Morning Light – September 24th, 2015

MLx250Today: [1 Chronicles Two] The Genealogies, Continued. In this chapter the genealogies continue referencing Jacob through Heman the father of the Rechabites. Several ignominies are cited such as Achan who died in the valley of Achor as the “troubler” of Israel, and also Er the firstborn of Judah who refused to perform the rite of kinsman redeemer in behalf of Tamar his sister-in-law.

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[1Ch 2:1-55 KJV] 1 These [are] the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 3 The sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah: [which] three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD; and he slew him. 4 And Tamar his daughter in law bare him Pharez and Zerah. All the sons of Judah [were] five. 5 The sons of Pharez; Hezron, and Hamul. 6 And the sons of Zerah; Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all. 7 And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed. 8 And the sons of Ethan; Azariah. 9 The sons also of Hezron, that were born unto him; Jerahmeel, and Ram, and Chelubai. 10 And Ram begat Amminadab; and Amminadab begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah; 11 And Nahshon begat Salma, and Salma begat Boaz, 12 And Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse, 13 And Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third, 14 Nethaneel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh: 16 Whose sisters [were] Zeruiah, and Abigail. And the sons of Zeruiah; Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three. 17 And Abigail bare Amasa: and the father of Amasa [was] Jether the Ishmeelite. 18 And Caleb the son of Hezron begat [children] of Azubah [his] wife, and of Jerioth: her sons [are] these; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon. 19 And when Azubah was dead, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur.

In many of the prophetic scriptures Isaac’s son is referred to as Jacob and not Israel. Here in the stinging aftermath of the exile and the complete route and captivity of the southern kingdom of Judah the name given Jacob after he wrestled with the Lord is used. What’s in a name? Jacob means “heel grabber” and “supplanter” which is in fact indicative of the character of the man who goaded his elder brother Esau into relinquishing his birthright. When Jacob wrestled with the Lord the angel touched him in the hollow of his thigh forever altering his walk – and consequently renaming him Israel which means “one who has wrestled with God and prevailed”. When one wrestles with God we don’t change God but rather God changes us.

Judah’s firstborn is also mentioned in a negative light. He was expected to go in to his widowed sister-in-law Tamar to bring up children after his deceased brother. He declined to do so and subsequently died before his time. His selfish act is so despicable it earns a mention by Ezra centuries later as a cautionary reference for those who put personal ego and pride above responsibility and brotherly love.

Achan is also mentioned who sinned after the manner of Judah’s firstborn in corrupting himself and the nation by disobeying God at the battle of Jericho. The city was fallen and God commanded that the entire city be destroyed and nothing saved because it was the first fruits of the conquest of the Promised Land and therefore it belonged to God. For us it is an analogy of withholding the first fruits of our own increase from the Lord. Achan hid a wedge of gold and a garment from Babylon in his tent. As a result the people could not stand against their enemies and 38 people died the next day after going up against a very small village. The Lord had indicated there was sin in the camp and Achan was exposed. Achan, his entire family and all of his possessions were stoned to death and buried at the valley of Achor which later was termed by the prophets a “Door of Hope”. Why would that be? Because the path of progress for any of us when we are defeated by our enemies is in rendering to God the first fruits of our lives, as Jesus taught in Matt. 6:33 – “seek first the kingdom and all things will be added”.

20 And Hur begat Uri, and Uri begat Bezaleel. 21 And afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he [was] threescore years old; and she bare him Segub. 22 And Segub begat Jair, who had three and twenty cities in the land of Gilead. 23 And he took Geshur, and Aram, with the towns of Jair, from them, with Kenath, and the towns thereof, [even] threescore cities. All these [belonged to] the sons of Machir the father of Gilead. 24 And after that Hezron was dead in Calebephratah, then Abiah Hezron’s wife bare him Ashur the father of Tekoa. 25 And the sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron were, Ram the firstborn, and Bunah, and Oren, and Ozem, [and] Ahijah. 26 Jerahmeel had also another wife, whose name [was] Atarah; she [was] the mother of Onam. 27 And the sons of Ram the firstborn of Jerahmeel were, Maaz, and Jamin, and Eker. 28 And the sons of Onam were, Shammai, and Jada. And the sons of Shammai; Nadab, and Abishur. 29 And the name of the wife of Abishur [was] Abihail, and she bare him Ahban, and Molid. 30 And the sons of Nadab; Seled, and Appaim: but Seled died without children. 31 And the sons of Appaim; Ishi. And the sons of Ishi; Sheshan. And the children of Sheshan; Ahlai. 32 And the sons of Jada the brother of Shammai; Jether, and Jonathan: and Jether died without children. 33 And the sons of Jonathan; Peleth, and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel. 34 Now Sheshan had no sons, but daughters. And Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name [was] Jarha. 35 And Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant to wife; and she bare him Attai. 36 And Attai begat Nathan, and Nathan begat Zabad, 37 And Zabad begat Ephlal, and Ephlal begat Obed, 38 And Obed begat Jehu, and Jehu begat Azariah,

