of Edom” (2 Chronicles 25:20). With this compare 2 Chronicles 25:27: “After the time that Amaziah turned away from the following Jahve, they made a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem.” Of Uzziah it is said (2 Chronicles 26:5), so long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper, so that he conquered his enemies and became very mighty. But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, so that he transgressed against Jahve his God, by forcing his way into the temple to offer incense; and for this he was smitten with leprosy. Of Jotham it is said, in 2 Chronicles 27:6, “He became mighty, because he established his ways before Jahve his God.”
From these and similar passages, which might easily be multiplied, we clearly see that the chronicler had in view not only the Levitic worship, but also and mainly the attitude of the people and their princes to the Lord and to His law; and that it is from this point of view that he has regarded and written the history of his people before the exile. But it is also not less clear, from the quotations we have made, in so far as they contain practical remarks of the historian, that it was his purpose to hold up to his contemporaries as a mirror the history of the past, in which they might see the consequences of their own conduct towards the God of their fathers. He does not wish, as the author of the books of Kings does, to narrate the events and facts objectively, according to the course of history; but he connects the facts and events with the conduct of the kings and people towards the Lord, and strives to put the historical facts in such a light as to teach that God rewards fidelity to His covenant with happiness and blessing, and avenges faithless defection from it with punitive judgments. Owing to this peculiarity, the historical narrative acquires a hortative character, which gives occasion for the employment of a highly rhetorical style. The hortative-rhetorical character impressed upon his narrative shows itself not only in many of the speeches of the actors in the history which are interwoven with it, but also in many of the historical parts. For example, the account given in 2 Chronicles 21:16 of the punitive judgments which broke in upon Joram for his wickedness is rhetorically arranged, so that the judgments correspond to the threatenings contained in the letter of Elijah, 2 Chronicles 21:12-15. But this may be much more plainly seen in the description of the impious conduct of King Ahaz, and of the punishments which were inflicted upon him and the kingdom of Judah (2 Chron 28); as also in the descriptions of the crime of Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:3-13; cf. especially 2 Chronicles 33:7 and 2 Chronicles 33:8), and of the reign of Zedekiah, and the ruin of the kingdom of Judah (2 Chronicles 36:12-21). Now the greater part of the differences between the chronicler's account and the parallel narrative in the books of Samuel and Kings, together with the omission of unimportant circumstances, and the careful manner in which the descriptions of the arrangements for worship and the celebration of feasts are wrought out, can be accounted for by this hortatory tendency so manifest in his writings, and by his subjective, reflective manner of regarding history. For all these peculiarities clearly have it for their object to raise in the souls of the readers pleasure and delight in the splendid worship of the Lord, and to confirm their hearts in fidelity to the Lord and to His law.
With this plan and object, the first part of our history (1 Chron 1-9), which contains genealogies, with geographical sketches and isolated historical remarks, is in perfect harmony. The genealogies are intended to exhibit, on the one hand, the connection of the people of Israel with the whole human race; on the other, the descent and genealogical ramifications of the tribes and families of Israel, with the extent to which they had spread themselves abroad in the land received as a heritage from the Lord. In both of these respects they are the necessary foundation for the following history of the chosen people, which the author designed to trace from the time of the foundation of the promised kingdom till the people were driven away into exile because of their revolt from their God. And it is not to be considered as a result of the custom prevalent among the later Arabian historians, of beginning their histories and chronicles ab ovo with Adam, that our author goes back in this introduction to Adam and the beginnings of the human race; for not only is this custom far too modern to allow of any inference being drawn from it with reference to the Chronicle, but it has itself originated, beyond a doubt, in an imitation of our history. The reason for going back to the beginnings of the human race is to be sought in the importance for the history of the world of the people of Israel, whose progenitor Abraham had been chosen and separated from all the peoples of the earth by God, that his posterity might become a blessing to all the families of the earth. But in order to see more perfectly the plan and object of the historian in his selection and treatment of the historical material at his command, we must still keep in view the age in which he lived, and for which he wrote. In respect to this, so much in general is admitted, viz., that the Chronicle was composed after the Babylonian exile. With their release from exile, and their return into the land of their fathers, Israel did not receive again its former political importance. That part of the nation which had returned remained under Persian supremacy, and was ruled by Persian governors; and the descendants of the royal race of David remained subject to this governor, or at least to the kings of Persia. They were only allowed to restore the temple, and to arrange the divine service according to the precepts of the Mosaic law; and in this they were favoured by Cyrus and his successors. In such circumstances, the efforts and struggles of the returned Jews must have been mainly directed to the reestablishment and permanent ordering of the worship, in order to maintain communion with the Lord their God, and by that means to prove their fidelity to the God of their fathers, so that the Lord might fulfil His covenant promises to them, and complete the restoration of Judah and Jerusalem. By this fact, therefore, may we account for the setting forth in our history of the religious and ecclesiastical side of the life of the Israelitish community in such relief, and for the author's supposed “fondness” for the Levitic worship. If the author of the Chronicle wished to strengthen his contemporaries in their fidelity to Jahve, and to encourage them to fulfil their covenant duties by a description of the earlier history of the covenant people, he could not hope to accomplish his purpose more effectively than by so presenting the history as to bring accurately before them the ordinances and arrangements of the worship, the blessings of fidelity to the covenant, and the fatal fruits of defection from the Lord.
The chronicler's supposed predilection for genealogical lists arose also from the circumstances of his time. From Ezra 2:60. we learn that some of the sons of priests who returned with Zerubbabel sought their family registers, but could not find them, and were consequently removed from the priesthood; besides this, the inheritance of the land was bound up with the families of Israel. On this account the family registers had, for those who had returned from the exile, an increased importance, as the means of again obtaining possession of the heritage of their fathers; and perhaps it was the value thus given to the genealogical lists which induced the author of the Chronicle to include in his book all the old registers of this sort which had been received from antiquity.
2. Age and Author of the Chronicles.
The Chronicle cannot have been composed before the time of Ezra, for it closes with the intelligence that Cyrus, by an edict in the first year of his reign, allowed the Jews to return to their country (2 Chronicles 36:22.), and it brings down the genealogical tree of Zerubbabel to his grandchildren ( 1 Chronicles 3:19-21). The opinion brought into acceptance by de Wette and Ewald, that the genealogy (1 Chronicles 3:19-24) enumerates six or seven other generations after Zerubbabel, and so reaches down to the times of Alexander the Great or yet later, is founded on the undemonstrable assumption that the twenty-one names which in this passage ( 1 Chronicles 3:21) follow רפיה בני are the names of direct descendants of Zerubbabel. But no exegetical justification can be found for this assumption; since the list of names, “the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah,” etc. ( 1 Chronicles 3:21-24), is connected neither in form nor in subject-matter with the grandsons of Zerubbabel, who have been already enumerated, but forms a genealogical fragment, the connection of which with Zerubbabel's grandchildren is merely asserted, but can neither be proved nor even rendered probable. ( Vide the commentary on these verses.) Other grounds for the acceptance of so late a date for the composition of the Chronicle are entirely wanting; for the orthography and language of the book point only in general to the post-exilic age, and the mention of the Daric, a Persian coin, in 1 Chronicles 29:7, does not bring us further down than the period of the Persian rule over Judaea. On the other hand, the use of the name בּירה (1 Chronicles 29:1, 1 Chronicles 29:19) for the temple can scarcely be reconciled with the composition of the book in the Macedonian or even the Seleucidian age, since an author who lived after Nehemiah, when Jerusalem, like other Persian cities, had received in the fortress built by him (Nehemiah 2:8; Nehemiah 7:2), and afterwards called ba'ris and Arx Antonia, its own בּירה , would scarcely have given this name to the temple.
