First Chronicles was written for the dual purpose of providing encouragement and exhortation to those who had returned to Jerusalem. The remnant that was left needed encouragement to keep their faith alive in the midst of difficulty, and they needed hope for the future.
The emphasis of Chronicles on their spiritual heritage of David, Solomon, the temple, and the priesthood was a refreshing reminder that God was faithful and He would not forget His promises to David and to His people. Yet 1 Chronicles also served as a strong exhortation to motivate God’s people to adhere to the Mosaic covenant and ritual, so that the tragedy of the past would not be repeated.
Reunions are important. They are times for touching and connecting with others from branches of the family tree, tracing one’s personal history back through time and culture, seeing physical reminders (her eyes, his nose), recalling warm traditions. Knowing one’s genetic and relational path gives a sense of identity, heritage, and destiny.
It is with this same high purpose that the writer of Chronicles begins his unifying work with an extensive genealogy. He traces the roots of the nation in a literary family reunion from Adam onward, recounting its royal line and the loving plan of a personal God. We read 1 Chronicles and gain a glimpse of God at work through his people for generations. If you are a believer, these people are your ancestors, too. As you approach this part of God’s Word, read their names with awe and respect, and gain new security and identity in your relationship with God.
The previous book, 2 Kings, ends with both Israel and Judah in captivity, surely a dark age for God’s people. Then follows Chronicles (1 and 2 Chronicles were originally one book). Written after the Captivity, it summarizes Israel’s history, emphasizing the Jewish people’s spiritual heritage in an attempt to unify the nation. The chronicler is selective in his history telling. Instead of writing an exhaustive work, he carefully weaves the narrative, highlighting spiritual lessons and teaching moral truths. In Chronicles the northern kingdom is virtually ignored, David’s triumphs—not his sins—are recalled, and the Temple is given great prominence as the vital center of national life.
First Chronicles begins with Adam, and for nine chapters, the writer gives us a “Who’s Who” of Israel’s history with special emphasis on David’s royal line. The rest of the book tells the story of David—the great man of God, Israel’s king—who served God and laid out the plans for the construction of and worship in the Temple.
First Chronicles is an invaluable supplement to 2 Samuel and a strong reminder of the necessity for tracing our roots and thus rediscovering our spiritual foundation. As you read 1 Chronicles, trace your own godly heritage, thank God for your spiritual forefathers, and recommit yourself to passing on God’s truth to the next generation.