Among the historical books in the Hebrew Bible, two are later than the rest: Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah. Like the “Deuteronomistic History” (= Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; hereafter DH) and the “Primary History” (Genesis–2 Kings; hereafter PH), both Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah belong to the genre of “national histories.” In ancient Israel, national histories were the norm at least from the Persian period on. This stands in contrast to the situation in the rest of the ancient Near East prior to the Hellenistic era, in which such historical narratives are not attested.
Books or collections of books that are “national histories” contain prominent, well-individualized characters (e.g., Ezra and Nehemiah in Ezra-Nehemiah; David, Solomon, and Hezekiah in Chronicles; Joshua in the book of Joshua). From the general perspective of the book of Chronicles or Ezra-Nehemiah as a whole, though, it is indisputable that the central protagonist of the overall historical narrative is Israel, not Ezra, Nehemiah, or David. Similarly, Joshua may or may not be the main protagonist in the book of Joshua, but within the context of the entire DH or PH, the story is certainly about Israel, not Joshua.
The two main characters in all ancient Israelite historiography, including Ezra-Nehemiah (in its present form) and Chronicles, are Israel and YHWH. Most significantly, the story is never really about political Judah or Yehud, any polity past or present, or any particular leader but about a religious ethnocultural and transtemporal group and its deity. The religious ethnocultural group is a theologically conceived Israel, with whom the authors and readers of these historical narratives identified and which, in return, gave them an ideological/theological identity. This Israel was asked to remember, and remember it did – hence, national memories. Memories, reports, and expectations related to its past, present, and future interactions with YHWH played a pivotal role in its discourse.
From an actual (and remembered) spatial perspective, this was an Israel at whose center Jerusalem and Judah had stood since David's time but that nevertheless conceived itself as “exilic” Israel. This was an Israel whose memory and self-identity were deeply influenced by a central metanarrative about a sequence of grievous sinning and punishment associated with exile that leads to a present, but not by any means full, restoration.