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1 Chronicles

About the Book of 1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles is a book about the Israelites. A lot of the book is about the same time as the Book of 2 Samuel. But there are also many lists of people.
1 Chronicles begins with a list of the families of the Israelites. But after that, it tells us about the time when David ruled over all Israel. But it also tells us a lot about how the people worshipped God. And the last part of the book describes David's ideas for a temple (house of God) in Jerusalem. David gave careful rules to the priests. He wanted everyone in the temple to work properly for God.
In our Bibles, we have 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. They were one book for a long time until there was a translation into Greek. (The name of that translation is the Septuagint.) That was early in the second century BC. They made two books out of the one book because they would fit on two scrolls. The old Hebrew name for the one book was ‘The Book of Events’. The name of the two books in the language called Greek was ‘Things that are not in the other books’. Several events here are not in the other books. That may be the reason for the Hebrew and Greek names. But now we call them the Books of Chronicles. It means that they are a list of events. The other books that are like the Books of Chronicles are the Books of Samuel and Kings.
David was the King of Israel between about 1010 BC and 970 BC. But we think that someone wrote the book in about 500 BC.
We do not know who wrote the Chronicles. But many Jewish people believed that Ezra wrote Chronicles. He wrote the Book of Ezra too. Many Christian students also believe that Ezra wrote the Chronicles. But other students think that Ezra was not the writer of the Chronicles. They think that the writer was not Ezra but someone like Ezra. And he lived during the same time as Ezra did.
The Books of Chronicles are about events. But the books are not only about events. The writer seems to be a Levite. He writes about things like the temple, prayer and the worship of God. He tries to explain what the events in Israel mean. He explains how God was using those events.
The writer gives lists of names. He starts with Adam, the first man. Then he makes a list of those people who came from Noah's family. From them came the nations that the Jews knew about. He then tells about Jacob, who was also called Israel. He was the ancestor of all the Jews. From then on, he gives only lists of all the tribes of Israel. But to him the most important people are those who came from Judah. The kings came from the tribe of Judah. After that, the writer gives lists of people who helped in the worship of God, and soldiers in David's army. He wants to tell people how important those jobs were.
When he wrote the book, the Israelites had just returned to their country after 70 years in exile. So, the writer wants them to know that all Israelites are God's people. He believes that Israel is the LORD's kingdom. David and Solomon were kings over the LORD's kingdom. Those ideas would help the people who had just returned from exile. Israel's kingdom would be safe because God would keep it safe. After some time, God would make it strong again.
These Israelites needed to know that they did belong to Israel's people. So, the writer gives lists of the families of Israel. He records the families of the 12 tribes until the exile. He used several books that are now in the Bible. And he also used many other very old books. We do not have any of those other books now.
One very important thing that we read about in these books is the temple in Jerusalem. The writer tells us how David put the workers in the temple into groups. He made lists of the priests and the Levites who would be leaders of the worship in the temple. God did not let David build the temple. But David prepared the materials so that his son would be able to build it. In another book, 2 Chronicles, we can read how Solomon built the temple.