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THE FIRST BOOK OF THE CHRONICLES.

INTRODUCTION

TO

THE BOOKS

BOOKS OF THE CHRONICLES.

§ 1. Title.-In the Hebrew MSS. the Books of gate, and so passed into the other versions and the Chronicles form a continuous work, bearing the general modern printed editious of the Hebrew Bible. name of Dibrê hayyâmim (“ Events of the Days," or “ History of the Times”), which is no doubt an abridg. $ 2. Relation to the Books of Ezra and ment of Sépher dibré hayyamim-i.e., • The Book of Nehemiah.-An attentive examination of the Hebrew the Events (or History) of the Times.”. (Comp. 2 Kings text of the Books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiali, xiv. 19; 1 Chron. xxvii. 24; Esther vi. 1, x. 2.) This soon reveals the important fact that the three apparently «lesignation is not given in the text of the work itself, separate works resemble each other very closely, not but was prefixed by some unknown editor. Accordingly only in style and language, which is that of the latest we find a different title in the LXX., which divides age of Hebrew writing, but also in the general point of the work into two books, called MapalelToU ÉVWv apWT OY view, in the manner in which the original authorities and deutepdv (“First and Second [Book] of Things are handled and the sacred Law expressly cited, and. omitted”); or, Ilapaleinouévwv Bardew or, in some above all, in the marked preference for certain topics, MSS., Tŵr Barrelwr lovdà, a and B (“ First and Second such as genealogical and statistical registers, descripBook of omitted Notices of the Kings or the tions of religious rites and festivals, detailed accounts Kingdoms of Judah"). This title indicates that, in of the sacerdotal classes and their various functions. the opinion of the Greek translators, the work was notices of the music of the Temple, and similar matters intended as a kind of supplement to the older his- connected with the organisation of public worship. torical books. In that case, however, great part of These resemblances in manner, method, and matter. Chronicles could only be considered redundant and raise a strong presumption of unity of authorship, which superfluous, consisting, as it does, in the mere re- is accordingly asserted by most modern scholars. As petition of narratives already incorporated in Samuel regards Chronicles and Ezra, this result is further indi. and Kings. (See § 5, infra.) The name by which we cated by the strange termination of the Chronicles in know the work, and which fairly represents the Hebrew the middle of an unfinished sentence, which finds its designation, is derived from St. Jerome, who says :- due completion in the opening verses of Ezra. (Comp. “ Dibre hayamim, id est, Verba dierum, quod signifi. 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23 with Ezra i. 1-4.)

Had cantius Chronicon totius divinae historiae possumus Chronicles been an independent work, it might have appellare, qui liber apud nos Paralipomenon primus et ended less abruptly at 2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. But there secundus inscribitur” (Prolog. galeat.). The work, is no real break in the narrative between 2 Chron. xxxvi. however, is not a mere chronicle or book of annals, and Ezra i.; and the awkwardness of the existing although somewhat resembling one in its external form, division simply points to the perplexity of some editor and deriving its facts from annalistic sources ($ 7, or transcriber, who did not know where to leave off. It infra). In the Vulgate we find the heading, The is absurd to lay any stress on the two trivial variants First Book of Paralipomena, in Hebrew Dibre Haia- between the two passages. They are not marks of an inim.” In the Peshito-Syriac, “Next the Book of the editorial hand, but merely errors of transcription. (See Rule of Days (Dúbor yaumáthậ) of the Kings of Judah, Notes ou 2 Chron. xxxvi. 22, 23.) which is called Sephar debar yamîn." In the Arabic, There are other facts which combine with the above “In the name of God the Merciful, the Compassionate. considerations to prove that Chronicles, Ezra, and The First Book of the Kitâb 'akhbiri 'l 'ayyâmi-the Nehemiah originally constituted a single great history. Book of the Histories of the Days; which is called in composed upon a uniform plan by one author. Thus the Hebrew, Dibrâ hayyâmin.”

