In most English Bibles, the books of Chronicles are positioned after the books of 1 & 2 Kings and before Ezra—Nehemiah, reflecting the order of the Old Testament books in the Septuagint. The Hebrew title is “the events of the days” (דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִים, divrey hayyamim). The title “Chronicles” derives from Jerome’s title for the books, “Chronicle of the Entire Divine History” (Jerome, Chronicon Totius Divinae Historiae).
The books named 1 & 2 Chronicles in English Bibles were originally a single literary work. They were separated into two books with their translation into Greek in the Septuagint. Together, they would form the longest book in the Bible. Chronicles narrates the history of Israel, tracing its origins back to the creation of the world with the first human, Adam, to the end of the Babylonian exile and the beginning of the postexilic period. The focus of its history is on the southern kingdom of Judah. It also dwells on David and Solomon at length. Its narrative continues this emphasis on David by focusing on the Davidic monarchs.
—The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Lexham Press
Best Commentaries on 1 Chronicles
Roddy Braun, Word Biblical Commentary (WBC), Thomas Nelson, 1986, 311 pp.
Take a fresh look at 1 Chronicles and discover its meaning for God's people by examining its origins, textual witnesses, geo-political and historical context, and theological meaning. Examine 1 Chronicles’ parallel passages from Samuel and Kings and understand how Solomon’s temple functions as a unifying literary theme in the book. Organized for easy reference, Word Biblical commentaries make an ideal Bible study companion whether you are studying a single passage or a complete biblical book.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
Martin Selman, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (TOTC), InterVarsity Press, 1994, 274 pp.
The Chronicler addressed an Israel separated from its former days of blessing by a season of judgment. The books of 1 & 2 Chronicles bring a divine word of healing and reaffirm the hope of restoration. The Chronicler's theme is straightforward—the promises of God revealed in the Davidic covenant are as trustworthy and effective as the God who first uttered them.
- Level: Basic
- Type: Devotional
Sara Japhet, Old Testament Library (OTL), Westminster John Knox, 1993, 1,077 pp.
Sara Japhet explores the books of 1 & 2 Chronicles. Her critical perspective is both thorough and presented in a way that provides clarity for scholars and exegetes.
- Level: Advanced
- Type: Technical
John A. Thompson, New American Commentary (NAC), B&H, 1994, 392 pp.
Two such preachable Old Testament books deserve an affordable, pastor-friendly commentary! Wrestling with important issues of genre, historiography, and context, Thompson lucidly explains the key theological themes throughout the text. Featuring clear writing marked by exegetical sense and Scripture-honoring scholarship, his exposition is nicely seasoned with homiletically helpful summaries and application.
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Expository
Andrew E. Hill, NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC), Zondervan, 2003, 704 pp.
The Chronicles are more than a history of ancient Israel under the ascent and rule of the Davidic dynasty. They are a story whose grand theme is hope. Great battles are fought, heroes and tyrants vie for power, Israel splits into rival kingdoms, and the soul of God’s holy nation oscillates between faithlessness and revival. Yet above this tossing sea of human events, God’s covenant promises reign untroubled and supreme. First and Second Chronicles are a narrative steeped in the best and worst of the human heart—but they are also a revelation of Yahweh at work, forwarding his purposes in the midst of fallible people. God has a plan to which he is committed.
