CHRONICLES, BOOKS OF
B. Outline of Chronicles
D. Extent of the book
1. Relationship to Ezra-Nehemiah
2. Secondary elements within Chronicles
E. Date and place of authorship
1. Internal clues
2. The historical or theological situation addressed by Chronicles: alternate proposals
a. The schismatic Samaritan community
b. The era of Zerubbabel
c. Conditions of the 4th century
d. Conditions of the 3rd century
1. The text of Chronicles
2. The text of Samuel-Kings used by the Chronicler
1. Canonical sources
2. Non-canonical sources
a. Explicit source references
b. Implicit source references
H. Historical value of Chronicles
I. Some characteristic features of Chronicles
1. Royal speeches and prayers
1. Monarchy, cult, and temple
3. Attitude toward the North
A. Name. In the Hebrew Bible this work carries the title dibrê hayy*mîm, "the events of the days." The title Chronicles can be traced back to Jerome, who, in his Prologus Galeatus (a preface to the Books of Samuel and Kings), provided a more appropriate title, Chronicon Totius Divinae Historiae, or Chronicle of the Entire Divine History. In his German translation of the Bible, Luther called the book Die Chronik, which led to the familiar "Chronicles" in English Bibles. In the LXX, Chronicles is called Paraleipomena (hereafter Par.), that is, "the things omitted" or "passed over". The church father Theodoret interpreted this to mean that Chronicles assembled whatever the author of 1-2 Kings omitted though this view does not indicate that Chronicles has also omitted much of what is contained in the biblical books of Kings. The division into two books appears first in the LXX and has been standard in Hebrew Bibles since the 15th century.
B. Outline of Chronicles
I. Genealogical Summary of Israel’s Premonarchic History
1 Chronicles 1-9
A. From Adam to Israel 1 Chronicles 1
B. The Twelve Tribes of Israel 1 Chr 2:1-9:1
1. Judah 1 Chr 2:3-4:23
(The genealogy of Ram in 1 Chr 3 includes David and his
family, all subsequent kings of Judah, and the post-
exilic royal line).
2. Simeon 1 Chr 4:24-43
3. Reuben 1 Chr 5:1-10
4. Gad 1 Chr 5:11-17 (18-22)
5. Manasseh (Trans-Jordan) 1 Chr 5:23-26
6. Levi 1 Chr 5:27-6:66--Eng. 6:1-81. Cf. VIII. C. above
7. Issachar 1 Chr 7:1-5
8. Benjamin 1 Chr 7:6-12; 8:1-40; 9:35-44 (=8:29-40)
9. Naphtali 1 Chr 7:13
10. Manasseh (Cis-Jordan) 1 Chr 7:14-19
11. Ephraim 1 Chr 7:20-29
12. Asher 1 Chr 7:30-40
(Zebulun and Dan do not appear)
C. Post-Exilic Israel 1 Chr 9:2-34
II. The United Monarchy in Israel 1 Chronicles 10-2 Chronicles 9
A. Saul 1 Chronicles 10
B. David 1 Chr 11:1-29:30
1. Unanimous Support for David; Capture of Jerusalem 1 Chr
2. Transference of Ark to Jerusalem 1 Chr 13:1-16:43
3. The Dynastic Oracle of Nathan 1 Chronicles 17
4. David’s Wars 1 Chr 18-20
5. Designation of Temple Site 1 Chr 21:1-22:1
6. David’s Plans for the Temple
a. Solomon, the Chosen Temple Builder; David Acquires Materials for the Temple 1 Chr 22, 28, and 29
b. David Organizes the Levites 1 Chr 23-27 (Cf. C. 2. c. and I. 3. e.)
C. Solomon 2 Chr 1:1-9:31
1. Solomon’s Wisdom and Greatness; Preparations for Temple
Building 2 Chr 1-2
2. Building of the Temple 2 Chr 3:1-5:1
3. Dedication of the Temple 2 Chr 5:2-7:22
(Includes Transfer of ark to temple; Solomon’s prayer
at the dedication; Fire from heaven that consumes first
sacrifices; God’s Response to Solomon’s Prayer)
4. The Greatness of Solomon 2 Chr 8-9
III. The Divided Monarchy in Israel 2 Chronicles 10-28
A. Rehoboam and the Division of Israel; A Positive Period Followed by an Unfaithful Period 2 Chr 10:1-12:16
B. Abijah and His Appeal to the North 2 Chr 13:1-22
(His speech in vv. 5-12 and Hezekiah’s appeal in 30:6-9
bracket the period of the Divided Monarchy)
C. Asa and His Cult Reform; A covenant that includes
representatives of the North; A Positive Period Followed by
Unfaithful Period 2 Chr 13:23(--Eng. 14:1)-16:14
D. Jehoshaphat, His Cult and Legal Reforms, His Trust in Yahweh
and in his Prophets 2 Chr 17:1-20:37
E. Jehoram, an Evil King 2 Chr 21
F. Ahaziah, an Evil King 2 Chr 22:1-9
G. Athaliah, an Evil Interregnum 2 Chr 22:10-12
H. Joash and Jehoiada, His High Priest 2 Chr 23:1-24:27
1. Coronation, Covenant, Upright Conduct During Lifetime of
Jehoiada 2 Chr 23:1-24:16
2. Forsaking of Yahweh After Death of Jehoiada 2 Chr 24:17-
I. Amaziah: A Positive Period Followed by A Period of
Disobedience and Defeat 2 Chr 25
J. Uzziah: A Positive Period Followed by An Unfaithful Period Contracts leprosy because he entered temple and burned
incense) 2 Chr 26
K. Jotham, A Righteous King 2 Chr 27
L. Ahaz: Religious faithfulness of the South Overthrown;
Northerners Portrayed in Favorable Light; Both Kingdoms
Defeated 2 Chr 28
IV. The Reunited Monarchy of Israel 2 Chronicles 29-36
1. Cult Reform (Temple Reopened; Appeal to North to Return;
Centralized Passover; Destruction of cult sites throughout
Israel) 2 Chr 29:1-31:20
2. Sennacherib Defeated; Nations Bring Tribute 2 Chr 32
B. Manasseh: An Unfaithful Period; Imprisonment in Babylon;
Repentance and Cult Reform 2 Chronicles 33
C. Amon, an Evil King 2 Chr 33:21-25
D. Josiah: Cult Reform (Destruction of Cult Sites Throughout
Israel; Passover With Prominent Role Given to Levites) 2 Chr
E. Jehoahaz 2 Chr 36:1-4
F. Jehoiakim 2 Chr 36:5-8
G. Jehoiachin 2 Chr 36:9-10
H. Zedekiah: Destruction of Temple; Land Left to Enjoy its
Sabbaths 2 Chr 36:11-21
Postscript: 2 Chr 36:22-23=Ezra 1:1-3a
C. Canonicity. It is frequently asserted (e.g., Curtis and Madsen 1910: 3), apparently incorrectly, that the position of Chronicles at the end of the Hebrew Bibles indicates its late acceptance into the canon. Actually, there does not seem to have been much discussion about canonicity, perhaps because Chronicles included so much material found elsewhere in the canon (Willi 1972: 179); the book may have been granted canonical status at the same time as Ezra-Nehemiah. In some Hebrew manuscripts from Spain it appears as the first book among the Writings, where its worship emphases provide a fitting introduction to the following book of Psalms. Its now standard position at the end of the canon follows the practice of the Jewish community in Babylon. In the Septuagint and associated translations (e.g., Vulgate, Ethiopic), the order is Kings, Chronicles, 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras [=Ezra, Nehemiah].
D. Extent of the Book.
1. Relationship to Ezra-Nehemiah. Since the time of Leopold Zunz (1832), Chronicles has been considered by the majority of scholars to be part of the Chronicler’s History, consisting of (all or most of ) Chronicles and (all or parts of) Ezra-Nehemiah. Because this hypotheis has important implications for the date and meaning of Chronicles, and because it has been sharply called into question in recent years, the arguments for and against it must be reviewed and assessed. Arguments for the unity of Chronicles-Nehemiah include (Japhet 1968: 331-332):
a. The presence of the first verses of Ezra (1:1-3a) at the end of Chronicles (2 Chr 36:22-23).
b. The book of 1 Esdras, which duplicates 2 Chr 35-36, Ezra 1-10, and Nehemiah 8.
c. The linguistic resemblance of the three books, e.g., their common vocabulary, syntactic phenomena, and stylistic peculiarities.
d. The common point of view from which the history is treated, the method followed in the choice of materials, and the preference demonstrated for certain topics.
Re a: While the overlap may indicate where the story is continued, it does not in itself demand unity of authorship. The overlap can be understood equally well as support for diversity of authorship of Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah (Welch 1935: 186).