In reference to the question of the authorship of our book, the matter which most demands consideration is the identity of the end of the Chronicle with the beginning of the book of Ezra. The Chronicle closes with the edict of Cyrus which summons the Jews to return to Jerusalem to build the temple; the book of Ezra begins with this same edict, but gives it more completely than the Chronicle, which stops somewhat abruptly with the word ורעל dro , “and let him go up,” although in this ויעל everything is contained that we find in the remaining part of the edict communicated in the book of Ezra. From this relation of the Chronicle to the book of Ezra, many Rabbins, Fathers of the church, and older exegetes, have drawn the conclusion that Ezra is also the author of the Chronicle. But of course it is not a very strong proof, since it can be accounted for on the supposition that the author of the book of Ezra has taken over the conclusion of the Chronicle into his work, and set it at the commencement so as to attach his book to the Chronicle as a continuation. In support of this supposition, moreover, the further fact may be adduced, that it was just as important for the Chronicle to communicate the terms of Cyrus' edict as it was for the book of Ezra. It was a fitting conclusion of the former, to show that the destruction of Jerusalem and the leading away of the inhabitants of Judah to Babylon, was not the final destiny of Judah and Jerusalem, but that, after the dark night of exile, the day of the restoration of the people of God had dawned under Cyrus; and for the latter it was an indispensable foundation and point of departure for the history of the new immigration of the exiles into Jerusalem and Judah. Yet it still remains more probable that one author produced both writings, yet not as a single book, which has been divided at some later time by another hand. For no reason can be perceived for any such later division, especially such a division as would make it necessary to repeat the edict of Cyrus.
(Note: What Bertheau (p. xxi.) says in this connection (following Ewald, Gesch. des V. Isr. i. 8. S. 264, der 2 Aufl.), viz., that “ perhaps at first only that part of the great historical work which contains the history of the new community itself, to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, and the history of these its two heroes, was added to the books of the Old Testament, because it seemed unnecessary to add our present Chronicle, on account of its agreement in great part with the contents of the books of Samuel and Kings, ” is a supposition which merely evades giving a reason for the division of the work into two, by holding the division to have been made before the book came into the canon. But unless the division had been made before, no one would ever have thought of considering the first half of this book, i.e., our present Chronicle, unworthy of a place in the canon, since it contains, in great part, new information not found in the books of Samuel and Kings, and supplements in a variety of ways even the narratives which are contained in these books. And even supposing that the Chronicle was received into the canon as a supplement, after the books of Ezra and Nehemiah had already received a definite place in it, the verses 2 Chronicles 36:22. could scarcely have been added to the Chronicle from the book of Ezra, to call attention to the fact that the Chronicle had received an unsuitable place in the canon, as it ought to have stood before the book of Ezra.)
The introduction of this edict with the words, “And it came to pass in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished,” connects it so closely with the end of the account of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the carrying away into Babylon, contained in the words, “And they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfil the word of the Lord spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, ... to fulfil the seventy years” (2 Chronicles 36:20.), that it cannot be separated from what precedes. Rather it is clear, that the author who wrote 2 Chronicles 36:20, 2 Chronicles 36:21, representing the seventy years' exile as the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jeremiah, must be the same who mentions the edict of Cyrus, and sets it forth in its connection with the utterances of the same prophet. This connecting of the edict with the prophecy gives us an irrefragable proof that the verses which contain the edict form an integral part of the Chronicle. But, at the same time, the way in which the edict is broken off in the Chronicle with ורעל , makes it likely that the author of the Chronicle did not give the contents of the edict in their entirety, only because he intended to treat further of the edict, and the fulfilment of it by the return of the Jews from Babylon, in a second work. A later editor would certainly have given the entire edict in both writings (the Chronicle and the book of Ezra), and would, moreover, hardly have altered בּפי (Chron.) into מפּי (Ezra), and עמּו אלהיו יהוה into עמּו אלהיו יהי .
The remaining grounds which are usually urged for the original unity of the two writings, prove nothing more than the possibility or probability that both originated with one author; certainly they do not prove that they originally formed one work. The long list of phenomena in Bertheau's Commentary, pp. xvi. - xx., by which a certainty is supposed to be arrived at that the Chronicle and Ezra originally was one great historical work, compiled from various sources, greatly requires the help of critical bias. 1. “The predilection of the author for genealogical lists, for detailed descriptions of great feasts, which occurred at the most various times, for exact representations of the arrangement of the public worship, and the business of the Levites and priests, which their classifications and ranks,” cannot be proved to exist in the book of Ezra. That book contains only one very much abridged genealogy, that of Ezra (Ezra 7:1-5); only two lists-those, namely, of the families who returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel and Ezra (Ezra 2 and 8); only one account of the celebration of a feast, the by no means detailed description of the consecration of the temple (Ezra 6:16); short remarks on the building of the altar, the celebration of the feast of tabernacles, and the laying of the foundation-stone of the temple, in Ezra 3:1-13; and it contains nothing whatever as to the divisions and ranks of the priests and Levites. That in these lists and descriptions some expressions should recur, is to be expected from the nature of the case. Yet all that is common to both books is the word התיחשׂ , the use of כּמּשׁפּט in the signification, “according to the Mosaic law” (1 Chronicles 23:31; 2 Chronicles 35:13; Ezra 3:4, and Nehemiah 8:18), and the liturgical formulae ליהוה הודוּ , which occurs also in Isaiah 12:4 and Psalms 33:2, and וּלהלּל להודות with the addition, “Jahve is God, and His mercy endureth for ever” (1 Chronicles 16:34, 1 Chronicles 16:41; 2 Chronicles 7:6; Ezra 3:11). The other expressions enumerated by Bertheau are met with also in other writings: בשׁמות נקּבוּ in Numbers 1:17; ראשׁי בּית־אבות and אבות ראשׁי , Exodus 6:14.; and the formula ( יהוה בּתורת ) בּתּורה כּכּתוּב or לכל־הכּתוּב (1 Chronicles 16:40; 2 Chronicles 35:12, 2 Chronicles 35:26; Ezra 3:2, Ezra 3:4) is just as common in other writings: cf. Joshua 1:8; Joshua 8:31, Joshua 8:34; 1 Kings 2:3; 2 Kings 14:6; 2 Kings 22:13; 2 Kings 23:21. Bertheau further remarks: “In those sections in which the regulation of the public worship, the duties, classification, and offices of the priests and Levites are spoken of, the author seizes every opportunity to tell of the musicians and doorkeepers, their duties at the celebration of the great festivals, and their classification. He