I Chronicles 2-5
We are in the Nation Stream reading from the New English Translation this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, your attention to detail and souls no matter what [and/or how many] remind us of your attention to detail and total care for us. We are grateful for your love. Amen
We are thick into the genealogies this week in “The Nation” stream. Chron. chptr. 1 last week was Adam through Isaac and his descendants. That’s a 2200 year stretch. This week we go through four chapters that give us a glimpse into a whole ‘nether world that may feel far removed from us. but it is the strand of life and the surrounding story that flows down to us in time and therein our faith is brought to us. The names (name after name) lead us to regions, nations, other cities, and links to peoples that testified to the dilemma that all humans live out: we either seek and walk with God to be established and saved / or we run from Him and trod the road to our own demise and ruin. This material is a map of man that goes to the origin of it all. And not for nothing, the term “prehistoric” is a misleading phrase that speaks of an ethos and mythical world … that never did exist. “In the beginning God…HE made it in six days…Adam was there within a week. This is the beginning of history. There is nothing relevant before this. Forgive us R2D2/C3PO /Chewbacca or whoever thinks what about what. I will admit some of the names in I Chr. 1-9 do sound like hints of StarWars names and places but they are not. One other note before walking this out, these lists are there to picque our curiosity. No one we’ve ever met has this all memorized. It isn’t devotional material. It is supposed to make us interject here and there, “oh, he’s the guy from that one battle, ...that guy is the one who helped this king during the, etc…. isn’t that one the one who knew this patriarch but also knew Methuselah before the Flood? and so forth. Any name that we hear today could lead us through a time tunnel on a trail to hidden treasure from thousands of years ago. My husband team-taught at a missionary festival wherein one of the speakers was working in the Near East and Turkey. In one of his photos that was shared, an ancient town was shown, and he said, “OK, now THIS town was founded by Japheth. And Japheth was actually the first “Mayor” of this town. The cornerstone of this town that Japheth laid is marked and is still there!” Yes, this is the Japheth who walked off the ark with Noah; his dad, his brothers, Shem and Ham and their four wives. Can you imagine Japheth speaking in the town there years after it was established and telling them, “none of you were here before the Flood, but let me tell you what it was like before all this was flooded. And the flood was because man would not obey God…” What a spell binding story time! Anyway, these genealogies are as fascinating as we want them to be, alluring, investigative, revelatory, or … as boring as we let them be because of tuning out and thinking “get it over with”. But remember, God does not see our lives as something He wants to hurry through and get over with. God feels that way about none of these names either.
2 – Israel’s descendants (Israel is Jacob) are Jacob’s 12 sons who became the names of the 12 tribes. Judah is listed first/next as he became the name of the remnant nation that morphs into being the naming adjective; for they are the Judaic people and culture. Also in this chapter are people who are direct-line-grandparents to Jesus. You heard of people who worked with Joshua and trounced Jericho, And did you catch “Bethlehem” in there. It was more than a town. Bethlehem was a person. And you can visit that town today. You’re too late to visit the maternity ward, but then again maybe you can find this baby if you will cry to Him.
3 – Next we have the list of sons of David and Solomon that come from the manifold women that these two took in. At times we pause and are befuddled that we obtain our greatest devotional material from these two who walked with God and served Him wholeheartedly -except for then they were straying-!. David gives us the Psalms and a life testimony where he trained himself to orient back to God at every step regardless. There is Solomon who God used as he took fastidious dictation of what God showed him. Solomon writes out the Proverbs for us; a book that has given guidance, strength and direction to paupers and kings for nearly 3,000 years. So what is with all the ladies?! David had eight wives and a collection of concubines that would get anyone ostracized from decent society today. He was perhaps even urged by the Israelites to carry on as such to ensure many children/sons to rule after him. But it were these multiple wives that trained him to have another and another so that when it came time to have another, he took her…even though it was another man’s wife. Solomon merely amplified his father’s misgivings and his 1,000 women turned his heart away from the Lord. It affected the kingdom, the kingdom split and the world was changed. Subtle lesson on the run: it isn’t our private life wherein we can do whatever we wish and its our businessand everyone else can leave us alone. We read all the names here of Solomon’s descendants who suffered under a struggling, waffling nation that was so up and down, due to civil unrest that roots back to Solomon’s straying … because of these women; women he felt he was free to obtain. Yes, he could. But was it leading to good?
4 – Judah and Simeons’ family lines are spelled out in this chapter. You may ponder what is the difference between Judah’s list here in chapter four and the one in chapter two. If you care to look very closely the two are amplifications of the other and you’ll remember that Judah had a dark side that was illustrated in Genesis 38. This always tangles a family and often mangles it beyond repair. The interested may want to draw out the differences between Judah in I Chron. 2 v.s. 4 though it is too much to explain via this audio venue. You may have noticed the extra reference to Jabez in 4:9. He wanted more blessing and more territory. And God answered his prayer. What do you want from God? Are you asking for it? He is waiting for you to ask. Simeon’s descendants are a colorful bunch that seemed rather numerous and hungry for adventure and more territory and a bit more action. The cities and other items listed here can all be looked up and researched at whatever level feeds anyone’s curiosity. The fascinating thing to us is when seculars looking for ancient records, seculars who dismiss the Bible as a collection of irrelevant fables and miracles, begin their research and in the course of time, they succumb to the fact that the Bible is laser accurate and it turns out to be the best source for clarifying peoples and lists and migrations and the cultural transformations that took place way back in time.
5 – The origins and line of Reuben, Gad (Pronounced “Gahd” or “God” – like when we pray ‘dear God’), and Manasseh are told in Ch. 5. Interesting that Reuben’s stunt mentioned at the beginning affected his family, and centuries later the family standing was still where it was because of his misdeed in Genesis 35:22. This iniquity in about 1800 B.C. finished striking home the rest of the way right before 700 B.C. And did you hear that line in 5:20? –> “They received Divine help because they cried out to Him, and he responded to their prayers because they trusted in Him.” <— A sentence tells the millennium-long story of an entire family line! Then there’s the half-tribe Manasseh who deliberately mixed in with bad religion – and they paid the price for it as survivors of the Syrian attack are hauled away.
There’s more of this genealogy next week, and then will finish them September 4 and proceed right into Saul’s end and begin the Chronicler’s rendition of King David