Introduction to II Chronicles
I and II Chronicles were originally one book. The Introduction to the book of I Chronicles contains additional information relevant to both books. Both I and II Chronicles undoubtedly contain material from many accounts written during the period from David’s reign to the exile, but the two books were most likely brought into their present form by Ezra the scribe for use by the returning exiles who were rebuilding Jerusalem and its temple.
This second book of Chronicles begins with the reign of King Solomon and continues to document the Davidic dynasty in Jerusalem until the invasion of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar who captured Judah’s nobles and all the best of her population and took them to Babylon. Although ancient chronology is always somewhat uncertain, the generally accepted date for the fall of Jerusalem under Zedekiah is about 586 B.C.
There are a number of apparent contradictions between the histories of Chronicles and those of Samuel and Kings. Most of these are only superficial, and can be easily resolved on closer study. However, a significant number have to do with numerical quantities, which are in clear conflict. These can usually best be explained in terms of copyists’ errors. Hebrew numbers are very susceptible to being misread, especially if the manuscript is old and worn, as it would have been in the time when manuscripts were few and had to be laboriously copied by hand. Some of these apparent contradictions are discussed in the footnotes attached to the specific texts in question. It is important to remember that the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy applies only to the original autographs, rather than to any particular copy or translation. Nevertheless the ancient scribes were very meticulous and any copyist errors are few and far between. We can have confidence that Chronicles, as well as all other books of the Bible, have been preserved substantially intact. The present Authorized Version still gives overwhelming evidence of inerrant inspiration, even in such books as II Chronicles.