1 & 2 CHRONICLES OVERVIEW

 

Tonight we will take a quick look at 1 & 2 Chronicles. Since we have already used the books with our studies in 2 Samuel and 1&2 kings there is no need for us to do a chapter by chapter study.

 

1 & 2 Chronicles were original one book just like 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 kings were. The name Chronicles was given to these books by Jerome in the 4th century and it means diaries or annals.The Hebrew title of this work is Words of the Days or simply Journals.

 

The Chronicles are not just a vein repetition of the events that happened in 2 Sam Ė 2 Kings instead it looks at these events from a religious and theological perspective instead of historical one as 2 Sam Ė 2 Kings does.

 

If you include the genealogies, which start with Adam in 1 Chronicles and finish with the Jews returning from Babylonian captivity at the end of 2 Chronicles, they cover a 3500 year time period. One Characteristic you will see in the Chronicles is that they donít have much to say about the Northern Kingdom. Instead, they focus on Judah or Southern kingdom.

 

The Chronicles were written around 450 B.C. and Jewish tradition and most scholars believe that Ezra was the author. Itís also interesting to note that many of the kings and events that we read about in the Chronicles can be backed up by Archeology, which gives external proof that we an accurate account of these events in our Bibleís and that they are not invented stories as some like to say.

 

A simply outline of the Chronicles.

 

††† 1 Chr. 1-9 Genealogies

 

†† 1 Chr. 10-29 The Reign of David

 

††† 2 Chr. 1-9 The Reign of Solomon

 

††† 2 Chr. 10-36 History of the Kings of Judah

 

In 1 Chr. 1 Ė 9 we have a detailed list of the genealogy from Adam to the sons of Azel. There are several reason why these genealogies were recorded in such detail.

 

1. When the Jews returned back to Jerusalem after their captivity this genealogy would make it possible for land to be distributed to the rightful heirs.

2. It would make possible to identify the Levites so the right people would be made into priest because only Levites could be priest and serve in the temple.

3. It also showed the lineage of David offering proof of the lineage of Christ.

 

 

I want you to notice what George DeHoff says about these genologies:

 

††† "It was necessary to have these genealogies to distribute the land and to maintain the temple services when the people returned.God, therefore, had these records carefully preserved ...According to Jewish tradition, Ezra was the author.He frequently made references to other histories and the official archives.He had access to journals, diaries and public records, to previous Old Testament books, and best of all, the Holy Spirit of God guided him in writing this sacred narrative ...They had for their immediate object the resettling of the land according to the public records.Those who returned from captivity were entitled to lands formerly held by their families (Lev. 25).The priesthood was hereditary in families.A priest was to be succeeded by his son.The kingly line of David must be preserved.The most important and precious of all promises was that Jesus Christ would come in David's family.The main interest of these genealogies is to trace the descent to David's line."

 

I am sure most of you have seen children books and adult books with the title Prayer of Jabez. Now, you would think that maybe there is a lot written about this in the Bible since so much attention has been given to it. However, I want you to notice the entirety of what is written about Jabez and his prayer.

 

1 Chronicles 4:9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, "Because I bore him in pain."10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, "Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!" So God granted him what he requested.

 

Thatís all the Bible has to offer us. Jabez was more honorable that his brothers and he was given his name because he was a painful birth. Then we have his prayer and God granting him his request. Now I donít want to undermine the significance of this because it does show us that Jabez was servant of God and that he must have been right with God since God heard his prayer and granted it. It also teaches us that God hears our prayers and answers them. But, I still find it interesting how such a small story buried in the middle of this Genealogy record would turn into a popular adult and children book.

 

The rest of the chapters in 1 Chr. mainly focus on Davidís reign. However chapter 10 records Saulís and his deaths and the last part of chapter 29 records the anointing of Solomon as King.

 

The key chapter in 1 Chronicles is chapter 17 because it where the prophet Nathan tells David that God has promised him that He will establish his thrown forever.

 

1 Chronicles 17:11 "And it shall be, when your days are fulfilled, when you must go to be with your fathers, that I will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and I will establish his kingdom.12 "He shall build Me a house, and I will establish his throne forever.13 "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son; and I will not take My mercy away from him, as I took it from him who was before you.14 "And I will establish him in My house and in My kingdom forever; and his throne shall be established forever."

 

This promise was fulfilled through Christ as he established the spiritual kingdom that is the church and He has been reining over that kingdom since the day of Pentecost. Peter established this truth in Act 2:29-36, where he teaches that Christ had been raised up to sit on the right hand of God.

 

In 1 & 2 Chronicles there is lot attention given to the temple.

