Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles

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Lange Commentary - 1 Chronicles


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Verse Commentaries:


THE BOOKS

of the

CHRONICLES

______________

THEOLOGICALLY AND HOMILETICALLY EXPOUNDED

by

Dr. OTTO ZÖCKLER, D. D.,

Professor Of Theology In The University Of Greifswald, Prussia.

Translated, Enlarged, And Edited

by

JAMES G. MURPHY, LL. D.,

Professor In The General Assembly’s And The Queen’s College At Belfast.

VOL. VII. OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: CONTAINING CHRONICLES, EZRA, NEHEMIAH, AND ESTHER

PREFACE TO VOL. VII. OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

This volume completes the Commentary on the Historical Books of the Old Testament, written during the period of the reconstruction of the theocracy after the return from exile. It contains:

1. The First and Second Book of Chronicles, by Dr. Otto Zöckler, Professor in the Prussian University of Greifswald (1874), translated and edited by Professor James G. Murphy, LL.D., of Belfast, who is already well known to the American public by his Commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, and the Psalms. Professor Murphy has departed from the method of the other volumes by giving a literal translation of the text instead of the authorized version with emendations in brackets.

2. Ezra, by Dr. Fr. U. Schultz, Professor in the University of Breslau (1876), translated and edited by Dr. Charles A. Briggs, Professor of Hebrew and the Cognate Languages in the Union Theological Seminary, New York, who prepared in part the Commentary on the Psalms for this work.

3. Nehemiah, by Dr. Howard Crosby, Chancellor of the University of New York. Dr. Crosby had finished his work in manuscript before the German Commentary of Dr. Schultz appeared (1876), but he has added a translation of the Homiletical sections from Schultz.

4. Esther, by Dr. Schultz, translated and edited by Dr. James Strong, Professor of Exegetical Theology in Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N. J. Dr. Strong has translated the frequent Latin citations, added the Textual and Grammatical notes, enlarged the list of exegetical helps, and furnished an excursus on the Apocryphal additions to Esther, and another on the liturgical use of the book among the Jews.

The remaining three of the twenty-four volumes of this Commentary are in the hands of the printer, and will be published at short intervals.

PHILIP SCHAFF

PREFACE

The matter and the whole form of the books of Chronicles afford a sufficient warrant for allowing the homiletic and even the theological part of the exposition to fall more into the background here than elsewhere in this Bible-work. In the following work also, on account of the numerous parallels with the books of Samuel and Kings, an almost exclusive predominance of the historical element might easily be permitted. For with regard to theological and homiletic comment, the corresponding portions of these books have already received a fruitful and valuable treatment in the able works of Bähr and Erdmann, so that reference to them might in every instance have been sufficient. And where anything peculiar to Chronicles was to be explained, it almost always referred to portions like the genealogical lists in 1 Chronicles 2-9, the various supplements to the history of war, and the highly characteristic episodes on the history of worship, which belonged rather to the outer surface, the rind and shell of the theocratic and evangelical system, than to its spiritual ground and essence, and therefore needed rather to be explained historically, than to be considered or applied dogmatically or practically. The homiletic remarks might, therefore, in this volume be omitted as a distinct section, and a group of sections might be thrown together as a basis for the development of theological or evangelical and ethical principles. But besides, it appeared necessary in Chronicles to dwell more frequently on difficulties of a chronological kind, and on apologetic problems connected therewith, on account of which it was requisite, besides and along with those evangelical reflections, to introduce several excursus, some of considerable length, as that on Ophir after 2 Chronicles 8, and that on the chronology of the kings during the time of the separate kingdom after 2 Chronicles 32.

Of recent literary helps, some that appeared in the course of printing could not be fully employed; for example, the second edition of the commentary of Thenius on the books of Kings (in the Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum Alten Testament, Leipzig, S. Hirzel), and the treatise of H. Brande, Die Königsreihen von Juda und Israel nach den biblischen Berichten und den Keilinschriften (Leipzig, Al. Edelmann),—a praiseworthy attempt to remove the chronological differences between the statements of the books of Kings and Chronicles on the one hand, and those of the Assyrian monuments on the other, in which some at least of the discrepancies between the biblical and Assyro-Babylonian computation of time brought forward by Assyriologists, especially by Schrader, have met with an interesting, if not quite satisfactory explanation. And of the simultaneously-appearing third revised edition of C. F. Keil’s Lehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Einleitung in die kanonischen Schriften des Alten Testaments, (Frankfurt a. M., Heyder und Zimmer) obviously no use could be made.

With regard to the question, How the very numerous proper names, especially of persons, in the text of Chronicles were to be treated in their transference into German, the author was presented with a problem not quite easy to solve. Perfect consistency could only be attained either by a close adherence to the text of Luther, or by the thorough restoration of a spelling adapted as strictly as possible to the Hebrew sound; in which latter case, however, names such as Jehova, and the household words Noah, Isaak, Israel, Saul, Salomo, Hiskia, etc., must have given way to the more correct forms Jahve, Noach, Jitschak, Jisrael, Schaul, Schelomo, Jechizkijahu. As this would not have corresponded with the rule elsewhere adopted in our Bible-work, we have taken a middle course. All the well-known current forms of the Lutheran Bible that have been as it were canonized by a usage of several centuries in the tradition of evangelical Germany, especially the divine name Jehova and all names of prominent men of God (patriarchs, prophets, kings, etc.), and of important holy places, we have left wholly unaltered, only with the addition, once for all, of the more exact orthography in parentheses (usually on the first occurrence of the name in question). All less current names, because they belong to less important persons and places, and especially if they occur only once, are immediately and directly expressed in the way more agreeable to the Hebrew sounds; and only when there is a very great deviation from the received orthography in the Lutheran text is this difference noted by the insertion of a parenthesis. For this intermediate course between the customary and the modern mode of writing, we are glad to be able to refer among others to the late Oehler as warrant, who, in p. 146 of the lately published first part of his posthumous Theologie des Alten Testaments (Tübingen, Heckenhauer), expresses his agreement in principle with the rule here laid down, when he declares that such forms as Jehova, Jordan, etc., are less correct than “Jahve, Jarden,” etc., yet not to be supplanted by these more correct forms, and proceeds accordingly throughout the text of his work.

