III. Title And Canonical Placement

III. Title And Canonical Placement

The Hebrew name of this book, diḇrê hayyāmîm, means “the events of the days” and is used of annals. The term diḇrê is used in the Bible in phrases such as 1Ch 29:29: “As for the events [diḇrê] of King David's reign, from beginning to end, they are written in the records [diḇrê] of Samuel the seer, the records [diḇrê] of Nathan the prophet and the records [diḇrê] of Gad the seer.” The unqualified phrase diḇrê hayyāmîm is used three times in the Hebrew Bible (Ne 12:23; Est 2:23; 6:1) in the general sense “annals.” This phrase is generally qualified by the name of a nation or person. For example, in 1Ki 14 we find diḇrê hayyāmîm, qualified by Jeroboam and Israel (v. 19) and by Rehoboam and Judah (v. 29) to differentiate the court documents used. With a proper name we find, for example, 1Ch 27:24, “the annals [diḇrê hayyāmîm] of King David.” The term refers to a book recording the series of events in the life of a monarch and/or a nation.

Ironically, in the Greek versions of the OT the book is called paraleipomenōn, “things omitted.” The Vulgate also uses the name paralipomenon. Apparently the early translators viewed Chronicles as supplemental to other biblical texts. This obscures the true character of the book and subordinates it to the earlier books. Perhaps the misunderstanding signaled by this title contributed to the negative assessment of the book through the history of interpretation. Since the book covers the period from Adam to Cyrus, Jerome commented that this book was “a chronicle of the whole of sacred history.” The title used by most modern translations of the book comes from Jerome's comment.

Chronicles is usually the last book of the Hagiographa section of the OT. In some manuscripts it is at the beginning of the Writings. No one has offered a compelling explanation for this placement. On the basis of content, the Septuagint puts the book among the historical books, after Samuel-Kings. Most modern translations accept the placement and binary division of Chronicles found in the Septuagint.