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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles

The Pulpit CommentariesThe Pulpit Commentaries

- 1 Chronicles

by Editor - Joseph Exell

§ 1. TITLE.

1. The Hebrew title of the Chronicles is דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים. The literal translation of the title is "Verba dierum;" and is so offered us by Jerome, in the preface to his work on Kings, which he named on account of its apologetic character, 'Prologus Galeatus in Libros Regum.' By Hilarius, Bishop of Poictiers, in his 'Prologus in Librum Psalm.,' the same title is translated, "Set,ones dierum." But there is no doubt that the idiomatic rendering would rather be, "Acta, or Res gestae, dierum." This generic rendering will most nearly cover the different shades of meaning attaching to the Hebrew word, in all those cases in which the simplest translation, "words," would not be the correct one, as, for instance, in 1 Chronicles 29:29. In this verse the term occurs as many as four times. In the first instance it is impossible to render it as though it meant words, either literally or figuratively; and in the other three instances, If it were so rendered, it could only mean the written words of history. Some generic term, therefore, like "history," or "acts," will best express its significance, and probably the former of these better than the latter ('Memoria Rerum Gestarum,' Sallust, 'Jugurtha,' 4.). The exact form of words which constitutes the title of this book is not found at all in the work entitled Samuel (which is essentially one with Kings), and probably for no more important reason than this, that, being thus as it were the former half of one whole work, it had not arrived at the point where historical sources would need to be cited. In point of fact, it may be said that scarcely one such reference occurs in Samuel. In the Books of Kings, however, we find this expression not fewer than thirty-one times, beginning with 1 Kings 14:19. It is somewhat more remarkable that the exact phrase is found but once in Chronicles (1 Chronicles 27:24). It is also found once in Nehemiah, and three times in Esther, and in almost all cases it is preceded by the word סֵפֶר, a writing, or book.

2. The Septuagint provides as a title for the work now before us the word Παραλειπομεìνων — the substantive βιβλιìον, accompanied or not by one of the first two ordinals, being understood before the genitive. The idea of the translators of the Septuagint, or of those, whoever they were, who fixed on this title, seems to have been that Chronicles had much of the appearance of supplementing former historical works. The Greek word is Latinized for us by Jerome, into Praetermissorum, i.e. the book of things omitted. But this is not all; for Jerome, in his 'Epistle ad Paulinum,' speaks of this work as "Instrumenti Veteris Epitome;" and in the same paragraph adds, a little further on, "Per singula quippe nomina juncturasque Verborum, et praetermissae in Regum Libris tanguntur historiae, et innumerabiles explicantur Evangelii quaestiones." Jerome, therefore, evidently had present to his mind the fuller description of Chronicles as an "Epitome Instrumenti Veteris," as well as containing "Praetermissae in Libris Regum Historiae." To the same effect, we find in the 'Synopsis Scripturae Sacrae,' a treatise ranked among the dubia opera of St. Athanasius, the remark, "Many things which had been omitted in Kings are comprised in these books," i.e. the Books of Chronicles. Once more, Isidore, Bishop of Seville, says, "Paralipomenon Graece dicitur, quod praetermissorum vel reliquornm nos dicere possumus, quia ea quae in Lege, vel in Regum Libris vel omissa vel non plene relata sunt, in isto summatini eg breviter explicantia" ('Origines,' 6:1).

3. The Vulgate shows in the place of the superscription, both the Hebrew and the Septuagint titles, viz. Dibre Hajamin and Paralipomenon, written respectively in ordinary Latin characters. Some later Latin ecclesiastical writers have used the words "Ephemeridum libri" as an equivalent of the Hebrew title. The appropriateness as a literal translation ('Cic. pro P. Quintio,' 18, 57) may suiffice; but this will not be an idiomatic equivalent, nor could many portions of Chronicles be very fitly resembled to the contents of what we mean in the present day by diary or calendar.

4. Our own English title, "Chronicles," dates from the time of Jerome. In the same passage of the 'Prologus Galeatus in Libros Regum' already referred to, Jerome appends to the Hebrew title the critique, "Quod significantius Chronicon totius divinae historiae possumus appellare." Some of the editions of the Vulgate show this title, "Chronica," or "Chronicorum Liber." It would seem evident that the desiderated title should express, in the most general form, the idea of a chronological record; and perhaps the word Chronicles answers to this in the least exceptionable way. This title was adopted by Luther, and remains in use throughout the German Church. It may now be added that the treatment of the matter of title, on the part both of Jerome and the Septuagint translators long before, evidences that what we call the Hebrew title was not in their opinion any part of the original work. If it had been, they would not have presumed so to tamper with it.


Chronicles was not originally divided into two parts in the Hebrew manuscripts. On the contrary, Jerome ('Ad Domnion et Rogatian') says that these remained undivided even in his time, although the division had been made by the Septuagint translators, and had long been recognized among those Churches that used the Septuagint. Jerome adopted the division in his Vulgate. Daniel Bomberg was the first to exhibit the division in a printed Hebrew Bible, in his edition at Venice, and from these sources the division has now become universal. The notes of the Masorites, from the sixth century, or even somewhat earlier, also witness to the then undivided state of the Hebrew manuscripts, by the incidental mention of the fact that the bisecting verse of the work was to be found at what we now call 1 Chronicles 27:25. Other evidences, were they needed, are somewhat abundantly offered in the ancient numeration of the Old Testament books, by Josephus (A.D. 37-97), Origen (186-254), Jerome, and the Talmud (supposed to belong to the second century). In case, then, anything in the further consideration of this work should be found to depend upon it, we may remember that the work as originally composed was one, and embraced the whole sweep of Scripture history in an epitomized form epitomized, indeed, in parts to the proportions of a mere recital of names — from Adam to a date succeeding the return from the Captivity. And the only remaining problem on this part of the subject is whether the Book of Ezra, as it certainly is an immediate continuation of the closing verses of Chronicles, was not also really one work with it, as is believed by many.


