Eurydemus may be considered as a close reproduction in Greek of the Hebrew name Rehoboam.
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To his son Abijah, by his favourite wife Maachah, who was the third of the wives that belonged to the house of Jesse, he bequeathed the kingdom. Wanting any positive Scripture statement of the matter of Rehoboam going to Shechem, we believe the explanation given above is the most probable, and that it was not any designed stroke of policy, with the view of conciliating or flattering Ephraim.
Though no formal statement of it be made here, yet it is quite intelligible that the opinions, feelings, and readiness to express them on the part of Ephraim and "Israel" were well enough known, and had to be reckoned for. For many reasons one of the most interesting geographical names in all the Old Testament. It was the ancient capital, as Shiloh, near to it, was the ancient seat of the national worship. It was situate in Ephraim, with Ebal to the immediate north, and Gerizim to the immediate south. Vespasian subsequently named it Neapolis, the modern Nablous.
In post-Captivity times, a new temple on Gerizim was the cathedral of Samaritan worship, which was levelled by John Hyrcanus, B. Jacob's well is a hall: mile south-east, and Joseph's tomb two miles east Joshua Almost every one of the references to Shechem are of great interest on one account or another, and to turn to each of them in order is to read the Scripture narrative of the place. The leading references are subjoined Genesis ; Genesis , Genesis ; Genesis The article "Shechem," by Dr. Hackett, in Dr.
Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' vol. All Israel. No doubt this expression may mean even here the assemblage of the federated twelve tribes. Considering the immediate recurrence of the expression in verse 3, it must be, however, that the Jeroboam party of the ten tribes headed by the strong and self-conscious Ephraimites are especially in view; in point of fact, of course, all the twelve tribes were represented in the gathering of verse 1. There can be no division of opinion about this, though the meeting be represented as one demanded or occasioned by the attitude of Israel, in the lesser comprehension of the name.
In these verses the compiler brings up lost time. He has not mentioned before the name of Jeroboam, just as he has not mentioned the lustful sins of Solomon that led to idolatry, and these sequel idolatries of his, that heralded the shattering of his kingdom immediately on his decease. So we are now told all in one how Jeroboam, in his refuge-retreat in Egypt 1 Kings , "heard" of Solomon's demise, and apparently see first clause of our third verse heard of it in this wise, that "they," i. The lacunae in the history speak for themselves; for though the tribes, after the long seething of their com-plainings and sufferings, needed but short time for deliberation, Solomon's death must have been an accomplished fact before they whoever the "they" were sent to Egypt to Jeroboam; and that sending and his returning or otherwise, at any rate his hearing and consequent returning, must have taken time.
Considering all this, it is re markable that no note of time is found. But had only our first verse been placed as the last of the foregoing chapter, the ambiguity would have been less. For the strange variations on the history of Jeroboam a name, together with that of Rehoboam, new to Solomon's time, meaning "many-peopled," while Rehoboam signifies "increaser of people" , as found in the Hebrew texts, and additions to it, see the Septuagint Version, 1 Kings ; 1 Kings ; and A. Stanley's article, "Jeroboam," in Dr.
Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 1. Stanley's faith in the Septuagint notwithstanding, its variations and additions are not reconcileable enough with either the Hebrew text or themselves to command anything like unfeigned acceptance. One thing may be considered to come out without much obscurity or uncertainty—that Jeroboam was the acknowledged rather than tacit leader of an opposition that was tacit at present rather than acknowledged; nor is it at all improbable, under all the circumstances, that the Rehoboam party in, knowing well how the ground really lay, were as content to let the coronation, so to call it, at Shechem linger awhile for Jeroboam's return, as Jeroboam's opposition party out desired and perhaps compelled the delay.
Of course, Jeroboam knew well, none better than he, as of old the overseer of the forced labour and taxation of Ephraim 1 Kings ; 1 Kings , how grievous the service and how heavy the yoke to his people, even when he had acquitted himself as the most "industrious" of taskmasters. The grievous servitude … heavy yoke. These may, for conciseness' sake, be supposed to correspond with the naturally enough hated "forced labour" 1 Kings , 1 Kings ; 1 Kings ; 1 Kings , 1 Kings and the burdensome "taxes" 1 Kings which had not failed to become more odious to the people as familiarity with them grew.
