Study Guide

1 Chronicles Lists

Lists

Lists are everywhere. Grocery lists. To-do lists. Wish lists. Sometimes it's pretty helpful to write things down. A quick checklist can help you organize your thoughts or give you a plan of action for your next backyard barbecue. Chronicles is filled with all kinds of lists and genealogies. Why are lists so important to the Chronicler?

List-o-Mania

The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are pretty much just a series of really long genealogies telling everyone who begat who and tracing the existence of every single person in Israel all the way back to Adam.

Every once in a while, the author will break in and give us the rundown on who was doing what job in ancient Israel. Who were the important warriors? Who were the gatekeepers in the Temple? Who were David's favorite musicians? These long catalogs of names we don't recognize and can't pronounce keep cropping up all over the place.

We Must Have Order

Okay, but why all the lists?

These genealogies and histories have several purposes. They can be legal—they tell people who gets to inherit what lands and positions. Political—naming a line of succession from one king to the next. Social—listing out who is eligible for what jobs and roles in the community. And personal—they trace the history of individual families up to the present day. (Source The Oxford Bible Commentary, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. p. 268.)

1 Chronicles was written at a crucial time. Israel is just beginning to rebuild after exile in Babylon, so now might be a pretty good time for them to remember the glory days. The Chronicler touches on all the high points of Jewish history—Adam, Abraham, Jacob, the 12 tribes, Moses, Aaron, Saul, David, and Solomon. It's like a road map showing the people how to build a God-centered society.

The Chronicler goes out of his way to show us how David organized things in such an efficient and orderly fashion. It may not be the most exciting reading, but it's a way to get the history of Israel organized and properly recorded. And it gives the people who read it during the post-exilic era a reassuring sense of continuity with the Jewish nation from the very beginning.

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