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The book of the annals of the kings of Israel

The book of the annals of the kings of Israel is one of the books in the Christian Old Testament. The first half of this Old Testament book contains a record of the history of Israel from its settlement in Canaan to the reign of Ahab and Jezebel, who were killed by God as punishment for their wicked deeds. The second part of the book contains an account written by Jehu, king of Israel, about his victory over Joram, king and son of Ahab.

The book of the annals of the kings of Israel is a Biblical reference dating to roughly 930-930 B.C.CE. While other biblical works progress historically, one king at a time, the book of the annals of the kings of Israel presents information in a non-linear fashion. Its content is rather summarized through chronicles and anecdotes that are meant to provide insight into its specific context. The text focuses on a different kind of lesson than other works; rather than instructing readers on how to live their lives, it aim is to call attention to God’s power as displayed in miracles and other happenings. The story is an account of miracles and intrigues in the kings’ kingdom narrated by an author with unknown identity from another kingdom (Schürer, 368). The book was likely written for Israel’s neighbors, foreign states that were likely not even aware that such accounts existed beyond word-of-mouth rumors. It would have been a gift from God told with stories few outside the Promised Land could have had access to (Schürer, 368).

The book of the annals of the kings of Israel, belonging to the Latter-day Saints, and translated from the Hebrew into English is a record of the rulers about whom most of the acts are written in this book.

The book of the annals of the kings of Israel

Answer

As the authors of the books of Kings and Chronicles were writing their histories, they referenced one or more external documents that they used as source material. They refer to this source as “the book of the annals of the kings of Israel,” “the book of the chronicles” (NKJV, ESV, CSB), or “The Book of the History” (NLT).

This historical source is usually cited by means of a rhetorical question that begins, “Are they not written?” For example, in 1 Kings 16:5, the historian writes this: “As for the other events of Baasha’s reign, what he did and his achievements, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?” That formulaic construction appears 33 times in the books of 1 and 2 Kings. Similar wording is found another two times in 2 Chronicles.

All ancient countries kept records of their own histories. A king’s exploits and what happened in his land were recorded in official annals. Esther 10:2, for example, speaks of “the book of the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia.” When a plot to assassinate King Xerxes was uncovered and the conspirators were hanged, the event “was written in the book of the chronicles” (Esther 2:23). The kingdom of Israel also had official records, called “the book of the annals of the kings of Israel.” Judah had similar books, one kept by the prophet Iddo (2 Chronicles 13:22), and one simply called “the Scroll of the Kings” (2 Chronicles 24:27, NET).

The biblical books of Kings and Chronicles give a non-comprehensive overview of the kings of Israel and Judah. The author of Kings often refers his readers to the fuller account by mentioning “the book of the annals of the kings of Israel.” We could consider those references as an ancient form of footnoting or an example of an in-text bibliography.

First and Second Kings focus on the northern kingdom of Israel, and 1 and 2 Chronicles on the southern kingdom of Judah. Chronicles contains a much more thorough commentary on the reigns of the kings of Judah than Kings provides on the kings of Israel. This makes sense, because God’s covenant regarding the coming Messiah was to be fulfilled through the line of David, of the tribe of Judah. David’s line went through Solomon and his descendants, all of whom reigned in the southern kingdom of Judah. The detailed records of the kings of Israel contained in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel were not included in the canon of Scripture. The official documents referred to as “the book of the annals of the kings of Israel” are no longer extant or have yet to be discovered. Thus, God did not deem those volumes of civil records and daily happenings to be useful for our instruction (see 1 Corinthians 10:11), and the non-canonical annals were not preserved along with the Old Testament Scriptures.

Chronicles of the Kings of Israel
The Chronicles of the Kings of Israel is a book that gives a more detailed account of the reigns of the kings of ancient Kingdom of Israel than that presented in the Hebrew Bible, and may have been the source from which parts of the biblical account were drawn. The book was likely compiled by or derived from the kings of Israel’s own scribes, and is likely the source for the basic facts presented in the Bible.
The book is referred to a number of times in the Hebrew Bible, but was either not included in the corpus of the biblical text or was removed from it at some stage. The book is counted as one of the Lost books of the Old Testament. This text is sometimes called The Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel or The Book of the Annals of the Kings of Israel.
A complementary book detailing the reigns of the kings of ancient Judah is the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah, a book which has also been lost. Another lost book dealing with the reigns of the kings of ancient Israel is the Book of the Kings of Judah and Israel. This book is referred to in 2 Chronicles and may be the same as the other two Chronicles named in Kings.

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