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.
Today, as then, God redirects our vision from our circumstances in this turbulent world to the surety of his kingdom, and to himself as our source of confidence and peace. Exploring the links between the Bible and our own times, Andrew E. Hill shares perspectives on 1 and 2 Chronicles that reveal ageless truths for our 21st-century lives.
“To humble oneself before God in the face of insurmountable odds humanly speaking and to trust him fully for deliverance are the essence of biblical faith. As Jehoshaphat exhorts his people: ‘Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld’ (20:20)—that is, have faith in your God and you will find him faithful!” (Page 488)
“The fact that the Chronicler attributes the inciting of David’s census to Satan and not to the Lord (as in 2 Sam. 24:1) reveals subtle developments in Old Testament theology from the time of David to that of the Chronicler. As a result of God’s progressive revelation during those intervening centuries, the Hebrews came to understand the agency of Satan in relationship to God and the problem of evil. That is, as sovereign Lord, it is God’s prerogative to use Satan as his agent of testing and/or judgment to accomplish his redemptive purposes in the created order.6 This fact, however, does not absolve David of his personal guilt in the matter.” (Page 293)
“Williamson, almost humorously, has commented that the battle cry has been replaced by the Levitical chorale.58 The report of an army going into battle singing the praises of God is unique in the Bible, although music accompanies the appearance of the divine warrior when he executes judgment on the earth (Ps. 47; 96; 98). The event gives new meaning to the psalmist’s declaration that God’s ‘pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of a man; the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love’ (147:10–11).” (Page 491)
Andrew E. Hill (PhD, University of Michigan) is professor of Old Testament studies at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is the author of Malachi in the Anchor Bible commentary series. His articles have appeared in such scholarly publications as Hebrew Annual Review, Journal of Biblical Literature, and Vetus Testamentum.