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Harmony of the Historical Kingdom Books
Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles

In the Bible, the history of mankind, and the Israeli nation in particular, generally unfold chronologically throughout the Pentateuch (Five Books of Moses), Joshua and Judges (the events in Ruth occurs near the end of the Judges period).  When we come to the books of Samuel, the Kings and the Chronicles however, we encounter quite a bit of overlap, both in period of time and in narrative material.  Some may have even questioned the need for the repetition.  Just as the Gospel was told from four different perspectives (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the Chronicler had a different objective than the writers of Samuel and the Kings.  The purpose of this article is to note the different purposes and provide a harmony of the books.

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General Info

The books of Samuel and Kings, sometimes referred to as the “Books of the Kingdom”, provide selective coverage of the events spanning the entire historical period of the transition from the last judge (Samuel) and period of the monarchy.  The books are located in the second section of the Hebrew Bible known as the “Former Prophets” and were written to provide a selective interpretive history of the period and to explain why the Jewish people were exiled (continual disobedience to the covenants).

In contrast, the Book of the Chronicles is located in the “Writings” section.  While the books of Samuel and Kings are addressed to the Jews in exile, the Chronicles is addressed to the exiles who have returned from captivity.   As the final book in the Hebrew Bible, the Chronicles was written in order to reassure the Jews that they are still God's chosen people as they continued to look forward to the coming Messiah.

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Harmony of the Books

Just as many people have developed a harmony of the Gospels, we now provide a harmony of the books of the Kingdoms and the Chronicles.  After the genealogies in the first nine chapters, the Chronicler greatly abbreviates the Reign of King Saul (part of chapter 10 compared with a large portion of 2Samuel.  The remainder of 1Chronicles covers roughly the same period as 2Samuel.  The second book of Chronicles covers roughly the same period as First and Second Kings.  After the Kingdom division, the  Chronicler is predominately interested in the Kingdom of Judah (royal line of David), essentially mentioning the Kings of the Northern Kingdom only as they interacted with the kings of the Southern Kingdom.  Yet, the author of the Kings places a greater emphasis on the political and prophetic nature of the royal line, while the Chronicler emphasizes the priestly elements of the kingdom.

Categorical entries are in rough chronological order.  Some minor characters and events are omitted for brevity.  A tilde symbol ( ~ ) indicates an approximate date.   See Timelines of the OT History Books for additional timeline information.
 

OVERVIEW:  Creation to Israel's Return from Exile  (~4000 - ~430 BC)
Genealogies:  Adam to Patriarchs, Tribes of Israel, King Saul, Returning Exiles  (1Chr 1-9)
 
ISRAEL AS A THEOCRACY  (~1446 - ~1050 BC)  (1)
 
Last days of the Theocracy  (~1100 - ~1050 BC)
Samuel's Birth, Early Life, Reign as Israel's Last Judge  (1Sam 1-8)
 
THE MONARCHY - UNITED ISRAEL  (~1050 - 931 BC)
 
Reign of King Saul  (~1050 - ~1011 BC)
Saul's Anointing, Wars, Rejection, Decline, Death   (1Sam 9-31; 1Chr 10:1-14)
David During Saul's Reign  (1Sam 16-31)
Death of Samuel  (1Sam 25:1)
 
Reign of King David  (1011 - 971 BC)
Reign of David   (2Sam; 1Kg 1:1-2:11; 1Chr 10:14-29:30)
David's Political, Military and Spiritual Triumphs (2Sam 1-10; 1Chr 10:14- 20:8)
David's Sin with Bathsheba and Uriah (2Sam 11)
David's Troubles (2Sam 12-24; 1Chr 12-21)
David's Plans for the Temple;  Organization of Temple Officials and Workers  (1Chr 22-27)
David's Final Days  (1Kg 1:1-2:11; 1Chr 28-29)
 
Reign of King Solomon  (971 - 931 BC)
Reign of Solomon   (1Kg 2:12–11:43; 1Chr 29:10–30; 2Chr 1-9)
Solomon's Early Days, Wisdom, and Splendor  (1Kg 2:12-8:66; 1Chr 29:10-30; 2Chr 2-7)
Solomon's Disobedience and Death  (1Kg 9–11; 2Chr 8–9)
 
THE MONARCHY - DIVIDED KINGDOM  (931 - 722 BC)
Division of the Kingdom; King Jeroboam of Israel; King Rehoboam of Judah  (1Kg 12-14; 2Chr 10-12)
Kings of Judah:  Abijam (aka Joram), Asa  (1Kg 15:1–24; 2Chr 13:1–16:14)
Kings of Israel:  Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri  (1Kg 15:25-16:28; 2Chr 16:1-6)
King Ahab of Israel  (1Kg 16:29-22:40; 2Chr 18)
Elijah the Prophet  (1Kg 17-22; 2Kg 1:1-2:14)
Elisha the Prophet  (1Kg 19:19-21; 2Kg 1-13)
King Jehoshaphat of Judah  (1Kg 22:41–50; 2Chr 17:1–21:3)
King Ahaziah of Israel  (1Kg 22:51–53; 2Kg 1:1–18; 2Chr 20:35–37)
Kings of Judah:  Jehoram, Ahaziah  (2Kg 8:16-9:29; 2Chr 21:4-22:9)
King Jehu of Israel  (2Kg 9:30–10:36; 2Chr 22:7–12)
King Joash of Judah  (2Kg 11-12; 2Chr 22-24)
King Amaziah of Judah  (2Kg 14:1–22; 2Chr. 25:1–28)
King Jeroboam II of Israel  (2Kg 14:23–29)
King Uzziah (aka Azariah) of Judah  (2Kg 15:1–7; 2Chr 26)
Kings of Israel: Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah  (2Kg 15:8-31)
Kings of Judah: Jotham, Ahaz  (2Kg 15:32-16:20; 2Chr 27-28)
Last King of Israel: Hoshea; Fall and Exile of the Northern Kingdom of Israel  (2Kg 17)
 
THE MONARCHY - KINGDOM OF JUDAH  (722 - 586 BC)
King Hezekiah  (2Kg 18–20; 2Chr 29-32)  (1)
Kings Manasseh and Amon  (2Kg 21; 2Chr 33)
Kings Jehoahaz and Jehoiakim  (2Kg 23:31–24:7; 2Chr 36:1–8)
Fall of Jerusalem; King Jehoiachin Imprisoned in Babylon  (2Kg 24:8–16; 2Chr 36:9-10)
Puppet Rulers in Judah; Jerusalem Destroyed  (2Kg 24:17–25:26; 2Chr 36:11–21)
Jehoiachin Released from Babylonian Prison  (2Kg 25:27-30)
Persian King Cyrus Issues Decree for Return and Rebuilding of Jerusalem  (2Chr 36:22-23)

(1)  We could say that the Nation of Israel was born as a Theocracy with the confirmation of the Covenant in Exodus 24, and ended with the anointing of Saul as Israel's first King in 1Samuel 9.

(2)  Possibly drawn from Isaiah 36-39.

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