Re b: 1 Esdras is a fragment that breaks off in mid-sentence (=Neh 8:13); it probably once began at a point other than 2 Chr 35:1 as well. Those who argue that it is a translation of an earlier version of the Chronicler’s History, to which the Nehemiah Memoirs had not yet been added, posit a beginning at
1 Chronicles 1 (Pohlmann 1970) or at 1 Chr 10 (Cross 1975). Williamson (1977b: 12-36; criticized by McKenzie 1985: 20-23) holds that 1 Esdras is both a fragment and a secondary compilation, and he argues that the text of 1 Esdras 9:37 shows knowledge of Neh 7:72--Eng 7:73. Hence the compiler, in his judgment, was following a Vorlage in which Nehemiah 8 followed Nehemiah 1-7, not Ezra 10. He also maintains that it is unlikely that Par. and 1 Esdras, which derive from the same time (2nd century) and place (Alexandria), would both include the entire text of Chronicles. One can, of course, still argue from 1 Esdras that at least a part of Jewish tradition in the second century associated Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah 8 with one another and interpreted them along the lines of a Chronicler’s History.
Re c: Sara Japhet (1968) focused her attention on the linguistic differences between Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah while acknowledging general linguistic similarities. She found differences that could be classified as linguistic opposition, variation in technical terms (with Chronicles showing a stage in the use of these terms later even than the latest stratum of Ezra-Nehemiah), and stylistic traits peculiar to Chronicles and to Ezra-Nehemiah respectively. Cross (1975: 14, n. 58) and Polzin (1976: 55), however, hold that much of the linguistic opposition can be accounted for by arguing that the scribal tradition lying behind Chronicles was more consistent than that lying behind Ezra-Nehemiah (Throntveit 1982a: 203-204). Mosis (1973: 215, n. 23) believed that Japhet did not distinguish adequately between the linguistic usage of the Vorlagen taken over by the Chronicler, the pieces composed by the Chronicler himself, and secondary additions to his work.
Williamson (1977b: 37-59) investigated a list of 140 items (first drawn up by S. R. Driver [1913:535-40] and later expanded by E. L. Curtis and A. A. Madsen [1910:27-36]) that show similarities in style between Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah (the third argument for the unity of these books) and was able to eliminate all but six of these stylistic features as either irrelevant to the question of unity of authorship or as actually favoring diversity of authorship. In a recent study, Throntveit has shown that Polzin was only able to add two additional grammatical or syntactic features to the evidence for similarity of authorship. He concluded that "While Japhet and Williamson have provided strong arguments against the ability of linguistic analysis to prove common authorship, they have not shown separate authorship on these grounds." (1982a: 215).
Re d: While the priestly point of view, a focus on the temple and the cult, and a favoritism toward the Levites are among the themes shared by Chronicles with Ezra-Nehemiah, recent discussion has also identified possible theological differences between the two works, among which the following seem most convincing:
1) The concept of retribution and the terms related to it in Chronicles are almost entirely lacking in Ezra-Nehemiah (Braun 1979: 53-56; Williamson 1977b: 67-68).
2) The two works differ in their attitude toward the northern tribes, and in particular the Samaritans (Braun 1979: 56-59; Williamson 1977b: 60-61).
3) Chronicles plays a greater emphasis upon the Davidic monarchy (Braun 1979: 63).
4) In Ezra-Nehemiah there is mention of the election of Abraham and the Exodus, while in Chronicles there is a concentration on the patriarch Jacob (who is always called Israel) and a deemphasis on the Exodus (Williamson 1977b: 61-66).
5) The frequent references to prophets in Chronicles make it a prophetic history; in Ezra-Nehemiah, by contrast, the prophetic influence has virtually ceased (Williamson 1977b: 68).
6) The n*tînîm ("temple servants") and the sons of Solomon’s servants appear throughout Ezra-Nehemiah, but are absent from Chronicles, with the exception of 1 Chr 9:2 (Japhet 1968: 351-54; Williamson 1977b: 69).
7) In Chronicles, Israel comprises all twelve tribes, whereas in
Ezra-Nehemiah Israel is Judah and Benjamin (Williamson 1977b: 69).
Three main positions are held today on the existence of the Chronicler’s History: (a) Some affirm it, including all or parts of Ezra-Nehemiah within the history (e.g., Ackroyd 1984, Clines, Cross 1975, Freedman, Mosis); (b) Others (most notably Japhet and Williamson) believe that Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah are separate works by separate authors; (c) Still others (e.g., Welten, Willi) believe that the books are separate works by the same author. The ideological or theological differences between the books are perhaps the most convincing argument for diversity of authorship. While the question is by no means closed, the discussion that follows will assume the diverse authorship of these books.
2. Secondary Elements Within Chronicles. Since Martin Noth’s seminal work in 1943, the dominant opinion has been that one author was responsible for the book of Chronicles with some subsequent glossing of the text (Noth 1987:29-42 and Rudolph 1955:1-3). Much secondary Levitical material has also been detected in 2 Chronicles by Willi (1972:196-204). Major passages still in dispute include the following:
a. The genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1-9. Welch (1939: 185-186) and Cross (1975: 4-18; cf. McKenzie 1985: 30, n. 32) have proposed that the entire genealogical preface is secondary. Noth and Rudolph argued for the originality of a basic genealogical scheme later enriched with various secondary additions. In Rudolph’s case the secondary materials amounted to more than 75 percent of the text. Williamson, however, defends the substantial unity of 1 Chronicles 1-9 as part of the original book of Chronicles, though he does detect a few additions (e.g., 6:35-38--Eng. 50-53). These genealogies, like the rest of the book, show a concern for all Israel, for David and his dynasty, for the centrality of Judah and Jerusalem, and for immediate retribution. They call the patriarch Jacob "Israel" and show little interest in Moses and the Exodus.
b. Portions of 1 Chronicles 15-16. Rudolph considers 15:4-10, 16-21, 22-24, and 16:5b-38, 42 secondary (1955: 2; cf. Noth 1987: 35). Williamson (1982: 122-132) finds a priestly, secondary redaction in parts of 15:4, 11, 14, 18, 24 and 16:6, 38, 42.
c. 1 Chr 23:3--27:34 Noth (1987: 31-33) and Rudolph (1955: 3) dismiss all of this material dealing with David’s organization of the Levites. Williamson (1982: 158) detects a primary stratum in 23:3-6a, 6b-13a, 15-24; 25:1-6; 26:1-3, 9-11, 19, 20-32, assinging the rest of chaps. 23-27 to a pro-priestly reviser who flourished about a generation after the original author.
d. 2 Chr 36:22-23. Japhet retains this doublet of Ezra 1:1-3a, but Williamson declares it secondary (1982: p. 419) and so argues that the original book ends with 2 Chr 36:21.
E. Date and Place of Authorship. Jerusalem is clearly the place of authorship. If there was a Chronicler’s History, including all, or parts of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah, then the Chronicler must be subsequent to the work of Ezra (458 or 398 B. C. E. [7th year of Artaxerxes I or Artaxerxes II]) and Nehemiah (445-32 B. C. E.). Internal clues in Ezra-Nehemiah, such as the list of high priests in Nehemiah 12, also figure in this argument unless this list or the Nehemiah Memoirs in general are held to be supplementary to the original Chronicler’s History.
Those who find the genealogical preface of 1 Chronicles 1-9 secondary (e.g., Welch, Cross), or who find at least chap. 3 secondary, are not bound by the chronological implications of 3:17-24, which includes the exilic and post-exilic line of David.
The evidence for dating the books of Chronicles apart from Ezra-Nehemiah rests on the following types of evidence.
1. The mention of the rise of the Persian kingdom (2 Chr 36:20) makes 539 the earliest possible date.
2. Par. is cited in Eupolemus, ca. 150 B. C. (see F. 1.), and the translation of 1 Esdras, containing 2 Chr 35-36, also dates to the second century. Since some time would elapse between the composition of a book and the need for a Greek translation, a date of composition after 200 would seem to be impossible. Note also that Sirach 47:8-10 (ca. 190 B. C. E.) presupposes Chronicles’ description of David.
Decisions on the following evidence can narrow this three-century range:
1. Internal clues.
a. 1 Chr 3:17-24. This genealogy of the sons of Jeconiah (=Jehoiachin, exiled in 597 B. C. E.) extends for six generations following MT or eleven following Par. (see the commentaries). Depending on how many years one allows per generation, MT suggests a date between 400-350, and the LXX a date about 250. The assumption is that the author recorded the genealogy down to his own day.
b. 1 Chr 29:7. The mention of darics, a Persian coin not minted before 515 B. C. E., in the reign of Darius I, is here used anachronistically of contributions for the temple in the time of David. Presumably enough time would have to pass after 515 for an author to employ this anachronism. Mosis (1973: 105-06) and Throntveit (1982b: 128), however, believe this verse is secondary.
c. 2 Chr 16:9. The clause, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth," appears to be a citation of Zech 4:10. Since the prophet flourished in 520-518, a date for Chronicles must be somewhat later, though it is a matter of judgment as to how much time would have to elapse before the prophet could be referred to in such an authoritative manner.
d. The language of the book. Polzin (1976: 27-75) classifies the language of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah (exclusive of the Nehemiah Memoirs) as Late Biblical Hebrew, subsequent to P. However, it is doubtful whether the language by itself can be dated precisely within the post-exilic period since he has only shown similarity of language, rather than similarity of authorship, in the three documents (Throntveit 1982a: 215). The absence of Greek words and Hellenistic influence might favor an earlier date within this period.