speaks of the musicians, 1 Chronicles 6:16., 1 Chronicles 9:14-16, 1 Chronicles 9:33; 1 Chronicles 15:16-22, 1 Chronicles 15:27., 16:4-42; 1 Chronicles 23:5, 1 Chronicles 23:25; 2 Chronicles 5:12., 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 8:14., 2 Chronicles 20:19, 2 Chronicles 20:21; 2 Chronicles 23:13, 2 Chronicles 23:18; 2 Chronicles 29:25-28, 2 Chronicles 29:30; 2 Chronicles 30:21., 2 Chronicles 31:2, 2 Chronicles 31:11-18; 2 Chronicles 34:12; 2 Chronicles 35:15; Ezra 3:10.; Nehemiah 11:17; Nehemiah 12:8, Nehemiah 12:24, Nehemiah 12:27-29, Nehemiah 12:45-47; Nehemiah 13:5. The doorkeepers are mentioned nearly as often, and not seldom in company with the singers: 1 Chronicles 9:17-29; 1 Chronicles 15:18, 1 Chronicles 15:23-24; 1 Chronicles 16:38; 1 Chronicles 23:5; 1 Chronicles 26:1, 1 Chronicles 26:12-19; 2 Chronicles 8:14; 2 Chronicles 23:4, 2 Chronicles 23:19; 2 Chronicles 31:14; 2 Chronicles 34:13; 2 Chronicles 35:15; Ezra 2:42, Ezra 2:70; Ezra 7:7; Ezra 10:24; Nehemiah 7:1, Nehemiah 7:45; Nehemiah 10:29; Nehemiah 11:19; Nehemiah 12:25, Nehemiah 12:45, Nehemiah 12:47; Nehemiah 13:5. Now if these passages be compared, not only are the same expressions met with (e.g., מצלתּים only in Chron., Ezra, and Neh.; המּשׁרר ;.heN and המּשׁררים likewise only in these books, but here very frequently, some twenty-eight times), and also very often in different places the same names (cf. 1 Chronicles 9:17 with Nehemiah 12:25); but everywhere also we can easily trace the same view as to the importance of the musicians and doorkeepers for the public worship, and see that all information respecting them rests upon a very well-defined view of their duties and their position.” But does it follow from this “well-defined view” of the business of the musicians and doorkeepers, that the Chronicle, Ezra, and Nehemiah form a single book? Is this view an idea peculiar to the author of this book? In all the historical books of the Old Testament, from Exodus and Leviticus to Nehemiah, we find the idea that the laying of the sacrifice upon the altar is the business of the priest; but does it follow from that, that all those books were written by one man? But besides this, the representation given by Bertheau is very one-sided. The fact is, that in the Chronicle, and in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, mention is made of the priests just as often as of the Levitical musicians, and oftener than the doorkeepers are spoken of, as will be seen from the proofs brought forward in the following remarks; nor can any trace be discovered of a “fondness” on the part of the chronicler for the musicians and porters. They are mentioned only when the subject demanded that they should be mentioned.
2. As to the language. - Bertheau himself admits, after the enumeration of a long list of linguistic peculiarities of the Chronicle and the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, that all these phenomena are to be met with separately in other books of the Old Testament, especially the later ones; only their frequent use can be set down as the linguistic peculiarity of one author. But does the mere numbering of the places where a word or a grammatical construction occurs in this or that book really serve as a valid proof for the unity of the authorship? When, for example, the form בּזּה , 2 Chronicles 14:13; 2 Chronicles 28:14, Ezra 9:7, Nehemiah 4:4, occurs elsewhere only in Esther and Daniel, or קבּל in 1 Chronicles 12:18; 1 Chronicles 21:11; 2 Chronicles 29:16, 2 Chronicles 29:22, and Ezra 8:30, is elsewhere found only in Proverbs once, in Job once, and thrice in Esther, does it follow that the Chronicle and the book of Ezra are the work of one author? The greater number of the linguistic phenomena enumerated by Bertheau, such as the use of האלהים for יהוה ; the frequent use of ל , partly before the infinitive to express shall or must, partly for subordinating or introducing a word; the multiplication of prepositions, - e.g., in לאין עד , 2 Chronicles 36:16; למאד עד , 2 Chronicles 16:14; למעלה עד ל , 2 Chronicles 16:12; 2 Chronicles 17:12; 2 Chronicles 36:8, - are characteristics not arising from a peculiar use of language by our chronicler, but belonging to the later or post-exilic Hebrew in general. The only words and phrases which are characteristic of and common to the Chronicle and the book of Ezra are: כּפור (bowl), 1 Chronicles 28:17; Ezra 1:10; Ezra 8:27; the infinitive Hophal הוּסד , used of the foundation of the temple, 2 Chronicles 3:3; Ezra 3:11; פּלגּה , of the divisions of the Levites, 2 Chronicles 35:5 and Ezra 6:18; התנדּב , of offerings, 1 Chronicles 29:5-6, 1 Chronicles 29:9, 1 Chronicles 29:14, 1 Chronicles 29:17; Ezra 1:6; Ezra 2:68; Ezra 3:5; למרחוק עד (with three prepositions), 2 Chronicles 26:15; Ezra 3:13; and לדרשׁ לבבו הכין , 2 Chronicles 12:14; 2 Chronicles 19:3; 2 Chronicles 30:19, and Ezra 7:10. These few words and constructions would per se not prove much; but in connection with the fact that neither in the language nor in the ideas are any considerable differences or variations to be observed, they may serve to strengthen the probability, arising from the relation of the end of the Chronicle to the beginning of the book of Ezra, that both writings were composed by the priest and scribe Ezra.
(Note: The opinion first propounded by Ewald, and adopted by Bertheau, Dillmann (art. “ Chronik ” in Herzog ' s Realencykl.), and others, that “ the author belonged to the guild of musicians settled at the temple in Jerusalem ” ( Gesch. des. V. Isr. i. p. 235), has no tenable ground for its support, and rests merely on the erroneous assumption that the author has not the same sympathy with the priests as he shows in speaking of the Levites, more especially of the signers and doorkeepers (Berth.). If this assertion were true, the author might have been just as well a Levitical doorkeeper as a musician. But it is quite erroneous, as may be seen on a comparison of the passage adduced supra, p. 386, from Bertheau ' s commentary. In all the passages in which the musicians and doorkeepers are mentioned the priests are also spoken of, and in such a way that to both priests and Levites that is ascribed which belonged to their respective offices: to the priests, the sacrificial service and the blowing of the trumpets; to the Levites, the external business of the temple, and the execution of the instrumental music and psalm-singing introduced by David. From this it is clear that there is not reason why the priests and scribe Ezra might not have composed the Chronicle. The passages supporting the assertion that where musicians and doorkeepers are spoken of the priests are also mentioned, are: 1 Chronicles 6:34., 1 Chronicles 9:10-13; 1 Chronicles 15:24; 1 Chronicles 16:6, 1 Chronicles 16:39., 1 Chronicles 23:2, 1 Chronicles 23:13, 1 Chronicles 23:28, 1 Chronicles 23:32; 24:1-19; 2 Chronicles 5:7, 2 Chronicles 5:11-14; 2 Chronicles 7:6; 2 Chronicles 8:14., 2 Chronicles 13:9-12; 2 Chronicles 17:8; 2 Chronicles 19:8, 2 Chronicles 19:11; 2 Chronicles 20:28; 2 Chronicles 23:4, 2 Chronicles 23:6, 2 Chronicles 23:18; 2 Chronicles 26:17, 2 Chronicles 26:20; 2 Chronicles 29:4, 2 Chronicles 29:16, 2 Chronicles 29:21-24, 2 Chronicles 29:34; 2 Chronicles 30:3, 2 Chronicles 30:15, 2 Chronicles 30:21, 2 Chronicles 30:25, 2 Chronicles 30:27; 2 Chronicles 31:2, 2 Chronicles 31:17, 2 Chronicles 31:19; 2 Chronicles 34:30; 2 Chronicles 35:2, 2 Chronicles 35:8, 2 Chronicles 35:10, 2 Chronicles 35:14, 2 Chronicles 35:18; Ezra 1:5; Ezra 2:61, Ezra 2:70; Ezra 3:2, Ezra 3:8, Ezra 3:10-12; Ezra 6:16, Ezra 6:18, Ezra 6:20; Ezra 7:7, Ezra 7:24; Ezra 8:15, Ezra 8:24-30, Ezra 8:33; Nehemiah 2:16; Nehemiah 3:1; Nehemiah 7:73; Nehemiah 8:13; Nehemiah 10:1-9, Nehemiah 10:29, Nehemiah 10:35, Nehemiah 10:39., 2 Chronicles 11:3, 2 Chronicles 11:10., 2 Chronicles 12:1., 30, 35, 41, 44, 47, 13:30.)
