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The Oxford Bible Commentary Line-by-line commentary for the New Revised Standard Version Bible.

1 Chronicles - Introduction

The Latin Father St Jerome (347/8–420 CE) gave the text the name of Chronicles (Chronicon totius divinae historiae, Chronicle of the Whole of Sacred History), whilst it was still known as Paraleipomena (the things omitted from earlier historical texts) in the Septuagint. In the Vulgate and HB editions, it has almost identical titles (Verba dierum and dibrê hayyāmîm). Chronicles contains a new version of events from Genesis to 2 Kings and continues its story up to Cyrus's edict, which it takes from Ezra 1:1–3 .

According to a long-standing but now contested theory, the similarity between 2 Chr 36:22–3 and Ezra 1:1–3 indicates that the books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah originally all had the same author or were two works by the same person, and were separated only on their inclusion in the canon. But even in the sections where the texts concur, their language and content differ significantly. The Chronicler was interested in all Israel (rather than merely in Judah) and did not object to mixed marriage with foreigners. The books of Ezra and Nehemiah contain contrary opinions, however, showing little interest in the house of David, prophets, or the dogma of retribution, whilst displaying an anti-Samaritan perspective. Such differences cannot simply be explained by the varying subject matter of 1 and 2 Chronicles and Ezra/Nehemiah. The latter two books were probably written as a sequel to the unsatisfactory ending to the books of Kings (Knauf 1995: 16–17).

Chronicles contains the entire history of the Davidic monarchy within the context of the genealogical development of the history of mankind and continues up to Cyrus's edict. At the turn of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE, the Ptolomaic and Seleucid historiographers Manetho, Hekataios, and Berossos claimed that the origins of civilization lay in Egypt and Babylon respectively—i.e. the places where they themselves wrote. Civilization subsequently spread from those areas. The Chronicler countered this with the theological argument that God's actions began with all mankind, before focusing his narrative on Israel (1 Chr. 2–9 ), the reign of David (1 Chr 10–29 ) and the history of the Judean monarchy (2 Chr 1–36 ), and concluding with (the almost unmentioned exile and) Cyrus's edict (2 Chr 36:22–3 ). LXX's division of Chronicles into two books is logical since David's reign was one of the greatest events in his people's history, even if it is closely linked with Solomon's rule.

Another factor, which was just as important in Chronicles as the rule of God through the Davidic kings, was the temple and its music, both introduced and controlled by David. This has prompted many to suggest that the Chronicler was a Levite, especially in view of his distanced attitude towards the priests. The unusually high degree of scriptural learning in his text suggests that it could have been conceived by a well-read author for an educated readership.

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