1 & 2 Chronicles
1 & 2 CHRONICLES - SECOND THOUGHTS
The author of the Chronicles is unknown, although some ascribed the writings to Ezra. The books of Chronicles were written after the Babylonian captivity had ended. The books of Chronicles sound like a repeat of the books of Kings. However, a closer look shows a different slant or view of the period. Kings is a history of the period as noted by the prophets. Chronicles is the same history as noted by the priests. Kings is history from a human standpoint; Chronicles is history from the divine standpoint. Man rules in Kings, God overrules in Chronicles. For example, religious revival is covered in just three verses in Kings, but in three chapters in Chronicles. Chronicles gives us a better insight and understanding of Kings. The books of Samuel and Kings are more occupied with the relation of political occurrences, while the Chronicles furnish detailed accounts of ecclesiastical institutions. One striking difference is that in Chronicles only the reigns of Judah's kings are chronicled.
The remnant that returned at the decree of Cyrus found themselves back in the Land of Promise with a monumental task before them. Their cities were lying in heaps, the temple was gone, the land was desolate and in ruins. A great many of the Israelites preferred a life of luxury in Babylon and Persia to living under conditions that existed in their homeland. Not only the land, temple, and cities were gone, the throne was gone also. However, the returning people under Zerubbabel had a commission to build the temple, not a throne.
The Chronicles contain a summary of sacred history, particularly from the origin of the Jewish nation to the end of the captivity. What was the necessity of listing the genealogical progression from Adam to the end of the captivity? The design of Chronicles is to give correct genealogies, the ranks and files of the Levites who would resume their priestly functions after returning to their homeland. In maintaining the temple and temple services it required the setting of priests and Levites in their proper courses. Access to accurate genealogies would be necessary to determine who served in what capacity, whether porter, singer, priest, etc., because these offices were held by the different families. After a long period of time in captivity, measures needed to taken so that families could be restored to their possessions they enjoyed before the captivity. When the time came to return to their own land there would be certain difficulties associated with settling the land. Accurate and trustworthy listing of genealogy was necessary to this purpose.
As has already been remarked in the survey of I Chronicles, the second book points out the vital connection the people of the captivity must have in order to establish the order of things prior to the captivity. They are to resume their former observances in all aspects of their religious life, and in the maintenance of the divine institutions. The captivity was but an interruption of the old order.