After seventy years of living in Babylon, the Israelite people have at last been allowed to return to their homeland. The walls of Jerusalem are restored and the temple has been rebuilt. Will they at last be faithful to the God of their fathers, or will they again sink into idolatry and paganism? How could a spokesman for God get across to his people the importance of faith, of morality, of commitment to a life of holiness.
We don't know for certain who wrote this book (it was originally a single document) or precisely when. We can be fairly certain it was written after the Israelites were relocated to Palestine in 536 B.C. Whether before or after the rebuilding of the temple is hard to say. But we do know that the writer had a passion for God and his temple as well as a passion for his people. He wanted them to adopt the covenant, which had been given to them by God through Moses, and to be faithful to it. He was convinced that if they would, God would richly bless them.
The Chronicler bridged the gap between his generation and the canon of the Old Testament availalbe to him. He had the Pentateuch, Samuel--Kings, some of the prophets, and some of the Psalms in front of him (as well as noncanonical resources). He attempted to make sense of God's past work in Israel in his postexilic situation. As an interpreter of Scripture, he applied the meaning of God's promises to his own context. As a narrative theologian, he retold the history of Israel through the eyes of God's dynastic promise to David and his redemptive promise to Solomon (temple). He restored hope to his discouraged postexilic community ("Preface," 11-12).
John Mark Hicks has given us a clear vision of God's desire for his people through the eyes of the Chronicler. The message repeated again and again throughout Chronicles and this commentary is, "God seeks those who seek him; God forsakes those who forsake him." Just as the Chronicler applied the meaning of God's promises to his own context, so Hicks challenges us to apply the meaning of these same promises to our context.