Family History

Posted: August 19, 2010 in 1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 1-9, “Family History”

How much do you know about your family tree? Looking over our personal heritage can be pretty interesting. Sometimes you see people you agree with – other times you see people you’re ashamed of. But it’s important to know. We need to know our family history – where we came from… Helps us better understand where we’re going…

That’s the essence of the book of Chronicles. Written after the people had returned from the exile/captivity in Babylon (perhaps by Ezra), the book serves as a giant family tree. (Especially the 1st 9 chapters!)

Question: why does the OT have 2 different histories of the kingdom years? We just got done studying Samuel/Kings which looked at the exact same period of time – and we’ll have roughly 50% of the material in Chronicles match what we just looked at. Why cover it twice? Answer: the same reason we have 4 different gospels covering (almost) the same accounts of Jesus. There are different purposes & different perspectives being presented – and to get a complete picture of what happened during the kingdom years, both Samuel/Kings AND Chronicles is needed. Chronicles looks almost exclusively at the southern kingdom of Judah – and the information it gives about the kings is far more detailed than what was seen in kings, if perhaps a bit on the flattering side.

Ultimately, what the Chronicler attempts to do is present a history of the people of God through the covenants & promises. We’ll obviously see the various kings, but we’ll see much more of the priests & the ups/downs of worship in the southern kingdom. Believe it or not, that process gets started in the 1st 9 chapters, which deals with more names than we know what to do with. Through these names, we’ll trace the line of humanity to God’s promised Messiah, 1st tasted in David – later hoped for upon the return from captivity, and ultimately fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

1 Chronicles 1 (NKJV)
1 Adam, Seth, Enosh, 2 Cainan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, 4 Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

A. Adam to the flood… It may not seem obvious, but any true history leading to the Savior Christ Jesus MUST begin with Adam. In Adam, humanity fell – in Christ, humanity finds it’s redemption. After the Fall, humanity continues to descend in wickedness until God is forced to judge the earth & virtually start humanity from scratch in Noah & his sons. But because the promise of redemption was given to Adam & Eve (Gen 3:15), a remnant continues through Noah & the promise is renewed after the flood (Gen 9).
B. We’re going to see a lot of similarities to the other genealogies listed in Genesis. There’s not going to be an exact match (and sometimes there’s variant spelling), but it’s plain that the author of Chronicles was using Genesis among his other source material. … Absolutely appropriate! The Bible is not strictly a history book, but it’s accurate on matters relating to history – which is illustrated over & over again via archaeology. [Philistine temple found in Gath, evidence of earthquake in Amos 1:1, July 2010.]

a. There may sometimes be questions about how certain numbers of people are counted, or how dates overlap – but there are never contradictions of any solid fact in the Bible. It is absolutely inerrant & trustworthy!

C. vss. 5-16 deal with the lineage of Noah through Japheth & Ham. Chronicler will look at other bloodlines only briefly as to acknowledge their place, but his concentration is on the bloodline of the promised king (and ultimately the Messiah). This is the 1st real division of the bloodline.
D. Acknowledges the fact that human beings ultimately have one common bloodline & one common family. Everyone eventually reaches back to Noah & then to Adam. Culturally, this decimates racism… Spiritually, this emphasizes our common need for a Savior…

17 The sons of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, Aram, Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech. [vss. 18-25 describe the various lines] … 27 and Abram, who is Abraham.

A. Shem to Abraham. Shem had been blessed by his father Noah to be the source of blessing for one brother (and the master of another) – the blessing of God continued through his line until Abram was born.
B. The Chronicler barely spends any ink on Abram, only noting that in blessing Him with the Messianic promise, God have him the new name of Abraham. No longer would Abram be “Exalted Father” to no child of his own; he’d be “Father of a Multitude” to many nations that would spring from his loins – including that of the promised Messiah to come.

The family of Abraham
28 The sons of Abraham were Isaac and Ishmael.

A. Chronicler is going to obviously go into detail regarding Isaac. The families of Ishmael are many (and likely the cause of much conflict in the Arab world today) – but the author’s intent is to concentrate on the covenantal people, so Ishmael’s line is barely mentioned in passing.
B. vss. 29-30, Ishmael. Vss. 32-33, the children of Abraham through Keturah

34 And Abraham begot Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel.

A. The author goes into more detail with Esau – simply because the Edomites & others who came from Esau were constant enemies of the children of Israel. Yet they were still family – as recognized by Moses when bringing the Hebrews through the wilderness (Num 20:14).
B. Vss. 35-37, Esau. Vss 38-42, Seir. Vss. 43-54, Edomite kings.

