David to number Israel (1 Chron. xxi.; 2 Sam. xxiv. 1) accords with later theological development.
A particular tendency to arrange history according to a mechanical rule appears in the constant endeavour to show that recompense and retribution followed immediately on good or bad conduct, and especially on obedience or disobedience to prophetic advice. Thus, the invasion of Shishak (see Rehoboam) becomes a typical romance (2 Chron. xii.); the illness of Asa is preceded by a denunciation for relying upon Syria, and the chronology is changed to bring the fault near the punishment (2 Chron. xv. seq.). The ships which Jehoshaphat made were wrecked at Ezion-geber because he had allied himself with Ahaziah of Israel despite prophetic warning (2 Chron. xx. 35 sqq.; 1 Kings xxii. 48; cf. similarly the addition in 2 Chron. xix. 1-3), and the later writer supposes that the “Tarshish ships” (large vessels such as were used in trading with Spain—cf. “Indiamen”) built in the Red Sea were intended for the Mediterranean trade (cf. 2 Chron. ix. 21 with 1 Kings x. 22). The Edomite revolt under Jehoram of Judah becomes the penalty for the king’s apostasy (2 Chron. xxi. 10-20; 2 Kings viii. 22), Ahaziah was slain because of his friendship with Jehoram (2 Chron. xxii. 7). The Aramaean invasion in the time of Joash of Judah was a punishment for the murder of Jehoiada’s son (2 Chron. xxiv.; 2 Kings xii.). Amaziah, after defeating Edom (2 Chron. xxv., esp. verses 19-21; see 2 Kings xiv. 10 seq.), worshipped strange gods, for which he was defeated by Joash of Israel, and subsequently met with his death (2 Chron. xxv. 27; 2 Kings xiv. 19). Uzziah’s leprosy is attributed to a ritual fault (2 Chron. xxvi. 4 seq., 16 sqq.; cf. 2 Kings xv. 3-5; see Uzziah). The defeat and death of the good king Josiah came through disobedience to the Divine will (2 Chron. xxxv. 21 seq.; see 2 Kings xxiii. 26 sqq.).
In addition to such supplementary information, another tendency of the chronicler is the alteration of narratives that do not agree with the later doctrines of the uniformity of religious institutions before and after the exile. Thus, the reformation of Josiah has been thrust back from his eighteenth to his twelfth year (when he was nineteen years old) apparently because it was felt that so good a king would not have tolerated the abuses of the land for so long a period, but the result of this is to leave an interval of ten years between his conversion and the subsequent act of repentance (2 Chron. xxxiv. 3-6; 2 Kings xxii. seq.). References to Judaean idolatry are omitted (1 Kings xiv. 22-24; see 2 Chron. xii. 14; 2 Kings xviii. 4; 2 Chron. xxxi. 1) or abbreviated (2 Kings xxiii. 1-20; 2 Chron. xxxiv. 29-33); and if the earlier detailed accounts of Judaean heathenism were repulsive, so the tragic account of the fate of Jerusalem was a painful subject upon which the chronicler’s age did not care to dwell (contrast 2 Kings xxiv. 8-xxv. with the brief 2 Chron. xxxvi. 9-21). At an age when the high places were regarded as idolatrous it was considered only natural that the good kings should not have tolerated them. So 2 Chron. xiv. 5, xvii. 6 (from unknown sources) contradict 1 Kings xv. 14, xxii. 43 (that Asa and Jehoshaphat did not demolish the high places), whereas xv. 16–18, xx. 31-34, are quoted from the book of Kings and give the older view. The example is an illustration of the simple methods of early compilers. Further, it is assumed that the high place at Gibeon was a legitimate sanctuary (2 Chron. i. 3-6; 1 Kings iii. 2-4; 1 Chron. xxi. 28-30; 2 Sam. xxiv.); that the ark was borne not by priests (1 Kings viii. 3) but by Levites (2 Chron. v. 4), in accordance with post-exilic usage; and that the Levites, and not the foreign bodyguard of the temple, helped to place Joash on the throne (2 Chron. xxiii.). Conversely 1 Chron. xv. 12 seq. explains xiii. 10 (2 Sam. vi. 7) on the view that Uzza was not a Levite, hence the catastrophe.
Throughout it is assumed that the Levitical organization had been in existence from the days of David, to whom its foundation is ascribed. In connexion with the installation of the ark considerable space is devoted to the arrangements for the maintenance of the temple-service, upon which the earlier books are silent, and elaborate notices of the part played by the Levites and singers give expression to a view of the history of the monarchy which the book of Kings does not share. Along with the exceptional interest taken in Levitical and priestly lists should be noticed the characteristic preference for genealogies. Particular prominence is given to the tribe and kings of Judah (1 Chron. ii.-iv.), and to the priests and Levites (1 Chron. vi., xv. sq., xxiii.-xxv.; with ix. 1-34 cf. Neh. xi.). The historical value of these lists is very unequal; a careful study of the names often proves the lateness of the source, although an appreciation of the principles of genealogies sometimes reveals important historical information; see Caleb, Genealogy, Judah. But the Levitical system as it appears in its most complete form in Chronicles is the result of the development of earlier schemes, of which some traces are still preserved in Chronicles itself and in Ezra-Nehemiah. (See further Levites.)