The refreshing New Testament contrast to all this Matthew will occur to every memory. This first reply of Rehoboam was not necessarily inauspicious. Yet sometimes, as it proved now, the caution that takes time to consider heralds fatal mistake. This is when either a generous, instinctive impulse, asking an instantaneous obedience, is chilled by some self-regard; or yet worse, when the offended Spirit is restrained, and no inner guiding voice is heard, as Saul found, to his ruin.
The old men who had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived. The first practical step now taken by Rehoboam, if he delay at all, is the right and far from inauspicious step. O si sic omnia that followed after! The "old men" here spoken of, and not before distinctly spoken of, need not necessarily be regarded as professional advisers of Solomon, nor as a privy council of slate; they may designate those of like age with him, or but little his juniors, and with whom he had chiefly associated for his own society.
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Rehoboam was now 1 Kings ; 2 Chronicles ; but cf. According to the modern phrase, he was just ripe to have known and bethought himself of this. But all rashly Rehoboam casts the die. The sound judgment, real knowledge, opportune and practical advice of the "old men," uttered evidently off so kind a tongue, should have been indeed now "as good as an inheritance; yea, better too". The reading of the parallel is well worthy to be noted 1 Kings , with its manifestly pleasantly and skilfully worded antithesis, "If thou this day will be a servant to this people … then they will be thy servants for ever.
One might fancy that Saul, and David, and Solomon, and angels themselves bended over the scene, and looked and listened and longed for wisdom and love and right to prevail. The young men that had grown up with him. While this expression throws light as above on that which speaks of Rehoboam's old men counsellors, it wakens the question how men of forty-one years of age can be called "young," as Rehoboam was not living in patriarchal aged times.
And the question is emphasized by the language applied to Rehoboam in 2 Chronicles , where he is described as "young and tenderhearted," and unable, for want of strength of character and of knowledge, to "withstand vain men" as he surely shows too clearly now. It has been suggested 'Speaker's Commentary,' 2. The suggestion seems good, and it is certainly reasonable for the requirements of both matter and manner. Language perhaps never spoke more clearly what was in man. And it spoke in this ease the mad infatuation of insolent temerity itself.
It may be worth observing that the history is silent of what of hope and fear or other thought and feeling transpired with Jeroboam and his party these three critical days of suspense, as also it was so silent as to what transpired with them during the three days, three weeks, three months, before the first interview with Rehoboam at Shechem.
Roughly; i. Rehoboam had not "heard the instruction of a father," and had been an ill pupil indeed of him who wrote and taught, "A soft answer tumeth away wrath" Proverbs So the king hearkened not … for the cause was of God … his word, which he spake by … Ahijah see, as before, 1 Kings , also Rehoboam hearkened not, as Pharaoh hearkened not, but hardened his heart.
The Divine word foretold, as the Divine mind foreknew, the inevitable course of the stream, that took its source in and from Solomon's faithless heart and life. Solomon "being dead yet" bears his full share of the responsibility of what Rehoboam was, and shortly came to show he was. Everything must fall out as God foretells it shall fall out, not because "the cause is from him" in this sense that he has made it, but in the sense that he has pronounced it, through knowing it with an absolute knowledge.
It were but a thing to be expected also, that just in the measure that the Bible is the Word of God, it shall exhibit and pronounce plainly the phenomena of his own ultimate fiats, rather than linger to track or describe the uncertainties of human morality or conduct. Let but that result appear, which God has with his sure and abiding Word declared, and the practical attitude and language of Scripture are that it is vain to fight against it; for the thing is of God. It was known of him and said of him. And it carries its punishment or its recompense in it, as of him.
It will be noticed, again, how our compiler refers to the incident of Ahijah, as though he had recorded it, which he had not done. What portion have we in David?
1 and 2 Chronicles
To your tents, O Israel ; i. The use, and especially repeated use, of the names, David, Jesse, David , plainly speaks tribe rivalry, if not jealousy. To the tribe of Judah the family of David belonged. There was less inclination on this ground, to begin with, among them to go to the length of revolting.
Though they too are pressed with burden and taxation, yet royal expenditure, residence, magnificence, are all near them, and are some solarium doubtless to them. God said that this tribe and as is abundantly evident from Ahijah's forcibly dramatic parable of the rent garment Benjamin also should be saved to Rehoboam and for ever to David's line, and again it is evident that he works in the midst of human event, and moral cause and effect.
