Books of Chronicles

The Book of Chronicles (Hebrew: דִּבְרֵי־הַיָּמִים Diḇrê Hayyāmîm 'The Matters [of] the Days') is a Hebrew prose work constituting part of Jewish and Christian scripture. It contains a genealogy from the first human being, Adam, and a narrative of the history of ancient Judah and Israel until the proclamation of King Cyrus the Great (c. 540 BC).

Chronicles is the final book of the Hebrew Bible, concluding the third section of Ketuvim. It was divided into two books in the Septuagint, the Paralipoménōn (Greek: Παραλειπομένων, lit. 'things left on one side').[1] In Christian contexts it is therefore known as the Books of Chronicles, after the Latin name chronikon, given to the text by scholar Jerome in the 5th century. In the Christian Bible, the books (commonly referred to as 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles, or First Chronicles and Second Chronicles) generally follow the two Books of Kings and precede Ezra–Nehemiah, thus concluding the history-oriented books of the Old Testament.[2]

Summary

Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern 1860 113
Rehoboam and Jeroboam I, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld

The Chronicles narrative begins with Adam and the story is then carried forward, almost entirely by genealogical lists, down to the founding of the first Kingdom of Israel (1 Chronicles 1–9). The bulk of the remainder of 1 Chronicles, after a brief account of Saul, is concerned with the reign of David (1 Chronicles 11–29). The next long section concerns David's son Solomon (2 Chronicles 1–9), and the final part is concerned with the Kingdom of Judah with occasional references to the second kingdom of Israel (2 Chronicles 10–36). In the last chapter Judah is destroyed and the people taken into exile in Babylon, and in the final verses the Persian king Cyrus the Great conquers the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and authorises the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the return of the exiles.[3]

Structure

Originally a single work, Chronicles was divided into two in the Septuagint, a Greek translation produced in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.[4] It has three broad divisions: (1) the genealogies in chapters 1–9 of 1 Chronicles; (2) the reigns of David and Solomon, taking up the remainder of 1 Chronicles and chapters 1–9 of 2 Chronicles; and (3) the story of the divided kingdom, the remainder of 2 Chronicles.

Within this broad structure there are signs that the author has used various other devices to structure his work, notably the drawing of parallels between David and Solomon (the first becomes king, establishes the worship of Israel's God in Jerusalem, and fights the wars that will enable the Temple to be built, then Solomon becomes king, builds and dedicates the Temple, and reaps the benefits of prosperity and peace).[5]

Composition

Origins

The last events in Chronicles take place in the reign of Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who conquered Babylon in 539 BC; this sets an earliest possible date for the book. It was probably composed between 400–250 BC, with the period 350–300 BC the most likely.[5] The latest person mentioned in Chronicles is Anani, an eighth-generation descendant of King Jehoiachin according to the Masoretic Text. Anani's birth would likely have been sometime between 425 and 400 BC. The Septuagint gives an additional five generations in the genealogy of Anani. For those scholars who side with the Septuagint's reading, Anani's likely date of birth is a century later.[6]

Chronicles appears to be largely the work of a single individual, with some later additions and editing. The writer was probably male, probably a Levite (temple priest), and probably from Jerusalem. He was well read, a skilled editor, and a sophisticated theologian. His intention was to use Israel's past to convey religious messages to his peers, the literary and political elite of Jerusalem in the time of the Achaemenid Empire.[5]

Jewish and Christian tradition identified this author as the 5th century BC figure Ezra, who gives his name to the Book of Ezra; Ezra was also believed to be the author of both Chronicles and Ezra–Nehemiah, but later critical scholarship abandoned the identification with Ezra and called the anonymous author "the Chronicler". One of the most striking, although inconclusive, features of Chronicles is that its closing sentence is repeated as the opening of Ezra–Nehemiah.[5] The latter half of the 20th century saw a radical reappraisal, and many now regard it as improbable that the author of Chronicles was also the author of the narrative portions of Ezra–Nehemiah.[7]

