quarter's Bible Study Guide covers Kings and Chronicles, at least
partly. A lot of material (such as the entire book of 1 Chronicles
itself) is left out. But when there is only one quarter to cover almost
four hundred years of sacred history (from about 961 B.C. to 586 B.C.),
much is left out. There is no other choice.
This lesson starts with, basically, the first verses
of 1 Kings, which deals with the last days of King David; it ends,
basically, with the last verses in the last chapter of 2 Kings, the
final days of Judah's last king before the Babylonian exile (though the
end of 2 Chronicles touches lightly on the restoration of Jerusalem
under the Persians). What is found between theses verses will
be the object of our study for the next three months.
It is not always the most uplifting material. That is
only because there is never anything uplifting about sin, compromise,
rebellion, and apostasy—not then, not now. Nevertheless, plenty remains
to be learned from the Bible, both from the good events and from the
bad. In fact, though Paul was writing about an earlier period in Hebrew
history, his point is still valid for our particular study: "Now these
things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for
our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come" (1 Cor. 10:11,
This quarter's Bible Study Guide moves between
Chronicles and Kings, which often tell the same story, from different
perspectives (though, in some cases, it is clear one writer borrowed
from another). The Chronicles tend to have a distinct
spiritual focus, while the Kings center more on historical and
political issues. All together, they paint a picture of this crucial
time in Jewish and Israelite history.
No one knows for certain who wrote Kings or
Chronicles. Originally, both were single volumes. Some ancient records
reveal that Jeremiah probably supplied the information in 1 and 2 Kings
(see The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 2, p. 716: 2.
"Authorship"). Chronicles is a type of daily record, known as
a " 'book of events of the days.' "—The SDA Bible Commentary,
vol. 3, p. 115:1. "Title." Ezra probably supplied the
We begin in the days of one monarchy, under David and
then Solomon; next, we watch the nation split, and, finally, we follow
the respective paths of the two kingdoms. We go back and forth, from
the southern kingdom to the northern, to the southern, to the northern,
and so forth, ending with the Babylonian captivity of the south (the
north vanishes more than a century earlier, swallowed by the
It is incredible history, not just for the drama but
for the lessons that we, the spiritual heirs of these people, can learn
from the history of those who are, indeed, our ancestors, in both
spirit and in truth.
vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and
Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of
Judah" (Isa. 1:1); "... which he saw concerning Israel in the days of
Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king
of Israel" (Amos 1:1). "The word of the Lord ... in the days of Jotham,
Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah" (Mic. 1:1).
Notice how each of these first verses begins a book
in the Hebrew Bible: In the days of Uzziah, in the days of
Hezekiah, in the days of Ahaz. They begin with a
political context. That is because the political context cannot be
separated from the social one, and the social context cannot be
separated from the spiritual context—and the writings of these prophets
are nothing if not spiritual. Thus, in their own way, the opening
verses of these books—by establishing the political background—help
establish a spiritual background, as well, one that helps us understand
the Sitz im Leben (life situation) in which the
Kings and Chronicles, our study for this quarter,
does the same thing, only on a grander scale. These books present a
framework upon which we can put the prophets in their particular
historical and political contexts. Whereas, for example, Micah begins
in "the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah," Kings and
Chronicles establish the background and time line in which these kings
ruled. What about the kingship of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah
(much less Jeroboam, Jehoram, Athaliah, and Josiah)? Who reigned before
them, who reigned after them, what was happening in the nations around
them, and how did that impact Israel and Judah? Though some of these
questions are answered by the prophets themselves, Kings and Chronicles
move us back so we can view the situation from a larger, grander
perspective, that of the entire flow of the history of Israel and
Judah. In short, the books give us the bigger picture.
Imagine a war and suppose that Isaiah, Jeremiah,
Hosea, and Micah write about this war from the battleground itself, as
shells explode overhead and bullets whizz past their ears. In contrast.
Kings and Chronicles read more like a historian's view, as though
someone stepped back, possibly even, in some cases, after the events,
and put together various accounts not just of individual battles but of
the whole war. Thus, we are given radically different—but
divine—perspectives: some "up close" (from the prophets), others
"farther away" (from Chronicles and Kings). Even better,
sometimes Kings and Chronicles present the same material with different
twists, as well (like the Gospels, perhaps).
Of course. Kings and Chronicles are not just history.
They contain important spiritual lessons in and of themselves; many
principles of truth, of faith, and of salvation can be gleaned from
their pages, just as they can from the prophets. How much you derive
from them, of course, depends on how willing you are—through study,
prayer, and faith—to squeeze out what is there.
Don't worry; plenty remains to be squeezed out—and
(all lessons may not be posted)
School Study Helps
Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife,
Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School
lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations.
Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this
quarter. It is used with permission. The study helps are
provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect;
RTF for our
MAC friends; and HTML (Web
Last updated on June 29, 2002
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