Israel would not have revolted but that Jeroboam was of Ephraim, and Judah would not have remained steadfast but that, with other determining influences also, to Judah belonged Rehoboam and Solomon and David. Hadoram that was over the tribute … stoned him … Rehoboam made speed … to flee. Hadoram was perhaps the same as Adoniram, son of Abda 1 Kings ; 1 Kings , but on the arbitrament of age this is less likely, and certainly it is very unlikely that he was one with Hadoram of 2 Samuel Rehoboam must be supposed to have sent Hadoram either to make some "tribute" summons, or try some arrangement respecting it, or respecting conciliatory steps.
The reception he met warns Rehoboam to make the quickest escape possible, and no doubt opens his eyes fully to what he has done. It was the remanet of his delusive self-confidence to send this collector of taxes to those who had begged some remission of taxation. Unto this day. So our compiler of Captivity and post-Captivity date transcribes the literal words of his copy.
A notable and very mournful instance of lacking wisdom through not asking of God. The compiler of the Chronicles, in the pursuit of the special objects which he had in view, feels that he need lose no time in details, or in parts of the whole history, which were to be found elsewhere, but which were less important to his own object. The fifteenth verse of this chapter supplies us with an instance of this, its reference to Ahijah the Shilonite finding full explanation in the fuller parallel 1 Kings Our own familiarity with the mournful history and mournful needlessness of the schism, and the method in which it was brought about, which is the subject of this chapter, seems to lose for us nothing of that same mournfulness.
Men may make use of the contents of this portion of the history of Israel as of other portions of Holy Scripture, which seem to trench on the unfathomable depth of the doctrine of God's election and fore-ordination to find their ever very easily found theoretic difficulties, as unconcealedly suggested by the words of the above-quoted fifteenth verse.
But it remains the same, that the election and the fore-ordaining of One who foreknows, and whose word of prophecy is as sure as the word of any other being after the event, are altogether different phenomena, different facts from what they otherwise should seem to be.
Still, the central mystery must needs remain, before which we wonder, exercise faith, and silently adore, or we should not be creatures in the presence of the Creator. The history of this crisis of the nation highly favoured reminds us—. The forewarning, "Thou shalt surely die," was not more truly fulfilled than the forewarning made now, not a century and a quarter ago, that the nation that would have an earthly king would come to find, not its gain therein, but its loss.
The dicta of revealed religion are great, simple, and eternal for man. And from instances on a universal scale, and then on a national scale, are we, as individuals, mercifully, most forcibly, and most graciously admonished. High place, high office, high responsibility,— these give the prominence which is needed to enforce the example of such truth. The deviation is not more real than in the humblest, lowliest life, but it is more conspicuous. Let us note, as circumstances bearing on the case, what follows.
Rehoboam must have had some forewarning of the place to which he was to come. Solomon's was not a sudden death, nor his son's a sudden, unexpected accession. Rehoboam must have had some acquaintance with the severity of the oppression and servitude of the people as a whole, and probably some anticipation of the likelihood of the representations, which in fact they made to him, of their experiences.
These representations, and the manner in which they were brought before Rehoboam, were far from unreasonable. Rehoboam, to all appearance, is disposed to begin by acting wisely. He will wait three days before replying. He will utilize that interval by asking the advice of the experienced. He asks it; it is given, and given rightly. There can be little doubt that it was at this point that self and self-will showed themselves in Rehoboam.
Perhaps he had already heard, already knew, the feeling and the reckless bias of the younger men—for it is significantly said they were of those who had been brought up with him, and who were his chief associates now—or otherwise, if his own inclination and will were strong enough of themselves, he did not lean to the judgment of the old men, and hoped for different advice from the younger men, though it were but the merest prop to his own wish.
He asks their advice, and is flattered and is glad that it leaps with the thought of his own brave and bravado spirit! In this show of right-doing, in this superficial wisdom, so different from that special wisdom noted in his father, one fatal defect existed.
