A Harmony Of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles by William Day Crockett
David R. Kenney
Harmonies of the gospels are interesting to study, and the efforts to harmonize the gospel accounts is a formidable challenge since some events are difficult to put in chronological order. One student of the Scriptures sought to create another harmony of the gospels, but decided that the work had been done by other scholarly men. The thought occurred to him that there were no harmonies of the books of history for the nation of Israel. The books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles, similarly to the gospels, have overlapping accounts. The person thought it would be a more profitable venture to concentrate his efforts of study in this area. That person was William Day Crockett, and he published A Harmony of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles in 1951 which has gone through numerous printings. As he completed the first draft, he discovered there were other similar works, but those were out of print and largely unavailable in his day. This book remains in print and is a profitable study of the exciting era of the kings of Israel.
The book begins with the genealogies from Adam to Noah found in 1 Chronicles and ends with the proclamation of Cyrus permitting the Jews to return from Babylonian Captivity recorded in 2 Chronicles 36. In between are all the events of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles in chronological order as best determined by Crockett. This includes the lives of Samuel, Saul, David, Solomon, and others during the divided kingdom and captivities. It covers events relating to the close of the period of the judges, the time of the kings, the break of the kingdom and the subsequent Assyrian and Babylonian captivities. It covers the change in worship from the tabernacle to the temple and the destruction of Israel due to its idolatry. Many exciting events occurred during this period. I thrill to read about the lives of David and Jonathan. In fact, I hope to go someday to Mount Gilboa where Jonathan made his final stand with Saul, resulting in the subsequent heartbreak David felt at the loss of his dear friend and his father. These are stories that have never lost their appeal to me, and I often turn to them to read these again and again.
Indeed, much history is recorded in these books. The book begins with an analytical outline of the books, outlined in major events. Texts from the historical accounts are cited so one can turn and read the text. The outline splits into two side-by-side columns to cover the divided kingdom so one can see more easily what was occurring at the time in the other kingdom. One might be interested to know that originally there were three, not six, books of history—Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles in the Hebrew Bible. Each of these books was divided in two (to make six books) during the translation of the Septuagint. The reason for the division was the difference between the languages of Hebrew and Greek. Hebrew does not require vowels, so it was easier to condense the material onto one scroll. Greek, however, does have vowels and requires much more space to translate the same Hebrew material. In fact, one estimate states the size of the text doubled with the translation to Greek. The translators divided these books in order to accommodate the amount of writing space available on a scroll.
Then Crockett takes this outline and expands it to include the Revised Version of 1884 including many footnotes pertinent to the study. In this layout one can quickly read the parallel accounts. If three books cover the same event, then three columns are used to preserve the reader’s ability to read in parallel. The book concludes with an appendix showing other books of the Bible which cite passages from Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles. There is also an index in the back that allows a person to find a certain passage within the harmony with ease.
While one may not agree with certain sequence of events, the reference work is an extremely valuable study to a thrilling section of scripture from a different approach. -29 Flora Dr., Bedford, OH 44146-2011. For additional book reviews, visit http://www.drkenney.blogspot.com/
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