Sources

Much of the content of Chronicles is a repetition of material from other books of the Bible, from Genesis to Kings, and so the usual scholarly view is that these books, or an early version of them, provided the author with the bulk of his material. It is, however, possible that the situation was rather more complex, and that books such as Genesis and Samuel should be regarded as contemporary with Chronicles, drawing on much of the same material, rather than a source for it. There is also the question of whether the author of Chronicles used sources other than those found in the Bible: if such sources existed, it would bolster the Bible's case to be regarded as a reliable history. Despite much discussion of this issue, no agreement has been reached.[8]

Genre

The translators who created the Greek version of the Hebrew Bible (the Septuagint) called this book "Things Left Out", indicating that they thought of it as a supplement to another work, probably Genesis-Kings, but the idea seems inappropriate, since much of Genesis-Kings has been copied almost without change. Some modern scholars proposed that Chronicles is a midrash, or traditional Jewish commentary, on Genesis-Kings, but again this is not entirely accurate, since the author or authors do not comment on the older books so much as use them to create a new work. Recent suggestions have been that it was intended as a clarification of the history in Genesis-Kings, or a replacement or alternative for it.[9]

Themes

The generally accepted message the author wished to give to his audience was this:

  1. God is active in history, and especially the history of Israel. The faithfulness or sins of individual kings are immediately rewarded or punished by God. (This is in contrast to the theology of the Books of Kings, where the faithlessness of kings was punished on later generations through the Babylonian exile).[10]
  2. God calls Israel to a special relationship. The call begins with the genealogies (chapters 1–9 of 1 Chronicles), gradually narrowing the focus from all mankind to a single family, the Israelites, the descendants of Jacob. "True" Israel is those who continue to worship Yahweh at the Temple in Jerusalem, with the result that the history of the historical kingdom of Israel is almost completely ignored.[11]
  3. God chose David and his dynasty as the agents of his will. According to the author of Chronicles, the three great events of David's reign were his bringing the ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, his founding of an eternal royal dynasty, and his preparations for the construction of the Temple.[11]
  4. God chose the Temple in Jerusalem as the place where he should be worshiped. More time and space are spent on the construction of the Temple and its rituals of worship than on any other subject. By stressing the central role of the Temple in pre-exilic Judah, the author also stresses the importance of the newly-rebuilt Persian-era Second Temple to his own readers.
  5. God remains active in Israel. The past is used to legitimise the author's present: this is seen most clearly in the detailed attention he gives to the Temple built by Solomon, but also in the genealogy and lineages, which connect his own generation to the distant past and thus make the claim that the present is a continuation of that past.[12]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Japhet 1993, p. 1.
  2. ^ Japhet 1993, p. 1-2.
  3. ^ Coggins 2003, p. 282.
  4. ^ Japhet 1993, p. 2.
  5. ^ a b c d McKenzie 2004.
  6. ^ Kalimi 2005, pp. 61-64.
  7. ^ Beentjes 2008, p. 3.
  8. ^ Coggins 2003, p. 283.
  9. ^ Beentjes 2008, p. 4-6.
  10. ^ Hooker 2001, p. 6.
  11. ^ a b Hooker 2001, p. 7-8.
  12. ^ Hooker 2001, p. 6-10.

Bibliography

Beentjes, Pancratius C. (2008). Tradition and Transformation in the Book of Chronicles. Brill. ISBN 9789004170445.
Coggins, Richard J. (2003). "1 and 2 Chronicles". In Dunn, James D. G.; Rogerson, John William (eds.). Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Eerdmans. ISBN 9780802837110.
Hooker, Paul K. (2001). First and Second Chronicles. Westminster John Knox Press. ISBN 9780664255916.
Japhet, Sara (1993). I and II Chronicles: A Commentary. SCM Press. ISBN 9780664226411.
Isaac Kalimi (January 2005). An Ancient Israelite Historian: Studies in the Chronicler, His Time, Place and Writing. Uitgeverij Van Gorcum. ISBN 978-90-232-4071-6.
Kelly, Brian E. (1996). Retribution and Eschatology in Chronicles. Sheffield Academic Press. ISBN 9780567637796.
Klein, Ralph W. (2006). 1 Chronicles: A Commentary. Fortress Press.
Knoppers, Gary N. (2004). 1 Chronicles: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Doubleday.
McKenzie, Steven L. (2004). 1–2 Chronicles. Abingdon. ISBN 9781426759802.

