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Bible: What Does 1 Chronicles 6-11 Teach Us About Israel's Genealogies?

Updated on September 15, 2016

The Priestly Family



All of chapter six the chronicler dedicates to the family of Levi (vv. 1-81).

He traces the line from Levi to Kohath to Amram to Aaron, and then Eleazar (vv. 1-3).

From Eleazar to the captivity (vv. 4-15), the writer does not move away from the traditional "begot" format, except on two occasions:

(1) to indicate who ministered when Solomon built his temple (Azariah) [v. 10], and

(2) to relate which high priest went into the Babylonian captivity (Jehozadak) [v. 15].

From verses sixteen through thirty, he inscribes the names of the descendants of the three sons of Levi.

Following the priests come the musicians whom David appointed to minister before the tabernacle (vv. 31-32).

Apparently, the sons of the Kohathites stood on the right hand (vv. 33-43), and the sons of Merari sang on the left in the choir (vv. 44-48).

However, only Aaron and his sons ministered at the altars (vv. 49-53).

Next, the writer records the dwelling places of the Levites (vv. 54-81).

Hebron and its surrounding commonlands belong to the sons of Aaron of the family of the Kohathites (thirteen cities) [vv. 55-60].

Other Kohathites receive ten cities from half the tribe of Manasseh (v. 61); Gershon receives thirteen cities from four tribes (v. 62); three other tribes give Merari twelve cities (v. 63).

The Levites acquire cities from Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin (vv. 64-65).

Ephraim and half-Manasseh grant some cities to Kohathite families, including Shechem (refuge) [vv. 66-70); Gershon receives Golan (refuge) and other cities from the half-tribe and other tribes (vv. 71-76).

Zebulun, Reuben, and Gad give Merari families Rimmon and Ramoth (refuge) and other cities (vv. 77-81).

Zelophehad's Daughters


1 Chronicles 7

The seventh chapter deals with the descendants of five and one-half tribes: Isaachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh (West), Ephraim, and Asher (vv. 1-40).

Of special note in the first two and the last is the chronicler's emphasis upon the number of warriors available for battle (vv. 2, 4-5, 7, 9, 11, 40).

Naphtali receives a mere one verse mention (v. 13).

The middle two tribes refer to famous personalities or circumstances which the chronicler saw fit to record.

From Manasseh come Gilead, Machir, and Zelophehad, who each were prominent or presented unique cases in their time (vv. 14-15; cf. Num. 26:30-33).

Ephraim's genealogy tells the tragic story of the death of his sons at the hands of the men of Gath (vv. 20-22).

Besides listing more sons, the column also delineates Ephraim's possessions and habitations (vv. 28-29).



1 Chronicles 8

From the families of the children of Israel the scribe moves on to record the family tree of Saul of Benjamin (8:1-40), the sons of Jerusalemites, especially those associated with the temple (9:1-34), Saul's immediate descendants (9:35-44), and his tragic death (10:1-14).

The only outstanding feature about Benjamin's genealogy prior to Saul's time is its recorded violence or family upheaval (vv. 6-8, 13).

After Saul, nothing more is out of the ordinary (vv. 33-40).



Those Left Behind

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1 Chronicles 9

After mentioning that Israel's genealogical record is now complete and that Judah is hauled away captive to Babylon (v. 1), the chronicler presently concentrates his attention on those Israelites who lived in Jerusalem, among whom were common Israelites, priests, and Levites (v. 2).

Nearly one thousand heads of households (primarily from Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh) took up residence in the holy city (vv. 3-9).

One thousand seven hundred sixty priests served the temple (vv. 10-13), and numerous Levites helped them (vv. 14-16).

Two hundred twelve gatekeepers, regally and prophetically appointed, performed their trusted office every morning as assigned (vv. 17-27).

Levites cared for certain commodities:

(1) serving vessels (v. 28);

(2) furnishings, implements, and foodstuffs (v. 29);

(3) ointment (v. 30);

(4) bakery items (v. 31);

(5) Sabbath showbread (v. 32), and

(6) singers (v. 33).

Before recording the tragic end of Saul and his sons in chapter ten, the chronicler completes his genealogical accounts with a listing of the family of Saul (vv. 35-44).

The Witch at Endor


1 Chronicles 10

(An almost identical account of the death of Saul and his sons [vv. 1-12], appears in Samuel 31.)

The author provides two reasons why God gave Saul's kingdom to David:

(1) Saul was unfaithful to God's word (v. 13a; cf. 1 Sam. 15), and

(2) He sought guidance from a spiritist (v. 13b-14a; cf. 1 Sam. 27).

The Length of David's Reign

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1 Chronicles 11

(Again, for an almost identical record of verses one through nine, see 2 Samuel 5:1-10.

The only significant difference appears to be a citing of the length of David's reign in Hebron and Jerusalem combined in 2 Samuel 5:4-5.)

With some textual variations (which may be nothing more than scribal slips) and a few additional comments about Eleazar and Shammah in the Samuel account, the Chronicles text (vv. 11-41) nearly reiterates 2 Samuel 23:8-39.

The rest of this chapter lists many more men which Samuel does not (vv. 42-47).

© 2014 glynch1


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