CHRONICLES (krhn-I-k'Is'). This name seems to, have been first given to two historical books of the Old Testament by Jerome (Prolog. Galcat.).
The Hebrews call them i.e., words of days, diaries, or journals, and reckon them but one book. The Alexandrian translators, who regarded them as two books, used the appellation, things omitted, as if they were supplementary to the other historical records belonging to the Old Testament canon.
(1) Contents. In t Chron. i-ix. is given a series of genealogical tables interspersed with his torical notices. These genealogies arc not com plete.
t Chron. x-xxix. contains the history of David, partly agreeing with the account given of him to the books of Samuel, though with several im portant additions relating to the Levites.
2 Chron. i-ix. contains the history of Solomon.
2 Chron. x-xxviii. furnishes a succinct account of the kingdom of Judah while Israel still re mained, but separate from the history of the fatter.
2 Chron. xxix-xxxvi. describes the kingdom of Judah after the downfall of Israel, especially with reference to the worship of God.
From this analysis it appears that the Chronicles contain an epitome of sacred history, particularly from the origin of the Jewish nation to the end of the first captivity.
(2) Diction. The diction is such as suits the time immediately subsequent to the captivity. It is substantially the same with that of Ezra, Nehe miah, and Esther, which were all written shortly after the Babylonish exile. It is mixed with Arama'isms, marking at once the decline of the Jews in power, and the corruption of their native tongue. The pure I lebrew had been then laid aside. It was lost during their sojourn in Babylon. The orthography is characterized by an adoption of the moires lectionis and frequent interchange of the weak letters with other peculiarities.
(3) Age and Author. Internal evidence suffi ciently demonstrates that the Chronicles were writ ten after the captivity. Thus the history is brought down to the end of the exile, and mention is made of the restoration by Cyrus (2 Chron.
xxxv :21,22). It is certain that they were com piled after the time of Jeremiah (2 Chron. xxxv: 25), who lived to see the destruction of Jerusalem by the Chaldwans. The genealogy of Zerubhabel is even continued to the time of Alexander (I Chron. Hi:19-24). The same opinion is supported by the character of the orthography and the nature of the language employed, as we have already seen, both which are Aram:can in complexion, and harmonize with the books confessedly written after the exile. The Jews generally ascribe the Chronicles to Ezra, who wrote them after the return from the captivity, assisted by Zechariah and Haggai. But Calmet contends that if there be some things which seem to determine for Ezra as the author, others seem to prove the contrary. (a) The author continues the genealogy of Zerub babel down to the twelfth generation ; but Ezra did not live late enough for that. b) In several places he supposes the things which he mentions to be then in the same condition as they had for merly been, for example, before Solomon. and be fore the captivity (2 Chron. v. 9, and I Kings viii : 8). (See also t Chron. iv :sit. 43: v. 22. 26 ; 2 Citron. viii:8, and xxi:1(1). (c) The writer of these books was neither a contemporary nor an original writer; but a compiler and abridger. Ile had before him ancient memoirs, genealogies, annals, registers, and other pieces, which lie often quotes or abridges. Still the weight of opinion is in favor of the authorship of Ezra. It seems that the chief design of the Chronicles was to ex hibit correctly the genealogies, the rank, the func tions, and the order of the priests and Levites; that, after the captivity, they might more easily resume their proper ranks, and reassume their ministries. He had also in view to show how the lands had been distributed among the fam ilies before the captivity, that subsequently each tribe, so far as was possible, might obtain the ancient inheritance of their fathers.