Assuming the integrity and unity of Chronicles, right down to the verses which appear with us as 2 Chronicles 36:22, 2 Chronicles 36:23, and excluding the theories of later interpolations, we undoubtedly possess certain time-marks which fix some irrefragable dates within which the work could not have been compiled. Thus, e.g., beginning with the last, so far as its position in our work is concerned, the above-mentioned verses necessarily bring us to the year B.C. 539-8. Next, the ninth chapter opens, in our Hebrew text, with a form of statement which purports to terminate the subject of the genealogies (ending at different times, and in part with Hezekiah's reign) of the preceding eight chapters, by the mention of "the carrying away of Israel and Judah to Babylon, for their transgressions;" while the Masoretic text, placing a full period at the word "Israel," makes the mention of Judah's captivity yet more emphatic as a thing of the past. The compiler then proceeds (1 Chronicles 9:2-35) to describe the course things took in the partial resettlement of the "Israelites, priests, Levites, and Nethinim, in their cities," on the return from the Captivity, and likewise of the "children of Judah and Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh, in Jerusalem." That there is no error in regarding this as the just sense of the passage becomes absolutely plain from the contents of Nehemiah 11:3-22; further aided by 7:45; 12:25, 26; Ezra 2:42. On this evidence, then, unless we gratuitously set down nearly the whole of 1 Chronicles 9:0. as a later addition, we bring the compilation to a date subsequent to the return and the partial resettlement of those who returned, some "in the cities," and some "in Jerusalem." Once more, the remarkable genealogy of Zerubbabel (1 Chronicles 3:17-24) is clear evidence in point. Either these verses must be proved to be an interpolation or addition by a later hand (as is held by Eichhorn, Dallier, Jahn, Keil), or we are brought down to a still lower date. Even when (with Bertheau) we have counted the six entries of ver. 21 as names all of brothers, six generations (Hananiah, Shechaniah, Shemaiah, Neariah, Elioenai, Hodaiah) appear to succeed Zerubbabel. However, Keil, Movers, Havernick, and others think that Zerubbabel's genealogy in this passage really stops with the grandsons Pelatiah and Jesaiah. And there is some reason for supposing with Bishop. Hervey, that these six names should not stand as six generations after Zerubbabel. But if both of these theories be inadmissible, we are still not necessarily driven to Prideaux's position, that the six generations, and the average length which he assumes for them, will bring us to the time of Alexander the Great, B.C. 356-324. There can be little doubt that he over-estimates the average of Eastern generations, and, if this be reduced to twenty years, we shall only be brought to a date varying between B.C. 420-410, within the probable lifetime of Nehemiah, and the very possible lifetime of Ezra. While, then, such a date as this is probably the latest which needs to be accepted, it stands to reason that the limit at the other extremity must not be placed simply at the time of the Return. In the nature of things, a work like the Chronicles, though but a matter of compilation, could not be executed offhand and rapidly at such a time. On the contrary, the unsettledness and the stir of the times would constitute the unlikeliest of conditions. Our general conclusion would be that, judging from infernal evidence, the date of compilation must be placed between a limit some several years subsequent to the Return and the year B.C. 410 or thereabout — how much nearer the latter than the former still uncertain. It may be added that Movers proposes the date B.C. 400, and that Zunz calculates the date r.c. 260 ('Gottesd. Vort der Juden,' § 31).

The evidence arising from style of authorship — of necessity limited and inconclusive in the matter of a compilation, but which, so far as it goes, favours the belief that Ezra himself was the compiler; and the evidence arising from style of diction, which exhibits many points of similarity with that of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther — certainly one Persian word, and not a few Aramaic peculiarities, such as the use of he for aleph, and the full forms of kholem and khirik — do indeed entirely harmonize with the position that the compilation was subsequent to the Return. Unfortunately, it is scarcely within their reach to point the exacter date with anything like certainty. Were it possible to identify Ezra positively as author or compiler, it need not be said that the limits of the inquiry would be very much narrowed. But it is just this which it is impossible to do. Of Chronicles, together with Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, Gesenius, in the Introduction to his 'Hebrew Grammar,' says that, as literary works, they are very "inferior to those of earlier date."


Who the author, or more strictly compiler, was is an undetermined question. The Talmud says, "Esra scripsit librum suum et genealogiam in Libro Chronicorum usque ad se." Again, P. D. Huet, in his 'Demonst. Evangelica ad S D. 4:14,' says, "Esram libros Paralipomenon lucubrasse, Ebreorum omnium est fama consentiens." It seems easier to feel persuaded that the compiler of Chronicles, and the compiler of at all events large parts of the work known as the Book of Ezra, were one and the same person (and even that the two works might have once been designed for a continuous whole), than to feel confident who that compiler was. There seems to be at present no really satisfactory explanation of the fact that the last two verses of Chronicles and the first two of Ezra are almost identical. The circumstance has been urged as an argument for the identity of author, but, so far as it goes, it would indeed rather favour a contrary supposition. It is scarcely likely that an author would do such a thing, though much more naturally accounted for as done by the deliberate even if unadvised design of some reviser, or by the error of a transcriber of later date. It must be confessed, however, that there is no evidence forthcoming to support such a charge of error, nor any appearance of it on the face of the passage itself. On the other hand, some of the best of modern criticism fixes the first chapter of Ezra as the very part of the work which cannot own to the same hand as the other part or parts, and assigns it, with vers. 9-23 of the last chapter of Chronicles, to the pen of Daniel. The resemblance of style to that of Ezra is indeed ample indication, as already seen, as regards the general period of the compilation of Chronicles; but it is insufficient to fix one compiler with the work of both. In fact, when we have reduced to the strictest compass the words and phrases common to Chronicles and Ezra alone, we find that they obtain quite as much between Chronicles and the part of Ezra least certainly his own workmanship (1. - 6.), as the part which almost all critics have accepted as his. These points of resemblance, however, as presented by De Wette and others, are well worth notice, and may be judged of by some few specimens. Compare, for instance, 1 Chronicles 15:16 with Ezra 3:12; 1 Chronicles 16:40 with Ezra 3:2; 1 Chronicles 23:3 with Ezra 3:8; 1 Chronicles 28:17 with Ezra 1:10 and 8:27; 1 Chronicles 29:5, 1 Chronicles 29:9, with Ezra 3:5; 2 Chronicles 3:3 with Ezra 3:11; 2 Chronicles 5:13 and 7:3 with Ezra 3:11; 2 Chronicles 12:14, 2 Chronicles 19:3, and 30:19 with Ezra 7:10; 2 Chronicles 26:15 with Ezra 3:13; 2 Chronicles 29:27 with Ezra 3:10; 2 Chronicles 35:5 with Ezra 6:18.

The following list ('Speaker's Commentary,' 3:158) also deserves attention, viz.: — The constant use of the phrase "King of Persia;" the describing the Jewish people as "Judah and Benjamin," found out of Chronicles and Ezra only once (1 Kings 12:23); the exclusive employment of the expressions, "the Sea of Joppa;" "take courage and do;" and the "daric" coin; the frequent employment of expressions, very rarely found elsewhere, as "Moses the man of God;" "Nethinim;" מֵבִין to designate absolutely one "having understanding;" שֶׂכֶל; and the three phrases, "expressly mentioned by their names" (1 Chronicles 12:31; Ezra 8:20, etc.), "prepared his heart to seek" (2 Chronicles 12:14; Ezra 7:10, etc.), "that reacheth up to heaven" (2 Chronicles 28:9; Ezra 9:6).

Though it cannot be said that we have the firmest ground of all on which to assert his workmanship of Ezra in Chronicles, yet these two things may be said with tolerable confidence:

(1) that the more it may become possible to identify Ezra as the compiler of the whole of the book that goes by his name (except probably the first chapter), the more near may we feel that we are approaching a reasonable decision as to the compiler of Chronicles; and

(2) that meantime the ancient traditional "consentiens fama," the indirect help of the Septuagint coming through the Book of Ezra, the points of resemblance of style, words, etc., some of which have been presented to view above, and the fact that the narrative "breaks off" during the lifetime of Ezra, combine to form no despicable force of evidence, even though it be not entirely conclusive, in favour of holding Ezra for the writer of Chronicles.


Although there are not a few interesting questions still unanswered on this subject, yet fortunately the compiler often refers with great distinctness to his authorities, i.e. to some of them. Before summarizing these, it may be most convenient to observe upon some of them, in the order in which they occur.

1. The compiler's first distinct allusion to an authority is found in 1 Chronicles 9:1; and it is the authority for the "genealogies of all Israel" which is there cited. These genealogies, if we lay special stress upon the word "Israel," have occupied the previous seven chapters (i.e. 1 Chronicles 2:1-40). And the authority cited appears, both in our Authorized Version and in our Hebrew text, as "The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah." But, as will be seen under the passage, the Masoretic pointing will give us rather, "The Book of the Kings of Israel" as the title intended by the compiler.