2. The historical or theological situation addressed by Chronicles: alternate proposals.
a. The schismatic Samaritan community. Noth believed that the rival Samaritan cult was set up about the time of the fall of the Persian Empire and that the Chronicler’s work was a response to this in the third century. Recent studies, however, have changed the understanding of the Jewish and Samaritan schism. First, it is now widely held that the decisive break between the Jerusalemite and Samaritan communities did not take place before the time of John Hyrcanus at the end of the second century (Cross 1966; Purvis 1968; cf. Coggins 1975). Hence, to call the Chronicler anti-Samaritan is anachronistic. Secondly, the questioning of the unity of Chronicles-Nehemiah has led to the observation that the more exclusivistic claims are contained in Ezra-Nehemiah and not in Chronicles. Coggins has proposed that even in Ezra-Nehemiah we can detect only an anti-Samarian, rather than an anti-Samaritan attitude. Thirdly, the attitude toward the North in Chronicles is positive (See J.3).
b. The era of Zerubbabel (late 6th century). Freedman proposed that the Chronicler structured his history around the figure of David and his dynasty and defended the claims of the house of David in its authoritative relationship to temple and cult. The occasion for the book was the return from exile and the rebuilding of the temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua (parallel to David and Zadok respectively). Though the exact ending of the Chronicler’s History is unknown, according to Freedman, it included at least Ezra 1-3 and possibly Ezra 6:19-22 (1975: 183). The narrative of Zerubbabel and the temple has been supplanted by an Aramaic record (4:6-6:18) in the present work, which brings the picture down to 515 (1961: 441).
Cross (1975) proposed a modified version of this reconstruction, which postulates three editions of the Chronicler’s History. The first edition (1 Chronicles 10 through 2 Chronicles 34 plus the Vorlage of 1 Esdr 1:1-5:65 [=2 Chr 35:1-Ezra 3:13]) was composed in support of the restoration of Davidic rule, the building of the temple, and the establishment of the cult shortly after the founding of the temple in 520 and before its dedication in 515. The second (1 Chronicles 10-2 Chronicles 34 plus the Vorlage of 1 Esdras [2 Chr 35:1-36:23; Ezra 1-10; Neh 8; and the story of Zerubbabel’s wisdom and piety in 1 Esd 3:1-5:6]), was written after Ezra’s mission, in 450. The final edition (1-2 Chronicles; Ezra-Nehemiah), dated to 400 or a little later, incorporated the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1-9 and the Nehemiah Memoirs, but suppressed the title "servant of the Lord" for Zerubbabel in Ezra 6:7 and the story of Zerubbabel’s wisdom and piety (=1 Esdr 3:1-5:6). The 400 date is established by the Davidic genealogy in 1 Chr 3:17-24, the reference to Darius II (423-04) in Neh 12:22, and the references to the high priests Yohanan II and Yaddua II (late fifth century) in Neh 12-13. McKenzie (1985: 189-206) suggests that the earliest edition (=Chr 1) was based on Dtr 1, the pre-exilic version of the Deuteronomistic History (hereafter DH).
c. Conditions of the 4th century. Japhet (1971:533-34) points to the absence of Greek influence in the books of Chronicles, but also holds that they were composed after Ezra Nehemiah.
Williamson relates the emphasis on faith in Chronicles to the aftermath of the Persian suppression of the revolt led by the Sidonian Tennes (351-348 B. C. E.) though he admits the dating is only probable. Since he dates the pro-priestly reviser of Chronicles to very late in the Persian period (1979: 268), the original Chronicler may be placed a generation earlier.
d. Conditions of the 3rd century. Welten (1973) and Willi (1972), who believe that Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah were written by the same person but not as one work, are forced to a date after Ezra. Welten points to the growing tensions between Jerusalem and Samaria in post-exilic times and claims that the time of Ezra and Nehemiah was far in the past when Chronicles was written (1973: 200). The war reports, in his judgment, reflect the conflicts between the Ptolemies and the Seleucids in the first half of the third century. His appeal to the use of catapults in 2 Chr 26:14-15 as a war machine first in general use in the third century is mistaken since the passage in question refers to a platform on city walls from which stones and arrows could be fired (Williamson 1982: 338).
Conclusion: The suggested correlations with historical periods either seem tenuous or presuppose highly debatable literary-critical judgments (such as the original connection of part of Ezra with 1-2 Chronicles). The three internal clues from 1 Chr 3:17-24, 29:7, and 2 Chr 16:9 are more specific, suggesting the late 5th or 4th century. This fits well with Chronicles’ relationship to the Dtr, which underwent its final redaction in the mid 6th century and must have passed through several manuscript generations before it was used by the Chronicler. Hanson (1975:270) has argued for a date around 400 to account for the book’s even-handed approach toward the Levites following a period of great hostility in the 6th and 5th centuries.
Though a fourth century date seems likely, the uncertain nature of the evidence suggests caution when tying one’s interpretation to anything more historically specific than the general situation of post-exilic times.
1. The text of Chronicles. Since only four complete words from Chronicles are preserved in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the primary witnesses to the text, apart from MT, are two Greek translations and their respective daughter versions (e.g., Ethiopic, Bohairic, Old Latin, Armenian, Syro Hexapla, etc.). 1 Esdras contains only chapters 35-36 from the book of 2 Chronicles and was written in second century Egypt. Though its elegant Greek style is paraphrastic, making reconstruction of the Hebrew Vorlage more difficult than elsewhere in the LXX, it bears witness to an older and often shorter form of the text, differing both from the MT and the other Greek translation (Klein 1966).
This second translation (Par.) is also now dated to second century B. C. E. Egypt, primarily because the translation seems to have been known by Eupolemus (ca. 150) and shows Ptolemaic Egyptian coloring (Allen 1974a: 12). This translation is best preserved in the G family of texts (Vaticanus [=B]; cf. Sinaiticus and miniscule c2), of which the L, R, and O families are revisions (Allen 1974a: 65-108). G itself has been extensively revised (Allen 1974a: 142-174), so that its fairly close approximation to MT may result to a large extent from the recensional process. 1 Esdras may provide more direct access to the state of the Hebrew text in the second century. Par. does not seem to be a full part of the kaige recension since it does not share fully 10 of 19 translation characteristics, and its use of the other characteristics is sporadic and inconsistent (Allen 1974a: 137-141). C. C. Torrey’s opinion that Par. was written by Theodotion depended almost exclusively on the use of transliterations and is now generally rejected.
In synoptic passages, Par. often agrees with Samuel/Kings (Hebrew and/or Greek) against the MT of Chronicles. Allen argues extensively (1974a: 175-218) that Par.’s Vorlage and, occasionally, Par. itself have been assimilated to the Samuel/Kings text, thus removing changes introduced by the Chronicler. He concedes that in some of these cases Chronicles’ MT itself may be corrupt, and the proportion of such cases may be higher than he suggests. Allen considers Par.’s Vorlage to be a popular (vulgar) text (1974b: 167-168).
2. The text of Samuel-Kings used by the Chronicler. Great text critical interest has focussed on the character of the text of Samuel and Kings that lay before the Chronicler himself (Cross 1961:188-192, Lemke 1964, 1965; summary in Klein 1974: 42-50). Earlier scholars had assumed that the Chronicler used a text much like the MT of Samuel-Kings, though now it is clear that what he had was the Palestinian text of Samuel-Kings attested by Qumran mss (especially 4QSama), the Old Greek and the proto-Lucianic recensions of LXX, and Josephus. In a number of cases, historical or theological changes ascribed to the Chronicler have been shown to be part of the textual history of Samuel-Kings (examples in Klein 1974: 42-46 and Lemke 1965). McKenzie (1985: 119-158) distinguishes between Samuel and Kings, and claims that the Chronicler’s Vorlage in Kings was a proto-Rabbinic text type. This is not to deny the extensive rewriting of the Deuteronomistic History which the Chronicler undertook. But it does mean that before a change can be credited to the Chronicler, one must be sure of the textual shape of his Vorlage. Micheel (1983: 25), for example, detected the theological hand of the Chronicler in the notice in 2 Chr 18:31 that Jehoshaphat’s cry was answered by the Lord’s saving him since the reference to salvation is not mentioned in 1 Kgs 22:32. This reference, however, is contained in the (proto-)Lucianic text and therefore in the text of Kings that lay before the Chronicler. Many other variations between Chronicles and Samuel-Kings, to which no historical or theological significance has been ascribed, are also now explainable in this fashion (Klein 1974: 47-50).