External links

Translations

Introductions

Audiobooks

Books of Chronicles
Preceded by
Ezra-Nehemiah
Hebrew Bible Succeeded by
None
Preceded by
1–2 Kings
Western Old Testament Succeeded by
Ezra
Eastern Old Testament Succeeded by
1 Esdras
Achsah

Achsah (; Hebrew: עַכְסָה, also Acsah), was Caleb ben Yefune's only daughter. The meaning of her name is uncertain.She was offered in marriage to the man who would lead an attack on the city of Debir, also called Kirjath-sepher/Kirjath-sannah. This was done by Othniel, Caleb's brother's son, who accordingly obtained her as his wife.Achsah later requested, and was given, upper and lower springs of water (presumably in the Negev) from her father.Various Septuagint manuscripts, in various passages, give her name as Ascha, Achsa, Aza, and Oxa.

Assyrian captivity

The Assyrian captivity (or the Assyrian exile) is the period in the history of Ancient Israel and Judah during which several thousand Israelites of ancient Samaria were resettled as captives by Assyria. This is one of the many instances of forcible relocations implemented by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty-year demise of Israel's northern ten-tribe kingdom, although they did not overtake the Southern Kingdom. Jerusalem was besieged, but not taken. The tribes forcibly resettled by Assyria later became known as the Ten Lost Tribes.

Azariah (prophet)

Azariah (Hebrew: עֲזַרְיָה‎‎ ‘Ǎzaryāh, "Yah has helped") was a prophet described in 2 Chronicles 15. The Spirit of God is described as coming upon him (verse 1), and he goes to meet King Asa of Judah to exhort him to carry out a work of reform. In response to Azariah's encouragement, Asa carried out a number of reforms including the destruction of idols and repairs to the altar of Yahweh in the Jerusalem Temple complex. The Bible records that a period of peace followed the carrying out of these reforms (verse 19).

Azariah is described as being the "son of Oded" (verse 1), but the Masoretic Text omits Azariah's name in verse 8, suggesting that the prophecy is from Oded himself.

Babylonian captivity

The Babylonian captivity or Babylonian exile is the period in Jewish history during which a number of people from the ancient Kingdom of Judah were captives in Babylonia. After the Battle of Carchemish in 605 BCE, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged Jerusalem, resulting in tribute being paid by King Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim refused to pay tribute in Nebuchadnezzar's fourth year, which led to another siege in Nebuchadnezzar's seventh year, culminating with the death of Jehoiakim and the exile of King Jeconiah, his court and many others; Jeconiah's successor Zedekiah and others were exiled in Nebuchadnezzar's eighteenth year; a later deportation occurred in Nebuchadnezzar's twenty-third year. The dates, numbers of deportations, and numbers of deportees given in the biblical accounts vary. These deportations are dated to 597 BCE for the first, with others dated at 587/586 BCE, and 582/581 BCE respectively.After the fall of Babylon to the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE, exiled Judeans were permitted to return to Judah. According to the biblical book of Ezra, construction of the second temple in Jerusalem began around 537 BCE. All these events are considered significant in Jewish history and culture, and had a far-reaching impact on the development of Judaism.

Archaeological studies have revealed that not all of the population of Judah was deported, and that, although Jerusalem was utterly destroyed, other parts of Judah continued to be inhabited during the period of the exile. The return of the exiles was a gradual process rather than a single event, and many of the deportees or their descendants did not return, becoming the ancestors of the Iraqi Jews.

Book of Nathan the Prophet

The Book of Nathan the Prophet and the History of Nathan the Prophet are among the lost books of the Tanakh, attributed to the Biblical prophet Nathan. They may be the same text, but they are sometimes distinguished from one another. No such text is found anywhere in the Tanakh, so it is presumed to have been lost or removed from earlier texts.

The Book is described at 1 Chronicles 29:29:

Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer.

These writings of Nathan and Gad may have been included in 1 and 2 Samuel.This text is sometimes called Nathan the Prophet or The Acts of Nathan the Prophet. It is distinguished from a similar text referenced in 2 Chronicles, The History of Nathan the Prophet, which may both refer to the same text.

