First Chronicles is a history of Israel beginning at the beginning of creation and running through the transfer of power from David to Solomon. The first roughly half of the book is a series of genealogies, showing the descent from Adam to the various tribes of Israel. The end of Saul’s reign, and his thwarted dynasty, are treated briefly. The rest of the book is devoted to the reign of David.
The treatment of David’s reign is much different in this history than it is in Second Samuel. First Chronicles focuses on David’s service to God, especially in relation to the Ark of the Covenant and the temple.
David recovered the Ark and eventually moved it to Jerusalem and restored it to the Tabernacle. Considering how important the Ark and the tabernacle were to Israel in the time of Moses and Joshua, when the people became a nation, recovering it must have had a great impact on the minds of Israelites as they transitioned from a nation to a kingdom.
I think one can see a connection between the reestablishment of regular worship under the Mosaic system and the establishment of David’s reign. God makes a covenant with David that a descendant of David will build a temple to God and reign forever. This promise was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
David’s devotion to God was sincere. His motivation to build the temple came from a desire to serve and glorify God. Even though he was instructed not to build a temple, this task was reserved from Solomon, he prepared for it by gathering materials for its construction and decoration. David envisioned a beautiful and richly appointed temple.
If there is a theme to tie together the various parts of the book, I think it is the hand of God in the establishment of the kingdom of Israel, especially David’s family dynasty. It didn’t start with David, though, or even Moses. It started with Adam. From the beginning, God planned to set aside a people for Himself, to serve and worship Him and to enjoy Him and His blessings. In God’s covenant with David, we can even see the continuity of this plan through the church.
First Chronicles is not an easy book to read. There is a lot of genealogy. This abundance of family history and the various divisions of Israel can give one a sense of piece-by-piece building of a kingdom, though it may have as easily been for ensuring a correct inheritance to the various people the land God gave them.
If you’re interested in this book, you may also be interested in