First, then, we observe either that this authority must, in fact, cover also the contents of ch. 1., or that we have no distinct statement as to the originals of that most interesting chapter. On these, therefore, we are left to speculate for ourselves. Now, the resemblance between it and what we have in Genesis in pari materia, is in substance and in order, though certainly not always in form, so close and almost identical, that we might be content, if it were necessary, simply to take for granted that the Book of Genesis and others of the earlier books of the Old Testament were, so far as they went, the sufficient though unacknowledged originals. However, inasmuch as we find about a similar amount and closeness of resemblance to Genesis and the other earlier books of the Old Testament in other portions (as, for instance, in ch. 2.) of our genealogies, such as do come strictly within the limits of genealogies of Israel, and which, therefore, are covered by the authority now in question, it is at least possible that this latter may by this time have incorporated the earliest materials of all, and so far forth have been an example, which the compiler of Chronicles now follows. Up in this point, then, whatever other authorities may possibly have been put under contribution by the compiler (and evidently not a few of the most ancient documents and memoranda were among them), all that he himself answers for is what is described as "The Book of the Kings of Israel."

Secondly, we may ask, what is known respecting this authority? What is it that is here intended by "The Book of the Kings of Israel"? This exact title, then, is found not at all in Kings, where, however, we do find above thirty times either the title, "The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah," or "The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel." It is found in three places only in Chronicles, and under remarkable conditions in each instance. The first depends upon the Masoretic reading, as explained above (1 Chronicles 9:1). The third shows the word דִּבְרֵי, in place of the familiar סֵפֶר; (2 Chronicles 33:18) And further, inasmuch as Manasseh, a King of Judah, is the person there in question, and inasmuch as the separate kingdom of Israel had collapsed now some eighty years, it can scarcely be that the title stands for a separate work of the kings of Israel as distinct from those of Judah. The second of the three passages (2 Chronicles 20:34) is doubly remarkable. Although Jehoshaphat, whose memoir is being spoken of, and his biographer, Jehu the prophet, the son of Hanani, are both of Judah, yet this latter prophesied principally to Israel; his writings, therefore, might have found their way possibly into a work that belonged distinctively to Israel, and, in fact, to say this may be the purport of the somewhat obscure last sentence of ver. 34. Three passages of this kind can scarcely be sufficient upon which to base the theory of the existence of a separate work entitled, "The Book of the Kings of Israel," distinct from a work, for instance, so often quoted in Kings as "The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel." Meanwhile we have reference made four times in Chronicles to "The Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel," and three times to "The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah."

A careful examination of these seven occasions, and comparison of them with their parallel passages in Kings (2 Chronicles 16:11 with 1 Kings 15:23; 2 Chronicles 25:26 with 2 Kings 14:18; 2 Chronicles 27:7 with 2 Kings 15:36; 2 Chronicles 28:26 with 2 Kings 16:19; 2 Chronicles 32:32 with 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 35:27 with 2 Kings 23:28; 2 Chronicles 36:8 with 2 Kings 24:5), show that all the cases in question are of kings of Judah, and that the authority cited in the parallel passages in Kings is always "The Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah." These facts give strong countenance to the positions,

(1) that it is the same authority substantially which is quoted, whether in Chronicles or Kings; and

(2) that at the time of the compilation of Chronicles, the two divisional works mentioned so often in Kings had come to be quoted as one, with a somewhat abbreviated title, of which it was not absolutely material whether it were quoted as "The Books of the Kings of Judah and Israel" or as "The Books of the Kings of Israel and Judah." In this last way R certainly is quoted three times, even when it is a King of Judah to whom reference is being made (2 Chronicles 27:2; 2 Chronicles 35:27; 2 Chronicles 36:8). This work must have been a full repertory of historical and biographical facts; for it is referred to not only as an authority, but repeatedly as the authority in which all minutiae may be found of "acts," "wars," and "ways" (2 Chronicles 27:7). Also that it was not coincident with any of our existing historical books is very clear from the fact that these latter are again and again found not to contain the very matters to which attention is directed (2 Chronicles 24:7; 2 Chronicles 27:7; 2 Chronicles 33:18, 2 Chronicles 33:19).

2. The second distinct allusion to authorities from which the compiler has drawn materials is found in our 1 Chronicles 29:29. That no intermediate reference has occurred is easily explained. Ch. 9. was more a matter of the compiler's own hand, taken from comparatively recent and comparatively known documents. The matter of the short ch. 10. will have Been included in the authorities now quoted, as well as in the previously cited authority. But all the rest up to the present point is what clusters round the name of David. For this stretch of subject, then, the authorities used are now quoted as "The Acts, or History [Authorized Version, 'book'], of Samuel the Seer," "of Nathan the Prophet," "of Gad the Seer." To these may be added an incidental allusion to a work evidently known by the compiler, viz "The Chronicles of King David" (1 Chronicles 27:24). Little or nothing else is known of these specific works, except what may be gathered from their names and conjectured from the nature of the case. Yet the contrariety of opinion as to what they were is considerable. Some are very strongly of opinion that these are not histories written by Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, but rather histories of them, and which therefore inevitably had much to say of David also. If on this theory it should appear remarkable that the authorship of those works is not attached to them, nor mentioned, this is but in harmony with the whole of the historical books of the Old Testament, with the exception of a portion of Ezra and of Nehemiah. Others think that in the work known with us as the Books of Samuel, and even of Kings, we have the above-named three or possibly even four "histories" and "chronicles". If so, it would be a thing to tempt remark that a work (like Samuel) which had David for its chief subject, even to the extent of three quarters of it, should have come down by the name "Samuel" (he not being the author), whose history occupies only a sixth part of the whole. Nevertheless, this sixth part comes at the beginning, and may very conceivably be the explanation of the name which stands as the title. When, however, all is said, the somewhat irresistible impression produced by the passage containing these authorities is that they are quoted there, at all events, as separate works; and the allusion to the "Chronicles of King David" (1 Chronicles 27:25) seems to confirm this reading. Lastly, the mode of reference to these authorities is observable. The very common formula of "the rest of the acts," etc. (2 Chronicles 9:29-31), is not employed here, but only "the acts," or better, "the history." We are left, therefore, quite undirected as to the proportion of his materials which the compiler of Chronicles drew from these sources, as also to the amount of his indebtedness to the works known with us as the Books of Samuel and Kings. And the interesting question is left unanswered, or anything but conclusively answered, whether any, and if so what, of the original authorities of Samuel and Kings were still safe at the time of the compilation of Chronicles, and may have been presumably common sources for both Samuel and Kings on the one hand, and now much later for our Chronicles. Among those who have with the greatest warmth espoused the position that our compiler used largely as his authorities the canonical Books of Samuel and Kings, are Movers, Do Wette, Ewald, Bleek, and Graf; and the direct contrary has been stoutly maintained by Havernick, Bertheau, Dillmann, and Keil.

3. The remaining references to authorities on the part of the compiler of Chronicles come more thickly when the work has passed well beyond its middle point. They are in the order of their occurring, as follows: —

(1) The Prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite (2 Chronicles 9:29).

(2) The Visions of Iddo the Seer, against Jeroboam (ibid.).

(3) The Acts or History of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 12:15).

(4) The Acts or History of Iddo the Seer, concerning Genealogies (ibid.).

(5) The Commentary of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22).

(6) The Acts or History of Jehu the son of Hanani (2 Chronicles 20:34).

