The book of Chronicles opens with a lengthy genealogy that begins with Adam. Special attention is paid to the descendants of Shem, Ham, Japheth, Abraham, and the Edomites.
A history of the land of Edom is given: “These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Israelites…” (v. 43)
III. Important Verses
v. 1: Adam, Seth, Enosh.
v. 10: Cush begot Nimrod; he was the first mighty one on earth.
vv. 27-28: Abram, that is, Abraham. The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.
v. 34: Abraham begot Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel.
1-23. Lineage of Adam’s descendants 1-4. Antediluvian name list 5-23. Lineage of Shem, Ham, and Japheth 5-7. Japheth’s descendants 8-16. Ham’s descendants 17-23. Shem’s descendants 24-54. Lineage of Shem’s descendants 24-27. Postdiluvian name list 28-37. Abraham’s descendants 38-54. Lineage of the Edomites
The book of Chronicles begins with a lengthy list of names. Like many of the names of Biblical books, the English name “Chronicles” derives from the ancient translations of the Bible. Klein writes: “In the Hebrew Bible this work carries the title dibrei hayyamim, ‘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.” (992) The book appears as two books in most Bibles, and Klein writes: “The division into two books appears first in the LXX [Septuagint] and has been standard in Hebrew Bibles since the 15th century.” (992)
Collins provides an appropriate introduction to the book: “The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles constitute an alternative account of the history in the books of 2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings. They contain some material not found in the earlier books, and apparently drew on some additional sources. The character of Chronicles, however, is most easily seen by comparing its narrative with that of Samuel and Kings. The secondary character of these books is recognized already in the Septuagint, where they are given the title Paralipomena, which means ‘things ommitted’ or ‘passed over.’ This characterization offers a justification of sorts for the inclusion of a second historical narrative in the biblical corpus. It is not an accurate description of Chronicles, as it is in fact a highly selective retelling of the older material…
“The two books provide a continuous history, which can be divided into three parts: 1 Chronicles 1-9: Introduction; 1 Chronicles 10 - 2 Chronicles 9: the reigns of David and Solomon; 2 Chronicles 10-36: the history of Judah from the separation of the northern tribes.
Since 2 Chronicles concludes with a reference to the restoration of the Jews after the Babylonian exile by Cyrus of Persia (2 Chron 36:22-23 = Ezra 1:1-3a), this account was completed in the postexilic period. The genealogy of the house of David points to a date around 400 B.C.E.” (445)
VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
De Vries, Simon J. “1 and 2 Chronicles,” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).
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