September 8, 2015.
Daily Reading: I Chronicles 5-9.
Background: I Chronicles 1-4.
Concepts and Connections.
Descendants of Ruben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh: Chapter five begins the series of lineages of each of the patriarchs of Israel, the sons of Jacob, starting with Ruben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh. These genealogies are likely listed together because they were the tribes who settled east of the Jordan, not in the land of Canaan (see Numbers 32). There is an explanation of why Ruben forfeited his birthright (though he was the firstborn of Jacob) because he went into his father’s concubine (see Genesis 35:22, 49:4). There are also micro stories recored about certain people in his lineage, such as Beerah who was carried into Assyrian captivity by Tiglath-pileser (see II Chronicles 28:20). The tribe of Ruben grew strong amidst their brethren. The genealogies of Ruben and Gad were taken from those recorded in genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel. The lineage of the half-tribe of Manasseh is also given here to the point of Assyrian exile, and the nuber of warriors along with the spoils of war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab, are recorded here.
Descendants of Levi: This chapter outlines the lineage of Levi, the tribe who were to be the priests for Israel. Note that Levi’s three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, would serve as the heads of the three clans of the Levites, each with their own special duties (see Numbers 3-4). Not only the lineage of Levi is given here, but also the places in each tribe where the Levites were given land to live in is listed here, as the Levites did not receive a land inheritance because their inheritance was the Lord (see Numbers 35:1-8 and Deuteronomy 18:1).
Descendants of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher: The genealogies for the sons of Jacob continue in this chapter with the lineages of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher. Note that varying amounts of information is given in each genealogy, from just the names of the sons of Naphtali to names, chief men and number of mighty warriors of Issachar.
Genealogy of Saul: This chapter focuses in on one line of Benjamin, that of Saul, as this would be an important genealogy because Saul would become the first king of Israel. The lineage doesn’t stop with Saul, however, but continues on through his sons. Note the multiple micro-stories that are embedded in this genealogy that give us a small piece of information about a certain person in the lineage, such as the sons of Ehud that were carried into exile to Manahath, v. 6).
Genealogy of returned exiles and Saul again: The opening of this chapter makes a reference to the book of the kings of Israel where each of these genealogies were recorded. This is not the book of kings that is in the cannon today, but another civil record that both the books of Kings and Chronicles likely pulled from. Then there is a reference to the exile of Judah into Babylon (see II Kings 25), and a returning of the exiles (see Ezra 1:1-4). The genealogies listed here are those of the returned exiles from Babylon, to have a record of who they were and what they did (see Nehemiah 11:3-22 in reference to verses 2-22 of this chapter). In the end, Saul’s genealogy is listed again, perhaps because the next chapter starts the narrative of Chronicles, beginning with the death of Saul.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 96-98.
Grace and peace.