1 Chronicles 2
The family of Jacob/Israel
1 These were the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

A. Continuing through the covenantal line – the 12 sons of Israel listed. The author won’t go into detail about all the tribes, but he’s certain to include them here as all being initial recipients of the promised land.
B. Some have noted that the genealogies never refer to Israel by his given name, “Jacob.” What’s in view here is not the failings of Jacob-the-schemer, but rather the fulfillment of promise by God to the one He personally renamed “Israel.”

3 The sons of Judah were Er, Onan, and Shelah. These three were born to him by the daughter of Shua, the Canaanitess. Er, the firstborn of Judah, was wicked in the sight of the LORD; so He killed him. 4 And Tamar, his daughter-in-law, bore him Perez and Zerah. All the sons of Judah were five.

A. The author will spend quite a bit of time on Judah (which makes up the majority of the population of the southern kingdom) – specifically on the family line of David (as mentioned in vs. 15).
B. Judah & Tamar… Praise God that Tamar is included in the family tree of Jesus!
C. Vss. 5-17 form the 1st introduction to Judah’s family, looking at David’s line.
D. Vss. 18-55 look at other family lines in Judah.
E. God knew ALL those included in His covenant promises… If there’s one lesson we can glean from all the various genealogies, it’s this: God knows your name! If God knows the stars by name (Ps 147:4), and God has the hairs on your head numbered (Lk 12:7), you can be sure that the Creator God of the Universe knows your name. There is no one throughout all humanity that has escaped His attention, and there’s not one person that is not included in the invitation to repent from sin & receive Christ as Savior. (John 3:16, 1 Pet 3:9) You’re included in that invitation!

1 Chronicles 3
The family of David
1 Now these were the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: [vss. 1-3 list his 1st born children, incl. Amnon & Absalom]
4 These six were born to him in Hebron. There he reigned seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.

A. Vss. 5-9 list an additional 13 sons, plus 1 daughter (Tamar) born to David in Jerusalem. Bathsheba has a variant spelling of “Bathshua.”
B. Interestingly enough, the adultery with Bathsheba & murder of her 1st husband Uriah is never mentioned by the Chronicler. Some think that the author doesn’t want to cast any poor light on David (which is possible), but it seems more likely that the author simply had a different purpose. The books of Samuel & the Kings had already covered David’s character in detail (as do the Psalms); the Chronicles look more at David’s spiritual promises in God.

a. We will always be aware of our own “warts” – but praise God that God has put them far away from us in His own eyes! In Christ, as far as the east is from the west, that’s the distance in which God has removed our transgressions from us! (Ps 103:12) In Christ, we who were once stained red like crimson because of our sin are now made white as snow! (Isa 1:18) How blessed it is to be forgiven in Christ Jesus!

C. Vss. 10-16 briefly introduce the royal kings that came from David’s lineage, up to Zedekiah, who was the last king to sit on the throne of Jerusalem prior to the exile.
D. Vss. 17-24 pick up with the line of Jeconiah (otherwise known as Jehoiachin, 2 Kings 24) who was the last king of Judah to actually survive the Babylonian takeover. Jeconiah had been placed in prison, but later released & given a place at the king’s table in Babylon (2 Kings 25:29). Thus through his lineage, the royal bloodline was maintained, even if not established on the throne (and it was prophesied that he definitely would NOT have anyone on the throne – Jer 22:30).

a. The next son of David to sit on the throne of Jerusalem will be none other than the Lord Jesus Christ! Today He reigns in heaven at the right hand of God; after Jesus returns, He’ll reign for 1000 years in Jerusalem.

1 Chronicles 4

A. Vss. 1-23 all deal with other family lines within the tribe of Judah. This would have been extremely important for those returning from exile to see. They’d know without a doubt that their family was listed, and yes, they do belong to the covenant promises.

The prayer of Jabez
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.

