After tracing the history of humankind from Adam to David, 1 & 2 Chronicles focus on the kingdom of David as God’s chosen people—and the responsibilities incumbent on them. The Chronicler’s prevailing emphases are where and how the people of Israel worship and the exclusivity of worshiping God alone. Even so, rites themselves are not sufficient. God deserves not only our worship and adoration but also our obedience. Moreover, for the author of 1 & 2 Chronicles, the Godappointed kings, priests, and prophets (plus soldiers and several wives) serve as both positive and negative examples of how fidelity to God affects later individuals and nations— and, in particular, the people of postexilic Judah. Through this ancient text, Christians can learn valuable lessons about authentic worship and heartfelt obedience.
Review: Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology 76 (1)
1 & 2 Chronicles
by Paul L. Redditt
The Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary series is celebrated for its attention to visual arts and poetry, as well as its use of ample charts and sidebars, in order to be “as close to multimedia in print as possible” (p. xvii). Paul Redditt’s commentary on Chronicles is a worthy exemplar of the series, replete with illustrations, maps, charts, and discussion boxes. The book ends with a bibliography and useful indices to Scripture references, authors, and topics, as well as the illustrations and sidebars. Particularly useful in a commentary on Chronicles is the running series of sidebars comparing and contrasting Chronicles with material from else-where in Scripture: for example, a box on p. 2 notes passages in Chronicles that are not paralleled in Samuel–Kings. Given the extensive reuse of earlier texts that is Chronicles’ fore-most feature, one wishes that Redditt also had considered the parallels between Chronicles and such “rewritten Bible” texts as Jubilees or Josephus’s Antiquities.
Although Redditt proposes that Ezra-Nehemiah has drawn upon Chronicles, in large measure his commentary follows the current consensus: that Chronicles is independent of Ezra-Nehemiah. While he cites some of the arguments for reading these books as belonging to a shared authorial tradition, most works that present this case do not appear in Redditt’s bibliography. Choices must be made, of course; no book can possibly cite every source and proposal. But these gaps imply a greater unanimity in scholarship regarding Chronicles than is in fact the case. Redditt dates Chronicles rather loosely, to “the middle to the end of the fourth century” (p. 25). His assessment of Chronicles as a history is inconclusive, although he does note the historicity of some of its claims (e.g., Hezekiah’s tunnel). Redditt’s presentation of
Chronicles’ content is generally concise, but occasionally more expansive: for example, his extended discussion of satan in 1 Chron 21:1 as “a specific but unnamed” human adversary rather than the personal devil of the New Testament (p. 147, and cf. p. 135). In sum, Redditt’s commentary is a fine introduction to the study of this “often overlooked” (p. xiii) biblical book, presenting the positions of main-stream scholarship, and so a useful addition to any library.
Steven S. Tuell
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary