Kings vs. Chronicles

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KMK

Administrator
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I need a summary statement describing the thematic difference between Kings and Chronicles. The pithier the better.
 

jw

Administrator
Kings has a civil emphasis, whereas Chronicles, ecclesiastical is as about as pithy as I can make it, and obviously there is some overlap.
 

danekristjan

Puritan Board Freshman
It is helpful to remember that Chronicles is written for an exilic covenant people. Interestingly it leaves out many of the faults of David and Solomon. It's emphasis is on the covenant promises and faithfulness of God to deliver His people for the sake of David (ultimately the greater David, Christ, who ushers in the true Return from exile, only typologically seen in Ezra/Nehemiah).
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
How about this? Kings is about the Promise of a Remnant; Chronicles is about the Promise of Retribution.
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Kings answers the question: Why did we end up in exile? Are the Babylonian gods more powerful than the Lord? (No; the reason we are in exile is generation after generation sinned in ways specifically forbidden in Deuteronomy and so God judged us with exile just like Moses threatened)

Chronicles answers the question that naturally follows: "Did our fathers sin and get away with it, and our generation took the rap? That's not fair." (Jer. 31:29; Ezek, 18:2; It's perfectly fair because this generation is just like their fathers; blessing and punishment are not completely deferred but were often received at the time). If we are under God's judgment, why repent? (Because God receives those who humble themselves and turn to him, no matter what their history; 2 Chron 7:14)

Both leave you looking forward for a savior to fulfill the promises of God to Abraham, in spite of Israel's repeated unfaithfulness.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
I need a summary statement describing the thematic difference between Kings and Chronicles. The pithier the better.

There is a simple video I put up for you on my YouTube channel. I got it from bible.com.
Here’s the information that I added:

You asked, “I need a summary statement describing the thematic difference between Kings and Chronicles. The pithier, the better.” I don’t know how “pithy” this simple video is, but, at an entry-level, it covers most of the fundamental differences between Samual-Kings, and Chronicles.

1&2 Chronicles is the last Book (one book, not two) in the Hebrew Bible, and well it should be. Maybe written (started at least), by Ezra. The most interesting verse is the last one in 2 Chronicles.

2 Chronicles 36:23​
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and he has charged me to build him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all his people, may the Lord his God be with him. Let him go up.’”
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
I agree with Iain, but would add one more thing about Chronicles, a la Raymond Dillard. If Kings asks the question, "How did it come to this?" then Chronicles asks the question, "Are we still the covenant people of God at all?" This is based on the historical reality of Kings being written during the Exile, and Chronicles after the Exile. So Kings emphasizes the sin of the kings and the people to show why God shut them down. Chronicles emphasizes the continuity of pre- and post-Exilic communities.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
How about this:

Kings answers the question, "Why did God abandon us?"
Chronicles answers the question, "Who are we now?"
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
preface: the many good answers already given show that the answer isn't simple

Here is my theory: the emphasis of Kings is the apotheosis and decline of the Davidic monarchy; the emphasis of Chronicles is the Temple. You can combine the two ideas in that of the house of David--God builds David a dynastic house as he promised, and also enables David & Solomon to build the Lord's house (temple).

Samuel-Kings tell a full story of the age of the Israelite monarchs from the original pre-monarchical moment when Samuel, the last judge, stood out prominently; to the division (N/S) and ultimate dissolution of the monarchy under divine judgment. The people get the king they want and deserve in Saul; who is replaced by the king they need in David. They go from rejecting God as their king, to the reign of man (Saul), to returning under the reign of God through the man after his own heart. But David is not the ideal, and neither is his immediate son, or the sons that ruled after both of them; and quickly the kingdom was divided. The books of Kings record the failure of the monarchy to live up to the hope of a faithful king. Why (?!) have we gone into exile, indeed.

Chronicles, in addition to some significant genealogical data at the start, covers more than 1&2 Kings; starting with ch10 the narrative covers the monarchy from the death of Saul. The remainder of 1Chr covers David's reign up to his death. But one of the differences in the story of David is that his sin against Uriah and Bathsheba is left out. But his sin of numbering the people is included, and this error is accompanied by earlier in the story considerable space (more than in Kings) given to bringing the ark to Jerusalem. In the aftermath of the disastrous census, David buys the threshingfloor of Ornan (Arunah). The farther result was settling the eventual site for the Temple. Then comes eight chs (22-29) detailing the preparation for building the Temple. 2Chr. starts with seven more chs of building the Temple. The Temple occupies the central position of the combined record.

2Chronicles only follows the kings of Judah (S) not the northern tribes, and gives prominence to several Levitical and priestly events that go unmentioned or unelaborated in Kings. The book closes on the words of the decree of Cyrus that the Temple should be rebuilt. Just to compare, 2Kings ends with a glimmer of hope for the fallen house of David. Again, note how the emphasis in both records has been carried through to the final words of the text. The Temple is not ultimately about nationalism, but about covenant, peace, reconciliation of man with God, repentance and forgiveness. As Dr. Duguid wrote above, the hope for the exiles is that they will fulfill the aspirational prayer of Solomon back at the dedication of the Temple; and returning, hope in what God promises them.

Both the monarchy and the Temple are fulfilled in the Person of Christ.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Somehow, somewhere, someone planted in my brain the idea that the difference is...

Kings: The rise and fall of Israel's kings.​
Chronicles: The rise and fall of Israel's worship.​

That's pithy, at least. And it seems to be along the same lines of what Bruce just offered. But I'm interested in also learning from the other responses, as this one is probably too simplistic.
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
earlier in the story considerable space (more than in Kings) given to bringing the ark to Jerusalem.

I absolutely love the story of bringing in the ark as it is told in Chronicles. We see David as a prophet, priest, and king, foreshadowing the coming of the ultimate Prophet, Priest, and King, Jesus. The emphasis on the massive number of people and the religious celebration involved in bringing in the ark contrasts with the somewhat lesser story in Samuel-Kings. It seems that Chronicles, in general, looks forward to and gives us hope in the future and consummate Messiah, our eternal and all-powerful King Jesus.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Somehow, somewhere, someone planted in my brain the idea that the difference is...

Kings: The rise and fall of Israel's kings.​
Chronicles: The rise and fall of Israel's worship.​

That's pithy, at least. And it seems to be along the same lines of what Bruce just offered. But I'm interested in also learning from the other responses, as this one is probably too simplistic.

Pith demands precis.
 
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