Paul K. Hooker 'First and Second Chronicles'  (Westminster Bible Companion, WJK  Press 2001, pp 295,  UK pounds 9.99.  ISBN 0-664-25591-4)

In a series of bible commentaries specifically written for the laity, Hooker covers briefly the who why when and what of Chronicles as a selective history of Israel.

Chronicles 'per se' were an established art form in the ANE from Egypt to Babylon, though it was Jerome who first applied the title to the biblical text in the fourth century CE. The duplication with Kings is probably best seen as analogous with having four Gospels in the Christian Testament, 'arising from different contexts and articulating different theological emphases'.

Authorship presents problems, and Hooker argues for Chronicles  Ezra and Nehemiah being the products of the same school of theological thought, with a fascination about details for Temple operations. Maybe the author was a Levite.

Hooker places Chronicles in the Persian period (538-333 BCE), an era of peace and stability; but the literary output was not meant to be a 'history' but rather a reflection on faith in time past.

Hooker locates five lodestones for Chronicles. Starting with the assertion that God is active in human history especially in David's dynasty in Judah, there is the underlying theme  of moral responsibility of each king in his life time, as opposed to that in Kings which portrays the faithlessness of past kings borne by later generations (eg the exile).

In particular, from creation God had called Israel to be his people. God had then chosen a particular place in which he is worshipped - the Temple in Jerusalem. The Chronicler  asserts that God is still active in the story of Israel, with Chronicles' purpose as the bridge between past and present.

Hooker presents readable exegesis that is ideal for writing expository sermons or bible study groups. It is a teaching enchiridion.