OVERVIEW OF 1 CHRONICLES
Author: Good evidence for Ezra the priest, who was part of the remnant who returned to Jerusalem after Cyrus king of Persia’s decree, which is referenced in 2 Chr. 36:22-23 and at the beginning of Ezra’s book.
Date: Probably 450-425 B.C. Jerusalem fell in 586 B.C. to the Babylonians. Cyrus the king of Persia issued a declaration in 536 B.C., allowing the Israelite remnant to return to Jerusalem.
Audience: “All Israel” who had been exiled but returned to Jerusalem.
Chapters 1-10 - Genealogy from Adam through Saul of who resettled in Jerusalem after the Exile
1:1-2:2 - Adam to Noah to Abraham to Israel (Jacob) and his 12 sons
2:3-55 - Traces Jacob’s son Judah through his son Perez through his son Hezron and his 3 sons lines
3:1-24 - Traces line of David, Jesse’s son, from Ram, Hezron’s son, through Jehoiachin last king before exile
4:1-23 - Other clans who came through Judah’s family line (“Prayer of Jabez” v. 9-10)
4:24-5:26 - The lines of Jacob’s sons, Simeon, whose descendents eventually destroyed Amalekites, and Reuben, Gad, and the people of the half-tribe of Manasseh (Joseph’s firstborn, Jacob’s grandson)
6:1-48 - The line of Jacob’s son, Levi, who administered the music before the tabernacle, Tent of Meeting
6:49-81 - Describes the line of Aaron, who administered the offerings on the altar in the Most Holy Place, and the lands that the Levites and descendents of Aaron received from the rest of the Israelites
7:1-40 - The lines of Jacob’s sons, Isaachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher
8:1-9:44 - The line of Jacob’s son, Benjamin, down through king Saul and his son Jonathan’s line, along with the rest of Israel and the priests, Levites, and temple servants (9:1-3) who resettled in Jerusalem
10:1-14 - Story of Saul’s suicide and death because of his unfaithfulness and kingdom turned over to David
Chapters 11-29 - David’s reign established and strengthened, preparations for the building of the Temple
11:1-12:40 - David’s kingdom established, Jerusalem conquered and made central city of kingdom, his mighty men and all those who voluntarily joined him from Saul and other tribes and places
13:1-14 - Attempt to bring ark of the Lord to Jerusalem failed, ended up at Obed-Edom’s house
14:1-17 - David’s house fully established and defeat of the Philistines
15:1-16:43 - Ark of the Lord brought properly to Jerusalem by Levites with much worship and care
17:1-27 - God’s promise to establish David’s throne forever, his son will build Temple, David’s response
18:1-20:8 - David’s kingdom further established through military victories
21:1-22:1 - David’s sin taking census of army brought God’s judgment in plague, but David repented, built altar, offered sacrifices, and the Lord answered by fire, took away plague, became future site of Temple
22:2-19 - David’s preparations for construction of Temple, prepared way for Solomon
23:1-24:31 - Descendents of Levi and Aaron commissioned to assist with daily work and care of Temple
25:1-31 - Sons and descendents of Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun commissioned to lead music at Temple
26:1-32 - Gatekeepers and guardians of Temple and its articles, judges, officials, other kingdom servants
27:1-34 - Breakdown of armies and officers, king’s supervisors over various needs of king and kingdom
28:1-21 - David charged Israel and Solomon to be faithful to God and build Temple according to His plans
29:1-20 - David and people’s generous gifts for work of Temple, David’s prayer of praise and for Solomon
29:21-30 - Celebration and succession of Solomon as king, death of king David
Purpose of 1 Chronicles: To give hope to Israel that God had not forgotten them, but had preserved them as His people in the land He promised, where He would dwell among them, signified by the Temple. David is the central figure through whom God established Jerusalem as the holy city and site of the Temple that Solomon would build. All of this was so that Israel would be His light to the nations.
Gospel according to 1 Chronicles
By omitting the sins of David (other than the census), Solomon, and the other kings, the author focuses on the broader historical significance of their reigns as Messianic prophecy and hope of God’s everlasting kingdom being fulfilled in a future Messiah-King, which was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
David’s preparations for the building of God’s Temple dwelling points to Jesus, who was God in the flesh dwelling among us. He replaced the Temple. Those who receive and believe in Him are His new creation and are being built into a living Temple of His Holy Spirit.
As God used David and Solomon to establish His Temple dwelling among His people, so Christ uses His redeemed people to continue to build and grow His dwelling, the Church.
Contemporary Significance and Applications
1 Chronicles focuses on God’s faithfulness to preserve His promise to establish David’s throne forever, to preserve His remnant, and to have His Temple dwelling built. It does not focus on the human frailties of the people or its leaders as in 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. We should take hope in Christ’s grace to include and use frail and fallen believers in His covenant family.
Rom. 15:8-9 - “For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs, so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy.”
1 Chronicles shows the successive line of how God fulfilled His promises from Adam to Abraham to David. The Gospel proclaims these were ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of God. Those who believe in Him are His redeemed people among whom and in whom He dwells by His Holy Spirit. Believers should seek to be filled with Him and reflect Him through holy character and service as His light for the nations to see and know Him as the one true Savior and Lord.
Rom. 12:1 - “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship.”
1 Chronicles emphasizes how the preservation of God’s covenant people, the establishment of Jerusalem as the holy city, and the building of God’s Temple dwelling came through the faith, obedience, sacrifice, and giving of His faithful servants. He has and is redeeming a new covenant people for Himself through the faith, obedience, sacrifice, and giving of His Son, Jesus Christ. His ongoing work of reconciling sinners to Himself for eternal salvation, building up His Church, and expanding His kingdom is accomplished through the continued faith, obedience, sacrifice, and giving of His faithful followers.
Col. 1:24-25 - “Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness.”
Discuss the relevance of these truths and applications and the overall message of 1 Chronicles around your tables for your personal lives, the church, culture at large, and the world.