DR. O. ZÖCKLER.

Greifswald, October 1873.

[Translating into English, we shall use the English mode of spelling the ordinary names. J. G. M.]

THE BOOKS OF CHRONICLES

INTRODUCTION

§ 1. On The Import Of Chronicles As A Historical Work, And On Its Relation To The Books Of Samuel And Kings

The last book of the Old Testament canon forms a comprehensive history, which recapitulates the progress of the people of God from Paradise to the close of the Babylonish captivity in a peculiar point of view, partly extracting, partly repeating, and partly supplementing the contents of the earlier canonical books of history, with the exception of the books of Ezra Nehemiah, and Esther, which are later in point of contents than our book.

1. The first or genealogical portion of the work especially extracts or summarily recapitulates the earlier historical books. It embraces the first nine chapters, according to the present division, and contains the genealogies of the patriarchs, the twelve tribes, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, till the beginning of the kingdom (occasionally even beyond it), in order to exhibit the genealogical connection of David, as well as the Levites and priests of his time, with the antediluvian patriarchs of the human race. Only here and there, particularly with respect to the statements concerning the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Levi, this form is changed into that of a completion or enlargement of the former record by peculiar genealogical or historical additions. As a mere repetition of the statements contained in the earlier books, appear several genealogical notices of the first chapter; for example, those relating to the races of the table of nations and the princes of Edom (Gen. 10:36).

2. The second or strictly historical portion of the work partly repeats and partly completes, sometimes with a great fulness of details, the historical books after Moses and Joshua, especially the books of Samuel and Kings. It extends from 1 Chronicles 10 to the end of 2 Chron., and mainly presents a history of the kings of Judah from David to Zedekiah, or rather to the edict of Cyrus at the close of the Babylonish captivity. A process of abbreviating, of only summarily recapitulating, and even of wholly passing over a great deal of historical material, now takes place, inasmuch as the writer ignores the facts relating to the private life of David and Solomon, especially when they are unfavourable to their moral character, and in the time after Solomon intentionally turns away his eye from the fortunes of the northern kingdom, and confines himself almost exclusively to the Jewish history of this period. Yet for the whole time from David to the exile he appears more as a supplementer than as a concise repeater of the authors of the books of Samuel and Kings, inasmuch as the intrinsic importance of the addition made by him almost always exceeds that of the passages omitted, and both the omission and the addition appear to have in view certain fixed tendencies, especially the endeavour to glorify the theocratic order of the priests and Levites. If we take into account this particular tendency, as well as the altered circumstances in which he wrote, we arrive at the following points as characteristic of his work, compared with his older predecessors, especially the authors of the books of Samuel and Kings.

a. The books of Samuel and Kings having originated (been reduced to their present form) during the Babylonish exile, are a proper Israelitish national work, treating the history of both kingdoms, Israel and Judah, with equal attention. On the contrary, the Chronist appears as a specially Jewish (Judaising) writer, who belonged to the time after the exile, possibly even of the post-Persian dominion (Hellenic), and from his late age lay too remote from the events of the once existing kingdom of Israel; and, moreover, from his rigid theocratic position, took so little interest in the fortunes of the northern kingdom, that he excluded them altogether from his regard, and produced merely a Jewish chronicle.

b. The standpoint of those older Israelitish national historians is that of the prophet, while the younger Jewish Chronist occupies that of the priest and the Levite. Whereas the former, in accordance with the total depression, the apparently almost hopeless destruction, of the Mosaic temple worship in the exile, take a predominantly spiritual direction, averse to the external side of the theocratic worship, the latter, writing after the exile, at the time of the restored national sanctuary, exhibits a more lively interest in the external institutions and modes of worship, as well as in the order of priests and Levites appointed to take charge of it. From this sacerdotal ecclesiastical direction there follows a third important point of difference.

c. The moral causes of the national misfortune that broke in upon the people, especially their constantly-repeated lapse into idolatry, with which those older historians were most anxiously engaged, are cast into the shade, and often studiously ignored, by the Chronist, so that in the picture presented by him there appears a much smaller number of the gloomy shadows and dark spots of religious apostasy, and consequent national humiliation by heavy divine judgments. While the former obviously follow the tendency “to hold up to them a warning picture, in the tragic history of the Hebrew nation, of the danger of the relapse of a not yet elevated people among heathen nations, and in the narrative of the successive sins of their fathers to give a theodicy to the race already bewildered with respect to the promises and the faithfulness of Jehovah, and show them that their national misfortunes are to be ascribed to their own guilt; on the other hand, for the author of Chronicles, who lived after the exile, from which time the people, purified by affliction, adhered with stern obstinacy to their national God, and who no longer distinguishes accurately between the different kinds of ancient superstition (appears indeed to identify the impure Jehovah-worship of the northern kingdom with complete idolatry), accounts of the earlier superstition must have been of less consequence, because they presented to him less didactic matter and historical interest than to the authors of the older historical work” (Movers).

d. With this is connected the tone of panegyric usual with our author, frequently deviating from the unvarnished manner of the older historians, his apologetic endeavour to make the heroes of the foretime and their deeds to stand forth in the most glorious light, by giving prominence to the more externally than internally significant and ethically important moments, and especially by statistical data concerning the greatness of the temporal and spiritual state of the kings, the magnitude of the festivals celebrated by them, etc.

e. Finally, with regard to the outward form of representation, the younger work contrasts very strongly with the older. As well by its less pure Hebrew style, presenting so many traces of a late age as by its often striking monotony, want of independence and poverty of ideas, its dry annalistic method of statement continued through long sections, and its inclination to direct copying and mere transcribing of the old books of Kings, it falls very far behind the classical originality, the fresh and genial historiographic skill of the other.