there is actually extant part of a Greek version of the That Chronicles was originally a single, undivided thre9 books which ignores their division. The Third work, is evident from the Masoretic noto at the end of Book of Esdras is, with certain important omissions and the Hebrew text, which states that 1 Chron. xxvii. additions, an independent translation of the history 25 is the middle verse of the whole book. Moreover, from 2 Chron. xxxv. to Neh. viii. 12. In this work the Josephus, Origen (ap. Euseb. IIist. Eccl. vi. 25), Jerome, edict of Cyrus occurs but once; and it is evident that and the Talmud reckon but one book of Chronicles. the author's Hebrew text did not divide the history into The Peshito-Syriac ends with the remark: “Finished three distinct books. is the book of Debar yamîn, in which are 5,603 verses Further, the ancients did not separate Ezra and -implying the unity of the work. The present division Nehemiah in the modern fashion. The Talmudic into two books, which certainly occurs in the most suit- treatise Baba bathra (fol. 15. A), the Masorah, and the able place, was first made by the LXX. translators, Christian fathers Origen and Jerome, regard Ezrafrom whom it was adopted by St. Jerome in the Vul- Nehemiah as a single work; and it appears in the CHRONICLES.

Vulgate as 1st and 2nd of Esdras, a non-fundamental It is an acute suggestion of Ewald's that the division like that of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, chronieler's designation of Cyrus and Darius as “ kings into two books each. Indeed, the Book of Ezra as it of Persia," indicates that he lived and wrote after the stands is an unfinished fragment, which finds its natural fall of the Persian monarchy. The reckoning by continuation in Neh. viii. seq., where the history of “darics” in 1 Chron. xxix. 7 does not prove authorship Ezra's part in the restoration is further pursued. during the Persian dominion. The Persian coinage Lastly, the notes of time in Chronicles and Nehe- would not disappear from use immediately upon the miah coincide (see § 3 infra); and the genealogies establishment of the Greek supremacy. A few other of the high priests from Eleazar to Jehozadak in 1 terms survived in the language as vestiges of tha Chron. vi. 4-16, and from Jeshua to Jaddua in Neh. Persian age; and the Temple fortress was still called the xii. 10, 11, are given in the same form, and are ob. Baris (comp. the Persian baru) in the days of Josephus. viously complementary, covering, as they do, when On the other hand, Prof. Dillmann is probably right in taken together, the whole period from Moses to Alex- asserting that “there are no reasons of any sort for ander the Great.

fixing the authorship of the Chronicle as late as the The LXX. translators found Chronicles already third century, or even later.” The limits of the two severed from Ezra-Nehemiah. This division is explic- genealogies above considered are evidence against such able in connection with the formation the Hel W a conclusion. Upon the whole, it appears likely that Canon. In the Hebrew text the Book of Ezra Nehemiah the great historical work, of which Chronicles forms precedes Chronicles, apparently because the value of the largest section, was compiled between the years this, the newer and more interesting portion of the B.C. 330 and B.C. 300, and perhaps somewhat nearer the whole work, was recognised first.

Chronicles may

latter than the former date. well have been regarded as of less importance, because to a great extent it merely repeats the familiar narra- § 4. Author.-“ Ezra wrote his own book, and the tives of Samuel and Kings. In no long time, however, genealogy of the Chronicles down to himself.” Such is it was perceived that the new relation of the ancient the assertion of the Talmud (Baba bathra, fol. 15. A). history was animated by the spirit of the age, and its But we are no more bound to accept this as fact than catalogues of family descent, and its detailed treatment the preceding statements which connect Moses with the of religious matters, won for it first, perhaps, general Book of Job, and-more wonderful still-Adam with nse as a manual of instruction, and then the last place the Psalms. The grain of truth embodied in th3 in the sacred Canon.