(7) The Commentary of the Book of the Kings (2 Chronicles 24:27).

(8) Isaiah the Prophet, on Uzziah (2 Chronicles 26:22).

(9) The Vision of Isaiah the Prophet (2 Chronicles 32:32).

(10) The Acts or History of the Seers (Hosai?); 2 Chronicles 33:19.

(a) The word found in the above list (5), (7) as "commentary" (מִד׀רַש) is with little doubt the right reading of what appears as "story" in our Authorized Version. Though it is not found in this exact form elsewhere in the Old Testament, yet the verbal root is found several times, and in a sense which harmonizes with this interpretation. The rabbinic use of the word, however, determines this rendering of "commentary," or "a study" upon a subject.

(b) Again, of the Hosai mentioned in the above list (10) nothing is found elsewhere. There can be little doubt that the word is not the name of a person, but that it is either the mere corruption of some copyist or an erroneous emendation upon the just repetition of the expression, "the words of the seers," in the preceding verse. For this view Bertheau argues in his "Introduction."

Now, the whole of the above references to authorities seem to be clear of any ambiguity as regards their form of title, unless possibly the titles (3), (4), (6), (10), which resemble some already discussed, viz." The Acts or History of Samuel the Seer," etc. [2]. Yet surely the latter part of the titles (4) and (6) must be allowed to deliver them also from ambiguity. They must mean the histories written by Iddo and Jehu respectively. May not this reasonably determine all the other cases of the titles which contain the word "acts" or "history," especially when compared with the title "chronicles," as e.g. 1 Chronicles 27:24, where there need be no supposition that David was the writer?

The works themselves were evidently individual treatises on individual reigns or individual characters and periods of the nation's history. They were written probably exclusively by various prophets, even as such are mentioned for the larger number of them. The various times and subjects with which they had to do are made sufficiently plain on reference to each citation severally. As individual treatises, they would he likely enough to contain an amount and a kind of detail which a more general history, written after the lapse of some time, would be sure to exclude. The "Chronicles of King David" and the "Commentary of the Book of Kings" may be surmised to have been somewhat less specific in style of treatment, and somewhat wider in their range, than mist of the others. Traces of the absorption of some of these into a more general compilation are with considerable reason believed to be found in a passage already referred to in connection with the subject (2 Chronicles 20:34); and also, though this is not apparent from the reading of our Authorized Version, in 2 Chronicles 32:32.

In addition to the authorities quoted as though the compiler of Chronicles had been actually indebted to them, allusion is found to some others, on which he had not personally drawn, such as "The Writing of Elijah the Prophet" to Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21:12); and "The Lamentations," presumably written by Jeremiah, but not his work that goes by the title in our canon (2 Chronicles 35:25). To these might be added one remove further, however, "The Writing (כָּתָב) of David" and" The Writing (מִכְתָּב) of Solomon'' (2 Chronicles 35:4). These additional kinds of references may serve to show that a little store at all events of wealth in this sort existed once. Nor is it absolutely impossible that what has been lost may yet come to light.


1. As regards the contents of Chronicles, they may, perhaps, be best divided into three parts.

(1) Lists of genealogies, beginning from the very first, coming down to the tribes, and descending to different points in the history of these respectively (though neglecting Dan and Zebulon), to the time of the Captivity, and in some instances even later. With these genealogies are intermingled the ancient settlements of families and tribes and heads of houses, and a few brief but occasionally very significant touches of history. This portion occupies ch. 1-7.

This is succeeded (after a brief statement of the Captivity and the Return) by

(2) an imperfect skeleton sketch of the re-establishment in their ancient inheritances and settlements, and in some cases religious offices, of such families as returned, according to the houses of their fathers. This portion occupies only a part of one chapter, viz. 1 Chronicles 9:1-34.

(3) The third portion extends from 1 Chronicles 9:35 right to the end of the work. It consists of a connected history of the kingdom of Judah, introduced very naturally (1 Chronicles 9:35-44) by a repetition of that genealogical table which exhibited (1 Chronicles 8:29-38) the name and pedigree of Saul. Passing lightly over Saul, it dwells at special length on the career and reign of David, thence through all his successors of the line of Judah to Zedekiah, to the time of the Captivity and in effect, by virtue of its closing verses, to the dawn of the restored state.

One of the most interesting aspects under which to view the contents of this book is that which exhibits their relation to those of the works known as the Books of Samuel and Kings. The difference between the contents of these severally may be here noticed as a subject quite distinct from the question whether the compiler of Chronicles adopted direct from them those parts of his own work which are exactly similar to them — the negative reply to which question seems by far the more probable to us. The following is a list, tabulated by Dr. Davidson, of the chief passages found in Chronicles and not found in Samuel or Kings, viz.: — Ch. 12; 22; 23-26; 27; 28; 29; 2 Chronicles 11:5-23; 2 Chronicles 13:2-22; 2 Chronicles 14:8-14; 2 Chronicles 15:1-15; 2 Chronicles 16:7-10; 2 Chronicles 17:0; 2 Chronicles 19:0; 2 Chronicles 20:1-30; 2 Chronicles 21:2-4, 2 Chronicles 21:11-19; 2 Chronicles 24:15-22; 2 Chronicles 25:5-10, 2 Chronicles 25:14-16; 2 Chronicles 26:6-16; 2 Chronicles 27:5, 2 Chronicles 27:6; 2 Chronicles 30:1-27; 2 Chronicles 31:2-21; 2 Chronicles 33:11-13.

Side by side it may he convenient to place a list of the chief matters not found in Chronicles but found in Samuel or Kings, viz.: — 2 Samuel 1-4; 2 Samuel 6:20-23; 2 Samuel 9:0; 2 Samuel 11:2-25; 13-20; 2 Samuel 21:1-14, 2 Samuel 21:15-17; 2 Samuel 22:0; 2 Samuel 23:0; 1 Kings 1:0; 1 Kings 2:1-9, 1 Kings 2:26-46; 1 Kings 3:1, 1 Kings 3:16-28; 1 Kings 4:0; 1 Kings 7:1-12, 1 Kings 7:13-39; 1 Kings 8:56-61; 1 Kings 11:1-13, 1 Kings 11:14-40; 2 Kings 12:17, 2 Kings 12:18; 2 Kings 16:5-18; 2 Kings 18:4-8.

So also the accounts of Chronicles are occasionally much fuller, as e.g. 1 Chronicles 13., 15., 16., compared with 2 Samuel 6:0.

The order of not a few narratives in Chronicles differs from that found in Samuel or Kings. The chief of these, also furnished by Davidson, may be seen from comparing the following references respectively, viz.: — 1 Chronicles 11:1-9, 1 Chronicles 11:10-47; 1 Chronicles 13:0; 1 Chronicles 14:0; 1 Chronicles 15:0; 2 Chronicles 1:3-13, 2 Chronicles 1:14-17; 2., with 2 Samuel 6:1-10; 2 Samuel 23:8-10; 2 Samuel 6:3-11; 2 Samuel 5:11-25; 2 Samuel 6:12-19; 1 Kings 3:4-14; 1 Kings 10:26-29; 1 Kings 5:0.