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He asked the advice of the old. That it might not be said he asked the advice of one class alone, he asked the advice of the young also. But he did not ask the advice of God, he did not pray for the direction of God. And his foot slipped; he stumbled and fell, and that fall was great. Two things were wrong with even his earthly wisdom. To ask the advice of the young at all was a mistake, and to a great extent even a contradiction in terms. For inevitably they were wanting in the experience which was necessary to draw upon for advice.
To ask the advice of the young, after having asked and received that of the aged, was a greater mistake. It looked like a sham and a delusion, and a self-deception, and a craving after serf-deception; and such it was. It was an affront to common sense, an insult to his own conscience, and a sop thrown to self— that enemy which is often, very often, a man's worst, very worst enemy! Rehoboam asked advice of those persons who he knew wouldn't be above giving the advice which he wanted. So be, indeed, easily got what he wanted. So it may be said again God permitted him to have what he saw he was bent on having, as he permitted the people and nation to have, some hundred and twenty years before, the king they were bent on having.
But he lived to rue the day, and rueing it still ever, he died. An unreasonable, a cruel, and a brutally insolent answer alienated once and for ever the hearts, service, and lives of the larger part of the people from their king; but a king who had disentitled himself. A very few days and he was a fugitive 2 Chronicles , though to his own capital—that capital one lamentably dismembered in its provinces.
So stumble and. The illustration and instance of this here is patent and glaring. The disaster was enormous. The long-trailed consequences were mournful, melancholy, miserable. The fault and sin of the ten tribes or their representatives are undeniable. Their sweet reasonableness of yesterday and three days ago is, unfortunately, not simply blown to the winds or evaporated into thin air—worse by far, it is converted into a determined breaking loose from some of the holiest bonds wherewith it is the mercy of Heaven to bind on earth.
The kingdom of God is one; the Church of God is one; the people of God are one. Disguise it as laxity of creed may, disguise it as laxity of practice may, disguise it as the great ancient or even greater modern cleavages of apostasy may, the calamity is of the nature of an avalanche alike of faith and of good works, and ever buries beneath its disastrous debris , not bodies but souls innumerable, and of immeasurable worth.
Hence the golden calves, instead of the One only Object of worship, without image or likeness. Hence Bethel and Dan, instead of Jerusalem without compare. Hence priests of the lowest life, i. Hence, instead of the one altar, many, but these rended, their ashes poured out to the ground, and incense a rejected abomination, and all the long-drawn sequel of woe untraceable by human eye, irremediable by human power. Does not the world take more loss from the dissensions of the Church than all the Church takes from the united enmities of the world?
Two young men. These two young men, Rehoboam and Jeroboam—for we may regard them as such, though the former was forty years old when he began to reign—may be viewed together, as they were brought together, and may furnish us with some useful suggestions for the guidance of our life.
We have them—. Rehoboam born in the palace, born to the purple, surrounded with every luxury, accustomed to the utmost deference, expecting the greatest things. Jeroboam commencing his career almost at the bottom of the scale, losing his father when quite young, obliged to work hard to sustain his widowed mother, obtaining employment as a workman in connection with one of King Solomon's works, with "no prospects" in life.
When they looked one another in the face at Shechem, what was it that each saw in the other? Probably the king's son saw in the son of Nebat a man who was clothed in presumption, who had forgotten his position, who was entertaining a daring and criminal purpose in his heart. And probably Jeroboam saw in the enthroned monarch a man who was unfitted for his post, unequal to the strain that would be put upon his powers, a feeble man who would prove an easy prey to his own designs.
No kindly feeling, we may be sure, shone in the eyes of either prince or subject as they confronted one another that day at Shechem. Rehoboam was now called upon to decide definitely what policy he would pursue in his administration—whether that of leniency and popularity, or that of stringency and force; whether he would "rule by love or fear. Singularly enough, the names of both these men signified "enlarger or multiplier of the people;" they pointed, probably, to the hopes of their parents concerning them. But though they both occupied the throne, and one of them rose to a much higher position than could have been anticipated at his birth, both men failed in the sight of God and in the estimate of the wise.
The one by his folly estranged and lost the greater part of his kingdom; the other led Israel into shameful and ruinous apostasy. Be not much affected by social position; very great advantages in this respect will not carry us far along the path of true success; without character their value will soon expire. On the other hand, great disadvantages may be overcome by industry, energy, patience, virtue. Be prepared to make the decisive choice, whenever the critical moment may come.