To bring these differences between the literary peculiarity of the two parallel elaborations of the history of the people of God till the exile under a single formula, we may with Keil distinguish the older books of Kings as the fruit of the prophetic form of history, and Chronicles as the product of the hagiographic mode. Our work, indeed, belongs more closely to that special development of hagiographic historiography, which, in contrast with the popular method of the books of Ruth and Esther (and with the prophetic mode of the historic sections of Daniel), may be termed the sacerdoto-Levitical, and in which the preference for annalistic statement (appearing also in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, the continuations of Chronicles) must be accounted eminently characteristic. Keil justly denies that any one of these special moments, whether popularity, the sacerdoto-Levitical, or the annalistic character, should be applied to the collective historical works of the hagiographic part of the canon. “Common to the collective hagiographic books of history, and characteristic of them, is simply the retreat or the absence of the prophetic view of the course of history according to the divine plan of salvation unfolding itself in the events, instead of which appear individual points of view that show themselves in the prosecution of parenetic, didactic ends, and have a definite influence on the selection and treatment of the facts.”

§
2. Name Of Chronicles. Relation To The Books Of Ezra And Nehemiah

Of the two most widely accepted designations of our historical work, the one pointing to its annalistic character, the other to the relation of supplement or completion which it bears to the older books of Kings, the former rests on the Hebrew phrase ãִּáְøֵé äַéָּîִéí . This phrase, before which, according to 1Ki_14:19; 1Ki_14:29; 1Ki_15:7; 1Ki_15:23, the word ñֵôֶø (or, according to Est_6:1, ñֵôֶø æִëְøֹðåֹú is to be supplied, means “events of the day, course of events” (res gestæ dierum), and thus presents our work as a “Book of current events,” as a “Chronicle:” which name, not as a literal, but a correct rendering of ãִּáְøֵé äַéָּîִéí , has been made current by Jerome for the Latin, and by Luther for the German Church. So far as this denomination in the quoted passages of the Old Testament refers to divers other historical works, in particular to those old Israelitish royal annals often quoted by our Chronist, the “ books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel and Judah” (as in Est_2:23; Est_6:1; Est_10:2, the Medo-Persian royal annals, the “book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia”), it appears to be a rather indefinite designation, by which our work should be distinguished quite generally as belonging to the class of annalistic works covering a long space of time. Whether this name proceeds from the author himself, or owes its origin to a later (certainly very old, and at all events pre-Masoretic) tradition, at any rate, the denomination brought into currency by the Sept. Ðáñáëåéðüìåíá (liber Paralipomenôn) is more significant for the characteristic position and import of the work as a historical book, especially for its relation to the earlier historical books of the canon. For this name, which is to be explained, not with Movers, by supplementa, relics from other historical works, but, in accordance with the patristic tradition in Pseudo-Athanasius (Synopsis Scr. S., in Athanasii Opp. ii. p. 1Ch 83: ðáñáëåéöèÝíôá ðïëëὰ ἐí ôáῖò âáóéëåéáῖò ðåñéÝ÷åôáé ἐí ôïýôïéò ), in Jerome (Ep. ad Paulin: … “prætermissæ in Regum libris historiæ) and Isidore of Seville (Origen, lib. vi. c. 1, p. 1Ch 45: “ Paralipomenon græce dicitur, quod prætermissorum vel reliquorum nos dicere possumus,” etc.), by “omitted, overlooked in the other historical works,” sets forth in a striking manner the position taken by our author as the supplementer of the prophetical historians, and has therefore the advantage over the Hebrew denomination of greater definiteness, although it appears neither quite free from misapprehension nor adapted to the collective characteristics of our history.

Our work, moreover, forms, according to its original plan, as well as the oldest tradition, only one “book of annals” or supplements, for not only the old numeration of the books of the Old Testament in Josephus (c. Ap. i. 8), Origen (in Euseb. H. Eccl. vi. 25), and Jerome (Prolog. galeat.), according to which the canon consists of twenty-two books, but also the later computation made by Jerome and in the Talmud (Baba bathra, fol. 14), extending to twenty-four books, recognises only one book of Chronicles; and that the Masora regarded it as a single work is evident from the remark at the close of its text, that 1Ch_27:25 forms the middle of the whole. The present general division (even in the recent Hebrew editions) into two books, springs from the Alexandrine translators and Jerome their follower, and may have been occasioned on their part by the existence of some great section or interval at the point of division, 1Ch_29:29 f., in the majority of older Hebrew mss. This bipartition of the work (which even Melito of Sardis knew, Euseb. H. Eccl. iv. 26, as his list of the holy scriptures includes ÐáñáëåéðïìÝíùí äýï ) cannot be regarded as unsuitable, since, apart from the almost equal length of the two parts, the end of the reign of David, on which the writer dwells with greater fulness than on that of any other king, presented a most fitting point of pause and division.

The identity of the close of the second book, 2Ch_36:22 f., with the beginning of the book of Ezra, especially as the passage presents no truly satisfactory close for our work, raises the expectation that some connection exists between it and the latter book. In favour of this is farther the close affinity of the style of each, the mode of quoting the law common to both, as well as the decided preference of both for genealogical registers, statistical lists, and minute descriptions of acts of religion, in which also the same formulæ are not seldom used (see Remark). As no small part of these idioms belong also to the book of Nehemiah, the hypothesis is natural, that the three books, even if proceeding from different authors, have been subjected to a common revision by a later writer. This hypothesis is more probable than both the other attempts to solve the problem, namely, that either Chronicles and Ezra (Movers), or Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah (Zunz, Ew., Berth., Dillm., Davidson, etc.), originally formed a single work proceeding from one author. For in such unity of origin of the three works, their separation before the close of the canon into three or (in case of Ezra and Nehemiah having originally formed one work) into two books remains purely inexplicable. The author of such separation would have had no rational ground for retaining 2Ch_36:22-23 at the same time as the close of the first and the opening of the second part. The double place of these verses leads much rather to a common redactor of the two writings than to an identity of author. The majority also of the already-mentioned common idioms, and other qualities, are sufficiently explained by the hypothesis, that the present very homogeneous form of the two, or at most three pieces, arises partly from having proceeded from the same circle of sacerdotal and Levitical views, endeavours, and learned researches, and partly from having gone through the hands of the same redactor. And even if one author of the two or three works must be affirmed, there can be as little doubt of the fact, that he conceived Chronicles as an independent and separate work, as of the independence and original distinctness of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, which are clearly separated from one another in the Hebrew text by the new superscription, Neh_1:1. Comp. § 3. [There seems to be no reason why one author may not continue the work of another on the same plan and in a similar style.—J. G. M.]

