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Introduction to the Books of the Bible

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1 Chronicles





BOOK : 1 Chronicles

Description : historical book describing the reign of King David (after 9 chapters of family trees of Israel )

Author: unknown. Hebrew tradition suggests Ezra but may be a compilation of a number of writers.

Date written : unknown but possibly about 450BC.

Chapters : 29


Brief Synopsis:

•  Gets its name from the Hebrew title which can be translated ‘the events of the days or years'
•  As the outline below indicates, chapters 1 to 9 are the family trees of the tribes of Israel while the rest of the book covers the reign of King David.


Outline :


Ch.1-9 Genealogies: Creation to Restoration

Ch.1 The Patriarchs
Ch.2-4 Sons of Jacob/Israel & family of Judah & sons of Simeon
Ch.5 Reuben, Gad and the Half-Tribe of Manasseh
Ch.6 Levi and Families
Ch.7-9 Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher

Ch.10-29 The Reign of David

Ch.10 Death of Saul
Ch.11-12 Capture of Jerusalem ; David's Power Base
Ch.13-16 Return of the Ark ; Establishment of David's Kingdom
Ch.17 Promise of Dynasty 
Ch.18-20 David's Conquests  
Ch.21 The Census
Ch.22 Preparations for the Temple
Ch.23-26 Organization of the Temple Service
Ch.27 Administrative Structures of the Kingdom
Ch.28,29 David's Final Preparations for Succession and the Temple
Ch. 29 Succession of Solomon; Death of David


For sake of continuity in understanding we continue with 2 Chronicles
Ch.1-9 The Reign of Solomon
Ch.10-36 The Schism, and the History of the Kings of Judah

Ch.10-12 Rehoboam

Ch.13 Abijah

Ch.14-16 Asa

Ch.17-21 Jehoshaphat

Ch.21,22 Jehoram and Ahaziah

Ch.22-24 Joash

Ch.25 Amaziah

Ch.26 Uzziah

Ch.27 Jotham

Ch.28 Ahaz

Ch.29-32 Hezekiah

Ch.33 Manasseh & Amon

Ch.34-36 Josiah

Ch.36 Josiah's Successors & Exile and Restoration


Key Verses :


The end of Saul

10:1,6 Now the Philistines fought against Israel ; the Israelites fled before them, and many fell slain on Mount Gilboa …. Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together.

David becomes king

11:3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron , he made a compact with them at Hebron before the LORD, and they anointed David king over Israel, as the LORD had promised through Samuel.

Jerusalem taken

11:4,7-9 David and all the Israelites marched to Jerusalem …. David then took up residence in the fortress, and so it was called the City of David . He built up the city around it, from the supporting terraces to the surrounding wall, while Joab restored the rest of the city. And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him.

Guidance and triumph characteristics of his rule

14:8-11 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over all Israel , they went up in full force to search for him…. so David inquired of God: "Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?" The LORD answered him, "Go, I will hand them over to you." So David and his men went up to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them.

The Ark established in Jerusalem

16:1,2 They brought the ark of God and set it inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and they presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before God. After David had finished sacrificing the burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD.

David desires to build a temple – God promises a dynasty

17:1-3,10-14 After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, "Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent." Nathan replied to David, "Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you." That night the word of God came to Nathan, saying…… "I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: When your days are over and you go to be with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.' "

No mention of the Bathsheba failure

20:1, In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, Joab led out the armed forces….. but David remained in Jerusalem

But mention of the numbering falure

21:1,2 Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel . So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are."

Preparation for the Temple building by Solomon

22:5 David said, "My son Solomon is young and inexperienced, and the house to be built for the LORD should be of great magnificence and fame and splendor in the sight of all the nations. Therefore I will make preparations for it." So David made extensive preparations before his death.
23:1 When David was old and full of years, he made his son Solomon king over Israel .

David calls the nation to be faithful

28:1,2,8,9 David summoned all the officials of Israel to assemble at Jerusalem: the officers over the tribes, the commanders of the divisions in the service of the king, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of all the property and livestock belonging to the king and his sons, together with the palace officials, the mighty men and all the brave warriors. King David rose to his feet and said…..: " So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever. "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

David dies

29:26-28 David son of Jesse was king over all Israel . He ruled over Israel forty years--seven in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem . He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honour. His son Solomon succeeded him as king.



Concluding Comments

•  The writer(s) of 1 Chronicles clearly seeks to portray an encouraging picture of David's reign and of him being a foundation to the Messianic promise. Some suggest, therefore, that it was written by Ezra to encourage the restored people in the restoration after the Exile.
•  It omits the earlier life and experiences of David as seen in 1 Samuel and picks up the events from the death of Saul as seen in 2 Samuel. In many ways it is a more detailed explanation of David's reign but misses out much that is negative in 2 Samuel.
•  Compared with 2 Samuel there is NO mention of:
•  the seven-year reign in Hebron before the uniting of the kingdom,
•  the wars between Saul's house and David,
•  the negotiations with Abner,
•  the difficulties over David's wife Michal,
•  or the murders of Abner and Ish-Bosheth (2Sam 1-4).
•  The writer presents David as being immediately anointed king over all Israel after the death of Saul (ch. 11) and enjoying the total support of the people (11:10-12:40).
•  Subsequent difficulties for David are also not recounted.
•  No mention is made of
•  David's sin with Bathsheba,
•  the crime and death of Amnon,
•  the rebellion by Absalom against his father,
•  the flight of David from Jerusalem ,
•  the rebellions of Sheba and Shimei, and other incidents that might diminish the glory of David's reign (2Sam 11-20).
•  David is presented without blemish, apart from the incident of the census in which the writer shows David coming out of it well and purchasing land which will eventually be used for building the Temple .
•  In many ways, therefore, the historical narrative of 1 Chronicles concerning David is much lighter reading than that in 2 Samuel.
•  Chronicles includes many lists and names and explains the structure of David's reign far more than seen in 2 Samuel.
•  It has also been commented that there are more speeches in Chronicles (165) than in the parallel texts of Samuel and Kings (95) and these go to explain the thrust of what was happening.
•  We might conclude, therefore, that although our tendency is to focus on people's failings, the writer in 1 Chronicles does not do that in respect of David, in fact quite to the contrary. David is God's man which many good qualities and the write concludes, “ He died at a good old age, having enjoyed long life, wealth and honour.”
•  Perhaps to maintain balance we might finish with the record of the writer in 1 Kings: “For David had done what was right in the eyes of the LORD and had not failed to keep any of the LORD's commands all the days of his life--except in the case of Uriah the Hittite.” (1 Kings 15:5) [NB. The census was giving way to a temptation from Satan, not a failure of daily law-keeping and is thus excluded in this assessment.]
•  The New Testament testimony from Paul is also worth holding on to: “After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: `I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do,'” (Acts 13:22) echoing Samuel's words chastising Saul: “But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD's command." (1 Sam 13:14) What an excellent testimony to have.