A prayer to use before reading from the Book of Common Worship:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
You will find and introduction and outline to Chronicles here.
An Outline of First and Second Chronicles ( from Allen)
I. 1 Chronicles 1:1-9:34 Israel: Elect and Inclusive, Unfaithful but Restored
A. 1:1-2:2 Israel’s Election
B. 2:3-9:1 A Panorama of Pre-exile Israel:
6:1-81 Levi: The section on Levi is in the middle of this section. Recall from last week that Judah and Benjamin introduce and conclude this section. These southern tribes remained loyal to David when the kingdom divided. Chapter 6 is divided into verses 1-53 which is the genealogy and verses 54-81 about the levitical cities.Notice that the genealogy begins with Levi and goes all the way to Jehozadek who goes into exile. Jehozadek’s son Joshua is the high priest of the returning exiles and this list helps legitimate his position. Zadok was David’s high priest. Notice that 12 generations of priests precede him and 12 come after him. Zadok is then linked with Aaron and Levi and with the Temple.
Verses 16-48 are the three main genealogies of the Levites: Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. Levitical choirs were an important part of worship in the Temple and these genealogies help legitimize the positions of families after the exile. Notice how particular duties and who can perform them are set out.
Verses 54-81 The cities here follow, for the most part, the list of cities from Joshua 21.Notice the sons of Aaron are mentioned first, emphasizing the priestly line.
7:1-40 Northern Tribes West of the Jordan: Issachar, (Benjamin), Dan, Naphtali, Manasseh and Ephraim, Asher: Chapter 5 told of the tribes east of the Jordan. It is confusing that Benjamin has a genealogy here. Also Zebulun has no listing. The record of the half tribe of Manasseh also presents problems for scholars based on other texts about Manasseh.Then the tribe of Asher, not a particularly significant tribe receives fairly lengthy treatment. If you read through this chapter closely, you will notice the achievements of several women are recorded.
8:1-40 Benjamin: This chapter is complex and doesn’t match well with other genealogies of Benjamin in scripture.
9:1 A Summary. Notice “all Israel” is named, not just the post exhilic community. Also the “Book of the Kings of Israel” is not the biblical book of Kings.
C. 9:2-34 Israel’s Restoration in Principle: Now we have a list of the tribes who returned from exile. Verse 2 tells of the resettled towns outside of and around Jerusalem. Verses 3-9 tells of tribes who returned. Notice these are not priests or Levites. Why do you think that is? Notice that both northern and southern times are mentioned. Why do you think that is?
Verses 10-13 tell of the returning priests. Verses 14-34, the Levites. We also get a description of their duties.
II. 1 Chronicles 9:35- 2 Chronicles 9:31 The Reigns of David and Solomon: The United Monarchy. As we read this telling of the stories of David and Solomon notice how each is portrayed, especially in relation to each other. Look for parallels between their stories. Also notice the focus on the Temple rather than the kings themselves.
A 9:35-29:30 The Reign of David: Verses 35-44 is the genealogy of Saul, the first king of Israel.
10:1-14 The death of Saul: We read a lot, 23 chapters, about Saul in 1 Samuel. Here we only have the story of his death. Why do you think that is all we are told about Saul? Notice the chroniclers conclusion about Saul.
Read More About It:
Here are several good sources to aid your reading of 1 and 2 Chronicles
Allen, Leslie C. “The First and Second Books of Chronicles: ” in The New Interpreter’s Bible Vol 3, Keck, Leander E. ed. (Nashville: Abingdon Press) 1999.
Anderson, Bernhard W., Katheryn Pfister Darr, Understanding the Old Testament Abridged fourth Edition. (Upper Saddle River,New Jersey: Prentice Hall) 1998.
Knoppers, Gary N.”1 Chronicles” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, Fully Revised 4 th Edition, Michael Cougan, ed. (New York:Oxford University Press) 2010.
Stinespring, William F. and Burke O. Long “1 Chronicles” and “2 Chronicles” in The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books Metzger, Bruce M., Roland E. Murphy, eds.(New York: Oxford University Press) 1994.
Throntveit, Mark A. “I Chronicles” and “2 Chronicles” in HarperCollins Bible Commentary Mays, James L. ed.(San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco) 2000.