1. Canonical sources. The author of 1 Chronicles 1 drew his genealogies from the book of Genesis. Other genealogical notices in 1 Chronicles 2-8 show strong ties to Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Joshua, Samuel, and Ruth. Psalms 96, 105, and 106 are cited in 1 Chronicles 16. There are also allusions to or evident knowledge of the books of Isaiah (2 Chr 28:16-21) Jeremiah (2 Chr 36:21), and Zechariah (2 Chr 36:9). But clearly the most frequently used canonical source is the Samuel-Kings corpus from the Deuteronomistic History. (For a convenient list of parallels see Myers [1965, II: 227-231] and for the textual character of Samuel-Kings see F. 2. above). A recent attempt by Halpern (1981:52) and Macy (1975) to show that both Kings and Chronicles were dependent on a common, deuteronomistic source has not been successful in my judgment. McKenzie’s proposal (1985: 189-206) that the Chronicler knew the Deuteronomistic History only in its pre-exilic redaction (Dtr 1) is also not persuasive. When Chronicles contains parallels to passages commonly assigned to the exilic edition of DH (Dtr 2), McKenzie either denies the exilic date of these pericopes from Kings or alleges that the passages in Chronicles (2 Chr 7:19-22 and 34:22-27) are themselves secondary. His argument, thus, appears to be circular.
The Chronicler’s use of Samuel-Kings is, of course, selective. For his depiction of David he utilized those materials from the DH that would enhance David’s qualifications as builder of the temple or highlight his position as a victorious and powerful king. Thus he omitted most of the narrative commonly known as the History of David’s Rise (1 Samuel 16--2 Samuel 5), in which David gradually gained ascendancy over Saul and kingship over all Israel, and almost all of the Succession Narrative (2 Samuel 9-20; 1 Kings 1-2). The reader of Chronicles is not told about David’s adultery with Bathsheba, his murder of Uriah, or the revolt of Absalom. These omissions are probably not the cover up they are sometimes portrayed to be, since the Chronicler could have presupposed that his readers already knew these stories. Rather, the Chronicler selected only those passages for his account of David that fit his positive agenda. Similarly, passages about the northern kingdom were omitted unless interaction with the south required their inclusion (e.g., 2 Chr 18:2-34, the joint campaign of Ahab and Jehoshaphat).
At times his selective citations ignored the original context. For example, 1 Chr 14:3-7 begins, "And David took yet more wives at Jerusalem" (=2 Sam 15:13-16), although 2 Sam 3:2-5, to which the "yet more" refers, is omitted by the Chronicler. He also picked up the story of the Jebusites caring for the body of Saul (1 Chr 10:11-12=1 Sam 31:11-13), but omitted 2 Sam 2:4b-7, the real goal of this narrative, where David congratulates the Jebusites on their actions and invites them to recognize his kingship (Noth 1987: 90, for other examples.
The Chronicler also sometimes rearranged the order of items from Dtr to serve his own interests. For example, the list of David’s mighty men was taken from 2 Sam 23:8-39, where it forms part of an appendix to 2 Samuel identifying acts of heroism. In 1 Chr 11:10-47, however,this list is placed within a series of lists of those from all Israel who gave David unanimous support in the early days of his kingdom.
Finally, the Chronicler combined items from his sources in order to avoid the unfavorable implications of the tradition. According to 1 Kgs 3:4-15, God appeared to Solomon at the high place of Gibeon, but the Chronicler added in 1 Chr 16:39 and 2 Chr 1:3 that the Tent of Meeting from the wilderness period stood at that site until the completion of the temple. Hence the possible impression that God had appeared at an illegimate sanctuary was avoided (Noth 1987: 94-95).
2. Non-canonical Sources.
a. Explicit source references. The Chronicler refers the reader to sources at the end of virtually every king’s history. Typical references include:
2 Chr 9:29 "The rest of the acts of Solomon, the first and the last, are they not written in the acts of Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, [and] in the vision of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam the son of Nebat?" (cf. 1 Kgs 11:41).
2 Chr 24:27 "Accounts of his sons, and of the many oracles against him, and of the rebuilding of the house of God are written in the Commentary [Heb midra¥] on the Book of the Kings" (cf. 2 Kgs 12:20).
2 Chr 27:7 "The rest of the acts of Jotham, and all his wars, and his ways, behold they are written in the Book of the kings of Israel and Judah" (cf. 2 Kgs 15:36).
While the names of the recorded sources may vary in Kings and Chronicles in these and other cases, we should probably not suppose that the Chronicler here referred to extant records which were available to him or his readers. Rather, these source references are paraphrases or interpretations of source references from DH. The following additional observations may be made:
(1). All of the references are found at the same place in Kings and Chronicles, even when the source reference does not come at the exact end of a king’s reign (e.g., 2 Chr 16:11; 20:34; 25:26). This makes unlikely the proposal that these source notices themselves come from sources other than the book of Kings (McKenzie 1985: 174). The unique addition of a source reference for David at 1 Chr 29:29 attributes the materials drawn from the Dtr account of David to the three prophets associated with David (Samuel, Nathan, and Gad), even though Samuel died before David took office.
(2). Other references to such sources as the acts, prophecies, or visions of a variety of prophets are merely new titles for the source references already contained in DH, indicating that in the Chronicler’s judgment the earlier history (DH) was a prophetic history (Nathan, Ahijah, Iddo, 2 Chr 9:29; Shemaiah and Iddo, 2 Chr 12:15; Iddo, 2 Chr 13:22; Jehu ben Hanani, 2 Chr 20:34; Isaiah, 2 Chr 26:22; Isaiah, 2 Chr 32:32). The mention of prophets in the source references occurs only for those kings who play an important role within the dynasty or in fostering the cult, that is, for those kings who are evaluated positively, in whole or in part, by the Chronicler. The source reference at the end of Solomon’s reign (2 Chr 9:29) refers to three "prophetic" records instead of "the book of the acts of Solomon" of 1 Kgs 11:41, even though all the materials in 2 Chronicles 1-9 are drawn from 1 Kings 1-11, with no evidence for information from additional sources.
(3). The reference to "the book of the kings of Judah and Israel" (2 Chr 16:11; cf. 20:34; 25:26; 27:7; 28:26; 32:32; 33:18; 35:26; 36:8 with minor variations in the name of the source), instead of "the book of the chronicles of Judah" (1 Kgs 15:23, etc.), shows the Chronicler’s interest in pointing out that Judah was part of that inclusive Israel which he maintained before his readers as an ideal (Williamson 1977b: 106-107, 128).
(4). There is no need to think of "The midra¥ of the book of the kings" (2 Chr 24:27) as anything other than a rephrasing of the source reference in 2 Kgs 12:20--Eng. 12:19.
b. Implicit source references. The question of the availability of additional sources is related to, though not identical with, the question of the historical value of the Chronicler’s additional information (see Section H.).
Most scholars agree that the genealogies in 1 Chronicles 1-9 came to the Chronicler from a variety of sources. Note the varieties of genealogical genres in these chapters (horizontal and vertical genealogies; some genealogies feature the word "begat," while others link the generations with "his son" or "the sons of" etc.), the varying amount of material for the various tribes, the mention of events (4:41; 5:10) not recorded elsewhere in the Bible, and the general obscurity of many of the names. (The same line of argumentation is probably applicable to many of the other lists of names in the book [e.g. 1 Chr 12, apart from redactional elements; chaps. 23-27].) 1 Chr 4:24-5:22 seems to have been drawn from a genealogy that included inter tribal history and geography, while chap. 7 was once a military census list.
The reference to Hezekiah’s tunnel in 2 Chr 32:30 and to Neco’s goal in his battle against Josiah (2 Chr 35:20), though not attested in the parallel passages in Kings, are regarded as historically reliable additional information that could not arise from exegesis of Dtr. (Noth 1987: 57-58). Again, the reference to the fortifications of Rehoboam in 2 Chr 11:5-10, which fits awkwardly in the context, must have been available in some kind of source. Williamson believes that the descriptions of armies in 2 Chr 14:8; 17:14-19, 25:5, and 26:11-15 are from a source (1982: 261-262; contra Welten 1973: 79-114). The interpreter of Chronicles in each case must decide whether the additional material in Chronicles comes from a source, and, if so, what the historical value of that additional information may be. The speeches and prayers of the kings and prophets are best understood as the Chronicler’s own compositions (see I. 1 and 2).
