The Last Book of the Hebrew Bible: Chronicles?!

Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God's Address I’ve enjoyed making my way through this 2012 Eerdmans publication: Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address. This morning I read chapter seven by Stephen Dempster: “Canon and Old Testament Interpretation.”  Overall it’s a helpful chapter, but I really liked the following paragraph about the Hebrew Bible ending with Chronicles (the last book of the Kethuvim/Writings) as compared to the English Bible which ends with Malachi:

It is sometimes said that the Hebrew Bible, by concluding with the Writings, effectively diminishes the eschatological force of the first three-quarters of the Christian Bible. Concluding with Chronicles rather than Malachi blunts the prophetic thrust of the Old Testament. While this may be partly true, it is not the whole truth. Chronicles sums up the entire story of the Hebrew Bible. In many ways it is a genealogy in search of an ending, concluding with an eschatological hope for a Davidic descendant. It concludes with the ruler of the then-known world, Cyrus—the anointed of the Lord—declaring that all the kingdoms of the world have been given to him so that he can now issue the summons for the Jewish exiles to return home to rebuild the temple. The first book of the New Testament begins with a long genealogy clearly ordered in three groups of fourteen descendants to highlight the Davidic theme, and concluding with Jesus as the ultimate Son of David.  The book of Matthew concludes with this same Jesus, now resurrected from death, declaring to his disciples that all authority has been given to him so that they can now be summoned to “rebuild the temple,” i.e., make disciples of all nations.

Stephen G. Dempster, “Canon and Old Testament Interpretation,” in Hearing the Old Testament: Listening for God’s Address, ed. Craig G. Bartholomew and David J. H. Beldman (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2012), 177–178.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015