We cannot be sure when this will arrive, but there will come an hour—there may come more hours than one—when a decision has to be taken by us on which the gravest consequences, to ourselves or to others, will depend. Shall we then be equal to the occasion? Shall we be prepared to speak the wise word, to choose the right course, to take the step that will lead upward and not downward? This will depend on the character that we shall have been forming before that time comes.
If we shall have been neglecting our opportunity and misusing our privileges, we shall then be found wanting; but if we shall have been gathering wisdom at every open source, we shall be able to speak, to act, to decide as God would have us do, as we shall afterwards thank God we did. Aspire to fulfil the best hopes and prophecies of younger days. We may have a name, a reputation, to uphold. Our parents and teachers may be looking for good and even great things from us.
Let us be earnest and eager to live such a life, that not only shall there be no painful discrepancy between the hope and the reality, but that there shall be a happy and satisfying correspondence between the two. The legacy of brilliance, etc. No man ever had a nobler opportunity than Solomon had. His father handed to him a united nation, a country whose enemies were subdued, the kindly and helpful shadow of a great name and a beloved disposition and an illustrious career. He was endowed by God with great talent and surpassing wealth.
He had before him an object of honourable ambition, which would be acceptable to Heaven and gratifying to his subjects. But, instead of pursuing the path of usefulness and the prize of a people's gratitude, he aimed at overwhelming splendour. And what did he gain by his pursuit? Forty years of selfish gratification, not undimmed by many cares, disappointments, difficulties, in his home or harem and in his court; and when he died he left a kingdom less compact, a dynasty less secure than he found when he took the reins of government from his father David.
All his brilliance ended in a popular sense of injury, in a general consciousness that the people had been weighted with needlessly heavy burdens, with a store of suppressed popular discontent ready to burst out and blaze forth at the first opportunity. Brilliance is a very fascinating thing, whether it be on the throne or in parliamentary government, or in the courts of law, or in business, or in the school.
But what is its end? To what issues does it lead? Usually it conducts to poverty, to serious error, to discomfiture, often to a catastrophe. But, where brilliance breaks down and is ruined, steady and conscientious faithfulness, under the guidance of heavenly wisdom, will succeed—will lead on to a real enrichment, to a lasting safety, to an honour that may be accepted and enjoyed.
It is, indeed, true that no good ultimately came of this delay and this consultation. But that was because Rehoboam consulted the wrong men. He did well in asking for time and in appealing to others at this critical juncture. Supposing that this demand took him by surprise, nothing would have been more foolish than to have given a reply offhand.
A remonstrance is very likely to excite anger in the first instance, and no wise man will come to an important decision when he is out of temper. It is in the hour of complete self-control that we should settle grave matters affecting our destiny. Moreover, we do well to take the judgment of others. It was due to the nation that his father's wise statesmen should be asked for their advice in a great national crisis. It was due to himself that his inexperience should secure the inestimable advantage of their ripe sagacity. It is always due to ourselves that we get the additional light which can be gained from an impartial judgment.
No man can possibly look at his own affairs in a perfectly pure atmosphere; no man can take an entirely unbiassed view of his own temporal interests. Men who look from outside see what we cannot possibly see, and their counsel is sure to be worth our consideration. Take time for thought, and invite the frank and full counsel of your true friends.
These are:. They who have had an opportunity of knowing. The young men whom Rehoboam consulted could have given him very good advice on some subjects, on those that belonged to their period of life—athletics, fashions, etc. We should take care to consult those who know, who have learned in the best schools.
They who give us frank rather than palatable counsel; who will tell us what they believe to be for the best, rather than that which will humour our own fancies. They whose counsel makes for peace rather than for strife. There are times when the wisest will be for war, but in nine cases out of ten the true Christian advocate will urge conciliation and concord. Ignominy, its source and its avoidance. For the son of Solomon and the grandson of David to meet the tribes of Israel in solemn assembly, and, after holding conference with them, to have his officer and ambassador scornfully stoned to death, and then to betake himself to his chariot with all speed and flee to Jerusalem,—this was a pitiable illustration of human ignominy.
