New Defender's Study Bible Notes
Introduction to I Chronicles
The two books of Chronicles, like the two books of Samuel and the two books of Kings, were originally one book. I Chronicles deals mainly with the reign of David, substantially paralleling but abbreviating Samuel’s accounts. II Chronicles begins with the reign of Solomon and continues through Judah’s entire history to the time of the Babylonian invasion and exile, thus paralleling the two books of Kings. However, Chronicles all but ignores the corresponding history of the northern kingdom.
There are many indications that the two books of Chronicles date from the post-exilic period (for example, some of the genealogies in the first nine chapters extend into that period; also, the note in the final two verses of II Chronicles speak of the decree of Cyrus authorizing the rebuilding of the temple), and this suggests that Ezra the scribe probably was the final editor and author. In fact, there exists significant evidence that Chronicles was originally one book with Ezra and Nehemiah. Ezra’s authorship is not unquestioned, of course, but it seems reasonable and is confirmed by almost unanimous Jewish tradition.
Thus, the books of Chronicles were written long after Samuel and Kings, and the Chronicler no doubt had these two (or four) books to select from in developing his account. There were also numerous other ancient documents and records available, some of which are actually mentioned in the Bible. Note for example, the mention of the writings of the prophets Nathan and Gad (I Chronicles 29:29). In II Chronicles the authors mention: “the book of the kings of Judah” (II Chronicles 16:11); “the book of the kings of Israel” (II Chronicles 20:34); and the “book of the kings of Judah and Israel” (II Chronicles 25:26). There are numerous other sources listed, some twenty in all.
Since all these ancient documents are lost, there is no way of knowing which of them were used by Ezra (or whoever the Chronicler may have been). He undoubtedly used Samuel and Kings, since many sections in Chronicles are almost exact quotes (I Chronicles 11:1-3 with II Samuel 5:1-3).
A natural question is why such duplication was necessary, when the four books of Samuel and Kings were already available. From the viewpoint of the returning exiles, however, it was important for them to have a document establishing their ties with their founding fathers, with their continuing role in the plan of God for His chosen people, and with the eventual Messianic kingdom. Therefore, the detailed genealogies and the strong emphasis on David and the Davidic line leading ultimately to the Messiah are again recorded in these books. This theme not only explains why certain events were duplicated but why certain new records were added and why there were many omissions. As far as the latter are concerned (the events of Saul’s reign, the history of the northern kingdom, David’s sin and Absalom’s rebellion, Solomon’s moral decline in his later years), these were records of failure and rebellion which had no ultimate bearing on that great theme which the Chronicler needed to emphasize. The ultimate apostasy of Judah and her exile, of course, had to be included to explain the situation in which the returning exiles now found themselves.
Just as there is duplication in the four gospels of the New Testament, so also there is duplication between the book of Chronicles and the books of Samuel and Kings. Nevertheless, in both cases, the superficial amount of duplication merely serves as confirmation of the historicity of the events from a different perspective and also provides additional information. The net effect of this duplication is to give a greater in-depth understanding of God’s great plan.
1:1 Adam. The Adam-to-Abraham genealogy listed in I Chronicles 1:1–27 at the beginning of I Chronicles is the same as that in Genesis 5, but both omit the name of Cainan found in the genealogy of Luke 3:36. Cainan is also found in the Septuagint. It seems likely that the name “Cainan” was accidentally added by some Greek-Septuagint copyist, possibly by careless insertion of the antediluvian Cainan in the post-diluvian chronology (Genesis 5:9-14). The other alternative—that the second “Cainan” was inadvertently omitted by an ancient Hebrew copyist, in both Genesis and I Chronicles, seems less likely, both in view of the doctrine of verbal inspiration and also in view of the meticulous copying accuracy of the ancient Hebrew scribes who preserved the Old Testament Scriptures. In either case, a copying mistake seems to have been involved. Nevertheless, it seems probable that the original compiler of the genealogy presented it as a complete record, and all later copyists regarded it as such, including the inspired writer of I Chronicles. However, the chronological data included in either the Genesis genealogy or the others has posed a difficulty, since it seems to be much too short to correlate with the generally accepted secular chronology of ancient history, which assumes at least several hundred thousand years for the history of mankind. This fact has led many Christian apologists to propose arbitrary large gaps in the three genealogies of Genesis, I Chronicles and Luke. This expedient, however, is without warrant in either the context or the obvious intent of the writers. It seems more consistent with the Biblical doctrine of inerrancy to focus instead on the false assumptions in the evolutionary chronologies developed by secular writers—assumptions centered in naturalism and uniformitarianism.
1:29 their generations. Ishmael was a son of Abraham, as Esau (I Chronicles 1:35) was a son of Isaac, yet neither was in the line of the chosen people Israel. The same is true of the sons of Keturah, Abraham’s wife in his later years. Yet their descendants are included here along with those of Jacob, essentially copied from the same tabulations in Genesis. In accord with the principle of verbal inspiration, there must be a reason why the writer of I Chronicles was led to repeat these records. All of these others are descendants of Abraham, and for later generations of both Jews and Gentiles, repetition emphasizes again the fact that God has abundantly fulfilled His original prophetic promise to make Abraham “a father of many nations” (Genesis 17:5). These offspring—from Ishmael, Keturah and Esau—have their modern descendants in the various Arab peoples and states. It is also noteworthy that, despite the long enmity of Arabs and Israelis toward each other, and the enmity of both toward Christians, the Arabs alone among non-Christian peoples continue to believe in the book of Genesis, in a primeval special creation of the entire universe, and in a personal transcendent Creator God. All other nations since the dispersion at Babel, have followed some form of evolutionary humanistic pantheism as their religion, although some—especially among the animists—do maintain also the tradition of a far-off “unknown God” (Acts 17:23), who was greater than the other gods.
1:38 sons of Seir. See Genesis 36:20-28. Esau’s daughter-in-law, Timna (I Chronicles 1:35-36) was a daughter of Seir. Thus the descendants of Esau and Seir were related by marriage and, in effect, the Edomites included both tribes. Timna was the mother of Amalek, but it is likely that he had been named after some previous Amalek, who was the real father of the Amalekites.