Once more, there is a tendency manifested in Chronicles to detail lists of other names, quite outside the genealogy tables, and some of which are not found elsewhere. They are lists of persons connected with army, or temple, or with the families of individual kings. The following are some of the chief of such lists, viz.: — 1 Chronicles 11:26-47; 1 Chronicles 12:1-14; 1 Chronicles 14:4-7; 1 Chronicles 15:5-11, 1 Chronicles 15:17-24; 1 Chronicles 19:15-17; 1 Chronicles 24:7-18; 1 Chronicles 25:9-31; 1 Chronicles 26:14-19; 1 Chronicles 27:2-15, 1 Chronicles 27:16-22, 1 Chronicles 27:25-31; 2 Chronicles 11:5-10, 2 Chronicles 11:18-20; 2 Chronicles 17:7-18; 2 Chronicles 19:11; 2 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 23:1; 2 Chronicles 26:11; 2 Chronicles 28:7, 2 Chronicles 28:12; 2 Chronicles 29:12-14; 2 Chronicles 31:12-15; 2 Chronicles 34:8, 2 Chronicles 34:12; 2 Chronicles 35:8, 2 Chronicles 35:9.

2. The exact object of the work is nowhere stated with authority. The internal evidence, however, as to this, if not absolute, is of a character far from obscure. That evidence negatives at once any such theory of a merely supplemental character as might seem to be suggested by the Septuagint title. Although, in point of fact, the compiler of Chronicles certainly makes considerable additions, as may be easily tested from the above lists, yet, on the other hand, the identical repetitions (as in that case they would be) are too many to consist with such a theory, and the additions themselves have no appearance of being merely of a supplemental character. Nor, again, can that be esteemed a work supplemental to our Samuel and Kings, which occupies itself almost exclusively with the fortunes of the kingdom of Judah, and has nothing to say of the kingdom of Israel, except where the career of any of its kings may involve it specially with the history of Judah. This, then, reveals the first manifest token of the object of Chronicles. From the time that it leaves its early chapters of genealogies, it is concerned with the great and enduring line of Judah. Supposing that its place were, as some say, last in the whole Old Testament canon, and thereby nearest the dawn of New Testament events, and in particular the birth of Christ, so much the more in harmony would its place be with its contents.

There are, however, probably few books in Scripture which have deeper or distincter marks of individual character, and of specific and well-out-lined object. Occupied as it is with the line of Judah, we have been already forewarned, first, in the points at which some of the genealogies terminate, and then by. the contents of 1 Chronicles 9., that the whole retrospect is taken from a date subsequent to the Captivity and the return from Babylon. Though very much of the whole work was, without doubt, drawn from original sources — sources contemporary or nearly so with the events successively recorded — yet its general point of view as a compilation was essentially free from the obscuring influences liable to gather round the most scrupulous historian who lives in or very near to the times and events he would describe. Again, the more numerous and abundant the contemporaneous or original sources of information to the hand of the writer of a new shape of history, the more certain would it appear that he must have had some individual or special object in his mind in writing. Now, if there were none other conceivable, this might have been accepted as sufficient — that Judah should have its written national history to itself, since in itself the succession and vitality of empire now manifestly lay, and since promise and prophecy marked it as the line in which the Messiah was to come. Meantime, to the five-sixths of the whole work occupied almost exclusively with the history of Judah, it was quite natural nevertheless to prefix the general and complete genealogies of the whole people, as well as the earliest genealogies of all.

Somewhat closer examination, however, of the contents of the work seems abundantly sufficient to indicate additional and very probable explanations of the writing of it. The theocratic tone is uniformly and mush more distinctly audible from beginning to end. Great attention is visibly paid through the whole course of the history to matters of sacerdotal interest, and to matters of an ecclesiastical character generally, and to temple worship. The religious place, privileges, duties of the nation are redeemed to view prominently, and this without the slightest appearance of priestly design and priestly ambition, as has nevertheless been unscrupulously asserted. On the contrary, the exact appearance of what is written is that which might be expected, in the language of such teachers as would make a wise use, and would help others to make a wise use, of the suffering, discipline, and punishment through which, for neglect of those very things, they had been caused to pass. Any historian who belonged himself to the nation, and who wrote subsequently to the return from the Captivity, whether he were priest, Levite, or prophet, would surely wish to encourage and restore the spirit of the people. But to this very end he would write also with the desire to reform, would point repeatedly to the causes which had brought the nation to disgrace and ruin, would take every opportunity of holding up to memory the warnings and rebukes and neglected hortatory matter which had been once and again addressed to the decadent nation, and would lay stress upon those religious observances which would be strength and safety to the nation in the future. Moreover, with the temple rebuilt, nothing less could be expected than that its services and all its officers and their "courses" should be dwelt upon at considerable length.

Now, these are the indications which the work presents. It looks like the charter of the reconstruction of a shattered kingdom on its proper historical basis — that basis one pre-eminently of an ecclesiastical character or type. There is, indeed, one general pervading aspect belonging to Chronicles, which might well justify the character of supplemental which has been given to it. It may be said to be supplemental, not as to details and historical events, but as to restoring the balance of the ecclesiastical by the side of the prophetical or even political, and bringing to view the Church, which was the real framework of that state. Such seems to be the impression constantly made; and it is an impression not unfrequently caused as much by the remarkable omissions (as, for instance, of some of David's greatest offences and sins as an individual, yet non-ecclesiastical in their essence) of the history as by what is present and emphatically recorded.

Once more, the satisfactory resettlement, not only of all the force of the civil service, and service of the temple already alluded to, but also of the returned people and families according to the old and time-honoured territorial arrangements, must have often asked a ready reference to some compendious authority. It may be true enough that the old documents and archives relating in the most authoritative manner to the subject were neither destroyed nor at this time even temporarily lost or mislaid, else how could the materials of the present work have been obtained with sufficient certainty and commanded sufficient confidence? But the occasions that would arise for referring to such documents must have now been frequent as compared with the generations before the Captivity. And a proportionate need hence sprang up for a work of easy reference. And, furthermore, let it be granted that the Chronicles compilation was not completed till after the greater part by far of the returned families had already located themselves as best they could, and the servants and officers of the temple had become reinstated in due course and succession; yet a compendious work, to which reference could easily be made by appointed authorities, would be of amazing value for preventing strife, affording satisfaction, and proving title in time to come. This is provided manifestly by this book, and it is provided with all the help of the authority which would flow from family genealogies of oldest time, and from territorial arrangements of originally Divine appointment.


The historical credibility of Chronicles and the trustworthiness of the writer have been strenuously attacked. De Wette, in two works (the 'Beitrage' and 'Einleitung'), has made himself the leader of these attacks. And though, indeed, he has gone far to leave nothing for others to say in the same direction, yet Gramberg and Gesenius have been among his followers, and Theodore Parker, in his translation of the 'Einleitung,' has in some respects even outdone him. These, on the one side, have met with able responders in Dahler, Movers, Keil, Davidson, and Bishop Hervey. The general charges of De Wette are two in number.

(1) That the compiler, in an unscrupulous indulgence of strong Levitical prejudices, designedly misleads, writing up everything belonging to Judah that looked in the ecclesiastical direction, and writing down everything belonging to Israel. De Wette prefers even to deny him the loophole of being himself unconsciously misled by the strength of his alleged Levitical animus.

(2) And that he has a weak leaning to the "supernatural," in obedience to which he leans to the temptation of both inventing and exaggerating.