3. The Sources of the Chronicles.
The genealogical list in 1 Chron 1, which gives us the origin of the human race and of the nations, and that which contains the names of the sons of Jacob (1 Chronicles 2:1 and 1 Chronicles 2:2), are to be found in and have been without doubt extracted from Genesis, to be placed together here. For it is scarcely probable that genealogical lists belonging to primeval time and the early days of Israel should have been preserved till the post-exilic period. But all the genealogical registers which follow, together with the geographical and historical remarks interwoven with them (1 Chron 2:3-8:40), have not been derived from the older historical books of the Old Testament: for they contain for the most part merely the names of the originators of those genealogical lines, of the grandsons and some of the great-grandsons of Jacob, and of the ancestors, brothers, and sons of David; but nowhere do they contain the whole lines. Moreover, in the parallel places the names often differ greatly, so that all the variations cannot be ascribed to errors of transcription. Compare the comparative table of these parallel places in my apolog. Versuch über die Chron. S. 159ff., and in the Handbook of Introduction, §139, 1. All these catalogues, together with that of the cities of the Levites (1 Chron 6:39-66), have been derived from other, extra-biblical sources. But as Bertheau, S. xxxi., rightly remarks: “We cannot hold the lists to be the result of historical investigation on the part of the author of the Chronicle, in the sense of his having culled the individual names carefully either out of historical works or from traditions of the families, and then brought them into order: for in reference to Gad (1 Chronicles 5:12) we are referred to a genealogical register prepared in the time of Jotham king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel; while as to Issachar (1 Chronicles 7:2) the reference is to the numbering of the people which took place in the time of David; and it is incidentally (?) stated (1 Chronicles 9:1) that registers had been prepared of all Israelites (i.e., the northern tribes).” Besides this, in 1 Chronicles 23:3, 1 Chronicles 23:27, and 1 Chronicles 26:31, numberings of the Levites, and in 1 Chronicles 27:24 the numbering of the people undertaken by Joab at David's command, are mentioned. With regard to the latter, however, it is expressly stated that its results were not incorporated in the היּמים דּברי , i.e., in the book of the chronicles of King David, while it is said that the results of the genealogical registration of the northern tribes of Israel were written in the book of the kings of Israel. According to this, then, it might be thought that the author had taken his genealogical lists from the great historical work made use of by him, and often cited, in the history of the kings of Judah - “the national annals of Israel and Judah.” But this can be accepted only with regard to the short lists of the tribes of the northern kingdom in 1 Chron 5 and 7, which contain nothing further than the names of families and fathers'-houses, with a statement of the number of males in these fathers'-houses. It is possible that these names and numbers were contained in the national annals; but it is not likely that these registers, which are of a purely genealogical nature, giving the descent of families or famous men in longer or shorter lines of ancestors, were received into the national annals ( Reichsannalen ), and it does not at all appear from the references to the annals that this was the case. These genealogical lists were most probably in the possession of the heads of the tribes and families and households, from whom the author of the Chronicle would appear to have collected all he could find, and preserved them from destruction by incorporating them in his work.
In the historical part (1 Chr. 10:1-2 Chr. 36), at the death of almost every king, the author refers to writings in which the events and acts of his reign are described. Only in the case of Joram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, and the later kings Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah, are such references omitted. The books which are thus named are: (1) For David's reign, Dibre of Samuel the seer, of the prophet Nathan, and of Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 29:29); (2) as to Solomon, the Dibre of the prophet Nathan, the prophecy ( נבוּאת ) of Abijah the Shilonite, and the visions ( הזות ) of the seer Iddo against Jeroboam the son of Nebat (2 Chronicles 9:29); (3) for Rehoboam, Dibre of the prophet Shemaiah and the seer Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22); (5) for Asa, the book of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 16:11); (6) as to Jehoshaphat, Dibre of Jehu the son of Hanani, which had been incorporated with the book of the kings of Israel (2 Chronicles 20:34); (7) for the reign of Joash, Midrash-Sepher of the kings (2 Chronicles 24:27); (8) for the reign of Amaziah, the book of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 25:26); (9) in reference to Uzziah, a writing ( כּתב ) of the prophet Isaiah (2 Chronicles 26:22); (10) as to Jotham, the book of the kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 27:7); (11) for the reign of Ahaz, the book of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 28:26); (12) for Hezekiah, the vision ( הזון ) of the prophet Isaiah, in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chronicles 32:32); (13) as to Manasseh, Dibre of the kings of Israel, and Dibre of Hozai (2 Chronicles 33:18 and 2 Chronicles 33:19); (14) for the reign of Josiah, the book of the kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 35:27); and (15) for Jehoiakim, the book of the kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 36:8).
From this summary, it appears that two classes of writings, of historical and prophetic contents respectively, are quoted. The book of the kings of Judah and Israel (No. 5, 8, 11), the book of the kings of Israel and Judah (10, 14, 15), the histories ( דּברי ) of the kings of Israel (13), and the Midrash-book of kings (7), are all historical. The first three titles are, as is now generally admitted, only variations in the designation of one and the same work, whose complete title, “Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel” (or Israel and Judah), is here and there altered into “Book of the Events (or History) of the Kings of Israel,” i.e., of the whole Israelitish people. This work contained the history of the kings of both kingdoms, and must have been essentially the same as to contents with the two annalistic writings cited in the canonical books of Kings: the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel, and the book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah. This conclusion is forced upon us by the fact that the extracts from them contained in our canonical books of Kings, coincide with the extracts from the books of the kings of Israel and Judah contained in our Chronicle where they narrate the same events, either verbally, or at least in so far that the identity of the sources from which they have been derived cannot but be recognised. The only difference is, that the author of the Chronicle had the two writings which the author of the book of Kings quotes as two separate works, before him as one work, narrating the history of both kingdoms in a single composition. For he cites the book of the Kings of Israel even for the history of those kings of Judah who, like Jotham and Hezekiah, had nothing to do with the kingdom of Israel (i.e., the ten tribes), and even after the kingdom of the ten tribes had been already destroyed, for the reigns of Manasseh, Josiah, and Jehoiakim. But we are entirely without any means of answering with certainty the question, in how far the merging of the annals of the two kingdoms into one book of the kings of Israel was accompanied by remoulding and revision. The reasons which Bertheau, in his commentary on Chronicles, p. 41ff., brings forward, after the example of Thenius and Ewald, for thinking that it underwent so thorough a revision as to become a different book, are without force. The difference in the title is not sufficient, since it is quite plain, from the different names under which the chronicler quotes the work which is used by him, that he did not give much attention to literal accuracy. The character of the parallel places in our books of Kings and the Chronicle, as Bertheau himself admits, forms no decisive criterion for an accurate determination of the relation of the chronicler to his original documents, which is now in question, since neither the author of the books of Samuel and Kings nor the author of the Chronicle intended to copy with verbal exactness: they all, on the contrary, treated the historical material which they had before them with a certain freedom, and wrought it up in their own writings in accordance with their various aims.