We Almost pity the abject prince for his misery as much as we blame him for his folly. What is it that brings men down to such dishonour? It is:. When they assume a position to which they are not entitled; when they take a higher place than they can fairly claim, and the "more honourable man" comes in to supplant them, and they "begin with shame to take the lower place" Luke These southern kings are evaluated in terms of their adherence to the ideal of David and Solomon.
Chapters relate the story of the monarchy reunited by Hezekiah following the destruction of the northern kingdom in the Assyrian invasion of B. His religious reforms, as well as those of Josiah, are recounted at great length. Second Chronicles closes with the collapse of Judah, the deportation of the people to Babylon, and the proclamation of Cyrus the Persian encouraging them to return to their homeland. The Chronicler uses this history of the kings of Judah to invite his postexilic audience to see themselves as living in situations of "exile" or "restoration.
But even if literal exile does not occur, the loss of blessing or divine favor can be restored through repentance and claiming God's promise to Solomon 2 Chronicles We, too, need to hear that a patient and merciful God awaits our response and listens to our prayers. Second Chronicles is the fourteenth book in the Old Testament.
It follows 1 Chronicles and comes before Ezra. Jewish tradition identifies Ezra as the author of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Today, many scholars believe that 1 and 2 Chronicles come from a different hand than Ezra and Nehemiah and that various older traditions, including the books of Samuel and Kings, have been gathered together and edited by a nameless postexilic editor.
Chronicles is notoriously difficult to date, though it is clearly later than Israel's return from exile in Babylon. Since the list in 1 Chronicles extends David's genealogy to the sixth generation after Zerubbabel, who is dated to B. Haggai , this sixth generation would be sometime after B. Thus, many scholars date Chronicles to the first half of the fourth century ca. Second Chronicles begins with the story of Solomon told from a religious perspective that omits his personal shortcomings and emphasizes his construction of the temple.
The rest of the book recounts the history of Judah to the Babylonian exile through an evaluation of Judah's kings according to their attitude toward worship as established in the reigns of David and Solomon. The northern kings of Israel are omitted from this discussion since they do not worship at the Jerusalem temple. Second Chronicles looks like the history of Judah, the southern kingdom, already related in 1 and 2 Kings. While important historical information is presented, some of it is at odds with the earlier presentation. Second Chronicles should be read as a theological , rather than a historical , rewriting of the earlier history, designed to demonstrate the continuity of David and Solomon's united monarchy with the struggling postexilic community to which the book was addressed.
Chronicles is found in several different places depending upon its canonical setting. In the Hebrew Bible, however, Chronicles appears in the third section called the Writings. Usually it appears last, even though Ezra-Nehemiah, which continues the narrative of Chronicles, precedes it. Here it may point to a future restoration of Israel with Cyrus's closing admonition: "Whoever is among you of all his people, may the LORD his God be with him! Let him go up" b. When it appears at the beginning of the Writings, its emphasis on David's concern for temple worship and liturgy may serve as an introduction to the Psalter, which follows it.
Chronicles looks like history, but as one reads through it, it becomes obvious that it is a very different kind of history than we are accustomed to reading. Accounts drawn from Samuel and Kings are presented differently and often flatly contradicted. This difficult issue is somewhat eased by the recognition that no biblical book is written with the canons of what we would now call "history.
It must be admitted, however, that the Chronicler's presentation often modifies his sources, usually to make a theological point, rather than to contradict a historical account. For example, contrary to 2 Samuel , the first thing David does after his coronation is to try to bring the ark to Jerusalem, thus demonstrating his devotion to proper worship, a key theme in Chronicles 1 Chronicles Rather than disparage the Chronicler's failure to conform to our ideas of what history should be, we should try to determine his theological motivation in presenting these stories this way.
Readers are often struck by the directness of certain evaluative comments that frequently appear in the Chronicler's narrative. These usually function to direct the reader to the point of the narrative, at least as the Chronicler would have us see it. The most striking is found in 1 Chronicles , where the writer claims that the LORD put Saul to death and turned the kingdom over to David because Saul had been unfaithful. Other notable comments of this nature include:. The Chronicler offers us a rich collection of speeches and prayers in which he expresses his own views.