The first of these charges may be considered sufficiently disposed of by the far different position already taken in the previous section — one which admits of being amply sustained, and which explains the civil and religious features of the critical and important period of history, at some date in which this compilation must have been made. An almost indefinite amount of confirmation and illustration of that position might be produced; and the moral evidence points with remarkable clearness to it. In the history of the reforming nation there must have come the time and the circumstances to postulate exactly such a work. Without any symptom of collusion, the internal indications of this work are such as to harmonize with the supposed time and circumstances. And the account to be offered of the reasons of the prominence given to Judah, and to the matters of the temple services, and so forth, is sufficient to reduce the views of De Wette to little better than gratuitous, or at least blinded, assumptions; while there is nothing that can even simulate the appearance of evidence of the partiality of untruthfulness towards Judah or of prejudice against Israel. This may be asserted, but fails of anything like proof, when brought to the only test which we have, vis. in Samuel and Kings, among the many which we might have, in the numerous originals to which the compiler so often refers. And for these latter we should indeed be compelled to wait before it would be possible to condemn the writer of Chronicles as untruthful.

And as to the addictedness to the supernatural, alleged against him, perhaps even a more decisive reply can be furnished. For first, the total amount of matter of this kind in Chronicles is much less than in the earlier work, owing to the absence of those narrations of the sort which concern Israel, and which, in Kings, are not few in number. But further, respecting such as belong to Judah alone, the following references (see 'Speaker's Commentary'), showing some miracle-narratives peculiar to Chronicles: — Ch. 21:26; 2 Chronicles 7:1; 2 Chronicles 13:14-17; 2 Chronicles 14:11-13; 2 Chronicles 20:15-24; 2 Chronicles 21:12-19; are surely sufficiently counterbalanced by the absence of the following: — 1 Kings 11:29-39; 2 Kings 3:14-24; 2 Kings 19:20-34; 2 Kings 20:16-18; 2 Kings 23:15-17; and by the very spare allusion to Hezekiah's miraculous recovery (2 Chronicles 22:24 compared with 2 Kings 20:1-11).

Of less vague charges made by the same school against the trust. worthiness of the writer of Chronicles, instanced in particular passages, and of the nature of alleged contradictions, the treatment will be found, for the most part, under the particular passages in question. The following three lists, however, not altogether exhaustive, but conveniently classified by Canon G. Rawlinson, will serve to indicate the kind and the number of supposed contradictions, as well as the places where they are individually treated: —

1. Instances of alleged self-contradiction. Compare the following couplets: —

(1) 2 Chronicles 14:3, 2 Chronicles 14:5 with 15:17;
(2) 2 Chronicles 17:6 with 20:33;
(3) 2 Chronicles 30:26 with 35:18;
(4) 2 Chronicles 28:1 with 28:7.

Now, as nothing would more detract, and with justice, from the authority of any historian than instances of well-ascertained self-contradiction, it is necessary closely to examine these. (1) and (2). The first two are of an exactly similar kind. At the beginning of the long reigns of two kings (Asa, who reigned forty-one years, and Jehoshaphat, who reigned twenty-five), it is said that the king in question "took away the high places," and in the former of these two reigns, it is repeated with emphasis of Asa, that "he took away out of all the cities of Judah the high places." At or towards the end of each reign, it is said, "But" or "howbeit the high places were not taken away." The Hebrew text is in close accord with the rendering of our Authorized Version. Compare also 1 Kings 15:12, 1 Kings 15:14, where the words of the suspected "self-contradiction" are just avoided. Surely there is no necessary self-contradiction to be detected here. The one expression purports to say that, at the beginning of a long reign, the king "took away," i.e. ordered to be taken away, "the high places;" but that, at the end, it was found that the evil had not been effectually outrooted, and that, whatever had been the proclamation and the "perfect"-hearted purpose of the king, no doubt more or less successful for a time, the people had probably enough by relapse given in to the habit of using the "'high places." There is no need to suppose, with Movers, Dahler, Keil, and Bertheau, that two kinds of high places are referred to in these passages, even if there were at any time two such kinds. And it is not to be overlooked that, while strictly a self-contradiction would only have lain had it been said both that the "king did take away," and then elsewhere that he did "not take away," high places, on the contrary, the connection in both cases favours the view we have taken. For in the instance of Asa, several verses of 1 Chronicles 14:0. have just been employed to describe the earnest endeavours of the king to obtain the co-operation of his people; while in the case of Jehoshaphat the antithesis is expressed in so many words (2 Chronicles 20:32, 2 Chronicles 20:33), that while "Asa did that which was right in the sight of the Lord,... the high places were not removed: for as yet the people had not prepared their hearts unto the God of their fathers." The natural conclusion is that the two kings Asa and Jehoshaphat had done their part and had done their best, but had not permanently carried their people with them.

(3) Again, there is no adequate foundation for the allegation of self-contradiction in the language of 2 Chronicles 30:26 and 35:18. In the first place, the strict language of the former of these passages only says that there had not been "like" great joy in Jerusalem since the "time of Solomon." Let it, however, be granted that the festival itself is what is intended, and there is no denial whatsoever of such a feast having been held, but only of one accompanied by so much gladness and spirit and general joy. And in like manner the assertion of 1Ch. 35:18. can be understood to amount to this, that the feast of Josiah's time surpassed even that of Hezekiah's, while the date to which the memory is referred remounts not simply to Solomon's time, but to the "days of Samuel the prophet."

(4) And, once more, 2 Chronicles 28:7 offers no self-contradiction whatever. Rather the only difficulty lies in choosing between several manifest interpretations, e.g. if Maaseiah designates the son of the resigning king, viz. Ahaz, the unmentioned time of his being slain may have been towards the end of Ahaz's sixteen-year reign, when his son may easily have been upwards of sixteen years of age, though Ahaz did mount the throne aged twenty only (ver. 1). Then, again, the probability is strong that Maaseiah was, in fact, son of the previous king, Jotham, and that the expression "king's son" designates no natural relationship, but an office so termed held by him. The very verse favours the explanation in its mention of the other two slain, one as "governor of the house," the other as "next to the king;" and is more confirmed by the consideration of the only other occurrence of the phrase (1 Kings 22:26). Compare also 2 Kings 24:12 with Jeremiah 29:2. W. Aldis Wright, in Smith's ' Bible Dictionary,' well instances the expression "queen dowager."

2. Instances of some asserted contradictions of other Scriptures on the part of the writer of Chronicles. Compare the following couplets:— 1 Chronicles 3:15 with 2 Kings 23:31, 2 Kings 23:36; 1 Chronicles 3:19 with Ezra 3:2; 1 Chronicles 10:6 with 2 Samuel 2:8; 1 Chronicles 14:12 with 2 Samuel 5:21; 1 Chronicles 21:5 with 2 Samuel 24:9; 1 Chronicles 21:6 with 2 Samuel 24:8, 2 Samuel 24:9; 1 Chronicles 21:25 with 2 Samuel 24:25; 1 Chronicles 22:8 with 2 Samuel 7:5; 1 Chronicles 22:14 with 1 Kings 5:17, 1 Kings 5:18; 1 Chronicles 27:1-15 with 2 Samuel 15:18; 2 Chronicles 14:2-5 with 1 Kings 15:14; 2 Chronicles 17:6 with 1 Kings 22:43; 2 Chronicles 22:9 with 2 Kings 9:27; 2 Chronicles 23:1-11 with 2 Kings 11:4-12; 2 Chronicles 28:5 with 2 Kings 16:5; 2 Chronicles 28:20 with 2 Kings 16:7; 2 Chronicles 30:26 with 2 Kings 23:22; 2 Chronicles 33:11-17 with 2 Kings 21:1-17; 2 Chronicles 34:3-7 with 2 Kings 23:4. The above will be found to be dealt with in the order of the text.

