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Books of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah and Israel

BOOKS OF THE CHRONICLES OF THE KINGS OF JUDAH AND ISRAEL, two sets of royal annals, mentioned in I and II Kings but subsequently lost. The historian of Kings refers to these works as his source, where additional information may be found. These references show how the historian of Kings used extensive sources selectively. The books are referred to by this formula, with slight variations: "Now the rest of the acts of [the king], and all that he did, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah/Israel." Frequently references are made to "his might," or "how we warred," and occasionally more specific deeds are mentioned (e.g., I Kings 15:23; II Kings 20:20).

The Israelite annals are mentioned 18 times (I Kings 14:19 (17); 15:31; 16:5; et al.) and the Judean annals 15 times (I Kings 14:29; 15:7, 23; et al.). Of all the kings of Israel, only Jehoram and Hosea are not mentioned as referred to in the Israelite annals. Of the kings of Judah (after Solomon) only Ahaziah, Athaliah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah are not mentioned in this regard. It is uncertain whether these books were royal records themselves or edited annals based on the records. It seems likely in view of the negative references to certain kings (Zimri, Shallum, and Manasseh), which would not very likely be the product of the king's own recorders, that the books were edited annals. Furthermore, the Judean author of Kings could hardly have had access to all the royal records of the northern kingdom. The content of these books appears identical in character to the Assyrian annals. Probably the mass of facts on royal activities in Kings came from these books. Chronicles mentions the book of the kings of Israel (I Chron. 9:1; II Chron. 20:34) and the book of the kings of Israel and Judah (or Judah and Israel; II Chron. 16: 11; 27:7; et al.). The chronicler seems to be referring to the same works, but probably did not actually have them at his disposal.


J.A. Montgomery, Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Kings (ICC, 1951), 24–38; B. Maisler (Mazar), in: IEJ, 2 (1952), 82–88. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Cogan, I Kings (AB; 2000), 89–91.

[Michael V. Fox]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.