A. Jabez = “pain/grief” – he didn’t want to be known in reality for what his name implied. Jabez prayed to be blessed in order to be a blessing (perhaps even to continue to evict Canaanites who remained in the land)… Our motives for our prayers matter! Jabez wasn’t merely praying for enlarged borders in order to kick back & build a mansion, etc. He specifically wanted to keep himself from evil & not cause pain/grief to others. Sometimes we don’t receive the things we ask for in prayer precisely because our motives are wrong – James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. [] There’s nothing wrong with desiring the blessing of God – but we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others. Obviously Jabez’s motives were sound – God granted the request.
B. Is this an important prayer? Sure! Was it answered by God? Absolutely? Should Christians today use it as a mantra as a method to get anything they want? Absolutely NOT. Jesus warned us against that specific practice. Matthew 6:7-8 (7) And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. (8) “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. []
C. So what DO we do with this prayer? The same thing we do with the Lord’s Prayer: use it as a model. The prayer wasn’t recorded for us to repeat mindlessly; it was recorded in order to teach us about prayer.

21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were Er the father of Lecah, Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of the linen workers of the house of Ashbea; 22 also Jokim, the men of Chozeba, and Joash; Saraph, who ruled in Moab, and Jashubi-Lehem. Now the records are ancient. 23 These were the potters and those who dwell at Netaim and Gederah; there they dwelt with the king for his work.

A. Even their trade is recorded here. God knows the linen workers & the potters…

24 The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul, 25 Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, and Mishma his son. 26 And the sons of Mishma were Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, and Shimei his son. 27 Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers did not have many children, nor did any of their families multiply as much as the children of Judah.

A. The tribe of Simeon is introduced. Why would Simeon be next? Simeon was also located in the southern kingdom, completely surrounded by Judah. As vs. 27 implies, Simeon wasn’t a large tribe & it was eventually incorporated in with the rest of Judah.
B. Vss. 28-43 detail the rest of Simeon, noting some of their occupation as shepherds (vs. 39-40), and their military victory against the Amalekites (vs. 43).

1 Chronicles 5

A. Covering primarily the Transjordan tribes. The Chronicler runs through these rather quickly due to his concentration on Judah, but he definitely shows how they were initially part of the promise. Starts with Reuben…

1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel— he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright; 2 yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s—

A. Before the author gets to the genealogy, he 1st reminds the reader why Reuben lost the birthright as the 1st born son of Israel…
B. Interesting note that even though Israel gave the birthright to Joseph (the double-portion to Ephraim & Manasseh), Joseph did not ultimately rule over his brothers outside of Egypt. That responsibility fell to Judah – as foretold by Israel in his farewell blessing/prophecy. (Gen 49:8-10)
C. Vss. 3-10 cover the tribe of Reuben. Vss. 11-17, Gad.

Military exploits of the Transjordan people
18 The sons of Reuben, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh had forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty valiant men, men able to bear shield and sword, to shoot with the bow, and skillful in war, who went to war. 19 They made war with the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. 20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him. 21 Then they took away their livestock—fifty thousand of their camels, two hundred and fifty thousand of their sheep, and two thousand of their donkeys—also one hundred thousand of their men; 22 for many fell dead, because the war was God’s. And they dwelt in their place until the captivity.

A. The transjordan people did a lot of things wrong, but they did a few things right – some of which listed here by the Chronicler.

a. United in battle against a common enemy
b. United in prayer to their common God
c. Recognized there was nothing common at all about their victory! The battle belonged to the Lord.

B. Vss. 23-24, ½ Manasseh east.

25 And they were unfaithful to the God of their fathers, and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. He carried the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into captivity. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river of Gozan to this day.

A. The apostasy & captivity of the Transjordan tribes…

1 Chronicles 6
1 The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

A. Just as the Chronicler spent a lot of time detailing the family of Judah, he’ll spend quite a bit of time detailing the family of Levi. One dealt with the monarchy; the other dealt with the priesthood.
B. Important to note that what follows in Ch 6 is not a comprehensive listing (unlikely that ANY of the genealogies are comprehensive). Instead, it’s a listing that presents a solid family lineage & history, allowing the people who 1st read it the information needed in order to trace their own family tree.
C. Vss. 2-15 cover the line of Kohath, the specific priestly line. Moses is barely mentioned in passing, but remember he was a prophet while his brother Aaron was the priest. The author is a stickler to his purposes for writing. 
D. Vss. 16-30 cover various lines among Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. A special mention is made of Samuel (vs. 28).

31 Now these are the men whom David appointed over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after the ark came to rest. 32 They were ministering with music before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of meeting, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they served in their office according to their order.

