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that revolted from the house of David, and which in the sacred writings are designated as the kingdom of Israel ; the reigns of Rehoboam's successors, Abijam, Asa, and Jehoshaphat; and those of Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Tibni, the wicked Ahab, and Ahaziah (in part), who succeeded Jeroboam in the throne of Israel. For the particular order of succession of these monarchs, and of the prophets who flourished during their respective reigns, the reader is referred to the chronological table inserted in the Appendix to the third volume of this work. The first book of Kings may be divided into two principal parts, containing, 1. The history of the undivided kingdom under Solomon; and, 2. the history of the divided kingdom under Rehoboam and his successors, and Jeroboam and his successors. Part I. The history of Solomon's reign (ch. i.-x.), contains a nar
rative of, Sect. 1. The latter days of David ; the inauguration of Solomon
as his associate in the kingdom, and his designation to be his
successor. (i. ii. 1–11.) Sect. 2. The reign of Solomon from the death of David to his un
dertaking the erection of the temple. (ii. 12–46. iii. iv.) Sect. 3. The preparations for building the temple. (v.) Sect. 4. The building of the temple (vi.) and of Solomon's own
house, together with the preparation of the vessels and uten
sils for the temple service (vii.) Sect. 5. The dedication of the temple, and the sublime prayer of
Solomon on that occasion. (viii.) Sect. 6. Transactions during the remainder of Solomon's reign ;
- his commerce ; visit from the queen of Sheba; the splendour of his monarchy; his falling into idolatry, and the adversaries
by whom he was opposed until his death. (ix. x. xi.) Part II. The history of the two kingdoms of Israel. (ch. xi.-xxii.) Sect. 1. The accession of Rehoboam, and division of the two
kingdoms. (xi.) Sect. 2. The reigns of Rehoboam king of Judah, and of Jeroboam I. king of Israel. (xii.
xiv.) Sect. 3. The reigns of Abijam and Asa kings of Judah, and the
contemporary reigns of Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, and
the commencement of Ahab's reign. (xv. xvi.) Sect. 4. The reign of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and of his con
temporaries Ahab and Ahaziah (in part), during which the pro
phet Elisha flourished. (xvii.—xxii.) IV. The SECOND BOOK OF KINGS continues the contemporary history of the two kingdoms of Israel and Judah, from the death of Jehoshaphat, A. m. 3115, to the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, A. M. 3416, a period of three hundred years. The three last verses of the preceding book have been improperly disjoined from this. The history of the two kingdoms is interwoven in this book, and presents a long succession of wicked sovereigns in the kingdom of Israel, from Ahaziah to Hosea, in whose reign S...wia was captured by Shalmanezer king of As
syria, and the ten tribes were taken captive into that country. In the kingdom of Judah, we find some few pious princes among many who were corrupt. Sixteen sovereigns filled the Jewish throne, from Jehoram to Zedekiah, in whose reign the kingdom of Judah was totally subverted, and the people carried into captivity, to Babylon. During this period numerous prophets flourished, as Elijah, Elisha, Jonah, Joel, Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Micah, Nahum, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Daniel, Ezekiel, &c. The second book of Kings comprises twenty-five chapters, which may be divided into two parts, contain ing, i. The history of the two monarchies, until the end of the kingdom of Israel; and, 2. The history of Judah alone to its subversion. Part I. The contemporary history of the kingdoms of Israel and
Judah, to the end of the former. (ch. i.-xvii.)
sociate Jehoram, kings of Judah, and of Ahaziah and Joram,
wrought by him. (i.-viii. 2.) Sect. 2. The contemporary reigns of Jehoram king of Judah
alone, and his successor Ahaziah, and of Jehoram king of Is
rael. (viii. 3–29.) Sect. 3. Jehu appointed king over Israel ; Jehoram put to death
by him; the reign of Jehu ; death of Ahaziah king of Judah,
and the usurpation of Athaliah. (ix. x. xi. 1-3.) Sect. 4. The reign of Jehoash king of Judah, and the contempo
rary reigns of Jehoahaz and his son Jehoash kings of Israel ; the death of the prophet Elisha; and the miracle performed at
his grave. (xi. 4—21. xii. xiii.) Sect. 5. The reigns of Amaziah, Azariah, or Uzziah, and Jotham,
kings of Judah, and the contemporary reigns of Jehoash, or Joash, Jeroboam II., Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah,
and Pekah. (xiv. xv.) Sect. 6. The reign of Ahaz king of Judah ; interregnum in the
kingdom of Israel after the death of Pekah terminated by Hoshea the last sovereign, in the ninth year of whose reign Samaria his capital was taken by the king of Assyria, whither the ten tribes were taken into captivity; the subversion of the kingdom of Israel ; and the mixture of religion introduced by the Cuthites
who were transplanted to Samaria. (xvi. xvii.) Part II. The history of the decline and fall of the kingdom of Ju
dah. (ch. xviii.- xxv.) Sect. 1. The reign of Ilezekiah ; his war with the Assyrians ;
their army destroyed by a plague ; the recovery of Hezekiak from a mortal disease; the Babylonish captivity foretold ; his
death. (xviii. xix. xx.) Sect. 2. The reigns of Amon and Manasseh. (xxi.) Sect. 3. The reign of Josiah. (xxii. xxiii. 1—30.) Sect. 4. The reigns of Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and
Zedekiah the last king of Judah ; Jerusalem taken ; the temple burnt ; and the Jews carried into captivity to Babylon. (xxiii. 31–37. xxiv. xxv.)