3. Instances of supposed errors of the writer of Chronicles. Compare the following couplets: — 1 Chronicles 4:31 with Joshua 16:36 and 19:6; 1 Chronicles 11:23 with 2 Samuel 22:21; 2 Chronicles 9:12 with 1 Kings 10:13; 2 Chronicles 9:14 with 1 Kings 10:15; 2 Chronicles 35:25 with canonical Book of Lamentations; 2 Chronicles 9:21 and 20:37 with 1 Kings 10:22 and 22:48. A consideration of such difficulty as any of these passages may be thought to present will also be found under chapter and verse.

In conclusion, it may be affirmed safely that the most candid and at the same time the most searching examination of the objections made to Chronicles on the score of authenticity, by such opponents as have been under notice, leads to the conviction that not one of these objections can hold its own. There are, indeed, several numerical inconsistencies (e.g. 1 Chronicles 11:11; 1 Chronicles 18:4; 1 Chronicles 19:18; compared with 2 Samuel 23:8; 2 Samuel 8:4; 2 Samuel 10:18, respectively; and 2 Chronicles 8:18; 2 Chronicles 21:2; 2 Chronicles 36:9; compared with 1 Kings 4:28; 2 Kings 8:26; 2 Kings 24:8, respectively), which postulate for their only explanation the imperfect state of some of our Hebrew manuscripts, and especially in the passages which contain numbers. But this defect and misfortune are by no means peculiar to Chronicles. But for the rest, though cautious criticism may justly decline to dogmatize as to which of two or three possible ways out of a difficulty may be the way, and may constitute the explanation, there is no real lack of legitimate methods of escape. Out of a grand total of some thirty loudly proclaimed inconsistencies, there are not more than a fourth part at the outside which present any real difficulty. And of these, with perhaps one exception (2 Chronicles 20:36), one or other of alternative solutions of each problem will appear not less reasonable than plausible. The examination may justly tend to increase and not to diminish our faith in Chronicles and the writer thereof. Though it refuses to own to the description of anything merely supplemental to the preceding historical books, it is a most interesting and valuable complement to them.


These two subjects may be best considered in close connection with one another. As to the former of them, there seems nothing to excite so much as an inquiry or suspicion until we reach the very close of the work, or that which at the present stands as the close. The points from which the beginning is made speaks for itself. The connecting links of the genealogies, comprising (according to our threefold classification) the first part with the second, and that of the second with the third — the prolonged historical portion, which forms the bulk of the work — are as natural as they are evident. The historical part itself is continuous, and embraces in due order of relation that which would be expected at the hands of a writer who kept a certain defined object steadily and consistently in view. There is no abrupt break and no unaccountable gap in the course of it. The same satisfaction, how. ever, cannot be felt when we approach the close. There is some appearance of hurry in the treatment of the history of the last few kings. Next, the fact of the last two verses of the work, as it now stands, being identical with the opening verses of Ezra, is certainly startling and unnatural. If, therefore, we close the book with the verse that precedes them, we close it with a statement of the Captivity, it is true, but not of the Return, which is the very thing for which we should have looked. Perhaps it might appear safest to leave such a difficulty, which is of no pressing practical import, without the pretence of any very confident solution. Yet, were it not that it seemed a too convenient adaptation to the circumstances of the case, there is a great deal to lead to the view very generally assumed, as well by critics generally hostile to the character of the work (as De Wette) as by others (like 'Movers, Ewald, etc.) of a very contrary tone of criticism. According to this view, Chronicles, Originally finding its legitimate termination with the chapters now ranked as the Book of Ezra, suffers truncation there, and the last two verses remain an indication of the severance there effected. Meantime Ezra, made into a separate book, was placed where in the Hebrew canon we find it, in due historical order, after Daniel (the contents of which consist of some account of the period of the Captivity) and before Nehemiah, while Chronicles is relegated to the position of last in the canon in the Hebrew, though not last in our canon. Such an explanation postulates a certain anxiety to put the contents of Daniel into a convenient position at the expense of putting Chronicles into an unjust position, and leaving it with an inconsequential termination, and the management suggests rather mismanagement. However, it is none the less the fact that Chronicles is found in the position above described. It may suffice to point out that, whatever may be the fact or the actual explanation respecting the original order, no history itself is deficient which is a matter of prime significance. For in Chronicles, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, we have a certain catena of history from creation, through the period of the Captivity, to the rebuilding of the temple and the resettlement of Judah in the land after the Captivity.

The interesting point of the substantial unity of Chronicles is strikingly witnessed to in the internal evidence furnished by the work. Those very features which might have been expected to militate against both the probability of its unity, and especially against facility in proving that unity, do in fact contribute to the furtherance of that proof. It can scarcely be going too far to say that, in style and spirit, it is unmistakably one. It is most true that the very nature of genealogical matter might have been expected to render it almost out of the question to detect what sort of hand had been employed upon it, still less to pronounce with any confidence as to the sameness of the hand with that which penned the remaining and more historical part of the work. But on the contrary, the genealogical and other tables, as well

(1) by what they bring into prominence or else keep in the shade or even entirely omit, as

(2) by the distinct matter which they contain in the shape of interspersed reflections and moral points made and religious lessons taught, go to exhibit strongly the evidence of unity. The less such modes of overcoming the obstructions that genealogical matter would so naturally present, might occur to the mind, the more impressive is their evidence felt to be when it spontaneously presents itself. Thus, e.g., it is presumable that the genealogies and other tables affecting Israel in the older records were, upon the whole, not less full than those of Judah, even if we readily grant that there were well-understood reasons in providence from the earliest for the more special charge of the latter. Yet these genealogies give verdi marked preponderance to the line of Judah. The tribes of Dan and Zebulon are passed over, and scanty indeed is the reference to Israel, in respect of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh, at a most critical time (1 Chronicles 5:26). Compare, however, the significant allusion to Judah in the same chapter (ver. 2; as also ch. 28:4). The prominence afterwards given throughout the historical portion to Judah is, in fact, foreshadowed plainly enough in the early tabular chapters. Again, it is impossible not to notice that, so surely as the indications of the moral and spiritual objects of the work remount and insist on finding their place in the midst of old lists and tables of genealogies, so surely the genealogical disposition (as it has been conveniently termed) of the compiler or writer is constantly betraying itself, whenever there is a possible opening for it throughout the book. The celebrated forty or more parallel sections, again, tabulated by Keil and Davidson, etc., run with wonderful evenness of occurrence alongside the whole stretch of the history. Several phrases, which are of the rarest occurrence elsewhere, and in some cases are not to be found out of Chronicles, are in this book found indifferently in genealogy or in history, binding part with part. The same may be said of not a few grammatical forms, and which will be found noted where they occur. Much stress also has been justly laid on certain more general characteristics of the writer, such as his very brief touch of certain kinds of matter, his very shortened treatment of others, and, on the other hand, the uniform practice he observes from beginning to end, of making reference, with some variety and readiness to amplify, to the punishment visited on kings and people for their sins and disobedience. The "Levitical" spirit and the "priestly" spirit and the "theocratic" spirit, which have been so often remarked upon and not rarely so perversely, all find their explanation here; and meantime all help to attest the unanimity of one, not of many minds. The sum total of indications of one writer and one object and one unbroken work seems amply sufficient to balance a very few hitches, brief gaps, occasional abruptness, and some apparent inconsistencies, a large proportion of which probably await for their extinction nothing but the first competent collation of Hebrew texts. The Hebrew student will not read far, without discovering the corruptions and imperfections of our present Hebrew text. But if he read to the end, and microscopically examine every difficulty such as might probably be referable to the text, greatly as his interest and curiosity will be intensified, he will not find in them all the kind of indications that would lead him to suspect his author or his author's work. He probably may find many of a very opposite turn and character. The state of the Hebrew text in Chronicles, so far as regards passages in which numbers occur, is in very strict harmony with all similar kind of matter in any other part of the Old Testament. Uncertainty and inconsistency characterize all this kind of matter, and for reasons well enough known and existing in the language itself.