Remark.—On the numerous verbal points of contact noticed by Pareau, Institutio interpr. V. T. p. 419, between Chronicles and Ezra, applying also in great part to the book of Nehemiah, see Movers, Krit. Untersuchungen, p. 17 f.; Hävernick, Einl. ii. 1, 269 ff., and especially Bertheau, Kurzgef. exeg. Handb., Einleit. p. 19 f. The latter recounts: a. a number of like grammatical inflections and constructions, namely, 1. The short way of subordinating relative clauses by placing them after a construct state (1Ch_29:3; 2Ch_31:19; Ezr_1:5; Neh_8:10); 2. The use of the infinitive with ì to express must or shall (1Ch_5:1; 1Ch_9:25; 1Ch_3:4; 1Ch_25:2, etc.; 2Ch_2:8; 2Ch_8:13; 2Ch_11:22, etc.; Ezr_4:3; Ezr_10:12; Neh_8:13); 3. The extremely frequent use of the prep. ì , partly before the object as nota accusativi, partly after an accus. in continuation (1Ch_28:1; 2Ch_26:14; 2Ch_28:15; 2Ch_33:8; Neh_9:32), especially before ëì to include all in enumerations (1Ch_13:1; 2Ch_5:12; Ezr_1:5; Ezr_7:28; Neh_9:2), after the prep. òַã where in former usage the word subordinate to this followed immediately (1Ch_28:7; 1Ch_28:20; 2Ch_14:12; 2Ch_16:12; 2Ch_16:14; 2Ch_17:12, etc.; Ezr_3:13; Ezr_9:4; Ezr_9:6; Ezr_10:14) before the adverbial infin. äַøְáֵּä (2Ch_11:12; 2Ch_16:8; Neh_5:18); 4. The abundant use of prepositions in general, for example, in such phrases as òַã ðֶâֶã Neh_3:26; áְּôִúְàֹí 2Ch_29:36; áְּéåֹîָí , Neh_9:19; Nehemiah 5. The placing of the article before a verb for the pron. relat. (1Ch_26:28; 1Ch_29:8; 1Ch_29:17; 2Ch_29:36; 2Ch_34:32; Ezr_8:25; Ezr_10:14; Ezr_10:17; Neh_9:33). Moreover, Bertheau himself is obliged to acknowledge with regard to these constructions, that “they occur occasionally also in other books of the Old Testament, especially the later.” That they may be laid to the account of the idiom of one single author of the books compared, will be the less evident, because some of these constructions, as the quoted passages show, occur not more than once in any one of these writings, and therefore by no means belong to the prominent characteristics of their style.

b. On the contrary, single phrases quoted by him, or standing constructions of certain words, point somewhat more definitely to identity of authorship. Thus the construction òַîֵּé äָàֲøָöåֹú 2Ch_13:9; Ezr_3:3; Ezr_9:1-2; Ezr_9:11; Neh_9:30; Neh_10:29 (comp. also îַìְëֵé äָàֲøָöåֹú Ezr_9:7; éùְׁáֵé äָàֲø× 2Ch_15:5; âּåֹéִéִ äָàֲø× 2Ch_32:13; 2Ch_32:17, etc.), äֵëִéï ìֵá 1Ch_29:18; 2Ch_12:14; 2Ch_19:3; 2Ch_20:33; 2Ch_30:19; Ezr_7:10; äֵëִéï in several other constructions; äִúְðַãֵּá “to offer freely at the temple,” 1Ch_29:5-6; 1Ch_29:9; 1Ch_29:14; 1Ch_29:17; 2Ch_17:16; Ezr_1:6; Ezr_2:68; Ezr_3:5 ff.; Neh_11:2; áִּæָּä 2Ch_14:13; 2Ch_28:14; Ezr_9:7; Neh. 3:36; ÷ִáֵּì , 1Ch_12:18; 1Ch_21:11; 2Ch_29:16; Ezr_8:30; îְìֶàëֶú áֵּéú éְäåָֹä (or î× á× àֱìֹäִéí 1Ch_23:4; 1Ch_26:30; Ezr_3:6; Ezr_6:22; Neh_10:34; Neh_11:22, etc. Yet all these phrases occur not exclusively in our books, but occasionally elsewhere ( äִúְðַãֵּá , for example, in Jdg_5:2; Jdg_5:9; äָàֲøָöåֹú in several constructions also, 2Ki_18:35, and often in Ezek.; áִּæָּä also in Esther and Daniel; ÷ִáֵּì there also, and in Prov. and Job, etc.). Actual idioms of the books of Chron., Ezra, and Neh., from which their derivation from one author may seem to follow, are properly only such phrases as òַì òָîְãָí 2Ch_30:16; 2Ch_35:10; Neh_8:7; Neh_9:3; Neh_13:11; çֶãְåָä 1Ch_16:27; Neh_8:10; Ezr_6:16; ëְּôåֹø “basin,” 1Ch_28:17; Ezr_1:10; Ezr_8:27; òַã ìְîֵøָçåֹ÷ , 2Ch_26:15; Ezr_3:13 (comp. the other constructions with òַã ìְ in 2Ch_16:14; 2Ch_26:8; 2Ch_36:16, etc.); îִúְåַãִּéí in the plur., 2Ch_30:22; Neh_9:3; comp. Ezr_10:1; ôְּìֻâָּä , of divisions of the Levites, 2Ch_35:5; Ezr_6:18. To this may be added such phrases and formulae resting on the priestly and legal ideas and facts of these books, as áַּîִּùְׁôָּè , 1Ch_23:31; 2Ch_35:13; 2Ch_30:16; Ezr_3:4; Neh_8:18 (this phrase is peculiar to our books, while the synonymous ëַּëּúåּá áַּúּåֹøָä occurs often in the older writings); äåֹøåּ åְäַìְּìåּ ìַéְäåָֹä , 1Ch_16:4; 1Ch_23:30; 1Ch_25:3, etc.; Ezr_3:11; likewise the liturgical form ìְäåֹãåֹú åּìְäַìֵּì and “for He is good, for His grace endureth for ever,” 1Ch_16:34; 1Ch_16:41;2Ch_5:13; Ezr_3:11; not less the standing phrases in describing festivals, áּùִׂîְçָä , (1Ch_12:40; 1Ch_29:9; 1Ch_29:17; 2Ch_15:15; 2Ch_20:27; 2Ch_29:30; 2Ch_29:36; Ezr_3:12) and òַìÎéְãֵé ãָåִéø (1Ch_25:2; 1Ch_25:6; 2Ch_23:18; 2Ch_29:27; Ezr_3:10); lastly, the official names of certain temple ministers and sacred musicians found only in our books, especially äַîְּùׁåֹøְøִéí , ðְúִéðִéí and îְöִìְúַּéִí . If we add to these common properties, extending even to literal agreement in expression, the preference in these three writings for genealogies and lists of officers and the like (comp. 1Ch_1:9 Ezra 3; Ezr_7:1-5; Ezra 8; Ezr_10:20 ff.; Neh_7:6 ff; Neh_10:1 ff; Neh_11:12 :), as well as the great prominence of the temple musicians and porters as an institution mentioned with peculiar interest (1Ch_6:16 ff; 1Ch_9:14 ff; 1Ch_15:16 ff; 1Ch_16:4 ff; 1Ch_23:5; 1Ch_25:1 ff; 1Ch_26:12 ff.; 2Ch_5:12 ff; 2Ch_8:14 ff; 2Ch_23:13 ff; 2Ch_31:11 ff; 2Ch_34:12 f., 2Ch_35:15; Ezr_2:42; Ezr_2:70; Ezr_3:10 f., Ezr_7:7; Ezr_10:24; Neh_7:1; Neh_7:45; Neh_10:29; Neh_11:17 ff; Neh_12:24 ff; Neh_13:5), there grows up a certain probability for the presumption of one author for the three writings in question. But this presumption cannot be regarded as “altogether established” and “fully demonstrated” (Bertheau, p. 20). The great majority of the coincidences adduced are sufficiently explained by supposing a plurality of authors, nearly of the same date, inspired by a like Levitico-sacerdotal interest and impulse, drawing from the like sources, of whom the last, in order to produce a uniform edition of these similar historical works, submitted his two predecessors to a common revision. Comp. on the other hand, Keil (Comment, p. 15 ff.), who, however, certainly derives at least two of the works in question, Chronicles and Ezra, from one author; and, on the other hand, Bleek, Einleit. ins A. T. (2d edit. § 171, p. 404), who, coming nearer the truth, claims distinct authors for the three books, but regards the author of Chronicles as the last writer and the redactor of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. The question not immediately affecting our problem, whether the books of Ezra and Nehemiah are to be regarded as forming originally one work, or as independent productions of different authors, will have to be incidentally treated in the following investigation concerning the author of our book and the time of its composition.

