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Theological Themes in the Chroniclers History

The books of Chronicles belong to the whole complex referred to as the Deuteroneumistic
corpus. The chronicler’s history is held to begin from creation, since it begins with Adam,
even thought the period from Adam to the beginning of Israel’s monarchy is covered almost
exclusively by genealogies that gives special emphasis to lineages of David and the Levites
(cf. 1 Ch. 1 – 8). The story opens up in detail with the accession of David and culminates in
the fall of Jerusalem (cf. 2 Ch. 36) tracing a narrative closely parallel to that found in Samuel
and Kings.

Israel is a Cult: The Chronicler tells the history of Israel from a religious perspective i.e. as a cultic
community. For him, the ideal Israel is a theocratic community worshiping Yahweh in the Temple
through liturgy faultlessly performed, ruled by a king who is truly Yahweh’s vicar. The origin of
this community he sees in the reign of David, who is presented as founder not only of the monarchy
and Israel’s greatness, but also of the Temple and its worship. He concerns himself with the
worship of God and the temple; and talks of the Kings bringing to limelight those who sanctioned
idolatry, and those who maintained the worship of the true God. He demarcates the roles of the
different priesthoods: Aaronite and Levitical. His materials are rather cultic than political and
historical as he concerns himself with the proper functioning of the cult.

The Canonization of David: In the Chroniclers history, David is a saint faithful to Yahweh. David
is the ideal king and priest of God, the ideal “man of God”. Consequently he becomes a paradigm
and criteria for judging other kings. The Chroniclers, thus, canonizes his saint. Extravagantly he
talks of the character of this hero while glossing over all his weaknesses and failures. For instance
we cannot find in it the incident with Beersheba, the insurrection of Absalom, etc. The motive for
this may be his covenant with God and his role in the organization of Israel as a cultic community.

Religious Moralization: What the chroniclers does often is to present moral and religious truths as
basis for societal growth of the postexilic Judah, drawing inference from Israel’s historical past,
with reference to both the people and the kings.

Election: The theology of election is glaringly evident here, foremost in the genealogical lists that
characterize the introductory part. He begins by eliminating persons, peoples, etc. to draw every
person to a rightful ancestor, e.g. David. Little is consequently made of the history of the northern
part. He concentrates on Davidic and the history of his descendants, with an eye especially to
election, as Solomon is the elected one, etc.

Messianism: Some bibles scholars have seen in Chronicles some idea of messianism. He presents
some sort of a hope/promise of a restoration of a new community, the Temple and its liturgy by the
legitimate successor of the Davidic monarchy, especially to a people wasted by the throes of
deportation. David is also the founder of the messianic dynasty. (cf. 1 Ch. 17:11 – 14).

Laws: The Chronicler, in line with the reform that resulted in the Deuteronomistic history and the
Chronicles also magnified laws (ceremonial laws of cult especially). But those of David are here
given more prominence that the Mosaic.

Prophecy: The Chronicler also magnifies the prophets, giving us extra information about them and
bringing to limelight those nothing of whom we would have known without him.

Action and Responsibility: Like in the Deuteronomistic history the ideal of reward-punishment is
also evident her. Obedience makes for reward while punishment is the result of disobedience. This
is the course along which the history in Chronicles runs. Disobedience, especially to follow the
footstep of David finally results in the capture of Jerusalem. Israel is responsible for her actions but
when there is repentance from evil, blessings comes (, e.g. Manasseh (2 Ch. 33:1ff)) for God is a
saviour.

Chukwu Michael Uzoma, Seat of Wisdom Seminary, Owerri.