The Inspiration of the Scriptures: 1 Chronicles

1Ch  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Divine Design. 13. 1 Chronicles
That there is a purpose in the book of Chronicles, now divided into two, distinct from that which runs through the preceding books of Kings, is unquestionable. No “And” connects their beginning, as before. But the Septuagintal title of Παραλειπόμενα, “Things deficient or omitted,” fails to describe it adequately. A great deal is repeated though not without characteristic differences, while very much is fresh with notable omissions of a markedly homogeneous kind. The introductory genealogy from man's existence on the earth ought to have shut out the notion of a mere supplement, and prepared for a special design of God; Who here points out, in the midst of general ruin, His sovereign mercy and blessing bound up with the house of David and the tribe of Judah, whatever His chastenings because of their sins. They were a spiritual retrospect, like Deuteronomy, which also is not in continuity with its predecessors, though to the believer undoubtedly of Moses, as the Chronicles in all probability of Ezra, both admitting of a little inspired addition to complete them. But there is no such ground to insist on Ezra here, as on Moses there, who claims the book with unusual precision; so that one must accept this, or treat it as a fraudulent romance and risk the consequence both now and before the judgment-seat of Christ.
The so-called first book parts into two sections, chaps. 1-9:34, and 10-29.
In the nine chapters constituting the preliminary section we have the principle long after formulated by the apostle Paul, not first the spiritual but the natural, then the spiritual. Even the general genealogy of chap. 1 is governed by this divine purpose. That of the sons of Israel from chap. 2 follows the same rule. In chap. 3 are named David's sons, born in Hebron and in Jerusalem, Judah thus occupying the space from 2:3 to 4:23, the sons of Simeon following who were allotted there and were specially associated as in Judg. 1. How Reuben, the firstborn, lost the primacy which sovereign grace gave to Judah, though the birthright passed to Joseph, we read in chap. 5; and Reuben's war with the Hagarites, which leads to a brief notice of the Gadites and Manassites, his neighbors. Then comes the incomparably fuller view of the Levites and Aaron's sons in the long chap. 6; as those of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, the other half of Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher, curtly follow in chap. 7. But Benjamin reappears particularly in chap. 8 to bring in Saul, his forefathers and descendants. Dan and Zebulun are not even noticed. Chap. 9 sketches the circumstances on the return from Babylon, when some of Israel, but especially the sacred and the royal tribes came back, in and near Jerusalem.
We may regard the history opening with Saul and his house in chap. 9:35, but hastening to his sad end on mount Gilboa, with the Holy Spirit's moral comment on it in chap. 10. Thereon, for here too the spiritual was after the natural, follows the true king of Jehovah's choice, not in Hebron only but Jerusalem; Zion taken; and his worthies in chaps. 11, 12. Then we have the ark with the failures that first hindered in 13, while David was blessed when he was dependent on God (chap. 14); but at length he honored God in due order and reverence of the ark to the joy of all but Michal (15) Yet was its place only provisional, whatever the blessing and praise on that day (16). David's son was to build Jehovah's house (17), and his thanks rise higher still in the assured and everlasting blessing of his own house. David's conquests and prosperous reign through Jehovah's favor appear in chap. 18, and the Ammonite king insults him to the ruin of himself and his allies (chaps. 19, 20). David's terrible fall in the matter of Uriah and Bathsheba is left out, as well as his tribulations before he reached the throne; not so in the pride that counted Israel, which drew from Jehovah pestilence, arrested at Oman's threshing-floor, Mount Moriah, thereon bought by David as the site for Jehovah's house (chaps. 21, 22). The sanctuary then becomes actively his concern, and his charge to Solomon to build it, and to the princes of Israel to help. Then in chap. 23 David divides the Levites for their services, and in 24 the sons of Aaron into their twenty-four courses, as in 25 the singers and musicians into a like number. The doorkeepers and other officials are seen arranged in chap. 26. Then in 27 we have the civil officers for every month, and heads of tribes, and the royal controllers in their several places. In 28, 29 the king repeats his charge before all the chiefs as to Solomon and the house to Jehovah's name, with its inspired pattern and his ample store of material, stirring up pious generosity in the men of means, and blessing Jehovah before all with sacrifice abundant. Solomon is again made king, with Zadok priest. And David's close is touchingly recounted, with Solomon reigning in his stead: the twofold type of Christ, as we have seen in Moses and Joshua. The episode of Adonijah, &c. is only in the Book of Kings.