September 1, 2015.
Daily Reading: I Chronicles 1-4.
Background: The books of first and second Chronicles were originally one work that was split up in a later copy of scripture. The chronicler is anonymous, but it seems that he was probably a Levitical priest and a meticulous historian. The Chronicles start with Adam and continue in history through the exile of Judah, but with a specific focus on David’s reign (I Chronicles) and then Solomon and the kings of Judah in the divided kingdom, with a few references to Israel (II Chronicles). The history of man through Saul is simply conveyed through genealogies (I Chronicles 1-9), and afterwards begins the history of the kingdom of Israel, starting with a short light on King Saul and then going through an extended look at the reign of David and Solomon. Then the chronicler focuses on the kingdom of Judah, whereas first and second kings highlights the history of both Israel and Judah during the divided kingdom.
Genealogies: Genealogies were very important to the children of Israel, as they allowed the people to trace their heritage and even inheritance back to the beginning. Family played a very important role in society and religion, and their lineage gave them rights to certain roles and ranks. Further, the bloodline of Israel was an indication that the Lord had preserved His people throughout the course of time, even though they had been stubborn and rebellious. The Lord remained faithful to His covenant with Abraham (see Genesis 17) and with David (see II Samuel 7). Throughout theses genealogies, the names of people are sometimes spelled differently than in other books, but they refer to the same people. Here we see history from the beginning, starting with Adam and continuing on though Abraham, and then to Jacob and Esau, with the sons of Esau highlighted afterwards. Many of these genealogies can also be found in various parts of Genesis. Esau was the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir, and thus the connection of Seir to Esau (see Genesis 36:9-30). The kings of the land of Edom are then given in succession, as well as the chiefs of the land. Genealogies give us insights to the timeline and importance of characters in scripture, as well as help us make connections that might otherwise be lost or taken out of the time period and context a certain person or people lived.
Genealogy of Judah: The genealogies continue in chapter two, as we find here the sons of Israel listed at the beginning before diving into a genealogy specific to Judah. Note that Achan’s sin follows him even in his genealogy, as he is mentioned as a troubler of Israel within the lineage here (see Joshua 7). Perhaps the most important part of this genealogy is that of the linage of David, but the genealogy of Perez is fleshed out more completely besides the lineage of David, as much of the rest of the chapter deals with lines from the sons of Hezron, the son of Perez.
The descendants of David: As the lineage to David was recorded in the last chapter, his line proceeding after him, though the kings of Judah and a bit beyond, is recorded here. In a way, this gives an outline for much of the content that will be relayed later in the two books.
The lineage of Judah and Simeon: As the first three chapters dealt with the lineage from Adam, then Abraham and Judah (David), the next section of genealogies will be devoted to the children of Jacob, the patriarchs that would make up the 12 tribes of Israel. Here we find the lineages of Judah and Simeon, focusing on the clans of each tribe which serves to flesh out the bulk of the children of Israel within each tribe. Within these genealogies, we find micro stories, recordings of history, for different people that might not be recorded elsewhere, giving us a glimpse into the lives of people of whom we know little or even nothing else, which can be fascinating in and of itself.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 93-95.