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The Books of Chronicles

Updated on November 28, 2016

Books of Chronicles, two books in the Old Testament, called Paralipomenon in the Roman Catholic Bible. Scholars think that Chronicles was written between the late 7th century B.C. and about 200 B.C., originally as a single book. Combining his own historical information with material from Samuel and Kings, the unknown chronicler retells the history of the Jews from the point of view of the priests, who emphasized temple ritual, the merits of the House of David, and divine retribution for sin.

I Chronicles begins with a list of the generations from Adam to King Saul and then describes praiseworthy events in the reign of King David.

II Chronicles recounts favorable episodes in the reign of David's son Solomon and pays special attention to the building of the Temple and the observance of proper ritual. The chronicler sees the formation of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah after Solomon's death as a rebellion of the northern tribes against the House of David. For him the wars that follow between the kingdoms and against foreign powers are the punishment sent by God because the Jews have worshiped false gods. This retribution culminates in the destruction of Israel by Assyria in 722 B.C. and the conquest of Judah by Babylon in 586 B.C. The book closes with the Lord's inspiring the Persian king Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Jerusalem.

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