Introduction

From: 1 Chronicles

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Introduction Name In the Hebrew Bible, Chronicles1 is called 'iJ1 i::lO D'l':l'i1 "The Book of the Events2 of the Days," reflecting rabbinic tradition. This title indicates one understanding of Chronicles, namely, that the bookSdeals with past events.4 These words without an additional modifier are not found in the text of Chronicles itselfi but may be related to lost works cited in Kings, such as 'iJl i::lO ?~itll' ':ho? D'l':l'i1 "The Book of the Events of the Days of the Kings of Israel" or i111i1' ':ho? D'l':l'i1 'iJ1 i::lO "The Book of the Events of the Days of the Kings of Judah."6 These source citations are renamed "The Book of the Kings ofJudah and Israel," or "The Book of the Kings oflsrael and Judah," in Chronicles.7 The reference to the kings of Israel and Judah may have been dropped from "The Book of the Events of the Days" in the title of Chronicles since it would not apply to 1 Chronicles 1-9. The Septuagint's name for Chronicles is IlapaAH7rOf .lEVwv8A ' and B '. The title Paraleipomena, "Things Omitted" or "Things Left Behind," indicates a second understanding of the book's purpose, to record events left out by earlier histories, such as Samuel and Kings.9 In Codex Alexandrinus the title is slightly longer: "The Things Omitted regarding the Kings of Judah" (cf. some manuscripts of the Peshitta10). This is a third understanding of the purpose of Chronicles, which reflects the fact that Chronicles primarily focuses its narrative onJudah and only includes the history of the Northern Kingdom when it affects Judah. In a way the name Paraleipomena is inappropriate, since Chronicles not only includes "things that have been omitted" but it also "takes over" or "includes" a large amount of material from Samuel-Kings. In his preface to his translation of Samuel-Kings (the "prologus galeatus"),Jerome called the book "Paralipomenon One and Two " and noted that it touched on historical events omitted in the books of Kings and explained innumerable questions pertinent to the Gospel. 11 In the same workJerome also called it a "Chronicle [Chronicon = XPOV~Kov] of All Divine History," a fourth understanding of the purpose of Chronicles. Jerome identified it with a genre of historiography of his time, which gave a summary of past history arranged according to a chronological outline.12 Chronicles begins with Adam, the first human according to Genesis, and continues until the fall ofJerusalem in 586 BCE. Unlike the chronica of Eusebius and Jerome himself , which synchronized sacred and secular history, the biblical "Chronicon" tells only the story of the relationship between God and God's people. In the Vulgate translation the book is called Liber I and II Paralipomenon . For a comprehensive discussion of the history of the names ascribed to Chronicles, see Knoppers and Harvey, "Omitted and Remaining Matters," 227-43. Werner H. Schmidt, Old Testament lntmduction (New York: Crossroad, 1984) 160, points to a second possible understanding of this name. Since Chronicles was largely parallel to Samuel-Kings, he cot~ectures that Chronicles might at first have been left out of the Greek translation and only later included in it. Cf. Stri.ibind, Tradition als Interpretation, 10, who suggests that the books of Chronicles were first left out of the canon (!) and only later included in it. "The book of Chronicles, namely, the book remembering the days of the kings ofJudah." See the apparatus in Gordon, Sy-riac, 1. 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Lit. "Words." In jewish tradition 1 and 2 Chronicles were considered one book with the masorah finalis appearing only at the end of what we call 2 Chronicles. A marginal note at 1 Chr 27:25, D'p100l::J 10:1001 ยท:~;n "half of the book in verses," indicates the midpoint of this 10 one book. The division of the book into two by LXX eventually found its way into Hebrew Bibles, but that is not attested before 1448 (Rudolph, III). 11 Knoppers and Harvey, "Omitted and Remaining Matters," 230. The only places where this phrase occurs in the biblical text itself are at Neh 12:23 and Esth 2:23. E.g., in 1 Kgs 14:19 and 29, respectively. See the section on Sources below. 12 The title is genitive plural. Apparently one is to translate "[The book of] the Things Omitted." This name is also used in the Ethiopic translation. Prologus in libro Regum...