Kings and Prophets of the Bible – Southern Kingdom (Judah)

Let us pause here to go back to 1 & 2 Chronicles which talk about the genealogy from Adam until King Saul, reign of David, Reign of Solomon. We will quickly go through making necessary stops.

1 & 2 Chronicles: Introduction.

AUTHOR: The author for these books is not explicitly mentioned here. Many scholars would just call the author as THE CHRONICLER. However, scholars attribute the Book of Chronicles to Ezra who lived towards the end of the Old Testament history during 5th Century BC. Ezra was a Scribe and Priest. A scribe is one who writes, compares, inscribes. The original occupation of a scribe was to make copies of official documents in the age before printing. This Ezra is said to be author of the Book of Ezra, and he penned Ps. 119, the song about the WORD OF GOD.

DATE: There is a mention of the decree of the Persian King Cyrus to which granted permission for the Jews to return to Jerusalem. The Decree was dated 538 BC., 1 Chronicles 3:24 mentions Anani, the eighth generation of King Jehoiachin who was deported to Babylon in 597 BC. So Anani’s birth would have been between 425 and 400 B.C. So, the date of Chronicles is said to be written or completed bet ween 425-400 BC.

BACKGROUND: After Judah’s 70 years of Exile in Babylon, they were order in 597 BC by Cyrus to return to Jerusalem. Jews were returning to Jerusalem. Jews returned in groups under some leaders like Ezra, Nehemiah and so on. Ezra, as a priest (religious leader) and Scribe (Reader, writer and preserver of Scripture) started telling the story of the Bible from Adam to Saul, David, Solomon, and other Kings of Judah. This is a multi-purpose writing, first to refresh people the origin of human race tracing till his time. His main concentration was to talk about the Glorious kingdom of David and Solomon. Though the people of God returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt the temple, they were still remained as a tine province with provincial governor under the control of the powerful Persian Empire.

PURPOSE: This narration was necessary, as the Jews were returning form Babylon, to tell and record the history of God’s people, especially Judah. 1 Chronicle part of the book was with a purpose to PROVIDE ENCOURAGEMENT AND EXHORTATION to those who came back to Jerusalem. These remnants needed that encouragement so that they can keep their faith intact and alive with a future hope. Also, the emphasis was on their spiritual heritage of David, Solomon, the Temple, and the priesthood. Also, the author calls forth the Jews to adhere to the Mosaic Covenant and rituals so that there won’t be a repetition of the tragedy of the past.

CONTENT: Originally, 1 & 2 Chronicles written as one book with the title of EVENS OF THE DAYS. Later the translators of the Greek OT (The Septuagint) divided the book and renamed as “Things Passed Over.” Later the title Chronicles derived from St. Jerome, a priest, theologian and historian in the 4th century.

1 & 2 Chronicles can be divided into 4 parts.
1. The genealogy of the Tribes of Israel. 1 Chronicles 1-9:The intention is to show the people their own generation, and their existence in the smaller province of Judah. These chapters traces the line beginning with Adam (1:1), through the tribes of Israel (chs. 2-8), and to community of Judean exiles restored from captivity in Babylon (Ch. 9).
2. The Reign of David. 1 Chronicles 10-36: This 2nd part talks about the events and accomplishments in the life of King David. This part starts with death of King Saul (Ch.10). Chapters 11 & 12 David is enthroned as King and secures Jerusalem as capital city.
Chapters 13-27 talks about the 3 significant part of David’s reign.
i) bringing the Ark of Covenant to Jerusalem ((13-17)
ii) his military exploits (18-20)
iii) his preparations for the building of the Temple (21-27)
The final 2 chapters of 1 Chronicles talk about David’s last days.
3. The Reign of Solomon. 2 Chronicles 1-9: The author narrates…
i) the account of the construction of the Temple (chs.2-7),
ii) the account of the wealth and wisdom of the extraordinary king (chs. 8-9)
Noticeably, the narration about King Solomon abruptly ends without making any mention of King Solomon’s failure which is recorded in 1 Kings 11.
4. Tracing the reigns of the 22 rulers of Judah. 2 Chronicles 10-36: After the division of the Kingdom, concentrates only and exclusively on the Southern Kingdom (Kingdom of Judah) and treats Kingdom of Israel as incidental. Also, this part traces the 20 rulers to Babylonian captivity in 586 BC, and finally concludes with decree by Cyrus for Judah’s return (2 Chro. 36:22,23)