H. Historical Value of Chronicles. Opinions on this question vary widely in the scholarly literature. Wellhausen remarked: "See what Chronicles has made out of David! The founder of the kingdom has become the founder of the temple and the public worship, the king and hero at the head of his companions in arms has become the singer and master of ceremonies at the head of a swarm of priests and Levites....It is only the tradition of the older source [Samuel-Kings] that possesses historical value." (1957: 182). Among critical scholars, a quite opposite position was held by W. F. Albright (1950:66-69). He believed the Chronicler was correct in: (1) attributing a tenth century origin to the guilds of temple singers; (2) in listing towns fortified by Rehoboam in 2 Chr 11:5-10; (3) in the regnal years assigned to Asa; and (4) in his report of a judicial reform under Jehoshaphat. Albright admitted, of course, that the evidence was not one-sided and that it was "more difficult than ever to accept the stories of the wars of Abijah (II Chron. 13), Asa (II Chron. 14), and Jehoshaphat (II Chron. 15) "au pied de la lettre" since the numbers are exaggerated out of all relation to the possible facts (1950: 68-69). (For examples where the historical value of Chronicles is supported by archeology and related studies, see Hasel 1979: 668-669.)
In recent years, emphasis has focussed more on the Chronicler’s use of additional material, rather than upon that material’s historical value. Although Welten’s largely negative historical judgments about the building activities of various kings have not been unanimously accepted, he has found a wide following in his observation that the seven paragraphs dealing with building activities of a king in 2 Chronicles 10-36 are always included for kings whom the Chronicler judges positively (2 Chr 11:5-12, Rehoboam; 14:5-6, Asa; 17:12-13, Jehoshaphat; 27:3-4, Jotham; and 32:5-6a, Hezekiah) or, if a king has both positive and negative periods, within the positive part of his reign (2 Chr 26:9-10, Uzziah; 33:14, Manasseh).
Welten also evaluated the five reports of successful wars in Chronicles that have no parallel in Kings (2 Chr 13:3-20, Abijah; 2 Chr 14:8-14--Eng. 9-15, Asa; 2 Chr 20:1-30, Jehoshaphat; 2 Chr 26:6-8, Uzziah; and 27:5-6, Jotham). He pointed out that all the kings involved were positively evaluated by the Chronicler, at least for the portion of their reign when the alleged war took place. Welten’s own historical judgment is negative, believing that the Chronicler is merely giving a graphic description of the animosities that beset his third century community. The only historical source he allows in these accounts is in 2 Chr 26:6a.
In his recent commentary Williamson also deals with these five war accounts. He notes how these reports of successful wars and/or tribute illustrate a king’s faithfulness and complete reliance on God, his self-humbling repentance, or
the fact that a king was under God’s blessing. He also concedes that the Chronicler has in almost every case expressed the account in his own language, complete with the ideology of Holy War. When it comes to historical judgments, Williamson opts more often than Welten for some kind of historical kernel. On Abijah he cites the authentic-sounding place names in 2 Chr 13:19 (though see now Klein 1983) and wonders whether the Chronicler would have arrived at a favorable evaluation of Abijah had he not had some previous account of his victory over the North. He sees Asa’s reported battle against a million Ethiopians as an exaggeration of a local bedouin raid. Jehoshaphat’s war is interpreted, following Noth and Rudolph, as the magnifying of an originally fairly insignificant incident for didactic purposes. He finds the account of Uzziah’s war concise, specific, and historical, without the Chronicler’s usual lengthy expansions, though he dismisses 2 Chr 26:6b for textual reasons. Finally, on Jotham’s war he withholds historical judgment for lack of data.
This comparison of Welten and Williamson indicates that there is a tendency in current scholarship to recognize the extensive theological contribution of the Chronicler, whether the event is historical or not; that archeological and form-critical judgments are reaching new levels of sophistication (documented more in the works of the two scholars than in the above summary); that in many cases a positive or negative historical judgment reflects in part a given scholar’s overall evaluation of the historical value of Chronicles; and that in some cases there is no hard data that justifies a historical judgment one way or the other. Thus, Wellhausen’s views on David in Chronicles seem misdirected by today’s standards.
The Chronicler’s magnification of an account for theological reasons can be seen in his use of large numbers. Abijah, accompanied by an army of 400,000, attacked the army of Jeroboam, which was 800,000 strong and inflicted some 500,000 casualties (2 Chronicles 13). Abijah’s successor, Asa, supported by an army of 580,000, was able to stave off an invading horde of one million Ethiopians. These and similar numbers are totally out of line with what we know about ancient military forces, and they are in excess of what could have been mustered from the population of Israel or Judah. There has been a recent attempt to rationalize these numbers by understanding the word ‘elep as meaning, not 1,000, but a tribal subsection and the military unit that went to war from this subsection. (Mendenhall 1958; Myers 1965). In the usual reading of 1 Chronicles 12, 340,822 men made their way to Hebron to make David king, but Mendenhall reduced the number through his understanding of ‘elep to 15,290. In my judgment this attempt to lend plausibility to the numbers in Chronicles has not been successful, however valid it may be for early Israel. When Chronicles and DH both have large numbers, slight differences between the texts allow us to conclude that the Chronicler understood these figures as true thousands and not as military units (e.g., 1 Chr 19:7//2 Sam 10:6; 1 Chr 21:15//2 Sam 24:9; 2 Chr 2:1, 16, 17--Eng. 2, 17, 18//1 Kgs 5:29, 30--Eng.[EVV. 15, 16]). The proposed new understanding of ‘elep does not seem appropriate in a monarchical setting, nor does it offer an adequate interpretation of the tribal numbers within Chronicles (e.g., the sons of Bela in 1 Chr 7:7 number 22,034, but it is meaningless to speak of twenty-two military units with an average number per unit of 1.5 men). Note also the impossibly large numbers for other objects in Chronicles where the tribal/military interpretation of ‘elep is irrelevant (1 Chr 22:14--100,000 talents of silver and 1,000,000 talents of gold).
I. Some Characteristic Features of Chronicles
1. Royal Speeches and Prayers
The speeches and prayers of kings and prophets in Chronicles are frequently referred to as Levitical sermons (Von Rad 1966). Recent studies, however, have raised doubts about whether the Levites were specialists in preaching and whether these speeches should be classified as sermons. (Mathias 1984). Von Rad believed that the Chronicler was using a well-established genre and, apparently, actual sermons that were available. But the theological themes in these speeches are those of the Chronicler elsewhere, and Von Rad disparaged unnecessarily the literary ability of the Chronicler (1966: 277). Perhaps the most significant part of Von Rad’s work was his observation of the way in which these speeches base their appeal on an authoritative scriptural text (for 2 Chr 15:2-7, cf. Jer. 19:14; 31:15; for 2 Chr 16:7-9, cf. Zech 4:10; for 2 Chr 19:6-7, cf. Deut 10:17; Zeph 3:5, etc.).
Throntveit (1982b: 25-63), building on Braun, has distinguished the following genres in the royal speeches:
a. Edicts. A specific audience is addressed with an imperative that is to be immediately carried out (1 Chr 15:12-13; 1 Chr 22:5; 29:20; 2 Chr 29;31; 35:3-6).
b. Rationales. There is no specific audience, imperative or reported action, but the speech provides some rationale for a cultic action. (1 Chr 15:2; 22:1; 2 Chr 8:11; 23:25-32; 28:23).
c. Orations. Similar to edicts, but these speeches make frequent use of historical retrospects (1 Chr 13:2-3; 29:1-5; 2 Chr 2:2-9; 13:4-12; 14:6; 29:3-11; 30:4-9).
The royal speeches and prayers play a significant role in the structuring of Chronicles. The three speeches (22:7-16, 18-19; 28:2-8, 9-10, 20-21; 29:1-5) and the prayer of David (29:10-19) serve to link him with Solomon closely and place great emphasis on the temple as the joint project of the two kings and a united Israel. David’s participation in the building of the temple is bracketed at the beginning (1 Chr 17:16-27) and at the end (1 Chr 29:10-19) by prayers. Similarly, the period of the Divided Kingdom enclosed within speeches calling for repentance by Abijah (2 Chr 13:4-12) and by Hezekiah (2 Chr 30:6-9). Both speeches indicate the Chronicler’s openness to Northern participation in the Jerusalem cult.
The references to prophets, seers, and men of God in Chronicles can be divided into three groups (much of the following is drawn from Micheel 1983). The first group are thos taken from parallel accounts in Samuel-Kings (Nathan, 1 Chronicles 17; Gad, 1 Chronicles 21; Shemaiah, 2 Chronicles 11; Micaiah, 2 Chr 18:4-27; and Huldah, 2 Chr 34:22-28).