- Level: Intermediate
- Type: Expository
Best Books on 1 Chronicles
Among early Christian and Jewish writers, the books of Chronicles were tacitly understood as authoritative historical works. But in the Septuagint and Vulgate, these works were named “things left out,” suggesting that 1 & 2 Chronicles had only supplementary status in the canon. Jones begins his guide with an introduction, then tackles the genealogies (1 Chronicles 1–9), the united monarchy (1 Chronicles 10–2 Chronicles 9), and the divided monarchy (2 Chronicles 10–36). He then analyzes sources and method, authorship and date, purposes of writing, and theology of the books.Learn more
A Handbook on 1–2 Chronicles, Volumes 1 & 2 is part of the UBS Handbook Series. This is a series of “Helps for Translators” that present each book of the Bible from the unique perspective of Bible translators. The authors of this handbook provide a brief historical background to the two books and the world that the books represent. They offer an outline of 1 & 2 Chronicles that views them as a single document presented as two separate books in our Bibles today. The authors discuss the features of the books that the translator needs to be aware of in approaching the task of translation. Textual, exegetical, cultural, and linguistic information is provided, and suggestions are made for choices that translators will need to make.Learn more
By means of a final-form consideration of the Chronicler's narrative, this study focuses attention on Chronicles' portrayal of the interactive relationship between the Jerusalem kings and the Jerusalem cultus. The Chronicler's development of ancient Near Eastern royal and temple ideologies is examined—a development that allowed the monarchical ideologies to be applied to Judah long after kingship had ceased. How the Chronicler portrayed the relationship between the kings and the Jerusalem cultus allowed monarchical ideologies to be applied to Judah long after kingship had ceased.Learn more
The Jews who returned from exile in Babylonia to Jerusalem and Judah faced difficult and straightened times in which the bright hopes of restoration had faded. The Chronicler wrote his history partly to encourage his community to have faith in God's ancient promises to David, that better things would come to a penitent people. Although not often recognized as such, the books of Chronicles belong to the mainstream of biblical teaching on divine grace and hope, as the present study shows by analyzing its themes of reward and punishment and its teaching on the future. It differs significantly from the interpretation given by Sara Japhet in her monograph on Chronicles of 1989 and her major new commentary of 1993.Learn more
The 15 articles in this volume, arising from work in the Chronicles–Ezra–Nehemiah Section of the Society of Biblical Literature, engage with the author's thought and message through analysis of certain critical texts or by identifying and tracing larger themes through the work. The collection follows The Chronicler as Historian and The Chronicler as Author. Like these previous volumes, this book also endeavours to show the diverse approaches employed in Chronicles scholarship.Learn more
Best Courses on 1 Chronicles
Mobile Ed: BI205 Old Testament Exegesis: Understanding and Applying the Old Testament (15 hour course)
Embark on a journey of Old Testament Hebrew exegesis with Jason DeRouchie. The books of the Old Testament were the only Scriptures Jesus had. It was books like Genesis, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, and Psalms that shaped Jesus’ upbringing and that guided his life in ministry as the Jewish Messiah. It was these Scriptures that Jesus identified as God’s Word and that he considered to be authoritative; it was these Scriptures he believed called people to know and believe in God and guarded them against doctrinal error and hell. This course will give you the tools you need to access meaning in the Old Testament, then apply it to your life. It will help you to grow in reading God’s living Word for depth and not just distance.Learn more
Join David W. Baker on a whirlwind tour to explore the Old Testament from many different angles and how it relates to ancient Near Eastern literature. From creation accounts and stories of destruction to Wisdom Literature, discover different biblical literary genres that have parallels in ancient Near Eastern literature. Explore extrabiblical historical texts that mention key events and figures from the Old Testament. Understand how Israel fits into and is impacted by its ancient Near Eastern environment but also how it is separate and unique, mainly on a theological level but also by its distinct worldview.Learn more
In an age of international travel and migration, we’re familiar with people who look, sound, eat, and believe differently than we do. To become friends, it’s helpful to understand where they come from and how they do things differently, or the same, as we do. In the same way it is necessary to understand someone who comes from a different place than we do, how much more necessary is it to understand someone who is from not only a different geographical place but also a different time than we are? The Old Testament starts at the beginning of the world. This course will undertake the task of crossing the bridges of geography, climate, time, and a landscape unknown to us: ancient Israel. Throughout the course, David W. Baker will address aspects of life from our own culture and time, as well as family structure and societal systems from ancient Israelite life. As you learn more about the social world of the Old Testament, you will be struck not only by our differences but also our common humanity and that we share the same dreams, hopes, and fears as they did.Learn more
In this course, ancient-language expert Dr. Michael Heiser gives a thorough background of the Hebrew Bible’s writing, composition, canonicity, and transmission through the ages. This course also surveys text criticism—what are Hebrew scholars today doing with these ancient manuscripts? How does their work affect English translations of the Bible? By understanding criticism, your personal Bible study will be richer, even with little knowledge of the Hebrew language.Learn more