Worship in Chronicles

Like the Books of Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles were originally one book, according to Jewish tradition. However, the Chronicles are not simply a repeat of the history already recorded in the books of Samuel and Kings. The book of Chronicles was written to remind the nation of their entire history, and of their position among other nations, emphasising the history of priestly worship from the death of Saul to the end of the Babylonian captivity. The Chronicles contain more detail on the organisation of public worship, of religious ceremonies, of Levites and singers, and of the relationship of kings to the worship of God, than does the book of Kings. The history of the northern kingdom is omitted from the Chronicles because the northern kingdom had no bearing on the development of the true worship of God in Jerusalem.

Different views have been expressed in past scholarship about the nature of the Books of Chronicles. Some regard the Chronicler to be an exegete, others see the Chronicler as theologian, and still others see the Chronicler as a historian. The opinion expressed in this article is that Chronicles could be characterized as “reforming history”. The ambiguity of this designation is intentional. The Books of Chronicles are an attempt to reformulate and sanitize the past. It is, however, simultaneously an attempt to reformulate the identity of God’s people during the Second Temple period. Such a “reforming history” forms a unique bridge between past and present.

What does it contribute to our hermeneutical reflections when we view Chronicles as “reforming history”? The concept of a bridge between past reality and present circumstances is unique in biblical literature. The Chronicler’s history is not merely a repetition of the past but an adaptation or re-interpretation. It reflects the hermeneutical presupposition that understanding and analysis is never complete. The re-appropriation of the older cultic material stands in the service of identity formation in new circumstances. Consequently, it has a transformative impact in the present, and shares in the ongoing discourse of a new reality

Jonker, Louis Reforming History: The Hermeneutical Significance of the Books of Chronicles Vetus Testamentum, Vol 57, Number 1, 2007 , pp. 21-44(24).

This is a radical concept and part of our task. As we conciser worship in the Books of Chronicles,this hermeneutical concept invites us to do the same. It is a post-modern concept.

Five pictures of worship

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