It is questionable if the work quoted for the reign of Joash, המּלכים ספר מדרשׁ (No. 7), is identical with the book of the kings of Israel and Judah, or whether it be not a commentary on it, or perhaps a revision of that book, or of a section of the history of the kings for purposes of edification. The narrative in the Chronicle of the chief events in the reign of Joash, his accession, with the fall of Athaliah, and the repairing of the temple (2 Chron 23 and 24), agrees with the account of these events in 2 Kings 11 and 12 where the annals of the kings of Judah are quoted, to such an extent, that both the authors seem to have derived their accounts from the same source, each making extracts according to his peculiar point of view. But the Chronicle recounts, besides this, the fall of Joash into idolatry, the censure of this defection by the prophet Zechariah, and the defeat of the numerous army of the Jews by a small Syrian host (1 Chronicles 24:15-25); from which, in Bertheau's opinion, we may come, without much hesitation, to the conclusion that the connection of these events had been already very clearly brought forward in a Midrash of that book of Israel and Judah which is quoted elsewhere. This is certainly possible, but it cannot be shown to be more than a possibility; for the further remark of Bertheau, that in the references which occur elsewhere it is not so exactly stated as in 2 Chronicles 24:27 what the contents of the book referred to are, is shown to be erroneous by the citation in 2 Chronicles 33:18, 2 Chronicles 33:19. It cannot, moreover, be denied that the title ספר מדרשׁ instead of the simple ספר is surprising, even if, with Ewald, we take מדרשׁ in the sense of “composition” or “writing,” and translate it “writing-book” ( Schriftbuch ), which gives ground for supposing that an expository writing is here meant. Even taking the title in this sense, it does not follow with any certainty that the Midrash extended over the whole history of the kings, and still less is it proved that this expository writing may have been used by the chronicler here and there in places where it is not quoted.
So much, however, is certain, that we must not, with Jahn, Movers, Staehelin, and others, hold these annals of the kings of Israel and Judah, which are quoted in the canonical books of Kings and the Chronicle, to be the official records of the acts and undertakings of the kings prepared by the מזכּירים .
(Note: Against this idea Bähr also has very justly declared (die Bücher der Könige, in J. P. Lange ' s theol. homilet. Bibelwerke, S. x.f.), and among other things has rightly remarked, that in the separated kingdom of Israel there is no trace whatever of court or national historians. But he goes much too far when he denies the existence of national annals in general, even in the kingdom of Judah, and under David and Solomon. For even granting that the מזכּיר derives his name from this, “ that his duty was, as μνήμων , to bring to the recollection of the king all the state affairs which were to be cared for, and give advice in reference to them; ” yet this function is so intimately connected wit the recording and preserving of the national documents of the kingdom and of all royal ordinances, that from it the composition of official annals of the kingdom follows almost as a matter of course. The existence of such national annals, or official year-books of the kingdom, is placed by 1 Chronicles 9:1 and 1 Chronicles 27:24 beyond all doubt. According to 1 Chronicles 9:1, a genealogical record of the whole of Israel was prepared and inserted in the book of the kings of Israel; and according to 1 Chronicles 27:24, the result of the numbering of the people, carried out by Joab under David, was not inserted in the book of the “ Chronicles of King David. ” Bähr ' s objections to the supposition of the existence of national annals, rest upon the erroneous presupposition that all judgments concerning the kings and their religious conduct which we find in our canonical histories, would have also been contained in the annals of the kingdom, and that thus the authors of our books of Kings and Chronicles would have been mere copyists giving us some excerpts from the original documents.)
They are rather annalistic national histories composed by prophets, partly from the archives of the kingdom and other public documents, partly from prophetic monographs containing prophecy and history, either composed and continued by various prophets in succession during the existence of both kingdoms, or brought together in a connected form shortly before the ruin of the kingdom out of the then existing contemporary historical documents and prophetic records. Two circumstances are strongly in favour of the latter supposition. On the one hand, the references to these annals in both kingdoms do not extend to the last kings, but end in the kingdom of Israel with Pekah (2 Kings 15:31), in the kingdom of Judah with Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:5 and 2 Chronicles 36:8). On the other hand, the formula “until this day” occurs in reference to various events; and since it for the most part refers not to the time of the exile, but to times when the kingdom still existed (cf. 1 Kings 8:8 with 2 Chronicles 5:9; 1 Kings 9:13, 1 Kings 9:21, with 2 Chronicles 8:8; 1 Kings 12:19 with 2 Chronicles 10:19; 2 Kings 8:22 with 2 Chronicles 21:10; 2 Kings 2:22; 2 Kings 10:27; 2 Kings 14:7, and 2 Kings 16:6), it cannot be from the hand of the authors of our canonical books of Kings and Chronicles, but must have come down to us from the original documents, and is in them possible only if they were written at some shorter or longer period after the events. When Bähr, in the place already quoted, says, on the contrary, that the time shortly before the fall of the kingdom, the time of complete uprooting, would appear to be the time least of all suited for the collection and editing of national year-books, this arises from his not having fully weighed the fact, that at that very time prophets like Jeremiah lived and worked, and, as is clear from the prophecies of Jeremiah, gave much time to the accurate study of the older holy writings.
The book composed by the prophet Isaiah concerning the reign of King Uzziah (9) was a historical work; as was also probably the Midrash of the prophet Iddo (4). But, on the other hand, we cannot believe, as do Ewald, Bertheau, Bähr, and others, that the other prophetical writings enumerated under 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, and 13, were merely parts of the books of the kings of Israel and Judah; for the grounds which are brought forward in support of this view do not appear to us to be tenable, or rather, tend to show that those writings were independent books of prophecy, to which some historical information was appended. 1. The circumstance that it is said of two of those writings, the Dibre of Jehu and the חזון of Isaiah (6 and 12), that they were incorporated or received into the books of the Kings, does not justify the conclusion “that, since two of the above-named writings are expressly said to be parts of the larger historical work, probably by the others also only parts of this work are meant” (Ew., Berth. S. 34). For in the citations, those writings are not called parts of the book of Kings, but are only said to have been received into it as component parts; and from that it by no means follows that the others, whose reception is not mentioned, were parts of that work. The admission of one writing into another book can only then be spoken of when the book is different from the writing which is received into it. 2. Since some of the writings are denominated דּברי of a prophet, from the double meaning of the word דברים , verba and res , this title might be taken in the sense of “events of the prophets,” to denote historical writings. But it is much more natural to think, after the analogy of the superscriptions in Amos 1:1; Jeremiah 1:1, of books of prophecies like the books of Amos and Jeremiah, which contained prophecies and prophetic speeches along with historical information, just as the sections Amos 7:10-17, Jer. 40-45 do, and which differed from our canonical books of prophecies, in which the historical relations are mentioned only in exceptional cases, only by containing more detailed and minute accounts of the historical events which gave occasion to the prophetic utterances. On account of this fulness of historical detail, such prophetic writings, without being properly histories, would yet be for many periods of the history of the kings very abundant sources of history. The above-mentioned difference between our canonical books of prophecy and the books now under discussion is very closely connected with the historical development of a theocracy, which showed itself in general in this, that the action of the older prophets was specially directed to the present, and to vivâ voce speaking, while that of those of a later time was more turned towards the future, and the consummation of the kingdom of God by the Messiah (cf. Küper, das Prophetenthum des A. Bundes, 1870, S. 93ff.). This signification of the word דּברי is, in the present case, placed beyond all doubt by the fact that the writings of other prophets which are mentioned along with these are called נבוּאה , חזות , and חזון , - words which never denote historical writings, but always only prophecies and visions of the prophets. In accordance with this, the חזון of Isaiah (12) is clearly distinguished from the writings of the same prophet concerning Uzziah, for which כּתב is used; while in the reign of Manasseh, the speeches of Hozai are named along with the events, i.e., the history of the kings of Israel (2 Chronicles 33:18-19), and a more exact account of what was related about Manasseh in each of these two books is given. From this we learn that the historical book of Kings contained the words which prophets had spoken against Manasseh; while in the writing of the prophet Hozai, of whom we know nothing further, information as to the places where his idolatry was practised, and the images which were the objects of it, was to be found. After all these facts, which speak decidedly against the identification of the prophetic writings cited in the book of Kings with that book itself, the enigmatic להתיחשׂ , after the formula of quotation, “They are written in the words (speeches) of the prophet Shemaiah and of the seer Iddo” (2 Chronicles 12:15), can naturally not be looked upon as a proof that here prophetic writings are denominated parts of a larger historical work. 3. Nor can we consider it, with Bertheau, decisive, “that for the whole history of David ( והאחרנים הראשׁנים המּלך דויד דּברי ), Solomon, Rehoboam, and Jehoshaphat, prophetic writings are referred to; while for the whole history of Asa, Amaziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Josiah, the references are to the book of the kings of Israel and Judah.” From this fact no further conclusion can be drawn than that, in reference to the reigns of some kings the prophetic writings, and in reference to those of others the history of the kingdom, contained all that was important, and that the history of the kingdom contained also information as to the work of the prophets in the kingdom, while the prophetic writings contained likewise information as to the undertakings of the kings. The latter might contain more detailed accounts in reference to some kings, the former in reference to others; and this very circumstance, or some other reason which cannot now be ascertained by us, may have caused the writer of the Chronicle to refer to the former in reference to one king, and to the latter in reference to another.
