The First Book of the Chronicles - Introduction
The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles are the first and larger part of a comprehensive work continued in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The entire work is concerned with the proper service of the LORD at the temple in Jerusalem: how that service was established by David (1 Chr.), how it was finally lost through the folly of the kings of Judah (2 Chr.), and how it was restored by Ezra and Nehemiah. The writing was completed some time during the fourth century B.C.E.
The Chronicler made extensive use of the books of Samuel and Kings, often taking over long passages without major change; the annotations to those books can be consulted. The author also made use of historical sources not otherwise known (see e.g. 2 Chr. 11.5–12; 26.11–13 ) and reproduced genealogical lists which probably reflect earlier conditions (see e.g. 1 Chr. chs. 23–27 ).
David is the center of attention in 1 Chronicles. After a genealogical survey of history until David (chs. 1–9 ), David is treated in four blocks of material: his accession to the throne (chs. 10–12 ), his bringing the Ark into Jerusalem (chs. 13–16 ), his military achievements (chs. 18–20 ), and his elaborate preparation for the building of the temple before his death (chs. 21–29 ). Second Chronicles carries on the account of David's dynasty.
While some of the sources used have great historical value, the Chronicler's work itself should not be read as precise history. It presents, rather, a liturgical history of the City of David, with a prevalent mood and atmosphere of joyful veneration of a sacred past, centered in the temple. Most of the numbers given and the battles described are more like figures in stained-glass windows than in real life. The heroes of this work are the faithful servants of the sanctuary, the Levites, and especially the singers. It is usually thought that the Chronicler was one of these singers.