Chronicles, the name first given by Jerome to two books of the Old Testament, which in the English Bible are the last of the historical books, while in the Hebrew Scripture they conclude the entire volume. By the Alexandrine translators they were termed Paralei-pomena, or things omitted, being regarded as supplementary to the previous histories. In the original Hebrew they are entitled "Words of the Days" (Dibre hayamim), and form, as their internal character demonstrates, but one book. The Chronicles open with genealogical registers of ancient and renowned families or races; they then narrate the history of David, harmonizing with the earlier account in the book of Samuel; then follows a history of Solomon, and of the increasing prosperity and glory of the Jews under him; after the division of the kingdom at his death, they trace the history of Judah, the more powerful branch, and continue the narrative till after the fall of Israel, and to the end of the exile in Babylon. They thus had a comparatively late origin, which is indicated also by the style and idiom, and by the Levitical coloring which overspreads much of the narrative.
The Jewish and Christian traditions, from the earliest times down to the 17th century, have referred the Chronicles to the age and to the pen of Ezra. Spinoza assigned their origin to the time of the Maccabees, and his opinion has been accepted by several later scholars. Bertheau, one of the ablest writers on this book, believes it was written about 300 B. C. The earlier Jewish records furnished the materials of the history in the Chronicles, and numerous books are mentioned as sources and authorities which are not extant, or have not been admitted into the canon. The chief source appears to have been a "Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel," which however cannot have been our canonical book of Kings. The design of the book seems to have been, by a review of the history of the theocracy, to prove that Levitical worship had been maintained and favored by all pious kings, and that adherence to it or departure from it had been the condition of fortune or misfortune to the Jewish people. The discrepancies between the books of Chronicles and of Kings have occasioned an important discussion on the trustworthiness of the history of the former.
Prominent among those who have denied to the accounts peculiar to the book of Chronicles any claim to credibility are De Wette, Beitrdge zur Einlei-tung ins Alte Testament (1806), and Gram-berg, Die Chronik nach ihren geschichtlicJien Character und Hirer Glaubwurdigkeit neu ge-pruft (1823). Among the most successful writers in vindication of the Chronicles are Movers (Kritische Untersuchungen uber die Bi-blisclie Chromic, Berlin, 1833) and Keil (Jpolo-getischer Versuch uber die Chronik (Berlin, 1833). Of more recent commentaries, the most valuable is that of Bertheau, Die Bucher der Chronik erklart (Leipsic, 1854; 2d ed., 1860; English, Edinburgh, 1857). See also the introductions to the Old Testament by Havernick, Davidson, and Bleek, and Ewald's Geschichte des Volkes Israel.