The tendency of numbers to grow is one which must always be kept in view—cf. 1 Chron. xviii. 4, xix. 18 (2 Sam. viii. 4 [but see LXX.], x. 18), 1 Chron. xxi. 5, 25 (2 Sam. xxiv. 9, 24); consequently little importance can be attached to details which appear to be exaggerated (1 Chron. v. 21, xii., xxii. 14; 2 Chron. xiii. 3, 17), and are found to be quite in accordance with similar peculiarities elsewhere (Num. xxxi. 32 seq.; Judg. xx. 2, 21, 25).
But when allowance is made for all the above tendencies of the late post-exilic age, there remains a certain amount of additional matter in Chronicles which may have been derived from relatively old sources. These items are Historical value. of purely political or personal nature and contain several details which taken by themselves have every appearance of genuineness. Where there can be no suspicion of such “tendency” as has been noticed above there is less ground for scepticism, and it must be remembered that the earlier books contain only a portion of the material to which the compilers had access. Hence it may well happen that the details which unfortunately cannot be checked were ultimately derived from sources as reputable as those in the books of Samuel, Kings, &c. As examples may be cited Rehoboam’s buildings, &c. (2 Chron. xi. 5–12, 18 sqq.); Jeroboam’s attack upon Abijah (2 Chron. xiii., cf. 1 Kings xv. 7); the invasion of Zerah in Asa’s reign (2 Chron. xiv.; see Asa); Jehoshaphat’s wars and judicial measures (2 Chron. xvii. xx.; see 1 Kings xxii. 45); Jehoram’s family (2 Chron. xxi. 2-4); relations between Jehoiada and Joash (2 Chron. xxiv. 3, 15 sqq.); conflicts between Ephraim and Judah (2 Chron. xxv. 6–13); wars of Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chron. xxvi. seq.); events in the reign of Ahaz (2 Chron. xxviii. 8–15, 18 seq.); reforms of Hezekiah (2 Chron. xxix. sqq., cf. Jer. xxvi. 19); Manasseh’s captivity, repentance and buildings (2 Chron. xxxiii. 10-20; see 2 Kings xxi. and Manasseh); the death of Josiah (2 Chron. xxxv. 20-25). In addition to this reference may be made to such tantalizing statements as those in 1 Chron. ii. 23 (R.V.), iv. 39-41, v. 10, 18-22, vii. 21 seq., viii. 13, xii. 15, examples of the kind of tradition, national and private, upon which writers could draw. Although in their present form the additional narratives are in the chronicler’s style, it is not necessary to deny an older traditional element which may have been preserved in sources now lost to us.
Bibliography.—Robertson Smith’s article in the 9th ed. of the Ency. Brit. was modified by his later views in Old Test. in the Jewish Church, pp. 140–148. Recent literature is summarized by S. R. Driver in his revision of Smith’s article in Ency. Bib. and in his Lit. of Old Test., and by F. Brown in Hastings’ Dict. Bib. (a very comprehensive article). Many parts of the book offer a very hard task to the expositor, especially the genealogies, where to other troubles are added the extreme corruption and many variations of the proper names in the versions; on these see the articles in the Ency. Bib. Valuable contributions to the exegesis of the book will be found in Wellhausen’s Prolegomena (Eng. trans.), pp. 171-227; Benzinger in Marti’s Hand-Kommentar (1901); Kittel in Sacred Books of the Old Test. (1895), History of the Hebrews, ii. 224 sqq. (1896), and in Nowack’s Hand-Kommentar (1902). W. H. Bennett in Expositor’s Bible (1894), W. E. Barnes in Cambridge Bible (1899), and Harvey-Jellie in the Century Bible (1906), are helpful. Among more recent investigations are those of Howorth, Proc. Soc. of Bibl. Archael. xxvii. 267-278 (Chronicles a late translation from the Aramaic). (W. R. S.; S. A. C.)
CHRONOGRAPH (from Gr. χρόνος, time, and γράφειν, to write). Instruments whereby periods of time are measured and recorded are commonly called chronographs, but it would be more correct to give the name to the records produced. Instruments such as “stop watches” (see Watch), by means of which the time between events is shown on a dial, are also called chronographs; they were originally rightly called chronoscopes (σκοπεῖν, to see).
- But that this was not the invention of the chronicler appears possible from Jer. xxv. 3. Similarly, Hezekiah’s reforms are dated in his first year (2 Chron. xxix. 3), against all probability; see Hezekiah (end).
- 2 Chron. xxiii. is an excellent specimen of the redaction to which older narratives were submitted; cf. also 2 Chron. xxiv. 5 seq. (2 Kings xi. 4 seq.), xxxiv. 9–14 (2 Kings xxii.), xxxv. 1–19 (2 Kings xxiii. 21-23).
- Passages in the books of Samuel and Kings which might appear to point to the contrary require careful examination; they prove to be glosses or interpolations, or are relatively late as a whole.
- The view that the chronicler invented such narratives is inconceivable, and in the present stage of historical criticism is as unsound as an implicit reliance upon those sources in the earlier books, which in their turn are often long posterior to the events they record. Although Graf, in a critical and exhaustive study (Geschichtlichen Bücher des A.T., Leipzig, 1866), concluded that the Chronicles have almost no value as a documentary source of the ancient history, he subsequently admitted in private correspondence with Bertheau that this statement was too strong (preface to Bertheau’s Commentary, 2nd ed., 1873).