Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:4-7

03 March 2009

Navigating around Kings and Chronicles - Tip Two

The second tip for navigating around 1 & 2 Kings and 1 & 2 Chronicles is to know the difference between Kings and Chronicles. On first appearances, they seem to be pretty similar and one might wonder about the repetition.

The author of 1 & 2 Kings is unknown, but it has probably been penned by a prophet in Babylon around about 550BC during the exile. It is written from the perspective that God is the Lord of history. So when nations and their leaders look to Him and obey His laws, peace and prosperity follow however political and economic disaster overtakes Israel and Judah as a direct consequence of turning away from God. 1 & 2 Kings is a warts and all account of history. It does not shy away from describing the kings and their actions as wicked and documents some pretty dreadful moments in each nation's history.

The author of 1 & 2 Chronicles is also unknown, but it seems it was written for the party who returned under Ezra and Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem. This party needed a link to the past, needed to re-establish right patterns of worship and needed to be reminded of the past - lest history repeat itself. Chronicles is written from the perspective of true worship and true kingship – and so after the division the kingdoms, the author has chosen only to document the line of David (the Southern Kingdom or Judah), which is the line of rule sanctioned by God.

So although both are historical and pastoral, reading Kings through an historical lens and Chronicles through slightly more pastoral glasses (even though it too is history) adds an extra layer of understanding as you navigate through these books of the Bible.
(Thanks to "The Lion Handbook to the Bible", Lion Publishing 1983, for input with this post! It is a trusty little reference book to have on your shelf so if you don't have one, put it on your birthday list.)

1 comment:

Sharon said...

This tip is very handy, Meredith. I read through a lot of Kings and Chronicles last year, and this is exactly what I realised by the end of all that reading!

~ Sharon