Written by T. Desmond Alexander |
Sunday, November 5, 2023
In these and other ways, the author of Chronicles highlights an intimate bond between the temple and the Davidic king. Since the temple has been restored, there is hope that the Davidic dynasty will be restored. To this end, the author of Chronicles reminds his readers that the temple is the place of prayer, and he encourages them to repent and pray for God’s healing of their land (see 2 Chron. 7:14).
The book of Chronicles is an important part of our divinely inspired Bible, but two factors often deter modern Christian readers: (1) the opening nine chapters are filled with genealogical information that makes far from compelling reading, and (2) everything that follows in some measure repeats information about the Davidic dynasty that has already been recorded in the books of Samuel and Kings. The contents of Chronicles are often identical to what is found in these earlier books. Why, we might ask, do we have in the Bible a second history of Israel that overlaps in varying degrees with what is already recorded in Samuel and Kings? Three important observations may help answer this question.
1. For the author of Chronicles, the Davidic monarchy is central to God’s plan of redemption for the entire world.
We need to appreciate the context in which Chronicles was composed. Samuel and Kings were written around 550 BC, in the wake of Jerusalem being sacked by the Babylonians. This devastating event resulted in the temple’s destruction and the end of the Davidic dynasty’s rule over the nation of Judah. According to Kings, these tragic developments were a consequence of God’s judgment on the people of Judah and especially the Davidic kings, who turned away from worshiping God. However, circumstances had changed dramatically by the time Chronicles was composed between 450–400 BC. By this stage, many Judeans had returned to Jerusalem from captivity in Babylon to rebuild the temple and the city walls.
The historical context of when each book was composed influences its overall message. Kings explains why destruction and exile befalls Jerusalem due to the corruption of the Davidic monarchy. In marked contrast, the author of Chronicles encourages his readers to believe in the continuing importance of the Davidic monarchy and to pray for its restoration. For the author of Chronicles, the Davidic monarchy is central to God’s plan of redemption for the entire world.
2. Chronicles holds out hope that God will raise up a descendant of David to establish God’s kingdom in the world.
Despite the absence of a king in Jerusalem after 586 BC, Chronicles holds out hope that God will raise up a descendant of David to establish God’s kingdom in the world. This eventually comes to fulfilment in Jesus Christ. However, for the people of Jerusalem in the late fifth century BC, doubts must have existed regarding God’s commitment to the Davidic dynasty.