The Jews who returned from exile in Babylonia to Jerusalem and Judah faced difficult and straightened times, in which the bright hopes of the 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.
Brian E. Kelly is Dean of Chapel, Canterbury Christ Church, University College, Canterbury.