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
C. 9:2-34 Israel’s Restoration in Principle
II. 1 Chronicles 9:35- 2 Chronicles 9:31 The Reigns of David and Solomon
A 9:35-29:30 The Reign of David
B. 1:1-9:31 The Reign of Solomon:
III. 2 Chronicles 10:1-28:27 The Divided Kingdom
A. 10:1-12:16 Rehoboam’s Checkered Reign
B 13:1-16:14 Trusting the True God in Times of Crisis: In telling the story of Abijah’s and Asa’s reigns the word “rely” is used five times. The word “rely” is not used anywhere else in Chronicles. The main idea in the telling of these two stories is:trust in the Lord. Abijah is called Abijam in 1 Kings 15:1-8.
13:1-14:1a Abijah’s Loyal Trust Vindicated: Abijah’s speech in verses 4-12 does not have a parallel in 1 -2 Kings. This speech helps us understand the author’s theological beliefs. Verse 15 is a sort of apology for Rehoboam’s mistakes. Judah is portrayed as the nation that has kept proper faith and worship. Israel is invited back into reunion but there is a battle. Neither the large army nor ambush will prevail against God’s intentions.The battle in these verses is not recorded anywhere else. It seems that the author is more interested in the theological implications of the story rather than historical accuracy. Abijah is portrayed as having had a fruitful reign.
14:1b-15:19 Asa’s Vaild Trust Vindicated: In this section, Asa is presented as a good king. He is obedient and faithful and his reign has peace and rest. Recall that in Chronicles, building cities is evidence of God’s blessing. In verse 9, however, the peace has ended. Asa calls on the Lord, who responds and gives Asa military victory. 15:1-7 is a prophetic message from Azariah. Azariah is not mentioned elsewhere and his statement is presented more as sermon than prophecy. Azariah reminds Asa of his two choices, seek God and find him or forsake God and be forsaken. Recall that the chronicler was writing to a post exilic audience. How would this sound to them? In Asa’s situation, the king and the people respond with enthusiasm and commitment.
16:1-14 Asa’s False Trust Punished. But, when Judah is threatened by Israel, Asa relies on the King of Aram rather than God. Israel’s threat is not portrayed as the result of disobedience, it is an opportunity to trust in the Lord. In 1 Kings Asa is not blamed for his action of alliance with Aram, but here he is. Where in chapter 15 Asa responds properly to a prophet, now Asa responds improperly-putting the prophet in prison and oppressing his own people. Even when Asa is personally afflicted with sickness, he does not rely on God. Asa does receive an impressive funeral. Perhaps we are to recall that Asa’s reign was mostly good?
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.