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1 Chronicles: Prolegomena

Among the Hebrews, this Book is one Book; but it has been divided by our men. By the Greeks it is called the Book of Παραλειπομένων, that is, things left over, because it contains certain things passed over in the books of Kings. But the Hebrews entitle it דִּבְרֵי הַיָּמִם, that is, Words of Days. In Latin you may call it Diaria/Journals, or Annales/Annals, or Librum Annalium, Book of Annals (Vatablus[1] out of Munster[2]), because יוֹם/yom/day is taken with great frequency for year in the Sacred Books (Vatablus). That is to say, a Chronicle briefly narrating the matters conducted by David, etc., day by day, as it were, that is, season by season (Lapide[3]). Words of Days, that is, Excerpts from the Day-books of the Kings[4] (Grotius[5]). Whether this book is the same of which the Book of Kings makes mention,[6] is uncertain (Munster). Perhaps it is not, but an epitome of that (Vatablus). But, since it is the manner of Day-books to narrate many things λεπτομερέστερον, more minutely, than the manner of Annals might bear, it happened that to these we were obliged to add more than a few things that are not found in the Annals, or the books of Samuel and Kings (Grotius). The author of this book is unknown (Vatablus). The Hebrews (by a long-standing report among them [Grotius]) think that it was written by Ezra after the Babylonian captivity (Munster, Vatablus, Grotius) (and, therefore, they place this book after the Book of Ezra [Vatablus]): this they gather from the end of the book (Munster, Vatablus); because its final words are the same as those in Ezra 1:1-3, and I shall note many similar things in the course of the book. Finally, the Lists of Names in these first nine chapters are similar to the lists in Ezra 2; 8; 10 (Lapide). It was the design of Ezra to narrate the affairs of David and his posterity, etc., unto Zerubbabel. But, so that he might be better understood, he judged that certain things were to be mentioned beforehand, namely, the survey to be made of the originators of mankind, etc. With these books the same Ezra wove the history of his own affairs, that is, of the restoration of Jerusalem, which he himself wrote; and another history, of the restoration of the Temple and its Sacrifices, which Nehemiah wrote, while Ezra was yet living. Moreover, he added the history of Esther, which had happened in the midst of the time of those things that are narrated in those two last books, written as the Hebrews relate by tradition, and as the book itself appears to testify, by that most illustrious man, Mordecai. And here the histories that are in the Hebrew Canon stop; evidently because what things extended to this point were either written by Prophets, or approved by Prophets, like thse final books by Zechariah, Malachi, and Haggai, who were Ezra’s σύνχρονοι/ contemporaries and associates in counsel. But after that time, prophecy among the Hebrews ceased until the times of Christ (Grotius).

The first nine chapters contain only genealogies, because the Hebrews were exact in them, both for the distinction of the twelve tribes, and because of Christ, so that it might be evident that He was born of Abraham, David, and the tribe of Judah (Lapide).

[1] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France. He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris (1531). Because of some consonance with Lutheran doctrine, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum), compiled by his auditors, were regarded with the utmost esteem among Protestants, but with a measure of suspicion and concern by Roman Catholics. Consequently, the theologians of Salamanca produced their own edition of Vatablus’ annotations for their revision of the Latin Bible (1584). [2] Sebastian Munster (1489-1552) was a German scholar of great talent in the fields of mathematics, Oriental studies, and divinity. He left the Franciscans to join the Lutherans, became Professor of Hebrew at Basil (1529-1552), and produced an edition of the Hebrew Bible with a Latin translation and important early Reformation annotations (Annotationes in Vetus Testamentum). [3] Cornelius à Lapide (1567-1637) was a Flemish Jesuit scholar. His talents were employed in the professorship of Hebrew at Louvain, then at Rome. Although his commentaries (covering the entire Roman Catholic canon, excepting only Job and the Psalms) develop the four-fold sense of Scripture, he emphasizes the literal. His knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, and the commentators that preceded him is noteworthy. [4] See 1 Chronicles 9:1; 2 Chronicles 16:11; 20:34; 24:27; 25:26; 27:7; 28:26; 32:32; 33:18; 35:27; 36:8. [5] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) distinguished himself in the field of international law, but he was interested in many fields of learning, including Christian apologetics, theology, and Biblical criticism and exegesis. He was a strict practitioner of the historical-contextual method of exegesis, and both his methods and conclusions are on display in his influential Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum. He is also remembered for his role in the Arminian controversy, siding with the Remonstrants, and for his governmental theory of atonement. [6] See 1 Kings 14:19, 29; 15:7, 23, 31; 16:5, 14, 20; 16:27; 22:39, 45; 2 Kings 1:18; 8:23; 10:34; 12:19; 13:8, 12; 14:15, 18, 28; 15:6, 11, 15, 21, 26, 31, 36; 16:19; 20:20; 21:17, 25; 23:28; 24:5.

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