 

1 Chr. 22--29†††† David's preparation for it

 

2 Chr. 2--7†††††† built, furnished, and dedicated

 

2 Chr. 24†††††††† repaired by Joash

 

2 Chr. 29--30†††† repaired by Hezekiah

 

Some other things that are emphasized in 1 Chronicles is Davidís zeal for the house of God and for the ark and all the preparation that was done so the house of God could be built. We learn that God was with David and delivered him from the Philistines and choose him to be King.

 

Samuel tells us that the Philistines slew Saul 1 Sam 31, but 1 Chr. 10 tells us the Lord slew him through Philistines because of his transgressions. We also learn about removal of the ark and the death of Uzzah in 13-16 and David admits that only the Levites should contact the ark. We also learn of Davidís desire to build the house of God, but God would not allow him to because he was man of war and had shed much blood. However, God would allow his son Solomon to build it.

 

That brings us to 2 Chronicles. It begins with Solomonís reign and ends with the children of Israel returning from Babylonian captivity. It covers a time period of about 430 years.

 

The key chapter is chapter 34 because it teaches us about the dramatic restoration under King Josiah. When the temple was being repaired the priest Hilkiah found the book of the law in the house of the Lord. Then Shaphan the scribe read it to Josiah.

 

2 Chronicles 34:19 Thus it happened, when the king heard the words of the Law, that he tore his clothes.20 Then the king commanded Hilkiah, Ahikam the son of Shaphan, Abdon the son of Micah, Shaphan the scribe, and Asaiah a servant of the king, saying,21 "Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for those who are left in Israel and Judah, concerning the words of the book that is found; for great is the wrath of the LORD that is poured out on us, because our fathers have not kept the word of the LORD, to do according to all that is written in this book."

 

 

When the book of Law was found and read it made Josiah sad and concerned because he wanted to follow Godís way and he realized that those before him had not kept the law and they would face the judgment of the Lord. So, Josiah has his men ask the Lord about the Law and what he can do and the Lord doesnít disappoint Josiah because as you continue in that chapter you find out that the Lord is pleased with Josiah response and he put off his wrath and Josiah and his people renew their covenant with God and they serve him with their whole heart mind and soul.

 

The first 9 chapters of 2 Chronicles deal with the reign of Solomon and the building of his house and the temple and he conducted himself and it records his death.

 

Chapters 10 Ė 36 cover the rest of the kings of Judah, the Babylonian captivity and then the return from that captivity. Again, little is said about the Northern kingdom.

 

2 Chronicles deals with the same information as 1 & 2 Kings. However, as I said earlier it presents the information from a different perspective and sometimes gives new information not recorded in 1 & 2 Kings. Let me give examples of this.

 

1 Kings 7:8 says that Solomon built a house for the daughter of Pharaoh but 2 Chr. 8:11 tells the reason he did this was because he would not allow her to live in the house of David because it was Holy.

 

2 Kings tells us that Jeroboam worshipped golden calves, but 2 Chr. 11:15 says he worshipped demons.

 

2 Kings doesnít say anything about King Abijahísredeeming act, but 2 Chr. 13:5-18 tells how God was on his side and how he called out to Him when Jeroboam and his men were attacking them and God answer his cry for help and causes the Northern kingdom to fall before them and run from Abijah.

 

2 Chr. 16:12 lets us know that in King Asa last illness before he died that he sought the help of physicians instead of the Lord.

 

2 Kings 18:4-6 uses only 3 verses to tell of Hezekiahís reformation, but 2 Chronicles 29-31 uses 3 chapters to tell about it. However, when it comes to Hezekiahís military recorded it just the reverse because 2 Chr. only uses 3 verses to describe while 2 Kings uses 3 chapters.

 

2 Kings 21 only tells about King Manassehís wickedness, but 2 Chr. 33:11-17 tells of his captivity in Babylon and how he prayed to God and was let go. Then he came back and tried to restore Judah back to following God.

 

These are just some of the difference that you will find between 2 Chr. and 1 & 2 Kings. So, if you want to know everything that happened to these kings, you must read both accounts.

 

Spanish-born American poet and philosopher George Santayana wrote: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."Around 721 B.C. Israel (the ten northern tribes) was taken into Assyrian captivity, which left Judah remaining.Nebuchadnezzar led three seiges against Judah (606 B.C., 597 B.C., 586 B.C.), which lead to the destruction or Jerusalem and it captivity of the Jews. For 70 years the children of Israel were slaves of Babylon. While they were in this situation, surely they hearts were full with regret of how they had turned the back on God. There are many lessons that the children of Israel should have learned from all of this and we can learn from their past as well. Letís now take a look at some of these lesson that we can learn from 1 & 2 Chronicles.

