1 & 2 Chronicles Part One Dive
IT’S EASY. JUST CHIP AWAY THE STONE THAT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE DAVID
Our title this week is what Michelangelo supposedly said when asked how he sculpted the infamous statue of David. Whether Michelangelo said this or not, this is exactly what the author of Chronicles has done with the history of Israel. 1 and 2 Chronicles occasionally feel like a re-run of the Samuel and Kings texts and, at times, are an exact extraction. However, the author of Chronicles has removed the sections that are not necessary to his goal and added parts from other sources. And what is the author’s goal? To show you the lineage from Adam to the current time in history, the focused history of the lineage of David and the southern kingdom of Judah. He removes anything unrelated, just like Michelangelo, revealing a concentrated historic look at the line of Judah. He focuses in on David and Solomon, the promise that God gave them and the building of the Temple.
For me, it feels like this would be what history would be like if my dad wrote it. He would go through the history and keep the lists, numbers, he would want to know who was in what tribe, he would want to know who the warriors were, what men fought in what war. He would remove the ‘girly’ sections, including the relationship with David and Bathsheba, the personal lives of the people would be omitted and the unnecessary back stories–the ‘chronicles’ would be at the forefront. He would make it focus in on what he wanted to hear the most about, which, for the author of Chronicles. is Judah, so everything else has to go.
Trashing Tip: A great way to read 1 and 2 Chronicles is to flip back to the parallel stories in Samuel and Kings, just find the same people in the both books. It really highlights what the author takes out and what he keeps in. Now remember TYB, this is not a manipulation of the text or someone withholding details from us, that is why Samuel and Kings are contained in our Bible also. This is just focused writing.
Let’s check out some things that are direct quotes and what is missing–I’ll only mention a few as I want you to find the rest.
After the lists from Adam, we jump straight into the story of King Saul’s death in Chapter 10. It’s quite short, straight to the point, skipping the first Book of Samuel and jumping into the history in the last chapter of 1 Samuel 31. Almost to say, “I’m not focusing on what happened before this the most important person for me is David.” But he adds some hindsight into the story. Remember, he is writing a long time forward in history around the time of Ezra, so he makes comments throughout the book, like in Chapter 10:13-14. He brushes over Saul’s life and gets to his point–‘he turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.’ This is his focus!
He skips Chapters 1-4 of 2 Samuel and directly quotes Chapter 5: David Becomes king over Israel. He’s not worried about the fight to get David to being king, just the fact that he reaches the position.
He then focuses in on the warriors that fought with David. As I said, this is history as my dad would write.
He misses David’s transgression with Bathsheba, but he does mention that he was supposed to be at war.
He misses Solomon’s relationship with all his wives and concubines, but he does directly quote his prayer for wisdom and his encounter with the Queen of Sheba and all he did for the Temple.
He makes a note that silver was not in Solomon’s palace because it was considered of little value in Solomon’s day (9:20). TYB, highlight these statements that show that the author is writing forward in history as you go along.
Solomon’s life is finished with a summary of victory 2 Chronicles 9:29-31, but in 1 Kings 11 we know that Solomon’s Kingdom was taken from him and divided into two–ten tribes to Jeroboam and two tribes remained with Solomon.
He completely omits the history of the Northern Kingdom (ten tribes of Jeroboam) and focuses on the Southern Kingdom the two tribes of Judah.
From 2 Chronicles 11, beginning with the story of Rehoboam, we get more details about the Kings of Judah than written in the Book of Kings. Because the author focusses in on the Kings of Judah alone the story is a little biased–check out Chapters 11:14-17, 15:9. It seems almost like Israel’s ten tribes become the enemy. Highlight when you see this happening! Kings gives us one chapter on the Kings of Judah, Chronicles gives us three, notice the details that are added as you read.
The author clearly had the texts of Samuel and Kings to copy and reference for his text.
Now TYB, I don’t want you to get too fussed over what is missing and what is added to as you will get a little overwhelmed and dizzy jumping back and forward from Samuel/Kings to Chronicles. But just remember, when you begin to feel like the history of Chronicles is without personal stories, love stories or emotion, you’re right! It has been removed for the sake of focused history and other stories have been expanded on.
So why is the author focusing on Judah? Remember the author is writing in a time when the Temple was gone, when the Kingdom of David was in ruins and when Judah was their only hope, reminding the people, in a concentrated focused form, that God has been in control of this lineage from the time of Adam.
From a New Testament perspective, this focuses in on the lineage of Jesus. Jesus is from the tribe of Judah and this is a concentrated form of His focused lineage. Did the author of Chronicles know that he was writing the very focused lineage of the Messiah? I’m not sure! But as you read the Old Testament, you read time and time again the remnant from the tribe of Judah remains, because God’s promise to Abraham was in that his seed would possess the nations–the seed being Jesus, so that lineage had to survive! How amazing is that! The Bible is one big puzzle and as you put all the pieces together from the Old Testament to the New, the picture it reveals is Jesus!
Have fun beginning your journey in Chronicles.