A. Although musicians had not been mentioned too much in the past, the Chronicler spends quite a bit of time detailing the various musicians that served in & around the temple. Vss. 33-47 list the names of the Kohathite musicians. Includes Asaph & sons (vs. 39-40)
B. Sometimes we have a tendency of thinking of music as the “warm-up” to the actual worship service. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! God places an immense importance on the use of music within worship (the biggest book in our Bible is a songbook: the Psalms).

48 And their brethren, the Levites, were appointed to every kind of service of the tabernacle of the house of God. 49 But Aaron and his sons offered sacrifices on the altar of burnt offering and on the altar of incense, for all the work of the Most Holy Place, and to make atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.

A. Obviously music wasn’t the only service in worship. There was much more to be done, and God had Levites appointed for “every kind of service” that needed to be done. Included three basic things here…

a. Offerings: “burnt offerings” indicates this wasn’t likely a reference to the various sin offerings, but rather the burnt offering of consecration. This was an act of worship done by an individual proclaiming to God, “My whole life belongs to You, Lord…”
b. Incense: the priests were responsible for representing the people to God & representing God back to the people. The incense continually rising to heaven was representative of the prayers of the people always rising to God.
c. Atonement: Sacrifice for sin – the people were invited to bring the sacrifice, but only the priests could properly offer it to God. Their sin had to be atoned for (covered) & the only way it took place was by the shedding of blood.
d. All of these functions are ultimately fulfilled by our High Priest, Christ Jesus! Through Jesus, we are consecrated unto God. In our prayers, Jesus serves as the one Mediator between God & man. And the only way our sins are ever covered is through the atoning blood of Christ. Praise God for our High Priest Jesus!

B. Vss. 50-53 reiterate the priestly line following from Aaron. Remember that Levi was specifically chosen by God to serve Him in the land… Aaron was specifically chosen by God to serve as priest (Exo 28:1). Phinehas was specifically chosen by God to carry on the priesthood (Num 25:11-12). Zadok was chosen by Solomon to carry on the priestly line after Abiathar the priest betrayed David & Solomon (1 Kings 2:35).

a. Question: how does Jesus fit into the priestly line of Aaron? He doesn’t. The priests of Zadok will somehow serve in the temple foretold by Ezekiel, but they are not our high priest. The Lord Jesus is our High Priest, and His priesthood is greater than that of Aaron/Zadok – it precedes it as He is of the order of Melchizedek (Heb 7).
b. So if Jesus doesn’t come from the Levitical line, why is the genealogy of Aaron important? Keep in mind this book was not originally written for us. It was written for those returning from 70 years of exile; the need to reestablish the proper priesthood was absolutely essential for them!

C. Vss. 54-80 detail the lands given to the Levites for cities (also listed in Josh 21). Remember they had no physical inheritance in the land; the Lord WAS their inheritance… The Levitical cities were God’s loving provision for them…

1 Chronicles 7

A. Although it’s not fully complete, Ch 7 is mainly a record of the genealogies of the northern tribes. As with the Transjordan tribes, they eventually became completely apostate & were taken into captivity – but they were initially recipients of the promise. In addition, the Biblical record shows that there were remnants of the northern tribes among the others in the land – they would have also needed a genealogical record of their history to understand their place within the covenant.
B. As you read through the lists, it almost reads more like a military roll call rather than a census of the people. Most likely, the military records were the primary source material for the Chronicler. He’s just using the information that’s available to him.
C. Vss. 1-5, Issachar. Vss. 6-12, Benjamin. Vs. 13, Naphtali. Vss. 14-19, Manasseh West. Vss. 20-29, Ephraim. Vss. 30-40, Asher.

1 Chronicles 8

A. Ch 8 deals entirely with the tribe of Benjamin. The vast majority of names are people we’ve never heard of before – but would have been familiar to the people of their time. Benjamin played an important role in Israel’s history because it was the tribe of Israel’s 1st legitimate king: Saul. Saul’s specific family is mentioned in vs. 29 & following.
B. Just because Benjamin wasn’t chosen for the throne doesn’t mean that Benjamin wasn’t valued by the Lord! Jonathan (Saul’s son) understood this & relished in the role given him by God…

1 Chronicles 9
1 So all Israel was recorded by genealogies, and indeed, they were inscribed in the book of the kings of Israel. But Judah was carried away captive to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness.

