We conclude our journey through the Old Testament with the book of Chronicles. Like Samuel and Kings, you can think of these as one book split into two scrolls. Its history is significantly longer, at least if you count the genealogies, spanning from Adam all the way past the exile. And there is a plan, a focus, that will reveal itself in time.
As with other historical books, its author remains anonymous, but we can detect a lot about him from his tome. He is versed in the books of Moses, and often references both the narratives and the law. He had access to a thorough genealogy, tracing a line from Adam through the kingdom, with special emphasis on Judah’s ascendancy. And he is unusually familiar with the histories of other kingdoms, tracing centuries of genealogies of multiple royal houses.
A few other details about him become evident in these first three chapters as well. With a keen ear that is also familiar with the books of Moses, you will find that the author is not afraid to weave other narratives into his own, as evidenced by his verbatim repetition of Genesis 10:8, 25:4, and others. You will pick up that even the genealogies themselves seem designed to emphasize something beyond a simple recitation of family lines. And you’ll discover that either the author, or the final compiler, lived at least six generations after the destruction of Jerusalem, given his knowledge of Jeconiah’s descendants in chapter 3 (You might recall that Jeconiah is an alternate name for Jehoiachin, who surrendered to Babylon and was released from prison over thirty years later).
But you’ll have to do this reconnaissance all while dodging the hundreds of names and thousand of years of history that are being launched at us. The genealogies at the beginning of Chronicles might be the most difficult to read in the entire Bible, because there is seemingly no organization to them whatsoever. The spotlight jumps forward and backward, family to family, even kingdom to kingdom, usually without warning. There is a strange beauty to the frenetic excitement, though: and that excitement itself may just be an important point.
Our verse for this week is Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Chronicles 1 through 3. Now let’s read it!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.