V. The two books of Kings, particularly the second, abound with impressive and lively narrations; and the strict impartiality, with which the author of each book has related events and circumstances dishonourable to his nation, affords a convincing evidence of his fidelity and integrity. They delineate the long-suffering of God towards his people, and his severe chastisements for their iniquitous abuse of his mercy : at the same time they mark most clearly the veracity of God, both in his promises and in his threatenings, and show the utter vanity of trusting in an arm of flesh, and the instability of human kingdoms, from which piety and justice are barished. 1
ON THE BOOKS OF CHRONICLES. 1. Title. - II. Author and date. — III. Scope and analysis of the
two books of Chronicles. - IV. Observations on them. 1. THE Jews comprise the two books of Chronicles in one book which they call 0927, DiBREY Hajamim, that is, The words of the day, i. e. The Journals'; probably from the circumstance of their being compiled out of diaries or annals, in which were recorded the various events related in these books. In the Septuagint version they are termed IIAPAAEITIOMENNN (Paraleipomenon), of the things that were left or omitted ; because many things which were omitted in the former part of the sacred history are here not only supplied, but some narrations also are enlarged, while others are added. The Greek translators of that version seem to have considered these books as a supplement, either to Samuel and to the Books of Kings, or to the whole Bible ; by observing that, in their time, these books closed the sacred canon, as they still do in the most correct editions of the Hebrew Bible. The appellation of Chronicles was given to these books by Jerome, because they contain an abstract, in order of time, of the whole of the sacred history, to the time when they were written.
II. These books were evidently compiled from others, which were written at different times, some before and others after the Babylonish captivity : it is most certain that the books of Chronicles are not the original records or memorials of the transactions of the sovereigns of Israel and Judah, which are so often referred to in the books of Kings. Those antient registers were much more copious than the books of Chronicles, which contain ample extracts from original documents, to which they very frequently refer.
Concerning the author of these books we have no distinct infor1 In the first volume of Bishop Watson's Collection of Tracts (pp. 134-138), there are some admirable reflections on the moral causes of the Babylonish capti. vity, and the propriety of that dispensation, which will amply repay the trouble or perusal.
mation. Some have conjectured that he was the same who wrote the books of Kings : but the great difference, Calmet remarks, in the dates, narratives, genealogies, and proper names, — together with the repetitions of the same things, and frequently in the same words, - strongly militates against this hypothesis. The Hebrews commonly assign the Chronicles to Ezra; who, they say, composed them after the return from the captivity, and was assisted in this work by the prophets Zechariah and Haggai, who were then living. This opinion they endeavour to support, first, from the similarity of style, (the last three verses of the second book of Chronicles corresponding very nearly with the first three verses of Ezra,) from the recapitulations and general reflections which are sometimes made on a long series of events : - secondly, the author lived after the captivity, since in the last chapter of the second book he recites the decree of Cyrus, which granted liberty to the Jews, and he also continues the genealogy of David to Zerubbabel, the chief of those who returned from the captivity : -- thirdly, these books contain certain terms and expressions, which they think are peculiar to the person and times of Ezra.
However plausible these observations may be, there are other marks discernible in the books of Chronicles, which tend to prove that Ezra did not compose them. In the first place the author continues the genealogy of Zerubbabel to the twelfth generation : but Ezra did not live to that time, and consequently could not have written the genealogy in question.
Secondly, the writer of these books was neither a contemporary nor an original writer ; but compiled and abridged them from antient memoirs, genealogies, annals, registers, and other works which he frequently quotes, and from which he sometimes gives copious extracts, without changing the words, or attempting to reconcile inconsistencies. It is evident therefore that the author of these books lived after the captivity, and derived his materials from the memoirs of writers contemporary with the events recorded, and who flourished long before his time. The authenticity of these books is abundantly supported by the general mass of external evidence; by which also their divine authority is fully established, as well as by the indirect attestations of our Lord and his apostles.”
III. The principal scope of these books is to exhibit with accuracy the genealogies, the rank, the functions, and the order of the priests and Levites; that, after the captivity, they might more easily assume their proper ranks, and re-enter on their ministry. The author had further in view, to show how the lands had been distributed among the families before the captivity; so that the respective tribes might on their return obtain, as far as was practicable, the antient inheritance of their fathers. He quotes old records by the name of antient things (1 Chron. iv. 22.), and recites four several
1 Comment. Litteral, tom. iii. pp. i.-iv.
Compare 1 Chron. xxiv. 10. with Luke i.5. ; 2 Chron. ix. ). with Matt xii. 42 and Luke xi. 31.; and 2 Chron. xxiv. 20, 21. with Matt. xxiii. 35. and Luke xi. 51.
rolls or numberings of the people ; - one taken in the time of David,
Chron. i.-ix. 1–34.)
of the descendants of Judah to David, and his posterity to Ze-
-iii.) Sect. 2. Genealogies of other descendants of Judah by Pharez,
and of the remaining eleven sons of Jacob. (iv.-viii. ix. 1.) Sect. 3. Genealogies of the first inhabitants of Jerusalem, after
their return from the Babylonish captivity. (ix. 2-34.) This long series of genealogies is a signal testimony to the origin
and preservation of the Jewish church among mankind; and of the fulfilment of the divine promises to Abraham, that his seed should be multiplied as the sand upon the sea-shore. (Gen. xxii. 17.) These genealogies are also of very great importance, as exhibiting the detail of the sacred line, through which the pro