[The arguments from the above phenomena for a redaction of these books are not convincing. An author writing in the language of the people, especially in the East, will use and repeat the current phrases of his day. The rise of new habits, objects, and acts will demand new words and constructions for their expression. These two circumstances are nearly sufficient to account for all the diversities and identities that have been noted, without having recourse to the hypothesis of one author or one redactor. A familiarity with the previous authors of the Old Testament will probably balance the account.—J. G. M.]

§
3. Author, And Time Of Composition

As Chronicles at its close mentions the edict of Cyrus permitting the return of the Jews from the Babylonish exile (2Ch_36:22 f.), and in 1Ch_3:19-24 it traces the descendants of Zerubbabel through six generations (see the exposition of the passage and Remark at the end of the section), it cannot have been composed, or at least put in its present form, before the time of Zerubbabel, or for a considerable time after Ezra. With an average of thirty years for each of the generations after Zerubbabel, the last, consisting of the seven sons of Elioenai, must be supposed to flourish after the year 350 b.c. The last decade of the Persian monarchy, if not the beginning of the Grecian period, is, moreover, indicated by several other circumstances, among which are the following:—

a. The computation employed in 1Ch_29:7 (in the history of David) by Dariks, àֲãַøְëֹּðִéí , a Persian gold coin, occurring also in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah,—that, whether first stamped under Darius Hystaspis or not, refers the time of the composition of the work to the Persian sway over the Jews, or even some time after it;

b. The name áִּéøָä , castle, likewise indicating the Persian period, designates the temple as a magnificent building (1Ch_29:1; 1Ch_29:19),—a term only occurring elsewhere in the books of Esther and Nehemiah, which there designates either the palace of the Persian monarch (Est_1:2; Est_1:5; Est_2:3; Est_2:8; Neh_1:1), or the castle near the temple of Jerusalem, the later Âᾶñéò (Neh_2:8; Neh_7:2);

c. The orthography and Chaldaizing style betraying a pretty late age (comp. Remark on § 2);

d. The position of the work in the canon as the last of the Hagiographa, and thus after the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, to which it would scarcely have been subjoined by the collectors, if any certain knowledge of its composition before or even contemporary with them had existed in Jewish tradition;

e. The circumstance that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, for which, on account of the already adduced verbal and other coincidences with our books, an almost identical date of composition must be asserted, must have been already written a considerable time after their heroes and traditional authors, as the proper memoirs of Ezra and Nehemiah were used as sources in them,—the age of these men (Neh_12:26; Neh_12:47) is represented as already in the distant past; and, moreover, lists of the chiefs of the Levites (Neh_12:23) and of the high priests (Neh_12:10 ff.) are given therein, that extend down to Jaddua, the holder of the high priest’s office in the time of Alexander the Great. That this Jaddua, according to Josephus (Antiq. xi. 8), high priest during the last years of the Persian Empire, as well as under Alexander, was a contemporary of the author of the book of Nehemiah, appears in fact very probable, according to the twelfth chapter of the book. Yet Ewald and Bertheau have gone too far, when they infer, from the manner in which both in Ezra and Nehemiah Cyrus and his successors are constantly mentioned as Persian kings (Ezr_1:1; Ezr_4:5; comp. 1Ch_4:7, 1Ch_6:1, etc.), that the Grecian monarchy had already commenced. The author might consider it suitable to give prominence to the Persian nationality of these kings, in contrast with the former kings of Judah. And all else that, after Spinoza, has been urged by de Wette, Berthold, Gramberg, and others (recently again by Nöldecke, Die alttestamentl. Literal., 1868, p. 63 f.), for the origin of the book under the Macedonic or the Seleucidic government, amounts only to hypercritical conjectures (comp. Keil, Apolog. Versuch, p. 17 ff.; Hävernick, Einl. ii. 274 ff.).