The line of Caleb is paid special attention to and Caleb’s grandson Bezaleel was particularly mentioned. Bezaleel was the artisan who constructed and fabricated from resources and materials onhand in the wilderness the ark of the covenant and the tent of the tabernacle according to the pattern revealed to Moses in the mount. Several of those mentioned in the passage above were distinguished for what we would call today the ministry of helps. Caleb and Hur and others who held Moses arms up, defeated cities that other tribes couldn’t defeat. They were not articulate men or people of literary distinction nevertheless they were well known for their giftings, their sacrifice and their heart for the things of God and willingness to shoulder the responsibility to see the plans of God put forward as best they could.

Particular attention is paid to daughters and mothers in the genealogies that Ezra reproduces here which is unusual in ancient times. In v. 34 Sheshan had no sons but his daughters were women of distinction and worthy of mention in the chronicles of the families of Judah. This is what makes the bible unique throughout ancient history in that it acknowledges and recognizes with honor and deference the role of women in the sacred narrative more than any other religion extant at the time.

39 And Azariah begat Helez, and Helez begat Eleasah, 40 And Eleasah begat Sisamai, and Sisamai begat Shallum, 41 And Shallum begat Jekamiah, and Jekamiah begat Elishama. 42 Now the sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel [were], Mesha his firstborn, which was the father of Ziph; and the sons of Mareshah the father of Hebron. 43 And the sons of Hebron; Korah, and Tappuah, and Rekem, and Shema. 44 And Shema begat Raham, the father of Jorkoam: and Rekem begat Shammai. 45 And the son of Shammai [was] Maon: and Maon [was] the father of Bethzur. 46 And Ephah, Caleb’s concubine, bare Haran, and Moza, and Gazez: and Haran begat Gazez. 47 And the sons of Jahdai; Regem, and Jotham, and Geshan, and Pelet, and Ephah, and Shaaph. 48 Maachah, Caleb’s concubine, bare Sheber, and Tirhanah. 49 She bare also Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbenah, and the father of Gibea: and the daughter of Caleb [was] Achsah. 50 These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah; Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim, 51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Bethgader. 52 And Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim had sons; Haroeh, [and] half of the Manahethites. 53 And the families of Kirjathjearim; the Ithrites, and the Puhites, and the Shumathites, and the Mishraites; of them came the Zareathites, and the Eshtaulites. 54 The sons of Salma; Bethlehem, and the Netophathites, Ataroth, the house of Joab, and half of the Manahethites, the Zorites. 55 And the families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, [and] Suchathites. These [are] the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab.

Caleb of course was a great grandson of Judah. The line of Abraham continuing in Jacob down to Judah and now honoring the line of Caleb. We remember the prophecy repeated throughout scripture that Judah goes first and is mentioned therefore first in the genealogies of the tribes of Isreal. Caleb’s daughter Ascah is a distant relative of another Caleb the son of Hezron but she is an immediate descendant of the Caleb who spied with Joshua in the beginning of the conquest of Canaan. She is also remembered for being the wife of the first of the Judges of Isreal by the name of Othniel after he won her to his bride by defeating Debir.

There is also mention of the Kenites who were originally aliens not of Hebrew lineage but in time became incorporated into the line of Judah.

We read and study these genealogies to be thorough in our study of the scriptures. It may seem tedious as Paul said in Phil. 3:1 “… to write the same things to me is grievous but for you it is safe …” The book of Chronicles is a book of repetitions as are the gospels particularly the first three gospels. We might wish to circumvent them for more meaningful texts yet there are things here that we won’t find anywhere else if we take the time to discern and recognize them.

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