1-2 Chronicles was originally a single work; it’s name in the Greek Septuagint reveals that it is a chronicle or record of things omitted in Samuel and Kings. And while it is true that there are many parallels in Kings and Chronicles, there are many things recorded in Chronicles which are unique to it. It used as sources, Torah, Ruth, Samuel, and Kings, and also, many books which were available then but which are lost to us today (“the book of the kings of Judah and Israel,” 2 Chr 16:11, “the book of Samuel the seer,” 1 Chr 29:29, “the annals of the book of the kings,” 2 Chr 24:27, and so on).
Jewish tradition holds the author to be Ezra, at the time of the return from Babylonian exile (a fact not disputed by serious scholars). The conclusion of Chronicles and the introduction of Ezra are identical and reveal that the book of Ezra is the continuation of Chronicles.
So, chapters 1-2 (in fact through chapter 9) are genealogies. I urge you to read the genealogies, rather than pass them over, for
Forever, O LORD, Your word has been settled in heaven! Psa 119:89
And if these are in the Word of God, you may rest assured there is a reason for it and value in it! What can we learn from these particular genealogies?
1 Chronicles opens with the genealogy of David. Why? David is a type of Messiah, who is the Promised Seed. God had said to Eve, “Your Seed shall bruise his head,” (Gen 3:15). Adam is the ancestor of David, and David is the ancestor of Messiah Yeshua through his mother. (This is why the promise of the Seed was given to Eve and not to Adam. Eve would be His mother, through Mary, but Adam was not His father, as His Father was YHVH.) So Chronicles begins by laying out, historically and officially, David’s family tree, to show that His word which He spoke in Gen 3:15 was true and He was bringing it to pass.
David’s ancestry is traced from Adam. This is a second witness in Scripture that the genealogies that we have in Genesis are accurate and historical, not mythological or untrustworthy because they were transmitted orally. First of all, Genesis has always been a written record, not an oral tradition. Evolutionists who require long ages of time from man’s beginning to his learning to write when he finally stopped grunting in caves, need Genesis to begin as an oral tradition; but internal evidence within the book reveal it to be a written record from the very beginning. Ezra tells us about his sources for the genealogies, that the records are ancient (1 Chr 4:22). Ancient from his perspective, so very ancient indeed.
Second, 1 Chr 1 confirms that there could not have been millions of years from the first man on the earth to David’s time, as the evolutionists say. Adam was created on the sixth day, and there are a limited number of persons in direct line from Adam to David. If someone who believes in Biblical inerrancy must also believe that the earth is millions of years old, the millions of years must come in before the sixth day of creation week, for the genealogies, for which there are separate multiple witnesses, would be destroyed by any other scenario. (Millions of years within creation week also does violence to the text, but that is another topic for another day).
1 Chr 2 is a record of Judah’s descendants. I know it is confusing to us. It made perfect sense to the Israelites of Ezra’s time, when this was written. This is another proof that the Scripture has not been changed from the day it was first written. If it had not been perserved exactly as it was, later writers would have edited this chapter, and all the genealogies, to make the connections more clear to those who were more removed from all these people.
I think a third thing we can learn from genealogies, is that individuals matter to God! Who, in the grand scheme of things, cares about Abihail, the wife of Abishur, who never did anything great in her life, but was the wife of one man and the mother of two others (1 Chr 2:29)? I will tell you who cares about her: God does, and her name is recorded in the eternal word of God which endures forever, as a testimony that God sees individuals, knows them, and takes note of them, even the ones whom man dismisses because they never did anything great. In God’s eyes, they did do something great: they were faithful husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers, who raised children who went on to be faithful husbands and wives, and fathers and mothers in their turn.
For further reading:
Books of Chronicles – Easton’s Bible Dictionary