J.Sparks@murdoch.edu.au, James Thomas Sparks
The genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1-9 have typically been viewed as the work of a redactor or redactors with no internal consistency, purpose or plan, and little, if any, relation to the narrative portions of Chronicles. In contrast to these opinions, this study shows that the genealogical section of the Chronicler's work is an ordered, well structured, unified whole. The Chronicler presents his genealogies chiastically, with the central focus of the chiasm upon the proper cultic officials, performing the proper cultic duties, in the proper cultic place. Each of the supporting levels of the chiasm build to this climax by declaring the inability of kings and armies to maintain the people within their land. The genealogies indicate that, in spite of the best efforts of leaders or people, society is sent into exile because of the unfaithfulness of the people and their leaders. The genealogies also declare the way out of exile. Humility and prayer are shown to bring blessing, prosperity and land, while periods of mourning over unfaithful behaviour results in the blessings of children and the building of cities. In the centre of it all is the cult. The cult is the means by which atonement is made for past acts of unfaithfulness, and without the cult, atonement for unfaithfulness is impossible. The genealogies indicate that the cult must be at the centre of the lives of the people. It cannot be neglected, but must be fully maintained and supported. Each of the cultic guilds must be present for the cult to function properly. Each guild must perform its function, and must do so in the place authorised by Yahweh. Only then can atonement for the people be made, and only then can the people possess their land.
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