From 1 Chronicles 9-11
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Near the end of the long list of genealogies the record jumps from listing the descendants of Saul to the genealogies of the Israelites who returned from exile. In today’s passage we have a short look at the returnees.
9 So all Israel was recorded in genealogies, and these are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel. And Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith. (1 Ch 9:1)
Chronicles refers back to the book of kings where more detail is given regarding the account of the kings of Israel. Chronicles has a greater focus on the Kings of Judah. Like Israel, Judah was taken into exile as well for their ‘breach of faith’. The Hebrew מָעַל ‘maal’ can also be rendered to act unfaithfully or treacherously which is what some other translations highlight. The varying translations show how closely associated faith is with faithfulness and obedience. Likewise how close breaking faith is with being transgression and sin.
Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Rom 14.23.)
2 Now the first to dwell again in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants. (1 Ch 9:2)
The text now describes those who have returned from exile. The genealogy names the heads of the people who came back to their homes.
3 And some of the people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem:
4 Uthai the son of Ammihud, son of Omri, son of Imri, son of Bani, from the sons of Perez the son of Judah.
5 And of the Shilonites: Asaiah the firstborn, and his sons.
6 Of the sons of Zerah: Jeuel and their kinsmen, 690. (1 Ch 9:3-6)
The first groups named are the tribes associated with Judah. These people returned to live in Jerusalem and the account of their return is described in the next book Ezra.
The first few names are those of Judah. Only 690 people are counted. By way of comparison 76500 people in the clans of Judah entered the promised land with Joshua.
In the passage, the tribe of Benjamin is mentioned.
7 Of the Benjaminites:
Sallu the son of Meshullam, son of Hodaviah, son of Hassenuah, 8 Ibneiah the son of Jeroham, Elah the son of Uzzi, son of Michri, and Meshullam the son of Shephatiah, son of Reuel, son of Ibnijah; 9 and their kinsmen according to their generations, 956.
All these were heads of fathers’ houses according to their fathers’ houses. (1 Ch 9:7-9)
The heads of the fathers houses are named. Perhaps there were too many people to write down if all of theme were written. The heads are linked to a few generations before them.
How many generations of your family do you know of? What about your spiritual family?
Sallu for example above is the son of Meshullam (1 generation, father), who is the son of Hodaviah (2 generations, grandfather), who is the son of Hassenuah (3 generations, great grandfather).
10 Of the priests:
Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin, 11 and Azariah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, the chief officer of the house of God;
12 and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, and Maasai the son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer; 13 besides their kinsmen, heads of their fathers’ houses, 1,760, mighty men for the work of the service of the house of God. (1 Ch 9:10–13)
Lastly we have the priests. It seems there were more priests than any of the other clans mentioned so far. They are described as ‘mighty men’. Much like the warriors who fought with King David. Here the mighty men are those who serve God.
Story of Israel
Judah was taken into exile in Babylon because of their breach of faith. In the OT the terms of the covenant with God were constantly broken by Israel by acts of idolatry and disobedience. The consequence was God’s judgment, which eventually included exile.
Moses warned them in Leviticus.
14 “But if you will not listen to me and will not do all these commandments, 15 if you spurn my statutes, and if your soul abhors my rules, so that you will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, 16 then I will do this to you: I will visit you with panic, with wasting disease and fever that consume the eyes and make the heart ache. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it. 17 I will set my face against you, and you shall be struck down before your enemies. Those who hate you shall rule over you, and you shall flee when none pursues you.” (Lev 26.14-17)
Unfaithfulness seen in idolatry (prostitution, abandoning God, trust in money and possessions, and doing wrong to others). Unfortunately unfaithfulness was a characteristic of Israel throughout the OT.
11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly treacherous to me, declares the Lord. (Jer 5.11)
Which is why they were taken into captivity.
23 And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt so treacherously with me that I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. (Eze 39.23)
But that wasn’t the end. The LORD desired to bring about their repentance and restoration.
30 “And when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God has driven you, 2 and return to the Lord your God, you and your children, and obey his voice in all that I command you today, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have mercy on you, and he will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. (Dt 30.1-3)
This is the promise Paul sees fulfilled when Jesus was preached.
Story of Jesus
That Chronicles records the return of the exiles from their captivity is a testament to the LORD’s generosity to his people. Likewise God sent Jesus to restore people back to the kingdom. This was prophesied in the OT and announced in the gospel.
12 Now when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 And leaving Nazareth he went and lived in Capernaum by the sea, in the territory of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 so that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles — 16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mt 4:12–17)
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