It can scarcely be said that the literature of Chronicles is very scanty in quantity, but it can yet less be said to be rich in quality, or very satisfactory so far as it goes. There are not wanting, however, indications of an improved and fairer style of criticism of the work, which will inevitably lead to some surer conclusions upon the greater questions involved in it; while help against the great and frequent corruption of the text may be confidently expected from that invaluable collation of the Massorah, about to be given to Hebrew scholarship by the indefatigable labours of Dr. Ginsburg. For the freer criticism and bolder challenging of questions suggested by Chronicles, we are, of course, indebted mainly and in the first instance to the theological expositors of Germany. Their views, so far as they may have anything characteristic about them, generally declare themselves in a pronounced manner, as of one or the other of two opposing schools. These schools are separated, not more by the evident and almost unscrupulous aim of the one to decry the authenticity of the work which the other consistently supports, than by an habitual disparaging treatment of its contents. The following list gives the more important critical treatises and commentaries: —

Bertheau: 'Die Bucher der Chronik. Erklart.' 1st edit., Leipsic, 1854; 2nd edit., 1860. A translation of this work in its first edition is found in Clark's Foreign Theological Library. This is the work of a fair and careful critic.

Keil: 'Apologet. Versuch. fiber die Bucher der Chronik.' 1st edit., Berlin, 1833. Of a much later work there is likewise an English translation in Clark's Library.

Zockler: 'Comment. fiber Chronik.,' in Lange's large 'Bibelwerk.' Of the whole of this 'Bibelwerk' there is an English translation in several imp. 8vo vols.

Moro's: 'Krit. Untersuch. fiber die Biblische Chronik.' 1st edit., Bonn, 1834. This work was provoked by the attacks of De Wette and Gramberg.

Gramberg: 'Die Chronik. nach. 1. Geschicht. Charak. fiber 1. Glaubwurd.' 1823. Graf: 'Die Geschichtliche Bucher der Alt. Test.' Leipsic, 1866. Zunz: 'Gottesdienst. Vortrage. d. Juden.'

Ewald: 'Geschichte. d. Yolks-Israel.' An admirable translation of this by Russel Martineau is published.

Dr. S. Davidson's latest editions of 'Old Testament Introductions.'
There are suggestions, discussions, and short articles of more or less original value, in various 'Einleitungen in Alt. Test.,' such as those of Havernick, De Wette, Eichhorn, Dahler, Keil, Schrader, Bleek, and in the article "Chronik.," by Dillman, in Herzog's 'Encyclopaedia.'

In the well-known English 'Bible Dictionaries' of Kitto (Alexander's edition), Dr. W. Smith, and Fairbairn, there are articles of interest, under "Chronicles," more of the nature of summaries than marked by original research or suggestion; as also in the eighth edition of the 'Encyclopaedia Brtannica,' by R. W—n; superseded in the ninth edition by one of much more comprehensive scope, written by Professor W. Robertson Smith.


The First Book of Chronicles falls into two parts. Part I. consists of a series of genealogies (accompanied by some few geographical and ethnical touches), beginning from Adam and extending to Israel (ch. 1.); thence in the line of Israel, on to David and the Captivity; and furthermore, as regards the family of David, to the building of the second temple, and as regards the family of Aaron, to Jozadak and his captivity under Nebuchadnezzar (1 Chronicles 2.-9.). Part II. is occupied with the history of David (1 Chronicles 10.-29.).

PART I. 1 Chronicles 1-9. 1 Chronicles 1:17 SECTIONS.

The genealogy of the human race from Adam to Noah and his three sons. 1 Chronicles 1:1-4.

Descendants direct and collateral of these three sons, including those of Esau and Seir, and the kings and dukes of Edom. 1 Chronicles 1:5-54.

The descendants of the tribe of —

Judah. 1 Chronicles 2.-4:23.
Simeon. 1 Chronicles 4:24-43.
Reuben. 1 Chronicles 5:1-10.
Gad. 1 Chronicles 5:11-17.
Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh. 1 Chronicles 5:18-26.
1 Chronicles 6:0; 1 Chronicles 6:0.
Issachar. 1 Chronicles 7:1-5.
Benjamin. 1 Chronicles 7:6-12.
Napthali. 1 Chronicles 7:13.
Manasseh. 1 Chronicles 7:14-19.
Ephraim. 1 Chronicles 7:20-29.
Asher. 1 Chronicles 7:30-40.
Benjamin (continued). 1 Chronicles 8:0.

The dwellers in Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 9:2-34.

Repetition (1 Chronicles 8:29-40) of the pedigree and house of Saul 1 Chronicles 9:35-44.

PART II. 1 Chronicles 10-29. — 27 SECTIONS.

The utter overthrow of Saul. 1 Chronicles 10:0.

The reign of David over all the kingdom. 1 Chronicles 11:1-9.

The list of his mighty men. 1 Chronicles 11:10-47.

The list of the adherents of David in Saul's time. Ch. 12:1-22.

The list of those who supported him on his enthronement. 1 Chronicles 12:23-40.

The removal of the ark, and its shelter in the house of Obed-edom. 1 Chronicles 13:0.

The palace of David, his wives, and the beginning of his victories. 1 Chronicles 14:0.

The successful removal of the ark, and services and feast in connection therewith. 1 Chronicles 15:16.

The unfolding of David's purpose to build a house for the Lord. 1 Chronicles 17:0.

David's wars with Moabites, Philistines, and Syrians; and his chief officers. 1 Chronicles 18:0.

David's victories over Ammon and Aram. 1 Chronicles 19:0.

David's wars with Rabbah and the Philistine giants. 1 Chronicles 20:0.

The fatal numbering of the people, the propitiation, and the establishing of the altar on Mount Moriah. 1 Chronicles 21:0.

David's preparations for the temple, and charges to Solomon and the princes. 1 Chronicles 22:0.

The Levites, their classes, families, and duties. 1 Chronicles 23:0.

The twenty-four classes of priests and Levites. 1 Chronicles 24:0.

The chorister families, and the choir-leaders. 1 Chronicles 25:0.

The porters and their duties. 1 Chronicles 26:1-28.

The officers and 1 Chronicles 26:29-32; 1 Chronicles 26:29-32.

The months' courses of army captains. 1 Chronicles 27:1-15.

The princes of the tribes. 1 Chronicles 27:16-24.

The stewards of the treasures. 1 Chronicles 27:25-31.

The king's special helpers and counsellors. 1 Chronicles 27:32-34.

David's address to Solomon in the presence of the great convocation of the princes. 1 Chronicles 28:1-10.

The building plans of the temple. 1 Chronicles 28:11-21.

The gifts of David and the princes, the thanksgiving of David, and breaking up of the solemn assembly. 1 Chronicles 29:1-25.

The close of the history of David's reign. 1 Chronicles 29:26-30.

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