Finally, 4. Bähr remarks, S. viii.f.: “Quite a number of sections of our books (of Kings) are found in the Chronicle, where the words are identical, and yet the reference there is to the writings of single definite persons, and not to the three original documents from which the Kings is compiled. Thus, in the first place, in the history of Solomon, in which the sections 2 Chron 6:1-40 and 1 Kings 8:12-50; 2 Chron 7:7-22 and 1 Kings 8:64-9:9; 2 Chron 8:2-10:17 and 1 Kings 9:17-12:17; 2 Chr. 9:1-28 and 1 Kings 10:1-28, etc., are identical, the Chronicle refers not to the book of the history of Solomon (as 1 Kings 11:41), but to the דּברי of the prophet Nathan, etc. (2 Chronicles 9:29); consequently the book of the history of Solomon must either have been compiled from those three prophetic writings, or at least have contained considerable portions of them. The case is identical with the second of the original documents, the book of the history of the kings of Judah (1 Kings 14:29 and elsewhere). The narrative as to Rehoboam is identical in 2 Chron 10 and 1 Kings 12:1-19, as also in 2 Chronicles 1:1-4 and 1 Kings 12:20-24; further, in 2 Chronicles 12:13. as compared with 1 Kings 14:21.; but the history of the kings of Judah is not mentioned as an authority, as is the case in 1 Kings 14:29, but the דּברי of the prophet Shemaiah and the seer Iddo (2 Chronicles 12:15). In the history of King Abijah we are referred, in the very short account, 1 Kings 15:1-8, for further information to the book of the history of the kings of Judah; while the Chronicle, on the contrary, which gives further information, quotes from the מדרשׁ of the prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22). The case is similar in the history of the kings Uzziah and Manasseh: our author refers in reference to both to the book of the kings of Judah (2 Kings 15:6; 2 Kings 20:17); the chronicler quotes, for the first the כּתב of the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz (2 Chronicles 26:22), for the latter חוזי דּברי (2 Chronicles 33:19). By all these quotations it is satisfactorily shown that the book of the kings of Judah is compiled from the historical writings of various prophets or seers.” But this conclusion is neither valid nor necessary. It is not valid, for this reason, that the Chronicle, besides the narratives concerning the reigns of Rehoboam, Abijah, Uzziah, and Manasseh, which it has in common with the books of Kings, and which are in some cases identical, contains a whole series of narratives peculiar to itself, which perhaps were not contained at all in the larger historical work on the kings of Judah, or at least were not there so complete as in the special prophetic writings cited by the chronicler. As to Solomon also, the Chronicle has something peculiar to itself which is not found in the book of Kings. Nor is the conclusion necessary; for from a number of identical passages in our canonical books of Kings and Chronicles, the only certain conclusion which can be drawn is, that these narratives were contained in the authorities quoted by both writers, but not that the variously named authorities form one and the same work.
By all this we are justified in maintaining the view, that the writings quoted by the author of the Chronicle under the titles, Words, Prophecy, Visions of this and that prophet, with the exception of the two whose incorporation with the book of Kings is specially mentioned, lay before him as writings separate and distinct from the “Books of the Kings of Israel and Judah,” that these writings were also in the hands of many of his contemporaries, and that he could refer his readers to them. On this supposition, we can comprehend the change in the titles of the works quoted; while on the contrary supposition, that the special prophetic writings quoted were parts of the larger history of the kings of Israel and Judah, it remains inexplicable. But the references of the chronicler are not to be understood as if all he relates, for example, of the reign of David was contained in the words of the seer Samuel, of the prophet Nathan, and of the seer Gad, the writings he quotes for that reign. He may, as Berth. S. xxxviii. has already remarked, “have made use also of authorities which he did not feel called upon to name,” - as, for example, the lists of David's heroes, 1 Chron 11:10-47, and of those who gave in their adherence to David before the death of Saul, and who anointed him king in Hebron, 1 Chron 12. Such also are the catalogues of the leaders of the host, of the princes of the tribes, and the stewards of the royal domains, 1 Chron 27; of the fathers'-houses of the Levites, and the divisions of the priests, Levites, and singers, etc., 1 Chron 23-26. These lists contain records to whose sources he did not need to refer, even if he had extracted them from the public annals of the kingdom during the reign of David, because he has embodied them in their integrity in his book.
But our canonical books of Samuel and Kings are by no means to be reckoned among the sources possibly used besides the writings which are quoted. It cannot well be denied that the author of the Chronicle knew these books; but that he has used them as authorities, as de Wette, Movers, Ewald, and others think, we must, with Bertheau and Dillmann, deny. The single plausible ground which is usually brought forward to prove the use of these writings, is the circumstance that the Chronicle contains many narratives corresponding to those found in the books of Samuel and Kings, and often verbally identical with them. But that is fully accounted for by the fact that the chronicler used the same more detailed writings as the authors of the books of Samuel and Kings, and has extracted the narratives in question, partly with verbal accuracy, partly with some small alterations, from them. Against the supposition that the above-named canonical books were used by the chronicler, we may adduce the facts that the chronicle, even in those corresponding passages, differs in many ways as to names and events from the account in those books, and that it contains, on an average, more than they do, as will be readily seen on an exact comparison of the parallel sections. Other and much weaker grounds for believing that the books of Samuel and Kings were used by the chronicler, are refuted in my Handbook of Introduction, 141, 2; and in it, at 139, is to be found a synoptical arrangement of the parallel sections.
