From 1 Chronicles 1-2
First and Second Chronicles, originally one book, was written sometime after Judah began to return from the Babylonian exile in 538 B.C. (1 Chron. 9:1–2; 2 Chron. 36:23). It focuses primarily on the history of Judah, the southern kingdom of divided Israel. First Chronicles begins with several genealogies, with special emphasis on David and Solomon. The “chronicler” moves next to the history of the kingdom under David, stressing David’s deep interest in worship and his detailed plans for the construction of the temple—which would be built by his son Solomon. First Chronicles was probably written to reassure the returned exiles of God’s faithfulness toward his people. Its author is unknown, although many have thought that Ezra was the principal writer. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Ch). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Lots of genealogies. Yawn. Better me than you I hear you saying… Yesterday we finished 2 Kings with a genealogy. The first eight chapters of 1 Chronicles are genealogies. And you thought Leviticus would be tough getting through.
I find genealogies of this size difficult to blog on, but here goes. I try and look for things of note.
In today’s reading I noticed the line of Judah. You always want to pay a little attention to what the line of Judah is doing because ultimately it leads to Jesus.
2 These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. (1 Ch 2.1-2)
Okay. Judah wasn’t the firstborn. He was actually the fourth one down. What’s going on here? Why didn’t the line of kings pass down the firstborns line? Reubens? We will read more about this tomorrow. Dont want to double up. Lets just say, he had issues. The blessing of the firstborn would normally be passed down to the next in line – Simeon.
What about Simeon? Err. Well, Simeon and his brother Levi avenged the rape of their sister Dinah (Gen 34.1-12) and tricked a whole city into circumcising themselves. They killed them all while they were still sore from the snip (Gen 34.13-31). Jacob had a problem with their wrath (Gen 49.5-7).
Judah was next in line.
3 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; these three Bath-shua the Canaanite bore to him. Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death. 4 His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all. (1 Ch 2.3-4)
The story of Judah and Tamar is a break in the Genesis story about Joseph (Gen 38). The story itself has some interesting sexual ethics going on. Judah was tricked into fulfilling his responsibility to continue his sons line. Which is why he unknowingly slept with his daughter in law. The author obviously had an interest in Judah’s line as well and thats why it was added. Judah has a connection to the LORD’s promises.
5 The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul. 6 The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara, five in all.
7 The son of Carmi: Achan, the troubler of Israel, who broke faith in the matter of the devoted thing; 8 and Ethan’s son was Azariah. (1 Ch 2.5-8)
Achan was kicking around during the time of Joshua and the invasion of Canaan. He was meant to destroy everything he came across, but he kept some plunder for himself. The Hebrews lost a battle in consequence because the LORD was angry with them. When Joshua inquired of the LORD, Achan was eventually revealed as the culprit. They stoned him (Josh 6-7).
9 The sons of Hezron that were born to him: Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai [a.k.a. Caleb]. 10 Ram fathered Amminadab, and Amminadab fathered Nahshon, prince of the sons of Judah. 11 Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, 12 Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse. (1 Ch 2.9-11)
Ruth the mother of Odeb, interestingly is ignored. Compare with the genealogy with Matthew (Mt 1.1-17) and it will highlight that Matthew goes out of his way to describe potential issues with Jesus’ line. Ruth is a foreigner, a Gentile. Solomon mother in Matthew’s genealogy is named the ‘wife of Uriah’ (Mt 1.6).
13 Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn,
Abinadab the second,
Shimea the third,
14 Nethanel the fourth,
Raddai the fifth,
15 Ozem the sixth,
David the seventh. (1 Ch 2.13-15)
Samuel chose David the last of Jesse’s sons.
16 And their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three. 17 Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite. (1 Ch 2.16-17)
David was closely related to Abishai, Joab, and Asahel. Joab is eventually killed for trying to undermine Solomon rule (1 Ki 2.28-35). Family politics indeed.
18 Caleb the son of Hezron fathered children by his wife Azubah, and by Jerioth; and these were her sons: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. 19 When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20 Hur fathered Uri, and Uri fathered Bezalel. (1 Ch 2.18-20)
Moving to an earlier branch. Caleb was of the line of Judah. See 1 Chr 2.9 above for a name change.
Story of Israel
The Hebrews embraced their family history warts and all. The quick sketch above reveals a lot of history and sordid events some might want to swipe under the carpet. Today we struggle to create a genealogy with more than 4 generations. Their recollection of their ancestors is a testament to the importance of family in Hebrew thought.
Story of Jesus
Judah’s line eventually culminated in the promised Christ. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection the promises of God are fulfilled, everyone can be forgiven and those who believe in him will be raised from the dead. Family is still important in the New Testament. But something has changed. Family is now defined in terms of faith.
Paul, while explaining the reason Abraham was circumcised says;
11 … The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. (Rom 4:11–12)
and he says to the Galatians
7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. 8 And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. (Gal 3:7–9)
Father Abraham has many sons. They are not all from his blood line, reaching to Judah, David and beyond. They also include Gentiles (non-Jews) who believe Jesus is the crucified and risen King.
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