 

Lesson 1: People Cannot Afford to Ignore God's Requirements

 

Israel had been warned over and over again that if they did not change their ways they would lose possession of the promised land.When prophets rebuked them for their immorality and idolatry, the people would ignore them and not believe them. They got to the point were they fooled themselves into believing that they would not suffer any consequences for their sins even though the Moses had written that those who disregard Godís Law would be cursed in Deut. 28.

 

Hosea lets us know that one of their problems was that they were not good Bible students.

 

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

 

We know that these Jews found out the hard way that if you donít study Godís Word and if you ignore what its says and live your life your way, you will face the consequences. As Christians we must learn from these Jews mistakes and not repeat them. So, donít neglect Godís word and donít ignore his truth and think that you can get away without suffering consequences for your sins.

 

Lesson 2: No Man Can Serve Two Masters

 

Israel and Judah had broken the first commandment, Exodus 20:3 " You shall have no other gods before Me. Because both of them had turned to idol worship especially the Northern kingdom. One of the few lessons they did learn from their captivity was not to worship idols. They learned to stay away from them. While they were in captivity Ezekiel was told to bind two sticks together. These two sticks represented the divided kingdom being bound as one again.The Lord promised, "I will make them one nation in the land, upon the mountains of Israel; and one king" (Ezek. 37:22).In Ezek. 37:23 He continued, "... neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with detestable things."

 

 

A person cannot have two master and Jesus tells us why in, Matthew 6:24 " No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

 

Some people think that idols can only be statues or images that people worship, but that is not true because anything you put before God can become an idol. So your TV, money, hobbies.. etc can become an idol and become your master. So, we must be careful an make sure that we are putting God first in every aspect of our lives.

 

Lesson 3: The Actions of People Never Escape God's Notice

 

One mistake the Jews made was thinking that God did not see them.They said, Ezekiel 9:9 The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!' They found out that this was not true because nothing escapes Godís eyes. In fact the Bible teaches us this over and over again. Notice some of these passages.

 

2 Chronicles 16:9 "For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars."

 

Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

 

Jeremiah 16:17 "For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity hidden from My eyes.

 

Hebrews 4:13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

 

So, it would be a mistake for us to every think that God cannot see our sin or that we can hide anything from him.

 

Lesson 4: God does not Wish Anyone to Perish, but His Patience can be Exhausted

 

Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger but great in power; the LORD will certainly not allow the wicked to go unpunished.

 

God can been seen having great patience with the children of Israel over and over again. In fact if you or I had been in the shoes of God, I believe most of us would have lost it and struck all the people dead, but not God. However, God is also just God and even His patience has a limit and justice will be served just like He served it to the Jews. Now is true that Peter tells us 2 Pet. 3:9 that God is longsuffering and doesnít want anyone to perish, but again justice will be served. So, while we should be thankful for God patience and mercy, we should never test Him and or think that we can get away with sin.

 

 

 

 

Lesson 5: God Keeps His Promises and what he says will happen happens.

 

God reminded the children of Israel through Zechariahof how he kept his promise to their forefathers. Zechariah 1:6 Yet surely My words and My statutes, Which I commanded My servants the prophets, Did they not overtake your fathers? "So they returned and said: 'Just as the LORD of hosts determined to do to us, According to our ways and according to our deeds, So He has dealt with us.'

 

God kept His Word.He always keeps His Word!He said He would remove them from their land and He did.He said He would preserve a remnant, and He did.He said He would bring them back to the promised land and He did. God keeps his promises. So, we can know with confidence that when God makes a promise in His word that it will come to pass. This means that the wicked will suffer in hell for eternity and the righteous will enjoy heaven for eternity.

 

Lesson 6: Israel Learned Little from Their Captivity

 

About 100 years after they had returned from their captivity the Book of Malachi shows us that the children of Israel really did not learn much from their captivity. Nearly all their previous attitudes and dispositions emerged once again.They questioned God's love for them.They despised His name.They profaned the covenant.They robbed Him of tithes and offerings.They spoke out against Him. Zechariah described their condition: Zechariah 7:12 "Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the LORD of hosts.

 

One thing we learn from Israel's history is that they did not learn from their history and they repeating some of the same behaviors that got them in trouble in the first place. That is exactly what can happen to us today if we donít study and learn from the mistakes that these Jews made in their relationship with God.

 

There are certainly more lesson that we can learn from children of Israel for the Chronicles, but these are enough to show the importance of studying books like these and what it can teach as Christians today.

 

In conclusion, the entire history of Israel is like riding a rollercoaster of belief and unbelief.At times we find them tempting God with every abomination imaginable.At other times, we find them reading the Scriptures and drawing close to God.But mainly, , their history full of unbelief, and "the wrath of Jehovah arose against his people, till there was no remedy" (2 Chr. 36:16).

Paul tells us, "These things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted" (1 Cor. 10:6)."For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4). The question becomes, Will we heed the warnings of history?