4. The Historical Character of the Chronicles.
The historic truth or credibility of the books of the Chronicle, which de Wette, in the Beitrr. zur Einleit. 1806, violently attacked, in order to get rid of the evidence of the Chronicle for the Mosaic origin of the Sinaitic legislation, is now again in the main generally recognised.
(Note: Cf. Bertheau, Com. S. xliii, and Dillmann, loc cit. The decision of the latter is as follows, S. 693: “ This work has a great part of its narratives and information in common with the older canonical historical books, and very often corresponds verbally, or almost verbally, with them; but another and equally important part is peculiar to itself. This relationship was, formerly, in the time of the specially negative criticism, explained by the supposition that the chronicler had derived the information which he has in common with these books from them, and that every difference and peculiarity arose from misunderstanding, misinterpretation, a desire to ornament, intentional misrepresentation, and pure invention (so especially de Wette in his Beitrr., and Gramberg, die Chronik nach ihrem geschichtl. Karakter, 1823). The historic credibility of the Chronicle has, however, been long ago delivered from such measureless suspicions, and recognised (principally by the efforts of Keil, apologet. Versuch, 1833; Movers, die bibl. Chronik, 1834; Haevernick, in the Einleitung, 1839; and Ewald, in the Geschichte Israels). It is now again acknowledged that the chronicler has written everywhere from authorities, and that intentional fabrications or misrepresentations of the history can no more be spoken of in connection with him. ” Only K. H. Graf has remained so far behind the present stage of Old Testament inquiry as to seek to revive the views of de Wette and Gramberg as to the Chronicle and the Pentateuch. For further information as to the attacks of de Wette and Gramberg, and their refutation, see my apologet. Versuche über die BB. der Chronik, 1833, and in the Handbook of Introduction, §143 and 144.)
The care with which the chronicler has used his authorities may be seen, on a comparison of the narratives common to the Chronicle with the books of Samuel and Kings, not only from the fact that in these parallel sections the story of the chronicler agrees in all essential points with the accounts of these books, but also from the variations which are to be met with. For these variations, in respect to their matter, give us in many ways more accurate and fuller information, and in every other respect are of a purely formal kind, in great part affecting only the language and style of expression, or arising from the hortatory-didactic aim of the narrative. But this hortatory aim has nowhere had a prejudicial effect on the objective truth of the statement of historical facts, as appears on every hand on deeper and more attentive observation, but has only imparted to the history a more subjective impress, as compared with the objective style of the books of Kings.
Now, since the parallel places are of such a character, we are, as Bertheau and Dillmann frankly acknowledge, justified in believing that the author of the Chronicle, in the communication of narratives not elsewhere to be found in the Old Testament, has followed his authorities very closely, and that not only the many registers which we find in his work-the lists in 1 Chron 12; 23:1-27:34; the catalogue of cities fortified by Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 11:6-12; the family intelligence, 2 Chronicles 11:18-23; 2 Chronicles 21:2, and such matters-have been communicated in exact accordance with his authorities, but also the accounts of the wars of Rehoboam, Abijah, Jehoshaphat (1 Chronicles 20:1-8), Amaziah, etc. Only here and there, Bertheau thinks, has he used the opportunity offered to him to treat the history in a freer way, so as to represent the course of the more weighty events, and such as specially attracted his attention, according to his own view. This appears especially, he says (1) in the account of the speeches of David, 1 Chronicles 13:2., 1 Chronicles 15:12., 1 Chronicles 28:2-10, 1 Chronicles 28:20., 1 Chronicles 29:1-5, 1 Chronicles 29:10-19, where, too, there occur statements of the value of the precious metals destined for the building of the temple (1 Chronicles 29:4, 1 Chronicles 29:7), which clearly do not rest upon truthful historical recollection, and can by no means have been derived from a trustworthy source; as also in the reports of those of Abijah (2 Chronicles 13:5-10) and of Asa (2 Chronicles 14:10, etc.); then (2) in the description of the religious ceremonies and feasts (1 Chron 15 and 16; 2 Chron 5:1-7:10, 2 Chron 29-31, 2 Chron 35): for in both speeches and descriptions expressions and phrases constantly recur which may be called current expressions with the chronicler. Yet these speeches stand quite on a level with those of Solomon, 2 Chronicles 1:8-10; 2 Chronicles 6:4-11, 12-42, which are also to be found in the books of Kings (1 Kings 3:6-9; 8:14-53), from which it is to be inferred that the author here has not acted quite independently, but that in this respect also older histories may have served him as a model. But even in these descriptions information is not lacking which must rest upon a more accurate historical recollection, e.g., the names in 1 Chronicles 15:5-11, 1 Chronicles 15:17-24; the statement as to the small number of priests, and the help given to them by the Levites, in 2 Chronicles 29:14., 2 Chronicles 30:17. Yet we must, beyond doubt, believe that the author of the Chronicle “has in these descriptions transferred that which had become established custom in his own time, and which according to general tradition rested upon ancient ordinance, without hesitation, to an earlier period.”
Of these two objections so much is certainly correct, that in the speeches of the persons acting in the history, and in the descriptions of the religious feasts, the freer handling of the authorities appears most strongly; but no alterations of the historical circumstances, nor additions in which the circumstances of the older time have been unhistorically represented according to the ideas or the taste of the post-exilic age, can, even here, be anywhere pointed out. With regard, first of all, to the speeches in the Chronicle, they are certainly not given according to the sketches or written reports of the hearers, but sketched and composed by the historian according to a truthful tradition of the fundamental thoughts. For although, in all the speeches of the Chronicle, certain current and characteristic expressions and phrases of the author of this book plainly occur, yet it is just as little doubtful that the speeches of the various persons are essentially different from one another in their thoughts, and characteristic images and words. By this fact it is placed beyond doubt that they have not been put into the mouths of the historical persons either by the chronicler or by the authors of the original documents upon which he relies, but have been composed according to the reports or written records of the ear-witnesses. For if we leave out of consideration the short sayings or words of the various persons, such as 1 Chronicles 11:1., 1 Chronicles 12:12., 1 Chronicles 15:12., etc., which contain nothing characteristic, there are in the Chronicle only three longer speeches of King David (1 Chronicles 22:7-16; 1 Chronicles 28:2-10, 1 Chronicles 28:19-21, and 1 Chronicles 29:1-5), all of which have reference to the transfer of the kingdom to his son Solomon, and in great part treat, on the basis of the divine promise (2 Sam 7 and 1 Chron 17), of the building of the temple, and the preparations for this work. In these speeches the peculiarities of the chronicler come so strongly into view, in contents and form, in thought and language, that we must believe them to be free representations of the thoughts which in those days moved the soul of the grey-haired king. But if we compare with these David's prayer (1 Chronicles 29:10-19), we find in it not only that multiplication of the predicates of God which is so characteristic of David (cf. Ps 18), but also, in 1 Chronicles 29:11, 1 Chronicles 29:15, definite echoes of the Davidic psalms. The speech of Abijah, again, against the apostate Israel (2 Chronicles 13:4-12), moves, on the whole, within the circle of thought usual with the chronicler, but contains in 2 Chronicles 13:7 expressions such as רקים אנשׁים and בליּעל בּני , which are quite foreign to the language of the Chronicle, and belong to the times of David and Solomon, and consequently point to sources contemporaneous with the events. The same thing is true of Hezekiah's speech (2 Chronicles 32:7-8), in which the expression בּשׂר זרוע , “the arm of flesh,” recalls the intimacy of this king with the prophet Isaiah (cf. Isaiah 31:3). The sayings and speeches of the prophets, on the contrary, are related much more in their original form. Take, for instance, the remarkable speech of Azariah ben Oded to King Asa (2 Chronicles 15:1-7), which, on account of its obscurity, has been very variously explained, and which, as is well known, is the foundation of the announcement made by Christ of the destruction of Jerusalem and the last judgment (Matthew 24:6-7; Luke 21:19). As C. p. Caspari ( der syrisch-ephraimit. Krieg., Christiania 1849, S. 54) has already remarked, it is so peculiar, and bears so little of the impress of the Chronicle, that it is impossible that it can have been produced by the chronicler himself: it must have been taken over by him from his authorities almost without alteration. From this one speech, whose contents he could hardly have reproduced accurately in his own words, and which he has consequently left almost unaltered, we can see clearly enough that the chronicler has taken over the speeches he communicates with fidelity, so far as their contents are concerned, and has only clothed them formally, more or less, in his own language. This treatment of the speeches in the Chronicle is, however, not a thing peculiar and confined to the author of this book, but is, as Delitzsch has shown ( Isaiah, p. 17ff. tr.), common to all the biblical historians; for even in the prophecies in the books of Samuel and Kings distinct traces are observable throughout of the influence of the narrator, and they bear more or less visibly upon them in impress of the writer who reproduces them, without their historical kernel being thereby affected.