If our book appears from the above considerations, especially those adduced under c–e, to belong to a time falling after Ezra and Nehemiah, it is impossible for Ezra himself to be the author. The Talmud, indeed, regarded him as the common originator of the book called after him and of Chronicles (Baba bathr. fol. 15, 1 Chronicles 1 : Esra scripsit librum suum et genealogiam in libro Chronicorum usque ad se), in which it was followed by most Rabbins, some Fathers, as Theodoret, and later theologians, as Carpzov, Heidegger, Pareau, Starke, Lange, Eichhorn (Einl. iii. 597 ff.), Hävernick, Welte, Keil (Apolog. Versuch, p. 144 ff., Einl p. 497; comp. Comment p. 14), and Jul. Fürst (Gesch. der bibl. Lit. ii. 210, 537 ff.), and others. But he can no more have written the book of Chronicles than the book of Ezra itself. Both belong notoriously to a later age; and in view of their manifold internal and external connection, the hypothesis of Movers, that a writer living some centuries after Ezra wrote both works as a continuous whole, though afterwards separated (Mov. Krit. Unters. p. 14 ff.), would commend itself, were it not necessary to take into account the relation of the book of Nehemiah to both, and to admit some sort of connection among the three books. To show that this consists in being derived from the same author has been attempted by Zunz (Gottesdienstl. Vortrage der Juden, Berlin 1832, p. 18 ff.), Ewald (Gesch. des v. Isr. i. p. 264, 2d edit.), Bertheau (Kurzgef. exeg. Handb., Einl. p. 15), Graf (Die geschichtl. Bächer des A. T. p. 114 ff.), Dillmann (in Herzog’s Real-Encycl., Art. “Chronik”), Davidson (Introd. to the Old Test. ii. p. 115 sq.). They have regarded the books of Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah as three constituent parts of a single historical work, composed in the end of the Persian or the opening of the Grecian period. But against this are the following considerations:—

1. The identity of Ezr_1:1-3 with 2Ch_36:22 f., which is more easily understood if we regard it as the work of a redactor who wished to show the second of the two originally separate works to be a kind of continuation of the first, than if we suppose that the narrative originally proceeded from 2Ch_36:23 to Ezr_1:4, and then, after rending the two books asunder, the opening words of the second concerning the edict of Cyrus were repeated at the close of the first. Comp. Keil, Comm. p. 14 f.: “For such a separation with an addition there seems to be no ground, especially as the edict of Cyrus must be repeated. The introduction of this edict with the words, ‘And in the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, etc.,’ is so closely connected with the close of the description of the destruction of Jerusalem and the carrying away of Judah to Babylon, ‘and they were servants to him (King Nebuchadnezzar) and his sons until the reign of the Persians, to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah ... to fulfil seventy years,’ 2Ch_36:20 f., that the edict of Cyrus cannot be separated from the foregoing; much rather must the same author, who wrote 2Ch_36:20-21, and represented the seventy years of exile as the fulfilment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, have also mentioned the edict of Cyrus, and connected it with this prophecy. This connection of the edict with that prophecy furnishes an incontrovertible proof that the verses containing the edict form an integral part of Chronicles.” On the whole, the supposition of a supplementary separation of a history originally forming one whole is attended with serious difficulties; and neither the apparently somewhat abrupt close of Chronicles, as it now stands (with åְéָòַì “And let him go up”), nor the circumstance that the opening words of Ezra, though verbally coinciding in general with the closing words of Chronicles, yet differ from them in some particulars (namely, for áְּôִé of 2Ch_36:22, îִôִּé and for éְäåָֹä àֱìֹäָéå òִîּåֹ of 2Ch_36:23, éְäִé àì× ò× ), can be satisfactorily reconciled with the hypothesis of separation, both phenomena agreeing better with the supposition, that the conforming hand of a later redactor had established a coincidence in the main between two passages that were originally somewhat different.

2. The plan, also, of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, clearly aiming at the presentation of contemporary or very recent history, speaks against the hypothesis of their original immediate connection with the book of Chronicles. Whatever there is in the plan of this work, or in the position of the writer, with respect to the sources used by him resembling the historiographic method of the other two books, is easily explained by supposing the authors to be guided in general by the same views, and to write in the same, or nearly the same times.

3. And as neither these merely subordinate resemblances of plan and form, nor the already mentioned verbal and orthographical coincidences, suffice to disprove the independent character of the three works, neither can the circumstance, that the author of the apocryphal third book of Ezra, from the way in which he strings together 2Ch_36:21 and Ezr_1:1, seems not to have been acquainted with the separation of Chronicles from Ezra, nor the phenomenon parallel to this circumstance, that the Talmud, the Masora, and the ancient Christian Church count the books of Ezra and Nehemiah generally as one book. At the ground of this latter phenomenon obviously lies the Jewish endeavour not to let the number of the books of the Old Testament exceed that of the twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet (Origen in Euseb. H. Eccl. vi. 25; Jerome, Prol. gal.; Talmud, Baba bathr., in Buxtorf, Tiberias, c. xi. p. 108 sqq.),—an endeavour from which the oldest Church Fathers, in their lists of the canonical Scriptures of the Old Testament, were not free, and of which the circumstance that two of the oldest MSS. of the Septuagint, the cod. Alexandrinus and the Friderico-Augustanus, separate the book of Nehemiah by no interval from that of Ezra (comp. Tischendorf’s Vetus Testamentum juxta LXX. Interpretes, edit. iv. 1869, T. I. p. 611), must be regarded as a later effect.