The History is described in 2 Chronicles 9:29:

Now the rest of the acts of Solomon, first and last, are they not written in the history of Nathan the prophet, and in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and in the visions of Iddo the seer against Jeroboam the son of Nebat?

Chronicles

Chronicles may refer to:

Books of Chronicles, in the Bible

Chronicle: chronological histories, like those in Category:Chronicles

Holinshed's Chronicles, the collected works of Raphael Holinshed

Book of Chronicles, an alternate name for the Nuremberg Chronicle of 1493

Chronicles: Volume One, Bob Dylan's autobiography

Chronicles (magazine), a conservative magazine from the Rockford Institute

Chronicles (Magic: The Gathering), an expansion set of the Magic: The Gathering trading card game

Chronicles of the Kings of Judah

The similarly named Biblical books are located at Books of Chronicles.The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah is a Lost work that gives a more detailed account of the reigns of the kings of the ancient Kingdom of Judah than appears in the Hebrew Bible. It is not believed to be Books of Chronicles since it is implied by the writer of Books of Kings that it could be used as a significant supplement to the writings contained in that book itself and Books of Chronicles adds little information at best and there is also a discrepancy in the dates of certain events between the two books.

The book is initially referred to at 1 Kings 14:29. The passage reads: "Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?" There are 15 biblical references in total.This text is sometimes called The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah or The Book of the Annals of the Kings of Judah.

Cyrus the Great in the Bible

Cyrus the Great (c. 600 or 576 – 530 BC) figures in the Hebrew Bible as the patron and deliverer of the Jews. He is mentioned 23 times by name and alluded to several times more. According to the Bible, Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, was the monarch under whom the Babylonian captivity ended. In the first year of his reign he was prompted by God to decree that the Temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt and that such Jews as cared to might return to their land for this purpose. Moreover, he showed his interest in the project by sending back with them the sacred vessels which had been taken from the First Temple and a considerable sum of money with which to buy building materials. The existence of the decree has been challenged.

Ephod

An ephod (Hebrew: אֵפוֹד ’êp̄ōḏ; or ) was an artifact and an object to be revered in ancient Israelite culture, and was closely connected with oracular practices and priestly ritual.

In the Books of Samuel and Books of Chronicles, David is described as wearing an ephod when dancing in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:14, 1 Chronicles 15:27) and one is described as standing in the sanctuary at Nob, with a sword behind it (1 Samuel 21:9). In the book of Exodus and in Leviticus one is described as being created for the Jewish High Priest to wear as part of his official vestments (Exodus 28:4+, 29:5, 39:2+; Leviticus 8:7).

In the Book of Judges, Gideon and Micah each cast one from a metal. Gideon's was dishonored (Judges 8:26-27); Micah's was revered (Judges 17:5).

Hazelelponi

Hazelelponi (also spelled Hazzelelponi or Asalelphuni; Hebrew: הַצְלֶלְפּוֹנִי, “shade facing”) is a biblical woman mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:3. Tzelafon was named after her.

Iddo (prophet)

Iddo (Hebrew: עדו ‘Iddō; also Jedo; Greek: Αδει, Αδδω, Adei, Addō) or was a minor biblical prophet. According to the Books of Chronicles, he lived during the reigns of King Solomon and his heirs, Rehoboam and Abijah, in the Kingdom of Judah.

John Richardson (translator)

John Richardson (born Linton, Cambridgeshire, c. 1564 – 1625) was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge from 1615 until his death.

John Richardson matriculated as a sizar from Clare College, Cambridge in 1578. He was made a fellow of Emmanuel College, and then Master of Peterhouse before accepting the same position at Trinity, where he was also Regius Professor of Divinity, and served in 1617 and 1618 as vice-chancellor of the university.Richardson was a skilled linguist, and he served in the "First Cambridge Company", charged by James I of England with the translation of the books of the Old Testament from the Books of Chronicles to Song of Songs (comprising most of the Ketuvim) for the King James Version of the Bible.

At his death, Richardson left a bequest of £100 to Peterhouse.