As such they are a rich source for the Chronicler's distinctive theological position. It is striking, therefore, that there are no unique occurrences of speeches made by God. Every instance of divine speech, unmediated by prophets, is paralleled in his sources usually Samuel or Kings. Although the Chronicler has felt free to "improve" these speeches found in his sources, he has not felt free to provide unique speeches attributed to God, possibly reflecting the more pious attitude of the postexilic community.
Huge numbers are frequently encountered in these books. For example Asa is said to have repulsed an invasion of one million Ethiopians with an army of , 2 Chronicles Frequently, the accuracy of these huge numbers is supported by the claim that the Hebrew word eleph , translated "thousand," refers to a military unit from a tribal subsection rather than a literal thousand, thereby reducing the total of Asa's forces to " military units.
It is best to see the exaggerated numbers as a rhetorical device to display the magnificence of the temple, much as we might say, "Thanks a million! Because the Chronicler has omitted several of the unsavory depictions of Solomon familiar in the book of Kings, such as the repressive measures he took to consolidate his claim to the throne, including the murder of his own half brothers 1 Kings , or the idolatry and ultimate apostasy that characterized the end of his reign 1 Kings 11 , the Chronicler has been accused of presenting us with a sanitized if not an idealized portrayal of Solomon.
While there is much truth in this, it should be pointed out that the Chronicler's audience was well aware of the earlier history's depiction of David and Solomon. This means that the Chronicler's intent was to concentrate upon those aspects of these kings that accounted for their success and that might serve as examples to the restoration community. A number of exegetical principles in Chronicles regarding the Torah have been discovered, including the following:.
In addition ten unparalleled speeches from otherwise generally unknown prophets appear: 2 Chronicles ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; These ten unparalleled speeches all occur in the period of the divided monarchy and deliver the Chronicler's message of retributive justice. Theological differences between Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah have caused a revision of the view that Ezra-Nehemiah and the books of Chronicles share common authorship and comprise the so-called "Chronicler's History.
Currently, most scholars suggest that Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah are separate literary entities. David and Solomon's major prayers 1 Chronicles 17; 2 Chronicles 6 are also found in the earlier history, but presented with significant changes illustrative of the Chronicler's theology. These too can have structural significance. For example, David's prayers form an inclusio around his preparations for the temple. The royal speeches see also "God speeches" unique to Chronicles include those of David 1 Chronicles ; , ; ; ; ; ; , 20 ; Abijah 2 Chronicles ; Asa ; Jehoshaphat , ; ; Hezekiah , 31; ; ; and Josiah Only kings judged positively by the Chronicler or in the positive segment of the king's reign, if he is presented both positively and negatively make these speeches.
These speeches often have structural significance. For example, Abijah's speech in 2 Chronicles and Hezekiah's speech in 2 Chronicles both calls to the north to return--form an inclusio around the divided monarchy. The canonical books of Samuel and Kings though in different editions than we have serve as the Chronicler's major source.
In the past, as many as twenty-three other sources have been suggested for the Chronicler, who cites sources more than any other biblical author. These alleged sources, however, are regarded with some skepticism these days; as we have no access to them, the point is rendered moot. Thus, Chronicles omits David's adultery with Bathsheba because he wants to depict David as an ideal king.
Quite often the Hebrew text of Chronicles agrees with the Greek text of Samuel especially the so-called Lucianic recension of the Septuagint and the Qumran text of Samuel, over against the Hebrew text of Samuel. In these cases, the Chronicler did not alter his text for theological reasons or any other.
1 Chronicles 10 Commentary - Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
This accounts for many of the differences between older and more recent commentaries on this material. There appear to be many contradictions in the Chronicler's use of traditional material. Without denying that this is sometimes the case, it is important to recognize that the Chronicler's usual way of achieving a new portrayal of the past was by omitting or rearranging parallel material, a practice that may not have appeared as obtrusive to his audience as it does to us. It is probable, judging from other postexilic literature, that the Chronicler's relatively free use of the tradition was commensurate with the practice of his contemporaries.
Recent interpretation, rejecting modern designations such as "history," "theology," "midrash," or "exegesis," tends to see Chronicles as a "Rewritten Bible. It is quite clear that Chronicles takes over other biblical texts, especially Samuel and Kings, to a greater degree than any other canonical book--and it has obviously augmented that material in a variety of ways. Originally the books of Chronicles were a single work.
