read the same information again in the ninth unit of the Bible, the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles?
Probably for the same reason that God gave us four gospels about the life of Jesus: each narrative describes the same life, but each organizes and describes that life from a unique perspective, and together they give us a fuller picture of our Lord. Just as in the four gospels of the New Testament, we will read through the history of Israel four times in the Old Testament: the first time in all of our reading through 2 Kings (what we have just finished), the second time in 1 and 2 Chronicles, the third time in the books of the major prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel and Daniel) and the fourth time in the minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi). From these four readings through Israel’s history, when we finish the Old Testament on September 9th, we should have a well-rounded knowledge of Yahweh’s grace manifested to His people.
We will cover this new unit in approximately two and a half weeks, in the readings from April 26th through May 14th this year. As you read, keep in mind the following observations:
1) The main events of the unit: Israel’s history from the perspective of the Levites.
2) Yahweh’s attributes that stand out: His glory and His eternal dominion
3) Yahweh’s main work: He blesses His people when they respond to His
4) The main participants: The kings of the united kingdom (David and Solomon) and of the divided kingdom
5) The main reference to Jesus Christ and the gospel: “When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, and I will establish his kingdom… I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.
I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever” (1 Chronicles 17:11, 13-14; see also Hebrews 1:5).
6) Key observations: First and Second Kings is the history of Israel from the viewpoint of the prophets; 1 and 2 Chronicles covers the same time but from the perspective of the Levites. The importance of the prophets in these books is greatly reduced. For example, Elijah the prophet so important to 1 and 2 Kings, receives only one mention, and only through a letter (2 Chronicles 21:12-15). The name of Elisha doesn’t even appear. On the other hand, there will be an abundance of references to the devotion of the kings and the temple services.
In these readings we’ll notice a preference for the kings of Judah; some of the kings of Israel receive no mention. This is to highlight the importance of the Davidic line and Yahweh’s covenant with David in Israel’s past and future.
The emphasis on David’s royal lineage, on the Levites and on the temple reflect one of the goals of the narrator of 1 and 2 Chronicles: directing the resettlement of Jerusalem and Judah by the descendants of the exiles, specifically in their continued submission to David’s royal line and in organized temple worship (Richard Pratt, 1 and 2 Chronicles: A Mentor Commentary, 2006, Christian Focus Publications, pgs. 14-15, 25-26). Like Moses in Deuteronomy, the narrator of 1 and 2 Chronicles wants to portray Israel’s past so that his readers have a vision for Yahweh’s future blessings, all to solidify their commitment to obey Yahweh in the present.
Our guide to the kings will be useful once again when we get to 2 Chronicles. Meanwhile, enjoy this review of Israelite history, this time through 1 and 2 Chronicles.