What takes four books (1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings) is summarized in 1 and 2 Chronicles. Why is this so? Why write four books and then turn around and recap the same material in two more? Scholars and critics of the Bible have debated this conundrum for centuries. Furthermore, when one reads Chronicles, most of the shortcomings and failures of David and Solomon are omitted. This has led many to believe that Ezra (or whoever wrote Chronicles) was a charter member of the David and Solomon fan club or actually idolized them. To me, this type of foolishness is the very reason so many people doubt the integrity of the Word of God. I believe there must be a Godly reason for why Samuel/Kings were written the way they were and why Chronicles was written the way they were.
In the first appendix of the Companion Bible (Reprinted by permission of The Bullinger Publications Trust 1972), the statement is made in reference to the Book of Chronicles that the words of these two books express God's purposes and counsels as to Israel's doings in the past, and until the time of the end. This concept sets in stark contrast to the cut and dry historical accounts found in Samuel and Kings. This is why some of us believe that simply put; Samuel and Kings are concerned with what happened when and with whom while Chronicles is concerned with showing us God's point of view regarding these things. If one were to read these books from this perspective, all confusion is eliminated and there is no need for foolish theological arguments that someone as great as Ezra could see no wrong in his personal idols - David and Solomon.
When one reads Chronicles, there are huge gaps historically from what is recorded in Samuel and Kings. There are also noticeable differences in what appears in Chronicles and how it is presented compared to the accounts in Samuel and Kings. To me, it is obvious that Samuel/Kings are written from man's historical perspective and Chronicles is written from God's eternal perspective. Does this mean Samuel/Kings are not the Word of God? Of course not; it is strictly and simply a matter of perspective.
Among the major differences between Samuel/Kings and Chronicles, one of the biggest is the almost total absence of most of David's sins. There is nary a word in Chronicles about what David did with Bathsheba and how he had Uriah killed. What occupies chapters 11 and 12 in 2 Samuel is totally absent in the book of Chronicles. Does this mean that what David did is not important to God? Of course not; what it does mean is that God is more interested in showing what David did that made him a man after His own heart in Chronicles instead of zeroing in on the weakness of his flesh.
There is a great similarity between David and Moses as well as Solomon and Joshua. David was not allowed to build the temple just as Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. Solomon was the one who built the temple and Joshua is the one who led God's people into the Promised Land. This perhaps provides the only explanation for the absence of Solomon's idolatry, foreign wives or rebellions against his rule. The emphasis of Chronicles is to present these men from God's point of view in light of His eternal purposes.
For those of us who long to be men and women after God's own heart, the Books of Chronicles give us hope that God sees past our shortcomings, our mistakes, our disobedience to Him, our selfishness, our forays into the abyss known as this world and every other thing we do that is contrary to that which is right. It should bring us great comfort that as long as we have a contrite heart and are ready and willing to confess our sins; God is faithful and just to forgive us and allow us to continue being a part of His eternal purpose just as David and Solomon were.
Perhaps nowhere is the difference between Kings and Chronicles more profound than the account of King Manasseh. 2 Kings 21 presents the length and depth of evil that flowed from this king's heart. In fact, in 2 Kings 21:16 it says:
Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.
King James Version (KJV)
Manasseh was one of the most evil kings who ever reigned and 2 Kings 21 pulls no punches about the havoc he wrought on Israel as he undid all the good his father Hezekiah had done. The record in Kings ends with the simple statement that Manasseh died. In comparison, the record in 2 Chronicles 33 paints a much different picture of Manasseh because Chronicles presents God's point of view.
Manasseh was taken prisoner by the king of Assyria who took him to Babylon. Unlike the record in Kings, the account of Manasseh does not stop here. What was important to God is what is recorded in 2 Chronicles 33:12, 13:
12And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers,
13And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.
King James Version (KJV)
The next four verses describe all the GOOD that Manasseh did upon returning to Jerusalem. In the end, Manasseh was a good king because he yielded to God's Word and will and repented of all the evil he had done. In Chronicles, God chooses to emphasize the positive outcome of the contrite hearts of His servants instead of looking only at their sins. May we always remember that God is full of mercy and that He is more than willing to forgive those who humble themselves before Him with a contrite heart.
Great blog !
This definitely sum's it up ~~~
May we always remember that God is full of mercy and that He is more than willing to forgive those who humble themselves before Him with a contrite heart.
Be forever blessed
If we could comprehend God's forgiveness. ..if only we could comprehend it...for ourselves, AND for others... if only we could live a Chronicles life l. .
this is good.
"For those of us who long to be men and women after God's own heart, the Books of Chronicles give us hope that God sees past our shortcomings, our mistakes, our disobedience to Him, our selfishness, our forays into the abyss known as this world and every other thing we do that is contrary to that which is right. It should bring us great comfort that as long as we have a contrite heart and are ready and willing to confess our sins; God is faithful and just to forgive us and allow us to continue being a part of His eternal purpose just as David and Solomon were."
What an encouragement!
This is a wonderful blog, Kirk. Thank you!