The modern division into two books obscures the Chronicler's presentation of the reigns of David and Solomon as a unity, emphasizing the complementary nature of each reign in which David prepares for the building of the temple and Solomon actually carries out its construction. Chronicles was divided into two books when it was translated into Greek. Because Chronicles omits the history of the northern kingdom Israel except where it overlaps with that of Judah, previous scholarship considered Chronicles to be narrowly focused upon the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin.
While there are occasional references to this as in 2 Chronicles ; , current scholarship rightly maintains that those references where "all Israel" refers to the north 2 Chronicles ; or to the north and south together 2 Chronicles suggest an inclusive understanding of Israel that goes back to the ancient ideal of twelve tribes.
In 1 Chronicles this is most evident in the enthusiastic participation of "all Israel" at every major section in the narrative:. In Chronicles the ark is the sign of God's presence within the temple, the divine throne 1 Chronicles , or the Lord's footstool 1 Chronicles In Exodus, the ark is where people call upon the name of the Lord and God would speak Exodus Later the place of invocation is moved to the temple itself 2 Chronicles In the New Testament the ark is said to have contained three items: the ten commandments, Aaron's rod, and a pot of manna Hebrews The Chronicler is intensely interested in displaying the continuity between his own postexilic community and preexilic Israel.
This is most clearly seen in the nine chapters of genealogies with which 1 Chronicles begins. Here, geographical, spiritual, and historical continuity is presented. The central position occupied by the temple in the Chronicler's presentation, along with the restoration of proper worship led by the Levites, as instituted by David, also links the people with the traditions of the past.
The connection between the Chronicler's two main emphases, the king and the temple, lies in the cult. Abijah's address in 2 Chronicles clearly makes this link. In the past, scholarly consensus opted for a dependence by the Chronicler upon the Priestly traditions due, in part, to the Chronicler's ordering of the Levites. Later, the Chronicler's affinity for the prescriptions of Deuteronomy shifted the scholarly consensus in that direction.
Obviously, both traditions have been formative for the Chronicler's presentation. The reigns of these two kings are seen as a unity in Chronicles. This unity is based upon the fact that both are "chosen" by God David: 1 Chronicles ; Solomon: 1 Chronicles , 6, 10; ; it is significant that the Chronicler has omitted the reference to the choice of Saul as king from his source 1 Samuel In addition, God makes two promises: to David concerning the monarchy 1 Chronicles and to Solomon concerning the temple 2 Chronicles These two promises form the theological backbone of the books of Chronicles.
David is the successful king who establishes the kingdom and provides for the temple, while Solomon rules over a peaceful kingdom that builds the temple. The Chronicler achieves this somewhat idealized presentation by concentrating on their public lives and avoiding descriptions of their often troubling private lives. Chapter 17 is the crucial passage of 1 Chronicles. God's promise of a dynasty to David in this chapter vv. The northern kingdom, Israel, is regarded as illegitimate because of its non-Davidic kings 2 Chronicles Even the genealogical introduction has been constructed to emphasize the royal tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and, within the genealogy, the family of David is highlighted 1 Chronicles ; especially By omitting the clause concerning the divine punishment of the king's son Solomon when he commits iniquity 2 Samuel , the Chronicler precludes a conditional reading of the covenant.
The prominence of God's promise to David 1 Chronicles 17 throughout the work has led to a broad range of views concerning the topic of eschatology. Different understandings of "messianic" messianic hope deriving from the Psalms and prophets, ancient Near Eastern royal ideology, and theological doctrine of the last things complicate the discussion. There is no consensus at this time. God is regularly portrayed as working through the history of Israel, though not in a predetermined way.
Rather God responds to the activity of the human actors in the drama:. Both the Deuteronomistic History and Chronicles end with the deportation of Israel into exile. But Chronicles adds a two-verse postscript to this dismal conclusion in the form of Cyrus's decree that encourages the exiles to return to Judah from Babylon 2 Chronicles This hope-filled ending and the Chronicler's continual affirmation of the power of repentance gives the history a decidedly more optimistic character than Samuel and Kings.
Ezekiel had already argued against the traditional view that punishment for parental sin would be visited upon the children and grandchildren for example, Exodus by insisting that individuals bear responsibility for their own sin.
Related 1,2 Chronicles: 10 (The Preachers Commentary)
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