A second group is part of Chronicles’ additional material (Shemaiah in a second appearance, 2 Chr 12:5-8; Azariah, 2 Chr 15:1-7; Hanani, 2 Chr 16:7-10; Jehu ben Hanani, 2 Chr 19:2; Jehaziel, 2 Chr 20:14; Eliezer, 2 Chr 20:37; Elijah active in Judah, 2 Chr 21:12-15; Zechariah, 2 Chr 24:20-22; Oded, 2 Chr 28:9-11; an anonymous man of God and prophet in 2 Chr 25; Jeremiah, 2 Chr 35:25; 36:22). With the exception of Shemaiah, Hanani, Jehu ben Hanani, Elijah, and Jeremiah these individuals are unknown from other contexts. According to the Chronicler, the attitude shown toward the prophets also reveals one’s attitude toward Yahweh: "Believe in Yahweh your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed" (2 Chr 20:20). These prophets often link the results in a king’s domestic or foreign activities with his relationship to Yahweh though in a few cases success or failure is linked to the whole people’s behavior (e.g., Zechariah, Oded).
While some believe that all the words of these prophets were created by the Chronicler (e.g., Micheel), others hold that at least some of them were present in the traditions available to him (e.g., Westermann 1967: 163-168).
A third context is the source references which mention prophets or seers in connection with certain kings (Cf. G. 2. a).
The Levitical genealogies can be described as follows:
a. 1 Chr 5:27-41--Eng. 6:1-15 Two sets of Aaronic high priests, from Aaron to Ahimaaz, and from Azariah I (the priest in Solomon’s temple) to Jehozadak (who was exiled).
b. 1 Chr 6:1-15--Eng. 6:16-30 Each of the three sons of Levi (Gershom, Kohath, and Merari) is provided with a vertical genealogy of seven generations of ordinary Levites that connects to them through their oldest son. A seven generation genealogy of Samuel and his sons has been inserted into the Kohath genealogy.
c. 1 Chr 6:16-32--Eng. 6:31-47 Kohath, Gershom, and Merari are each provided with a vertical genealogy of fourteen generations of Levitical singers, ending with Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, the chief singers at the time of David.
d. 1 Chr 6:39-66--Eng. 6:54-81 No completely satisfying understanding of this list of Levitical cities or of its date is yet established. Mazar (1960) dated it to the time of the United Monarchy when there was an attempt to strengthen government control by stationing Levites in strategically significant administrative areas. Peterson (1977) proposed an 8th century date and believed that the Levites in these cities taught the people the Mosaic covenant. According to Spencer (1980), this list is a fictitious composition designed to explain the appearance of the Levites and their secondary role in the post-exilic period.
e. 1 Chronicles 23-26 (cf. D. 2. c) 1 Chr 23:3-6a: Four types of Levites, whose organization is credited to David; 23:6b-13a, 15-24: a genealogically based list of those in charge of the work of the house of the Lord; 25:1-6: a list of singers installed by David; 26:1-3, 9-11, 19: a list of gatekeepers; 26:20-32: a list of judges and officers. The Chronicler wanted to give Davidic authority to the role of the Levites in the temple of his day.
In five places (1 Chronicles 25; 2 Chr 20, 29, 34:30, and 35:15, the Chronicler identifies the singers as prophets or as performing prophetic activities. Petersen (1977) argues that the Chronicler hoped through these accounts to substantiate the Levitical singers’ claim to cultic authority as prophets in post-exilic society. This role is not (contra Mowinckel) a remnant of pre-exilic cult prophecy.
The standard terminology for cultic personnel in the Chronicler is "the priests and the Levites." The priests are sons of Aaron and descendants of Zadok. The term "sons of Aaron" seems to be used in place of "priests," especially when their rights over against the Levites are being stressed (2 Chr 26:18; 29:21).
The Levites consist of a wide variety of minor clergy, and any group that wanted to be a part of this minor clergy claimed to be a Levite, usually through the Kohathite Korah. Groups like the singers (1 Chr 6:16-24), the gatekeepers (1 Chr 9:17-26; 23:3-5; and 26:1, 19), and even the bakers (1 Chr 9:31-32), which in the sources used by the Chronicler were not identified as Levites, became Levites in the Chronicler’s interpretation.
Among the many tasks of the Levites was teaching. The Blessing of Moses describes them as teaching Jacob ordinances and Israel law (Deut 33:8-11). The Chronicler reports their teaching mission in Judah at the time of Jehoshaphat when they took with them the book of the law of Yahweh (2 Chr 17:7-9; cf. also 2 Chr 35:3; Neh 8:7). They also were in charge of various holy objects and prepared things such as the showbread (1 Chr 9:28-32; 23:29-31; 2 Chr 29:34). Jehoshaphat appointed them to be judges in Jerusalem (2 Chr 19:8-11), and they also served as scribes (1 Chr 24:6; 2 Chr 34:13). In addition, they led in singing and praise (1 Chr 15:16-24; 16:4-42; 2 Chr 5:12-13; 8:14; 20:19-22; 23:13, 18; 29:25-30; 35:15).
1. Monarchy, Cult, and Temple
The Chronicler gives an extraordinary amount of attention to David and Solomon, and in fact treats the two of them in equal or parallel fashion. David is approved by all Israel right after the death of Saul, with no reference to his conflicts with Saul (cf. 1 Samuel 16-30) or the divided character of Israel early in his reign (2 Sam. 1:1-5:3). His first act as king was to capture Jerusalem, the future site of the temple (1 Chr 11:4-9), to which he brought the ark (1 Chr 15:25-16:3). David arranged for the ordering of the priests and Levites, and assigned the latter a role as singers after their requirement to carry the ark hadbecome obsolete (1 Chr 16:4-7, 37-42; 2 Chr 7:6; cf. 1 Chronicles 23-27). He designated the site for the temple (1 Chr 22:1) after Yahweh had indicated his own approval for it by sending fire from heaven (1 Chr 21:26-30). He also made massive preparations for the building of the temple before his death (1 Chr 22:2-5; 29:2-5; cf. 28:12-18, which may be secondary).
Solomon, too, receives unanimous approval, even from the other sons of David (1 Chr 29:23-25). He makes his own preparations for building (2 Chr 2:2-16) and erects the temple on David’s site. He puts the ark in the temple (2 Chr 5:2-14) and installs the priests and Levites in their offices (2 Chr 8:14-15). While David had been prevented from building the temple because he had shed blood and waged wars, Solomon was a man of peace and rest (1 Chr 22:8-10). Designated by David, he was also the one chosen by Yahweh, specifically for the building of the temple (1 Chr 28:10; 29:1). The Chronicler is the only writer in the Old Testament to designate any king after David as chosen. Solomon’s idolatry as reported in 1 Kings 11 is omitted in Chronicles. Braun (1971b, 1976) has made clear that the speeches in 1 Chronicles 22, 28, and 29 tie together the two most significant parts of the history, the reigns of David and Solomon.
The work of David and Solomon centered on the building of the temple, with its completion appropriately noted in 2 Chr 8:16. These two kings alone were recognized by all Israel just as they alone ruled all Israel. The two of them were concerned both with the ark and the temple. Their words and efforts gave legitimacy to the Jerusalem temple as the only appropriate worship site. The North’s apostasy, according to the speech of Abijah, consisted primarily in its rejection of the temple (2 Chr 13:4-12). When Hezekiah appealed to Israel and Judah to repent, he called for a return to the sanctuary which God had sanctified forever (2 Chr 30:6-8). Hezekiah, in fact, is a kind of second Solomon. His passover is the first of its kind since Solomon (2 Chr 30:26), and its fourteen-day duration (2 Chr 30:23) echoes the duration of the temple dedication under Solomon (2 Chr 7:8-9). Apparently, the Chronicler was calling on all Israel of his day, including especially the North (see below), to join in recognizing the legitimacy of the second temple in Jerusalem, the heir of the temple erected by David and Solomon. The rebuilt temple could be seen as the major fulfillment of God’s promise to David through Nathan (2 Chr 6:10-11; cf. 1 Chr 17).
Is the significance of the monarchy only to be found in its
legitimation of the post-exilic theocracy and/or the post-exilic temple? Or does the Chronicler hope for a restoration of the monarchy? Note that kingship in Israel is equated with the kingdom of God (1 Chr 28:5; 29:23; 2 Chr 13:8) and that it is inalienably linked to the Davidic dynasty (1 Chr 17:13).
Otto Plöger believes that David and Solomon created for the temple those ordinances on which the acceptable worship of the present community depended, and that the work itself is anti-eschatological. Freedman, Cross, and Newsome, on the other hand,
detect in the Chronicler hope for a restoration of the monarchy under Zerubbabel. For Freedman and Cross, this also entails including parts of Ezra in the original book of Chronicles, an interpretation we have decided not to follow.
Mosis (1973) proposes an alternate eschatological scenario, viewing Saul, David, and Solomon as symbolic representations of the exile, the restoration, and the ideal eschatological future respectively. His case falls, among other reasons, because of the unity between David and Solomon noted above, and also because it presupposes the unity of Chronicles-Nehemiah.
