Bible Answer

How are the books of Samuel and Chronicles different?

Can you provide a clear explanation for the differences in scripture between the 1&2 Samuel and 1&2 Chronicles?

The books of Samuel and Chronicles cover very much the same time period, as does the Book of Kings. Much of the narrative of these Old Testament books cover key periods between King Saul's reign and the exile. Additionally, these three books provide the history of the kings of Judah, while describing their reigns, embodied with encouragement to the people to remain faithful to the God of Israel. Samuel, Kings and Chronicles all prioritize the life of King David as being a sanctified ruler and the measure by which later kings are judged and held to. 

However, there are very different motives behind each book pertaining to the time period in history (historical context) that each book was written. 

When we read Samuel and Kings we find that these books deal with both kingdoms, Israel and Judah, while Chronicles is focused in on Judah. The only time Israel is mentioned in Chronicles is when the situation at hand immediately impacts Judah. Another difference is that the book of Chronicles speaks to the blessings and/or the "good things" of the Kings in rule.

If we stay true to the historical context of each book we will find that Samuel and Kings was written before the exile, while Chronicles was written after the exile. This fundamental difference leads the writer of the prior books to encompass the repentance aspect, while drawing in on the negative aspects of the kings' disobedience to God. The later book readily focuses on the Jewish people being restored to God and renewing their commitment to Him. Thus, in Chronicles, the writer leaves out the sinful acts that Samuel and Kings covers to encourage their repentant hearts and not dwell on past sin. 

While the writer of Chronicles had the Old Testament prophets writings at hand (Isaiah and Jeremiah), he would have seen a future king, a kind of new David, that was spoken about. The Chronicler was writing about King David and the other Israel Kings in a way that ultimately points towards the Messiah, honing in on their legacy and encouraging the people to look forward to the fulfillment of the promised Messiah of old. 

The writer of Chronicles is offering us a prophetic interpretation of Israel’s history that is meant to guide the reader’s attention forward to the hope of a coming king who will restore order and pursue the Lord as David once did.

You may find the following teachings on our website helpful in addressing your question:
1 Samuel
2 Samuel