A. Summary statement of the 1st 8 chapters. Though the author mentions that “all Israel” was recorded – obviously not everyone was mentioned by name in the 1st few chapters. “All Israel” is a summary of the nation. Not one was lost or unknown to God…
B. All Israel was counted, but only Judah’s captivity is recalled. Fits in with the author’s intentions. There will be inhabitants from the northern kingdom who dwell among the Jewish south, but the primary focus is on the covenantal promise of the Davidic kings & Levitical priests – something only found in the south.
C. Keep in mind that even the NT affirms that not all Israel is Israel (Rom 9:6). People can have the nationality of the Hebrews, but have a heart far from God. (Rom 2 – circumcised heart…)

2 And the first inhabitants who dwelt in their possessions in their cities were Israelites, priests, Levites, and the Nethinim.

A. At this point, there’s a temporary transition from the past to the (relative) present for the initial reader. The author had been looking at their family trees up until the exile; now he turns to the family lines of those who returned to the land from exile.
B. Vss. 3-9 look at the citizens of Jerusalem. Vss. 10-13 look at the priests. Vss. 13-27 look at the Levite gatekeepers.

– The duties of the gatekeepers
19b… Their fathers had been keepers of the entrance to the camp of the LORD. 20 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar had been the officer over them in time past; the LORD was with him. 21 Zechariah the son of Meshelemiah was keeper of the door of the tabernacle of meeting. 22 All those chosen as gatekeepers were two hundred and twelve. They were recorded by their genealogy, in their villages. David and Samuel the seer had appointed them to their trusted office. 23 So they and their children were in charge of the gates of the house of the LORD, the house of the tabernacle, by assignment. 24 The gatekeepers were assigned to the four directions: the east, west, north, and south. 25 And their brethren in their villages had to come with them from time to time for seven days. 26 For in this trusted office were four chief gatekeepers; they were Levites. And they had charge over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God. 27 And they lodged all around the house of God because they had the responsibility, and they were in charge of opening it every morning.

A. Interesting that so much detail is given regarding the gatekeepers! Because of the zeal of Phinehas, this has been an exalted position…
B. Ultimately, any service to God is exalted service! Whether it’s leading a Bible study, or cleaning the chairs for people to sit – when it’s done unto the Lord, it’s a glorious thing! … Psalm 84:10-11 (10) For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (11) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. []
C. Ultimately, what was it the gatekeepers were doing? Opening the temple & courtyard for service…helping bring worshippers before their God to worship & adore Him. … That’s something all of us can do!

– Other duties of the Levites
28 Now some of them were in charge of the serving vessels, for they brought them in and took them out by count. 29 Some of them were appointed over the furnishings and over all the implements of the sanctuary, and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the incense and the spices. 30 And some of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices. 31 Mattithiah of the Levites, the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the trusted office over the things that were baked in the pans. 32 And some of their brethren of the sons of the Kohathites were in charge of preparing the showbread for every Sabbath. 33 These are the singers, heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites, who lodged in the chambers, and were free from other duties; for they were employed in that work day and night. 34 These heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites were heads throughout their generations. They dwelt at Jerusalem.

A. Whether they were singers, bakers, or over the various temple implements, they were needed & valued in the service of God. Things had been shaken for the nation of Judah during the captivity, but they came back to an active priesthood & worship of their God. …
B. vss. 35-44 reiterate the family tree of Saul. Some believe this was added at the end of Ch 9 due to a scribal error. Perhaps it’s better just to look at as a transition from genealogy to history.

It would be really easy to look at this list of names & get overwhelmed by the sheer number of them & wonder why they even matter. Keep in mind, these were real people with real stories & real relationship/covenant with God! From the famous names like Abraham & David to the people we’ve never heard of like Jedaiah & Shemaiah…all of these people were very real people, and God loved them as His own people, giving them an inheritance, relationship, and promise.

Today, we share in those promises as Gentiles grafted in to the tree of Israel. Today through Christ, you are just as much a child of Abraham as Isaac & Jacob. And just like the nation of Israel had been given promises because of their covenant with God, so have you & I been given promises because of our covenant through Christ Jesus. We are “heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29). And even if the hope of the promise wasn’t good enough – know this: we WILL receive the end of those promises. Just as God was good to His word to bring Judah back into the land after 70 years of captivity, so will Christ be good to His promises to come back & receive us again to Himself.


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