Williamson (1977a) detects a subtle, "royalist" eschatology in 2 Chr 6:41-42 (a modification of the Vorlage we know as Psalm 132:8-10). Verse 42 reads: "Remember thy steadfast love for David thy servant." This verse is a reapplication of Isa 55: 3, which had broadened the promise to David to include all of Israel. Now this promise is again understood dynastically, suggesting that the prophecy of Nathan was only partially exhausted with the completion of the temple. In the Chronicler’s view, the dynastic promise had become unconditional thanks to the promise of God and the carrying out of the conditions of this promise by Solomon, particularly in the building of the temple. (cf. 1 Chr 28:7, 9; 2 Chr 6:16; 7:17-18). The Chronicler believed that a brighter future lay in store for an obedient people, and a restoration of the monarchy may well have been part of his future hope. Immediately after Solomon’s prayer for God to remember his promise to David, fire came down from heaven and consumed the sacrifices in the temple (2 Chr 7:1). This would seem to be an implicit yes to Solomon’s prayer (cf. also 2 Chr 7:21-22; 13:5-8; 21:7).
The Chronicler often interprets divine punishments or blessings as a retributive response to a king’s behavior (Wellhausen 1957: 203-208; cf. Von Rad 1962: 348-349). Rehoboam, for example, was attacked by Shishak I in his fifth year (1 Kgs 14:25-26) because he had forsaken the law of Yahweh the previous year (2 Chr 12:1). Asa became seriously ill in his old age (1 Kgs 15:23) because he had not relied on Yahweh in a war with Baasha and had imprisoned a prophet who rebuked him (2 Chr 16:7-10). Afflicted with leprosy, Azariah/Uzziah had to abdicate (2 Kgs 15:5), but it is only in Chronicles that we learn that his illness resulted from his pride and his assumption of the right to burn incense (2 Chr 26:16-21). In each of the above cases, the Chronicler has provided a theological rationale for an event reported in the books of Kings. Retribution is immediate, with the consequences befalling the evil or righteous king during his own lifetime. This threatens to break down the unity of history achieved by Dtr into a large number of single actions of Yahweh (Von Rad 1962: 350).
In his descriptions of positive behavior, the writer delights in words like "seek" (Heb d*ra¥) or "rely on" (¥**an; Braun 1979: 53-54). David says to Solomon, "If you seek him, he will be found by you." (1 Chr 28:9). For negative behavior, the Chronicler charges that the person in question forsakes Yahweh, his law, or the temple; acts unfaithfully; engages in foreign alliances; and fails to give heed to Yahweh’s prophets (Braun 1979: 54). Faithful royal behavior is accompanied by many children, building projects, a well-equipped army, victory in war, cultic reforms, or tribute from the nations (Welten 1973). A wicked king experienced God’s wrath, war, defeat in battle, disease, or conspiracy. Note the Chronicler’s summation of Saul’s reign: "So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord...and did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord slew him." (1 Chr 10:13-14). The concept of retribution and the specific terms associated with it are almost entirely absent from Ezra-Nehemiah, an argument noted by those who favor separate authorship.
This retribution, however, is not mechanistic or inescapable. A king like Rehoboam who repents (2 Chr 12:13; cf. 2 Chr 7:14 and its references to humbling oneself, praying, seeking God’s face and turning) experiences some deliverance (2 Chr 12:7) and is not completely destroyed (2 Chr 12:12). Prophets are often sent to warn the king before a judgment falls, sometimes with success (cf. Rehoboam above) but often without (e.g., 2 Chr 16:10-12). Throntveit notes that the ten prophetic speeches between Abijah’s sermon in 2 Chronicles 13 and Hezekiah’s appeal to the North in 2 Chronicles 30 all enunciate the doctrine of retributive justice (Throntveit 1982b: 163-165). Retribution is more than a grid spread out over Israel’s history; it is also a call for faith addressed to the Chronicler’s audience. Just as repentance in the past led to divine favor, so faithfulness in the writer’s present would have similar positive results. This aspect of his theology seems well summed up in 2 Chr 20:20: "Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets and you will succeed."
3. Attitude toward the North.
Earlier scholars (e.g., Torrey, Noth, and Rudolph) found one of the principal themes of the book to be its anti-Samaritan attitude. This has now been called into question because of the late date currently assigned to the Samaritan schism and the distinction between Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah. There is also a far more open attitude to the North in Chronicles than was previously recognized (Mosis 1973: 169-172, 200-201, 224, 232). Those willing to return to the Lord and come to his sanctuary are to be welcomed (2 Chr 30:7-8).
Shortly after the division of the kingdom, priests and Levites from the North, together with representatives from all the tribes of Israel, came to Jerusalem for sacrifice (2 Chr 11:13-17). From the very start, therefore, there were people who were willing to repent and acknowledge the Jerusalem sanctuary. While Abijah accuses the North of rebellion against the Davidic dynasty, idolatry, and a generally improper cult (2 Chr 13:4-12)-- surely one of the most "anti-Northern" passages in the book--he also admonishes them as if repentance was possible (vv. 4, 8, 12). In the reign of Asa, great numbers from Ephraim, Manasseh, and Simeon deserted to the Southern king (2 Chr 15:9) and were part of those who entered into a covenant to seek Yahweh (2 Chr 15:9-15). Prophets were active in the North, including Oded, who persuaded Northerners during the reign of Ahaz to release their Southern prisoners (2 Chr 28:8-15). A number of Northern leaders openly confessed their sin on this occasion (v. 13).
Hezekiah, according to the Chronicler, was the first king after the fall of the Northern Kingdom and so was the first since Solomon to rule a united Israel. The king’s invitation to the passover was, to be sure, rejected in parts of the North, but individuals from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun did humble themselves and come to Jerusalem (2 Chr 30:11). Hezekiah’s description of a merciful God--"For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him" (2 Chr 30:9)--is nowhere withdrawn in Chronicles. His united passover celebration was unique in its inclusion of the North for the first time since Solomon (2 Chr 30:26; cf. the similar celebration under Josiah in 2 Chr 35:17-18). His reform activities broke down cultic institutions not only in Judah and Benjamin, but also in Ephraim and Manasseh (2 Chr 31:1).
Josiah carried on reforming activities in Manasseh, Ephraim, and as far as Naphtali (2 Chr 34:6), making all Israel serve the Lord (2 Chr 34:33).
The Northerners, therefore, were not a people to be shunned, though they and all others who rejected the sole legitimacy of the Jerusalem temple are criticized by the Chronicler. Even at the division of the kingdom Shemaiah refers to the Northerners as brothers and to the division itself as God’s will (2 Chr 11:1-4). From the Chronicler’s point of view there were good reasons for Israel’s refusal to endure the rule of the Judean king. The Chronicler seems to be inviting Northerners and, perhaps, other unidentifiable groups in Israel to acknowledge the claims of the temple in Jerusalem and participate in its cult.
The best full length commentaries are those by Braun 1986; Curtis and Madsen 1910; Dillard 1987; Galling 1954; Michaeli 1967; Myers 1965; Rudolph 1955; and Williamson 1982. Also helpful are the shorter, less technical works by Ackroyd 1973; Coggins 1976; and McConville 1984.
In addition to the summaries in the commentaries, there are excellent reports on 19th century research in Graham (1983), dealing especially with historical questions, and in Mathias (1977), dealing especially with the prophetic materials. A history of interpretation throughout the Common Era is found in Willi (1972: 12-47).
Synoptic presentations of Chronicles and its counterpart in Samuel-Kings are found in Bendavid 1972 (Hebrew only) and Vannutelli 1931, 1934 (Hebrew and Greek). An English synopsis is found in Crockett 1951 and Newsome 1986.
Ackroyd, P. R.
1967 History and Theology in the Writings of the Chronicler. Concordia Theological Monthly 38: 501-15.
1973 I & II Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah. Introduction and Commentary. Torch Bible Commentary. London: SCM Press.
1977 The Chronicler as Exegete. JSOT 2:2-32.
1984 The Jewish Community in Palestine in the Persian Period. Pp. 130-161 in Introduction; The Persian Period. Vol. 1 in The Cambridge History of Judaism, eds. W. D. Davies and L. Finkelstein. Cambridge: University Press.
Albright, W. F.
1921 The Date and Personality of the Chronicler. JBL 40: 104-124.
1950 The Judicial Reform of Jehoshaphat. Pp. 61-82 in Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume. ed. S. Lieberman. New York: The Jewish Theological Society of America.
Allen, L. C.
1974a The Greek Chronicles. Part I: The Translator’s Craft. VTSup 25.
1974b The Greek Chronicles. Part II: Textual Criticism.
1972 Parallels in the Bible. Jerusalem: Carta.
Braun, R. L.
1971a The Message of Chronicles: Rally ‘Round the Temple. CTM 42: 502-514.
1971b The Significance of 1 Chronicles 22, 28, and 29 for the Structure and Theology of the Work of the Chronicler. Unpublished Th. D. Thesis. Concordia Seminary.