Now the historical truth of the events is just as little interfered with by the circumstance that the author of the Chronicle works out rhetorically the descriptions of the celebration of the holy feasts, represents in detail the offering of the sacrifices, and has spoken in almost all of these descriptions of the musical performances of the Levites and priests. The conclusion which has been drawn from this, that he has here without hesitation transferred to an earlier time that which had become established custom in his own time, would only then be correct if the restoration of the sacrificial worship according to the ordinance of Leviticus, or the introduction of instrumental music and the singing of psalms, dated only from the time of the exile, as de Wette, Gramberg, and others have maintained. If, on the contrary, these arrangements and regulations be of Mosaic, and in a secondary sense of Davidic origin, then the chronicler has not transferred the customs and usages of his own time to the times of David, Asa, Hezekiah, and others, but has related what actually occurred under these circumstances, only giving to the description an individual colouring. Take, for example, the hymn (1 Chron 16:8-36) which David caused to be sung by Asaph and his brethren in praise of the Lord, after the transfer of the ark to Jerusalem into the tabernacle prepared for it (1 Chronicles 16:7). If it was not composed by David for this ceremony, but has been substituted by the chronicler, in his endeavour to represent the matter in a vivid way, from among the psalms sung in his own time on such solemn occasions, for the psalm which was then sung, but which was not communicated by his authority, nothing would be altered in the historical fact that then for the first time, by Asaph and his brethren, God was praised in psalms; for the psalm given adequately expresses the sentiments and feelings which animated the king and the assembled congregation at that solemn festival. To give another example: the historical details of the last assembly of princes which David held (1 Chron 28) are not altered if David did not go over with his son Solomon, one by one, all the matters regarding the temple enumerated in 1 Chronicles 28:11-19.
There now remains, therefore, only some records of numbers in the Chronicle which are decidedly too large to be considered either accurate or credible. Such are the sums of gold mentioned in 1 Chronicles 22:14 and 1 Chronicles 29:4, 1 Chronicles 29:7, which David had collected for the building of the temple, and which the princes of the tribes expended for this purpose; the statements as to the greatness of the armies of Abijah and Jeroboam, of the number of the Israelites who fell in battle (2 Chronicles 13:3, 2 Chronicles 13:17), of the number of King Asa's army and that of the Cushites (2 Chronicles 14:7.), of the military force of Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17:14-18), and of the women and children who were led away captive under Ahaz (2 Chronicles 28:8). But these numbers cannot shake the historical credibility of the Chronicle in general, because they are too isolated, and differ too greatly from statements of the Chronicle in other places which are in accordance with fact. To estimate provisionally and in general these surprising statements, the more exact discussion of which belongs to the Commentary, we must consider, (1) that they all contain round numbers, in which thousands only are taken into account, and are consequently not founded upon any exact enumeration, but only upon an approximate estimate of contemporaries, and attest nothing more than that the greatness of the armies, and the multitude of those who had fallen in battle or were taken prisoner, was estimated at so high a number; (2) that the actual amount of the mass of gold and silver which had been collected by David for the building of the temple cannot with certainty be reckoned, because we are ignorant of the weight of the shekel of that time; and (3) that the correctness of the numbers given is very doubtful, since it is indubitably shown, by a great number of passages of the Old Testament, that the Hebrews have from the earliest times expressed their numbers not by words, but by letters, and consequently omissions might very easily occur, or errors arise, in copying or writing out in words the sums originally written in letters. Such textual errors are so manifest in not a few place, that their existence cannot be doubted; and that not merely in the books of the Chronicle, but in all the historical books of the Old Testament. The Philistines, according to 1 Samuel 13:5, for example, brought 30,000 chariots and 6000 horsemen into the field; and according to 1 Samuel 6:19, God smote of the people at Beth-shemesh 50,070 men. With respect to these statements, all commentators are now agreed that the numbers 30,000 and 50,000 are incorrect, and have come into the text by errors of the copyists; and that instead of 30,000 chariots there were originally only 1000, or at most 3000, spoken of, and that the 50,000 in the second passage is an ancient gloss. There is, moreover, at present no doubt among investigators of Scripture, that in 1 Kings 5:6 (in English version, 1 Kings 4:26) the number 40,000 (stalls) is incorrect, and that instead of it, according to 2 Chronicles 9:25, 4000 should be read; and further, that the statement of the age of King Ahaziah at 42 years (2 Chronicles 22:2), instead of 22 years (2 Kings 8:26), has arisen by an interchange of the numeral signs מ and ב . A similar case is to be found in Ezra 2:69, compared with Nehemiah 7:70-72, where, according to Ezra, the chiefs of the people gave 61,000 darics for the restoration of the temple, and according to Nehemiah only 41,000 (viz., 1000 + 20,000 + 20,000). In both of these chapters a multitude of differences is to be found in reference to the number of the exiled families who returned from Babylon, which can only be explained on the supposition of the numeral letters having been confounded. But almost all these different statements of numbers are to be found in the oldest translation of the Old Testament, that of the lxx, from which it appears that they had made their way into the MSS before the settlement of the Hebrew text by the Masoretes, and that consequently the use of letters as numeral signs was customary in the pre-Masoretic times. This use of the letters is attested and presupposed as generally known by both Hieronymus and the rabbins, and is confirmed by the Maccabean coins. That it is a primeval custom, and reaches back into the times of the composition of the biblical books, is clear from this fact, that the employment of the alphabet as numeral signs among the Greeks coincides with the Hebrew alphabet. This presupposes that the Greeks received, along with the alphabet, at the same time the use of the letters as numeral signs from the Semites (Phoenicians or Hebrews). The custom of writing the numbers in words, which prevails in the Masoretic text of the Bible, was probably first introduced by the Masoretes in settling the rules for the writing of the sacred books of the canon, or at least then became law.
After all these facts, we may conclude the Introduction to the books of the Chronicle, feeling assured of our result, that the books, in regard to their historical contents, notwithstanding the hortatory-didactic aim of the author in bringing the history before us, have been composed with care and fidelity according to the authorities, and are fully deserving of belief.
As to the exegetical literature, see my Handbook of Introduction, §138.