The book of First Chronicles follows Second Kings in today’s Bible, but in the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles is the last book.

Chronicles is a summary of all the Jewish scriptures. The first word of the book is Adam, and the last paragraph of Second Chronicles tells of the Israelites returning to Israel from exile.

Most of book is repeat content from First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings, and it was most likely written about 200 years after the Israelites returned from exile in Babylon and Assyria.

The author of First and Second Chronicles lives in a world where God’s promises of rebuilding the temple that was destroyed in Second Kings, dwelling among His people and bringing a Messianic King to rule over all the nations have not been fulfilled.

So, the author compiles stories from the past about Israel’s kings and prophets that provide a message of hope for the future of Israel.

The first nine chapters of First Chronicles includes long lists of genealogies or family lines. These genealogies summarize the entire Old Testament storyline by pointing out its key characters and tracing the family lines of the Messiah and of Israel’s priests.

The rest of First Chronicles tells stories from the life of David—but the author leaves out all of the negative stories about David, like the persecution he faced from Saul or his affair with Bathsheba. The author tells familiar stories and new stories of David’s faithfulness to God and his care for Israel.

This is not to misrepresent David, since it’s easy to turn back to First and Second Samuel and read of all of David’s shortcomings and failures, but to portray David as the hopeful image of an ideal king—the Messiah that, one day, will come from the line of David.

THEMES

Messianic King: The entire book of First Chronicles is designed to give the reader hope for the coming Messianic King, who will rule all the nations with grace, mercy and justice, and whose reign will never end.

The temple: First Chronicles pays a great deal of attention to God’s temple and its future. In the genealogies, the author goes into detail about the lineage of Aaron, Moses’s brother, from whom Israel’s priests descended. In chapters 22-29, the author describes the plans God gave David for the construction of the temple and David’s preparations for the temple, which God said would be carried out by the Messiah.

KEY PASSAGES

1 Chronicles 17:10b-14: “‘“I declare to you that the LORD will build a house for you: When your days are over and you go to be with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. I will never take my love away from him, as I took it away from your predecessor. I will set him over my house and my kingdom forever; his throne will be established forever.”’”

HOW DOES THIS FIT INTO GOD’S STORY?

Although much of First and Second Chronicles is repeat information from First and Second Samuel and First and Second Kings, these books help us understand the whole purpose of the Old Testament: to set the stage for Jesus’ arrival.

In the midst of stories of Israel’s corruption and unfaithfulness portrayed in many of the other books of Israel’s history, First Chronicles reminds the reader that hope is not lost and that God has made and will fulfill the promises He made to Abraham and to David.

There will come a day when the Messiah will come from the line of David, rebuild the temple and establish an eternal Kingdom.