If, according to all this, the connection of these three books is not to be viewed as a unity, forbidding their original independent existence, and if, notwithstanding all traces of an almost contemporary origin, no common author needs to be assumed for them, nothing is more natural than to regard one of the two or three supposed authors as the originator of that redactional conformation on which the present affinity and mutual relation of the three books, so far as it betrays the hand of a literary reviser, depends. And in all probability this redactor was the author of Chronicles, as a compilation presupposing the existence of the other two, and adapting itself to them. The already extant works concerning Ezra and Nehemiah, proceeding perhaps from the younger contemporaries of these men, may have served as the occasion and impulse to this writer to present the previous history of God’s people in a like spirit of Levitical, priestly pragmatism, and in a similar annalistic method, and so to project his review of the progress of the kingdom of God from Adam to the end of the exile, running parallel with the earlier historical books, which he partly supplements and partly abstracts. That he prefixed the closing verses of this work as an introduction to its sequel the book of Ezra, to mark externally the connection of the two works, must be considered more probable from the above remarks, than the reverse hypothesis of Bleek, that “he brought over the first verses of that work (Ezra) as the close of this latter.” Comp. throughout Bleek, Einl. § 171, p. 404 f., with whose representation of the origin of our three works we only differ on this subordinate point, while we must regard it otherwise as the most satisfactory solution of the present question.

Concerning the person of this author of Chronicles and final redactor of Ezra and Nehemiah, who belonged to the last years of the Persian dynasty, only this can be established, that he must have belonged to the Levites of the second temple, and in particular to the singers or song-masters, in whom he takes a special interest, as the constant putting of them forward (as also the porters) along with priests and Levites in many parts of his work shows; see above, § 2, Remark, p. 6. When Keil (Comment. p. 17 ff.) urges against this hypothesis the fact, that “in all places where he speaks of musicians and porters we also find the priests mentioned,” sufficient attention is not paid to the fact, that this express mention of such inferior officers as singers and musicians, along with the priests and other officials of the temple, implies a special interest in them on the part of the author. Certainly the porter is often mentioned in the same places; but the interest of the narrator in the musicians and their doings (into which he often enters minutely, while he only mentions the porters by the way) plainly outweighs everything else. And nothing is obviously deducted from the authority and credibility of our writer, if we think of him as an Asaph of the later sanctuary, though his identification with Ezra the priest becomes thereby impossible.

Remark.—The difficult passage 1Ch_3:19-24, the full elucidation of which we must reserve for the commentary itself, names from Hananiah, the son of Zerubbabel, five other generations, represented by Shechaniah, Shemaiah, Neariah, Elioenai, and Hodaiah, the last of which generations, Hodaiah with his six brothers, which appears to be nearly contemporary with the author of our work, can scarcely, even if we reckon a generation at 30 years, have flourished before 350 or 340 b.c. To this date points also another note contained in 1Ch_3:22. The Hattush here mentioned as great-grandson of Zerubbabel, is perhaps the same Hattush mentioned, Ezr_8:2, as a descendant of David, and as brought under Ezra from Babylon to Judea. Now, as in 1Ch_3:22-23 the grandsons of Neariah, a younger brother of this Hattush, are mentioned, we shall thus be carried down beyond the year 400, as the earliest possible time of the drawing up of this genealogy; and the omission of some intervening members after Hattush would carry it down considerably later. These chronological combinations taken from 1Ch_3:19 ff. may not appear absolutely certain and indisputable, as the Hattush of Ezra might possibly be different from that of our passage (comp. Keil, Einl. p. 496), and as, especially in 1Ch_3:21, where all connection of the áְּðֵé øְôָéָä with the foregoing is wanting, the suspicion (uttered by Vitringa, Heidegger, Carpzov, etc.) of corruption, or the supposition that a fragment of some other genealogy has crept into the text (Hävern., Movers, Keil, etc.), appears sufficiently plausible. Notwithstanding this uncertainty and partial obscurity of the passage, the opinion expressed is probable enough; and the more so, the more clearly the other considerations (under c–e) above mentioned point to a still later time than that of Ezra and Nehemiah.

[The data presented by the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Chronicles, prove, at most, that a touching hand was applied to them after the lifetime of Ezra and Nehemiah, simply adding a few names to a list or pedigree. But this comes far short of proving that these works were not produced by Ezra and Nehemiah, the authors to whom they are usually assigned. To give even plausibility to this negative conclusion, it is necessary to apply our modern notions or habits of composition to the men of ancient times, before printing was invented, or the rules of literature determined. There is great risk of mistake in taking this important step, as the modern man of letters is liable to carry up into those primitive days his own subjective views, and make a world of ancient literature after the fashion of the nineteenth century. To infer, for instance, that a work was not composed till the last person now named in it had lived and flourished, may seem legitimate. Yet it is not necessarily true even of modern works, as names and facts may be added by an editor or continuator. Still less can it be affirmed of ancient works antecedent to printing, especially when they are of national importance, and under the care of men competent and authorized to make such trifling additions as are supposed by some to discredit the authorship of Ezra and Nehemiah.—J. G. M.]

§
4. Matter, Plan, And Object Of The Work

In regard to matter, Chronicles falls, as already stated, into two main divisions—a shorter genealogical, 1Ch_1:1-9, and a longer historical one. If we take into account the several groups of genealogical and historical material that exist within these main parts, the following detailed scheme of contents results:—

I. Genealogical tables or registers, with brief historical data, 1 Chronicles 1-9.

a. Genealogies of the patriarchs from Adam to Israel and Edom, with the descendants of the latter till the era of kings, 1 Chronicles 1.

b. The sons of Israel and the generations of Judah till David, with David’s posterity till Elioenai and his seven sons, 1Ch_2:1 to 1Ch_4:23.

c. The generations of Simeon, and the transjordanic tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh, till the deportation of the latter by the Assyrians, 1Ch_4:24 to 1Ch_5:26.

d. The generations of the Levites, with a statement of their cities in the different tribes, 1 Chron. 5:27–6:81.

e. The generations of the remaining tribes, except Dan and Zebulun, and in particular, of the Benjamite house of Saul, 1 Chronicles 7, 8.

f. The inhabitants of Jerusalem till the period of kings, with the genealogy of Saul repeated, forming the transition to the history of David, 1 Chronicles 9.