Mount Seir

Mount Seir (Hebrew: הַר-שֵׂעִיר‎; Har Se'ir), today known in Arabic as Jibāl ash-Sharāh, is the ancient, as well as biblical, name for a mountainous region stretching between the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, demarcating the southeastern border of Edom with Judah. It may also have marked the older historical limit of Ancient Egypt in Canaan. A place called "Seir, in the land of Shasu" (ta-Shasu se`er, t3-sh3sw s`r), thought to be near Petra, Jordan, is listed in the temple of Amenhotep III at Soleb (ca. 1380 BC).

Nimrod

Nimrod (; Hebrew: נִמְרוֹדֿ, Modern: Nimrôd, Tiberian: Nimrôḏ; Aramaic: ܢܡܪܘܕ‎; Arabic: النمرود‎ an-Namrūd), a biblical figure described as a king in the land of Shinar (Mesopotamia), was, according to the Book of Genesis and Books of Chronicles, the son of Cush, the son of Ham, son of Noah. The Bible states that he was "a mighty hunter before the Lord [and] ... began to be mighty in the earth". Extra-biblical traditions associating him with the Tower of Babel led to his reputation as a king who was rebellious against God.

Attempts to match Nimrod with historically attested figures have failed. Nimrod may not represent any one personage known to history and various authors have identified him with several real and fictional figures of Mesopotamian antiquity, including the Mesopotamian god Ninurta or a conflation of two Akkadian kings Sargon and his grandson Naram-Sin (2254–2218 BCE), and Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243–1207 BCE).

Oded (prophet)

Oded (Hebrew: עוֹדֵד‎ ‘Ōḏêḏ) is a prophet in the Hebrew Bible, mentioned in 2 Chronicles 28. He was from Samaria, and met the army of the northern kingdom of Israel, who were returning with captives from Judah. In a speech from verse 9 to verse 11, he urged them to return the slaves. He was joined in this plea by some of the Samaritan leaders, and it was successful.William Schniedewind notes that Oded is the only prophet in the Book of Chronicles who does not address a king. Schniedewind argues that this is because "in the Chronicler's view there was no legitimate northern king to address".A different Oded is mentioned in 2 Chronicles 15, as being the father of the prophet Azariah.

Priestly divisions

The priestly divisions or sacerdotal courses (Hebrew: Hebrew: מִשְׁמָר mishmar) are ritual work groups in Judaism. According to 1 Chronicles 24, they were originally formed during the reign of King David. However, modern scholarship treats these priestly courses either as a reflection of practices after the Babylonian captivity, or as an idealized portrait of how the Chronicler (writing in c. 350–300 BCE) thought temple administration ought to occur, with the reference to David being a method for the Chronicler to legitimize his views about the priesthood.The Chronicler refers to these priests as "descendants of Aaron." In the biblical traditions upon which the Chronicler drew, Aaron had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. However, Nadab and Abihu died before Aaron and only Eleazar and Ithamar had sons. In Chronicles, one priest, Zadok, from Eleazar's descendants and another priest, Ahimelech, from Ithamar's descendants, were designated by King David to help create the various priestly work groups.Sixteen of Eleazar's descendants were selected to head priestly orders while only eight of Ithamar's descendants were so chosen. The passage states that this was done because of the greater number of leaders among Eleazar's descendants. Lots were drawn to designate the order of ministering for the heads of the priestly orders when they entered the temple in Jerusalem. Each order was responsible for ministering during a different week and shabbat (This week is turn of Hezir), and were stationed as a watch at the Tabernacle. All of the orders were present during biblical festivals. See also Kohen. Their duties involved offering the daily and Jewish holy day sacrifices (korbanot in Hebrew), and blessing the people in a ceremony known as nesiat kapayim ("raising of the hands"), the ceremony of the Priestly Blessing.

Sayings of the Seers

The Sayings of the Seers (or Sayings of Hozai, in the Masoretic Text) is a lost text referred to in 2 Chronicles 33:19. The passage reads: "His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sin, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers."

The Sayings of the Seers could be a source text, or else an indication to the reader of matter for "further reading".

The Chronicler

The Chronicler is the author, or group of authors, to whom Biblical scholarship has attributed the composition of the Books of Chronicles, the Book of Ezra, and the Book of Nehemiah in the Hebrew Bible. Despite that these books contain overlapping and sometimes conflicting accounts, "almost all scholars agree that the four books were put together as a continuous story."

Books of the Bible
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