Summary of the Book of 1 Chronicles

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles were originally one book. Like the books of Kings, this is a historical book. However, the books of Kings focused on the northern kingdom, Israel, and this book focuses on the southern kingdom, Judah.

The two books of Chronicles cover about the same time period as 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings. For 1 Chronicles this is approximately 1000 to 960 BC. It includes the end of Saul’s reign and takes the reader up to the beginning of the reign of Solomon.

Author of 1 Chronicles

The book does not claim an author, but tradition says that the author was Ezra. Ezra was a priest in the southern kingdom who lived in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:11). The books of Chronicles focus on temple worship, priests and Levites. This fits with the fact that Ezra was a priest. The writing style is very similar to Ezra, who wrote the book bearing his name. The two books of Chronicles are historical books which go up to the time period of the book of Ezra. The book of Ezra reads like a continuation of the book of 2 Chronicles.

Date Written

The author of the book wrote it after the end of the Babylonian Captivity (1 Chronicles 3:19; 6:15; 9:1, 2). The book seems to be a guide to those returning from exile to know how to worship in the rebuilt city of Jerusalem. It was written between 450 and 425 BC. The book of 1 Chronicles covers just 40 years while 2 Chronicles is approximately 424 years.

Purpose of 1 Chronicles

The book of 1 Chronicles is a book that was written from the perspective of a priest. The author’s goal is to help the people who have been away from the temple to understand what life in Jerusalem was like before the Babylonian captivity. This is a history of the southern kingdom called Judah and the city of Jerusalem. In fact, it has very little information about the northern kingdom. Where the lives of Elijah and Elisha make up a good portion of the books of Kings, Elijah is only mentioned once in the books of Chronicles.

Along with a strong focus on the temple and Jerusalem, these books chronicle the kingdom of David and his lineage. While much of the southern kingdom was wicked, the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Levi were more righteous. The books of Chronicles puts an emphasis on these three tribes.

Key Verses

1 Chronicles 11:1, 2 “Then all Israel gathered themselves to David unto Hebron, saying, Behold, we are thy bone and thy flesh. And moreover in time past, even when Saul was king, thou wast he that leddest out and broughtest in Israel: and the LORD thy God said unto thee, Thou shalt feed my people Israel, and thou shalt be ruler over my people Israel.”

1 Chronicles 21:13 “And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man.”

1 Chronicles 28:10 “Take heed now; for the LORD hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong, and do it.”

1 Chronicles 29:11 “Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.”

Key Words

David – Used more than 180 times.

Interestingly, the name David is the third most often used name in the whole Bible. Moses and Abraham are first and second respectively.

Main Characters

Saul, David and Solomon.

Outline of 1 Chronicles

  1. Various Genealogies (1 Chronicles 1-9)
  2. Tragic End of Saul’s Reign (1 Chronicles 10)
  3. David’s Reign in Israel (1 Chronicles 11-21)
  4. Preparations for Constructing the Temple (1 Chronicles 22-29)

Summary of 1 Chronicles

The first nine chapters of the book are dedicated to various genealogies. They are not a complete listing of genealogical information for the nation. More detailed family histories were kept in the court archives of Israel and Judah (1 Chronicles 9:1). This genealogy is meant to show God’s selecting the nation of Israel to be His people.

Chapter 10 is the tragic end to the poor choices King Saul made in his life. The last two verses wraps up the death of Saul in a poignant way. They say that Saul died for not obeying the voice of the Lord, for seeking counsel from a witch and for not seeking direction from God.

The reign of David in Israel had its high and low points. Both are shared in chapters 11 through 21. David was anointed king in Hebron and attempted to bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem from the Philistines as one of his first acts as king. Chapter 14 recounts David’s victory over the Philistines. He was finally able to bring the Ark to Jerusalem in chapter 15.

King David desired to build a house for God. Chapter 17 records David’s plan and request to God to be allowed to build a permanent dwelling for the Lord. Even though the Tabernacle was still used in daily worship, David wanted to build the Temple. God told him that he would not be the man to build the Temple. Chapter 17 is the Davidic Covenant, which is the promise from God that David’s son, Solomon, would build the Temple (also stated in 2 Samuel 7:4-16). It was a promise that the kingdom of David would be established in Israel. This meant that his children would rule after him.

The rest of the section dealing with David’s reign shows his victories over his enemies. Unfortunately it shows his weaknesses as well. In chapter 21 David sinned by numbering the people (a sin of pride and not trusting in God’s strength). This chapter also reveals the punishment for his sin.

Chapters 22 through 29 are David’s preparation for the Temple. Even though he would not be allowed to build the Temple, he was allowed to prepare the materials. David gathered the items necessary for the building of the House of the Lord. He arranged all of the workers and others who were involved in the later construction of the Temple.

The book closes in chapter 29 with the death of David and the crowning of Solomon as the next king of Israel.

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