1973 Solomonic Apologetic in Chronicles. JBL 92: 503-16.
1976 Solomon, the Chosen Temple Builder: The Significance of 1 Chronicles 22, 28, and 29 for the Theology of Chronicles. JBL 95: 581-590.
1977 A Reconsideration of the Chronicler’s Attitude Toward the North. JBL 96: 59-62.
1979 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah: Theology and Literary History. Pp. 52-64 in Studies in the Historical Books of the Old Testament. VTSup 30.
1986 1 Chronicles. Word Biblical Commentary 14. Waco, TX: Word Books.
1898 Chronicles, I. and II. Pp. 389-397 in A Dictionary of the Bible. Vol. 1, ed. J. Hastings. New York: Charles Scribner’s.
Clines, D. J. A.
1984 Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther. NCB. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
Coggins, R. J.
1975 Samaritans and Jews: The Origins of Samaritanism Reconsidered. Atlanta: John Knox
1976 The First and Second Books of the Chronicles. Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible. London: Cambridge University.
Crockett, W. D.
1951 A Harmony of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Cross, F. M.
1961 The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Biblical Studies. Revised Edition. Garden City, NY: Doubleday.
1966 Aspects of Samaritan and Jewish History in Late Persian and Hellenistic Times. HTR 59: 201-211.
1975 A Reconstruction of the Judean Restoration. JBL 94:4-18.
Curtis, E. L. and Madsen, A. A.
1910 A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Books of Chronicles. International Critical Commentary. New York: Charles Scribner’s.
Dillard, R. B.
1987 2 Chronicles. Word Biblical Commentary 15. Waco, TX: Word Books.
Driver, S. R.
1913 An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament. 9th ed. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark.
Freedman, D. N.
1961 The Chronicler’s Purpose. CBQ 23: 436-442.
1975 Son of Man, Can These Bones Live? Int 29: 171-186.
1954 Die Bücher der Chronik, Esra, Nehemia. Altes Testament Deutsch 12. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Graham, M. P.
1983 The Utilization of 1 and 2 Chronicles in the Reconstruction of Israelite History in the Nineteenth Century. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Emory University.
1981 Sacred History and Ideology: Chronicles’ Thematic Structure--Indications of an Earlier Source. Pp. 35-54 in The Creation of Sacred Literature, ed. R. E. Friedman. Near Eastern Studies 22. Berkeley: University of California.
Hanson, P. D.
1975 The Dawn of Apocalyptic. Philadelphia: Fortress.
Hasel, G. F.
1979 Chronicles, Books of. Pp. 666-673 in ISBE, Vol. 2. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
1968 The Supposed Common Authorship of Chronicles and Ezra- Nehemiah Investigated Anew. VT 18: 330-371.
1971 Chronicles, Book of. Pp. 517-534 in EncJud 5.
Klein, R. W.
1966 Studies in the Greek Texts of the Chronicler. Unpublished Th. D. dissertation Harvard University.
1974 Textual Criticism of the Old Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress.
1983 Abijah’s Campaign against the North (II Chr 13)--What Were the Chronicler’s Sources? ZAW 95:210-217.
1964 Synoptic Studies in the Chronicler’s History. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Harvard University.
1965 The Synoptic Problem in the Chronicler’s History. HTR 58:349-363.
1975 The Sources of the Books of Chronicles: A Reassessment. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Harvard University.
1977 Die Geschichte der Chronikforschung im 19. Jahrhundert unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der exegetischen Behandlung der Prophetennachrichten des chronistischen Geschichtswerkes. 3 volumes. Leipzig: Karl Marx Universität.
1984 ‘Levitische Predigt’ und Deuteronomismus. ZAW 96: 23- 49.
1960 The Cities of the Priests and the Levites. VTSup 7: 193-205.
McConville, H. G.
1984 I & II Chronicles. The Daily Study Bible. Philadelphia: Westminster.
McKenzie, S. L.
1985 The Chronicler’s Use of the Deuteronomistic History. HSM 33. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press.
Mendenhall, G. E.
1958 The Census Lists of Numbers 1 and 26. JBL 77:52-66.
1967 Les livres des Chroniques, d’Esdras et de Néhémie. Commentaire de l’Ancien Testament 16. Neuchatel: Delachaux & Niestlé.
1983 Die Seher- und Prophetenüberlieferungen in der Chronik. Beiträge zur biblischen Exegese und Theologie 18. Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1983.
1973 Untersuchungen zur Theologie des chronistischen Geschichtswerkes. Freiburger Theologische Studien 92. Freiburg im Breisgau: Herder.
Myers, J. M.
1965a I Chronicles. Anchor Bible 12. Garden City: Doubleday.
1965b II Chronicles. Anchor Bible 13. Garden City: Doubleday.
Newsome, J. D., Jr.
1973 The Chronicler’s View of Prophecy. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. Vanderbilt University.
1975 Toward a New Understanding of the Chronicler and his Purposes. JBL 94: 201-217.
1986 A Synoptic Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. Grand Rapids: Baker.
1981 The Deuteronomistic History. Trans. J. Doull, et al. from German. JSOTSup 15. Sheffield: JSOT Press = Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien. Tel I. 2nd edition. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1957 (1st edition, 1943).
1987 The Chronicler’s History. Trans. H. G. M. Williamson from German. JSOTSup 50. Sheffield: JSOT Press = Überlieferungsgeschichtliche Studien. Teil II. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 1943.
Petersen, D. L.
1977 Late Israelite Prophecy: Studies in Deutero-Prophetic Literature and in Chronicles. SBL Monograph Series 23. Missoula, MT: Scholars Press.
Peterson, J. L.
1977 A Topographical Surface Survey of the Levitical Cities" of Joshua 21 and I Chronicles 6: Studies on the Levites in Israelite Life and Religion. Unpublished Th. D. dissertation. Chicago Institute of Advanced Theological Studies and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.
1957 Reden und Gebete im deuteronomistischen und chronistischen Geschichtswerk. Pp. 35-49 in Festschrift für Günther Dehn, ed. W. Schneemelcher. Neukirchen Kreis Moers: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Erziehungsvereins.
1970 Studien zum dritten Esra. Ein Beitrag zur Frage nach dem ursprünglichen Schluss des chronistischen Geschichtswerkes. FRLANT 104. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
1976 Late Biblical Hebrew: Toward an Historical Typology of Biblical Hebrew Prose. HSM 12. Missoula, MT: Scholars Press.
1968 The Samaritan Pentateuch and the Origin of the Samaritan Sect. HSM 2. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Rad, G. von
1962 Old Testament Theology. Volume 1. Trans. D. M. G. Stalker from German, 1957. New York: Harper.
1966 The Levitical Sermon in I and II Chronicles. Pp. 267- 280 in The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays.
Trans. E. W. Trueman from German, 1934. New York:
1967 An Investigation into the History of the Pre-Exilic Levites. Unpublished Th. D. dissertation. Harvard University.
1955 Chronikbücher. HAT 21. Tübingen: J. C. B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck].
Spencer, J. R.
1980 The Levitical Cities: A Study of the Role and Function of the Levites in the History of Israel. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation. University of Chicago.
Throntveit, M. A.
1982 Linguistic Analysis and the Question of Authorship in Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah. VT 32: 201-216.
1982b The Significance of the Royal Speeches and Prayers for the Structure and Theology of the Chronicler. Unpublished Ph. D. dissertation, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, VA.
1987 When Kings Speak: Royal Speech and Royal Prayer in Chronicles. SBLDS 93. Atlanta: Scholars.
Torrey, C. C.
1910 Ezra Studies. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
1931, 1934 Libri Synoptici Veteris Testamenti seu Librorum Regum et Chronicorum Loci Paralleli. 2 volumes. Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute.
Welch, A. C.
1935 Post-Exilic Judaism. Edinburgh: William Blackwood.
1938 The Work of the Chronicler. Its Purpose and Date. London: Oxford University Press.
1957 Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel. Trans. A. Menzies and J. S. Black from German, 1883. Cleveland: Meridian.
1973 Geschichte und Geschichtsdarstellung in den Chronikbüchern. WMANT 42. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag.
1967 Basic Forms of Prophetic Speech. Trans. H. C. White from German, 1960. Philadelphia: Westminster.
1972 Die Chronik als Auslegung. FRLANT 106. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Williamson, H. G. M.
1977a Eschatology in the Books of Chronicles. TynBul 28: 115-154.
1977b Israel in the Books of Chronicles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
1979 The Origins of the Twenty-Four Priestly Courses. A Study of 1 Chronicles xxiii-xxvii. Pp. 251-68 in Studies in the Historical Books of the Old Testament. VTSup 30.
1982 1 and 2 Chronicles. NCB. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.
1832 Die gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der juden, hist. entwickelt. Berlin: A. Asher.
--Ralph W. Klein