tradition is simply this, that the compiler of the last

great book of history has drawn largely upon the § 3. Date.—The orthography and language of the authentic memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah, incorporating Chronicle, its Levitical tendency, and its position at whole sections of their journals in his work. But, a z the end of the Hagiographa, conspire to suggest a com- every Hebrew scholar knows, a single hand can be trace! paratively late origin. Other internal evidence of a throughout the three books now called Chronicles, Ezra, more definite character enables us to settle the question Nehemiah; and the original documents stand out in of date with approximate precision. The partially sharp contrast to their modern setting, wherever the confused passage, 1 Chron. iii. 19—24, carries the line compiler has been contented to transcribe verbally. of David's posterity down to at least the sixth genera- From the entire tone and spirit of the work, it is tion from Zerubbabel, who along with the High Priest reasonably inferred by most crities that it was the Jeshua conducted the first return, B.c. 536. According production of a Levite attached to the Temple at to R. Benjamin in the Me’or enayim (fol. 153. A, Jerusalem in the latter half of the fourth century B.C. quoted by Zunz), as many as nine generations must be Ewald further supposes the author to have belonged to reckoned from Jesaiah to Johanan in this genealogy. one of the guilds of Levitical musicians : a conjecture In like manner, the LXX. makes eleven generations which is highly probable, considering how much the from Zerubbabel to the last name in the list. This work has to tell us about the Temple choirs and their brings the date of the author down to about B.C. music. Keil objects that the porters are mentioned as 200, if we count thirty years to the generation. This often as the musicians, and that therefore we might was the opinion of Zunz, whom Nöldeke follows. just as well assume the chronicler to have been a porter Kuenen also favours a late epoch, asserting that “the or Temple.warder. But an acquaintance with musical author must have lived about B.c. 250." These views, technicalities such as the writer displays almost however, are not accepted by the majority of modern certainly proves him to have been a member of one of scholars; and they rest upon a highly questionable in- the musical guilds. Similarly, it is no reply to allege terpretation of the passage under consideration. (See that priests are made quite as prominent in the work as Notes on 1 Chron. iii. 19, seq.)

Levitical warders and musicians. The priests are What is certain is, that both in this genealogy of the naturally mentioned on all religious occasions as being house of David, and in that of the high priests, the the principal functionaries. The fact that the inferior writer descends several generations below the age of ministers are so persistently brought forward in their Ezra and Nehemiah, who flourished about B.c. 415. company-which is not the case in the older history, Thus in Neh. xii. 10, 11 the line of the high priests is proves the peculiar interest of the author in these traced as far as Jaddua, who was the fifth successor of latter. Jeshua the contemporary of Zerubbabei. Josephus informs us that Jaddua came into personal contact with § 5. Contents.-Character and Scope of the TVork. A lexander the Great (Antiq. xi. 7, 8). This points to The Chronicle opens with an outline of primeval history a date about B.C. 330. Again, Neh. xii. 22 appears to from Adam to David. The Pentateuchal narratives, speak of Jaddua and "Darius the Persian” (i.e., however, are not repeated, because the five books were Codomannus) as belonging to an earlier age than the already recognised as canonical, and the writer had writer; and Neh. xii. 47 refers to “the days of nothing to add to them. In like manner, the times of Zerubbabel and Nehemiah' as to & past already the Judges and the reign of Saul are passed over. distant.

The chronicler had no special sources for that period, CHRONICLES.

and it did not appear to lend itself easily to the illus. Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah are especially tration of the particular lesson which he wished to prominent, because they witnessed the initiation of enforce upon his readers. Accordingly the first important religious reforms, and the restoration of section of his work takes the driest and most succinct Jerusalem and its sanctuary to their hereditary rank form imaginable, that of a series of genealogies inter- as the religious centre of the nation. And thus spersed with brief historical notices (1 Chron. i.--ix.). traditions about the Temple and its worship, the The writer's extraordinary fondness for genealogical sacerdotal orders and their functions, the merits of and statistical tables is apparent also in other parts of the kings and others in the matter of the cultus, his history, and is to be explained by reference to the are presented with great fulness, and the author expa. special requirements of the post-exilie age. (Comp. tiates with evident delight on the sacred festivals of Ezra ii. 59, seq.) Here, after tracing the generations the olden time. Reigns of which little of the sort from Adam to Jacob, the writer gives a flying survey could be told are briefly treated ” (Dillmann). of the twelve tribes, lingering longest over Judah, the From all this we may gather the aim of the work. tribe of David, and Levi, the tribe of the priests; after The writer has produced not so much a supplement of which (in chaps. viii., ix.) his horizon narrows at once the older histories, as an independent work, in which from all Israel to the southern kingdom only (Benjamin, the history of the chosen people is related afresh in a Judah, Jerusalem). Chap. x.-the death of Saul-is new manner, and from a new point of view. That transitional to the reign of David, which follows at point of view has been characterised as the priestly. length (1 Chron, xi.--xxix.).

