What is the Difference Between Samuel/Kings and Chronicles?
by Stephen Bedard
Have you ever had the experience of reading through 1-2 Samuel and 1-2 Kings and then being plunged right back into the same stories in 1-2 Chronicles? Why do we even have Chronicles? Isn’t it kind of redundant?
What is the point of Chronicles?
There is a difference between Chronicles and Samuel-Kings. To begin with, they do not appear in the same sections within the Hebrew Bible. The Jewish order of the books is different than the Christian order (which is based on the Greek Old Testament).
The Hebrew Bible has three sections: Law, Prophets and Writings. Samuel and Kings are found in the Prophets section, specifically the Former Prophets along with Joshua and Judges. Chronicles is found within the writings, along with books such as the Psalms, Proverbs and others.
When you read Samuel-Kings and Chronicles, there is an obvious difference. The earlier books deals with both kingdoms, Israel and Judah, while Chronicles is only interested in Judah. Israel is only dealt with when it has an immediate impact on the events in Judah.
But there is another difference that not everyone sees. Chronicles cleans up the reputation of the kings. For example, if you go to 1 Chronicles 20, you can see where the story of Bathsheba fits but it is not there. Chronicles removes most of the bad stuff. The same is true of Solomon. In 1 Kings, we see that Solomon really lost his way in the final years of his reign. If you only read Chronicles, you would think his reign was a complete success.
Why do these differences exist? It comes down to the historical context…
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