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INTRODUCTION TO 1 CHRONICLES This and the following book were reckoned by the Jews as one book, as appears by the Masoretic note at the end of the second book, and as is affirmed by Origen and Jerom f2 ; and they were by the ancients called Chronicles, as they are by us; but they are different from the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah, so often mentioned in the preceding books, seeing several things there referred to, as in them, are not to be found here; though no doubt many things here recorded were taken from thence under a divine direction. In the Greek version, and so in the Vulgate Latin version after that, they are called “Paralipomena”, that is, things passed over or omitted, because they contain several anecdotes which are not to be found in the books of Samuel and Kings. The Hebrew title of them is, “Dibre Hayamim”, words of days, day books or diaries, and what the Greeks call “Ephemerides”; though, as “yamim” sometimes signifies years, they may be named “annals”; and so the Arabic inscription is, “the Books of Annals;” and because they chiefly respect the kings of Judah, the Syriac inscription is, “the Book of the Things that were done in the Times of the Kings of Judah.”
The inspired penman of these books must live after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, since he carries down the genealogy of the kings and princes of Judah beyond that time, ( 1 Chronicles 3:17-19 9:1). It is generally thought by the Jews and Christians that Ezra was the writer of them, with which agrees the age in which he lived; and as it may seem, from the last of these books ending with the same words with which that under his name begins: so the Talmudists say, that Ezra wrote his own book, and the genealogy of the chronicles unto his own, or unto Velo, “and he had brethren”, ( 2 Chronicles 21:2) and Jarchi affirms that he wrote them by the hand or means of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, inspired prophets; though some Jewish writers suppose they were written partly by him, and partly by Nehemiah; that all to ( 2 Chronicles 21:2) were written by Ezra, and the rest by Nehemiah. Kimchi thinks that Ezra was not the first author and writer of these books, but that the books of Chronicles and Annals of the kings of Judah, and of the kings of Israel, were separately written before him; but that he only revised them, and with the men of the great synagogue added the genealogies, and put them into the canon of the Scriptures f6 . Spinosa fancies they were written after Judas Maccabaeus had restored the temple, since the historian tells what families dwelt in Jerusalem in the times of Ezra, ( 1 Chronicles 9:1) and speaks of the porters, ( 1 Chronicles 9:17) two of which are mentioned, ( Nehemiah 11:19) as if Ezra could not describe the families that lived when he did, or name the porters of the temple, since it was finished and dedicated in his time, ( Ezra 6:15), but however there is no doubt to be made of the authenticity of these books, since not only they have always been acknowledged by the Jews as a part of the canonical Scripture, and by ancient Christians, as appears by the catalogues of Melito and Origen f9 ; but there are plain references to them in the New Testament. The genealogy of Christ, by the evangelists, is formed out of them; the doxology in ( Revelation 5:12) as some have observed, comes very near to what is used by David, ( 1 Chronicles 29:11) and the passages in ( Acts 7:48 17:24) contain the sense of what is expressed in ( Chronicles 2:5,6 6:18). The use and design of these books are chiefly to give a larger account of the kingdom of Judah, especially after the division of it from the ten tribes, and of the kings thereof, than what is given in the preceding books, as in the last of these books; and particularly they ascertain the genealogy of Christ, that it might be clear and plain of what tribe and family the Messiah came, that he descended from the tribe of Judah, and from the kings of the house of David, as in this first book. They both contain an history from Adam, to the deliverance of the Jews from their captivity in Babylon. The first of these books reaches, according to Hottinger f10 , to A. M. 2985, and the latter is an history of four hundred and seventy two years. According to Bishop Usher the former contains a course of 2990 years, and the latter of four hundred and seventy eight.