Levitical, in contradistinction to the prophetical spirit The second and main portion of the work (1 Chron. of the ancient writers. To understand this, we must xi.—2 Chron. xxxvi.) relates the history of the kings remember that in the chronicler's day the political indewho reigned in Jerusalem from David to Zedekiah, pendence of Israel was a thing of the past, and that tho thus covering a period of between four and five cen- religion of the Law was the most precious survival from turies (B.C. 1055—588). The third part contains the the great catastrophe which had finally shattered the history of the restored community under Zerubbabel, nation, and the principle of cohesion and the basis of Ezra, and Nehemiah (B.C. 5:36–432), and is now known all order, public and private, in the new community. as the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah. (See the Intro- The writer's main object, therefore, is to urge upon duction to those books.)

his contemporaries a faithful observance of the Mosaii. When we consider the second part of this great Law; and he seeks to impress his lesson by presenting compilation, we are immediately struck by the large a picture of times and occasions when, with the space occupied by the reign of David. To the chro. Temple as its centre, and the priests and Levites as its nicler, as to the prophetic historians before him, that organs, the legitimate worship flourished and brought reign, it wonld seem, was the golden age of his people's blessing upon the land. listory. The greater distance at which he stood from the old heroic times of the monarchy only intensified § 6. Documental Authorities. Relation to the spell which they wrought upon his imagination. the Books of Samuel and Kings.-Besides a He does not, however, repeat the familiar tale of David's number of narratives running parallel to those of romantic adventures, of his reign at Hebron, of his sin Samuel and Kings, the Books of Chronicles contain against Uriah, of the revolt of Absalom, and similar other important accounts which are without parallel in matters. His point of view and the needs of his con. the older histories. Such are many of the genealotemporaries are different from those of the older his- gical and statistical tables, as well as certain suppletorians; and it is as the true founder of Jerusalem mentary details and stories inserted in different reigns. and the Temple, with its beautiful service of music The former, which possessed a very special interest for and song, and as the prime author of the priestly the chronicler's contemporaries, were ultimately deorganisation, that the heroic figure of David engages rived from those ancient taxation rolls or assessment his highest interest. Accordingly, all that refers to lists, which were so highly valued by the Jews in the the activity of the king in these directions is de- times immediately preceding and subsequent to the fcribed with intentional fulness and emphasis. (See captivity (Ezra ii

. 59, 62). These catalogues may in 1 Chron. xiii.-xviii., xxii.—xxix.)

some cases have been preserved independently, but it is The reign of Solomon is treated much more briefly, probable that the chronicler found most of them already though at considerably greater length than any sub- incorporated in the historical compilations which consequent one (2 Chron. i.-ix.). Here again we observe stituted his principal authorities. (Comp. 1 Chron. v. a fuller description of whatever relates to religion 17, vii. 2, ix. 1, xxiii. 3, 27, xxvi. 31, xxvii. 24; Neh. xü. and its ministers. In fact, the account of the building 23, vii. 5.) The censuses, for instance, to which refeand dedication of the Temple occupies by far the rence is made in 1 Chron. v. 17, vii. 2, were doubtless largest part of the narrative (chaps. ii.--vii.).

entered in the state annals. The rest of the history is told from the same stand- The second, and to us more important, historical point. After the division of the kingdom, the writer element peculiar to Chronicles is eqnally based upon follows the fortunes of the Davidic monarchy, which trustworthy records of an earlier period. The writer was the more important from a religious, if not from refers from time to time to documents which he a political, point of view. The northern kingdom presumes to be well known to his readers, for further he almost entirely ignores, as founded upon apostasy details upon subjects which he does not himself care to from the orthodox worship, as well as from the legi. pursue. At first sight the number of these documents timate rule of the house of David. Even in this appears to be so considerable as to excite surprise, espelimited field, political, military, and personal facts cially when we remember that the compiler of Kings and incidents are subordinated to the religious in- mentions only two or three such primary documents. terest, and it is obvious that the real subject of the For almost every reign a different source appears to history is everywhere that holy religion which made be cited; which is the more remarkable, inasmuch as Israel what it was, and npon which its historical the titles indicate that more than one of the histories significance wholly depends. Thus the reigns of Asa, referred to must have contained the entire history of

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