II. History of the kings in Jerusalem from David to the exile.

1. David, 1 Chronicles 10-29.

a. Introduction; the fall of the house of Saul, 1 Chronicles 10.

b. David’s elevation to the throne; arrangement of his residence at Jerusalem; wars and enumeration of the people, 1 Chronicles 11-21.

[Removal from Hebron to Jerusalem, 1Ch_11:1-9; the heroes and worthies of David, 1Ch_11:10-12; preparation for removing the ark to Jerusalem, 1 Chronicles 13; David’s housebuilding, family, and wars with the Philistines, 1 Chronicles 14; the solemn conveyance of the ark, 1 Chronicles 15, 16; David’s purpose to build a temple to the Lord, 1 Chronicles 17; his wars, 1 Chronicles 18-20; the numbering of the people, with the plague; determination of the place for the future temple, 1 Chronicles 21.]

c. David’s arrangements concerning the temple; other spiritual and temporal regulations; last will and death, 1 Chronicles 22-29.

[Provisions for the temple, 1 Chronicles 22; division of the Levites and priests, and order of their service, 1 Chronicles 23-26; division of the war officers, and order of the service, 1 Chronicles 27; last directions concerning the transfer of the government to Solomon, and end of David, 1 Chronicles 28, 29.]

2. Solomon, 2 Chronicles 1-9.

a. His solemn sacrifice at Gibeon, and his riches, , 2 Chronicles 1.

b. The building and consecration of the temple, , 2 Chronicles 2-7.

c. Solomon’s building of cities, and serfs; religious ordinances; navigation to Ophir; intercourse with the queen of Sheba; glory; length of reign, and end, , 2 Chronicles 8, 9.

3. The kings of Judah, from Rehoboam to Zedekiah, , 2 Chronicles 10-36.

a. Rehoboam; the prophet Shemaiah, , 2 Chronicles 10-12.

b. Abijah, , 2 Chronicles 13.

c. Asa; the prophets Azariah son of Obed, and Hanani, , 2 Chronicles 14-16.

d. Jehoshaphat; the prophets Micah son of Imlah, Jehu son of Hanani, etc., , 2 Chronicles 17-20.

e. Joram; letter of the prophet Elijah, , 2 Chronicles 21.

f. Ahaziah, , 2Ch_22:1-9.

g. Athaliah, , 2Ch_22:10-12.

h. Joash; the prophet Zechariah, son of Jehoiada, , 2 Chronicles 24.

i. Amaziah, , 2 Chronicles 25.

k. Uzziah, , 2 Chronicles 26.

l. Jotham, 2 Chronicles 27.

m. Ahaz; the prophet Oded, , 2 Chronicles 28.

n. Hezekiah; the prophet Isaiah, , 2 Chronicles 29-32.

o. Manasseh and Amon, , 2 Chronicles 33.

p. Josiah; the prophetess Huldah, , 2 Chronicles 34, 35.

q. Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Zedekiah; close, , 2 Chronicles 36.

From this survey of contents, the following points appear characteristic for the standpoint and plan of our historian:—

1. The taking up of the kingdom of David as a moment in the history of the tribe and state of Judah, with the corresponding retreat of the genealogy and history of the northern tribes (of which Dan and Zebulun are not even mentioned; Issachar, Naphtali, Asher, and half-Manasseh are only briefly noticed), and especially of the reigns of Saul and Ishbosheth, at the same time with the total omission of Jeroboam and his successors, which determines that of the prophets of the northern kingdom, and thus the action of Elijah, Elisha, etc.

2. The prominence given to the tribe of Levi, its ordinances and divisions, offices and functions,—a moment appearing with characteristic force as well in the genealogical portion (1 Chron. 5:27–6:66) as in the history of David (1 Chronicles 23-26), of Solomon and his temple-consecration (2 Chronicles 5 ff.), of Rehoboam, Asa, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah.

3. The preference for reporting genealogical series, which goes so far, that one list of this kind is unnecessarily repeated (that of the house of Saul, 1Ch_8:29 ff.; comp. with 1Ch_9:35 ff.); and in the history of David, a register of his heroes, worthies, and offices, is inserted several times in apparently improper places (thus 1 Chronicles 12, the list of the heroes adhering to him during his persecution by Saul, that of his worthies who raised him to the throne in Hebron, and 27, the summary of his forces, princes, and officers, for which a more suitable place would have been 1Ch_18:12 ff.).

4. The visible inclination to dwell on the glorious periods of the theocracy and the theocratic worship, and by depicting such bright seasons, and treating as briefly as possible the contrary times of darkness and superstition, to display conspicuously the full blessing of preserving pure the national religion of Jehovah and the legitimate temple-service: on which account, such reigns as those of David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah, are depicted with peculiar delight; while the last days of Solomon, the rule of Ahaziah and Athaliah, and that of the last kings before the exile, are despatched with comparative brevity, or entirely omitted, like the whole history of the kingdom of Ephraim.

The above-mentioned moments appear still more clearly as favourite points of history and fundamental peculiarities of our historian, if we compare the course of his historical representation with that of the parallel historical books, especially the books of Samuel and Kings. Characteristic for the time before the kings is his endeavour, by suitable abbreviations of the genealogical sections of Genesis, to give the clearest possible view of the descent of the house of David from the antediluvian patriarchs; comp. 2Ch_1:1-4 as an abridgment of Gen_1:5-23 as a corresponding abbreviation of Genesis 10; 1Ch_1:24-27 as contracted from Gen_11:10-26; 1Ch_1:29-33 as recapitulated from Gen_25:1-15; 1Ch_1:35-54 as recapitulated from Gen_36:10-43; 1Ch_2:1-5 as a summary of the list of Jacob’s sons (especially those of Perez) in Gen_46:8-12; also 1Ch_2:10-12 (list of the descendants of Ram to Jesse) with Rth_4:19-22; and in particular, the list of the Levitical cities, 1Ch_6:39-66, with Jos_21:10-39. There is throughout, as these parallels show, an endeavour aiming at the exaltation of the Davidic sovereignty as the brightest point of the history of God’s people before the exile, by which the author has been guided in the genealogical preface to his history. For the history of David are equally significant, both that which is omitted of the books of Samuel, and that which is added as a supplement. He has here omitted most of the facts concerning the relation of David to Saul and his