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Bible: What Does 1 Chronicles 1-5 Teach Us About Israel's Genealogies?

Updated on September 15, 2016





Chapters one through nine record very briefly the genealogies of prominent patriarchs and the families of the children of Israel.

The names that the chronicler mentions here Moses had discussed in somewhat more detail when he wrote Genesis.

For instance, the mere names of significant members of Adam's family appear in verses one through four, but Moses employed a certain pattern throughout Genesis 5, discussing their length of life, begetting of children, and death.

Second, the author of Chronicles practically copies the list of Noah’s descendants from Genesis 10 (vv. 5-23), but he does not include other details which Moses did (see Gen. 10:5, 9-12, 18b-21, 30-32).

Third, picking up with Shem and his sons, Moses again provides his familiar pattern; on the other hand, the chronicler seems content only to record their names as far as Abraham and his famous sons (see Gen. 11:10-26; vv. 24-28).

In the rest of chapter one, the writer pens the following genealogies: Ishmael (vv. 29-31; cf. Gen. 25:13-15), Keturah (vv. 32-33), Isaac (vv. 34-37), Seir (vv. 38-42), and the kings of Edom (vv. 43-54).

The latter group apparently designated chiefs, not kings, as their leaders (vv. 51-54).

Genesis 36 provides a more complete account of each individual and group named above, although some of the information there is the same as here.



1 Chronicles 2

After delineating the twelve sons of Israel (vv. 1-2), the author traces David's descent from Judah (vv. 3-15), including the cursed Er (v. 3) and the troubler Achan (v. 7).

[The apostle Matthew borrows a portion from verses ten through twelve (cf. Matt. 1:4-5)].

An unusual feature is the chronicler's inclusion of the sisters of David (v. 16).

Completing the second chapter are genealogies of Hezron (of whom was Caleb) [vv. 18-24], Jerahmeel (vv. 25-41), and Caleb (vv. 42-55).




1 Chronicles 3

The chronicler now examines the descendants of David, recounting those born to him in Hebron (vv. 1-4) and in Jerusalem (vv. 5-9).

He fathered the first six male children in Hebron by six separate women (vv. 1-3), and nine more in Jerusalem, four by one woman (Bathshua) and five by concubines (perhaps) [vv. 5-8].

Solomon's line follows next, proceeding from Rehoboam to Mattaniah (Zedekiah) [vv. 10-16].

Only Josiah and Jehoiakim seem to have had multiple sons (vv. 15-16).

Finally, the author traces the family of Jeconiah (vv. 17-24).



Prayer for Blessing

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Judah and Simeon

1 Chronicles 4

Verses one through eight list the genealogy of Judah.

The chronicler then inserts a short incident involving Jabez (whom, incidentally, the author does not include in this family or in any other clan, for that matter).

Jabez—so named because he must have caused his mother extra pain in childbirth—prays for more territory.

Not only does he desire more land, but also a holy life, so that he would cause no one pain (vv. 9-10).

The genealogy resumes, delineating the rest of Judah's descendants (vv. 11-23).

Besides following the regular pattern of reporting such information, the scribe records some of the occupations of these people: craftsmen (v. 14), linen workers (v. 21), and potters (v. 23).

Next come Simeon's family members (vv. 24-43).

The chronicler mentions Shimei and his children, and the relative barrenness of his brothers' wives (v. 27).

He also includes data about where they dwelt (vv. 28-33).

Certain leaders in those cities kept the genealogy, and increased in number (vv. 34-38).

Simeon's descendants raise flocks in a ''broad, quiet, and peaceful" land, dispossessing Meunites; these are the people of Maon [see Unger's Bible Dictionary, p. 726]) during the days of Hezekiah (vv. 39-41).

Other Simeonites defeat Amalekites at Mount Seir, and dwell there (vv. 42-43).



Reuben's Captor

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Reuben, Gad, Half-Tribe of Manasseh

1 Chronicles 5

Before recording any descendants of Reuben, the author immediately alludes to the disqualifying sin of this son of Israel (v. 1; cf. Gen. 49:3, 4).

If he had not "defiled his father's bed," God would have caused a ruler to come from him instead of from Judah.

Joseph received Reuben's birthright, but Judah prevailed (v. 2).

A brief list of sons follows (vv. 3-8), then a record of where they settled and raised cattle at the expense of the Hagrites (east of Gilead) [vv. 9-10].

Reuben's neighbors in Bashan are the descendants of Gad (vv. 11-22).

The chronicler mentions that those he lists were registered during the reigns of Jotham and Jeroboam (v. 17).

He recounts another incident in which certain righteous ones among the two and one-half tribes led the army to trust God against enemies, and He gave them the victory, much spoil, and their land (vv. 18-22).

Chapter five concludes with a brief account of the descendants of the half-tribe of Manasseh (vv. 23-26).

These people increase greatly from Bashan to Mount Hermon (v. 23), but their leaders "play the harlot" (v. 24).

God, therefore, sends Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria against them, and he carries them and the other two tribes into captivity (vv. 25-26).

© 2014 glynch1


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