One Nation, Under God.
“Ner was the father of Kish. Kish was the father of Saul. Saul was the father of Jonathan, Malkishua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal.” – 1 Chronicles 8:33 NLT
We finally reach the end of this lengthy list of genealogies as the writer provides a more detailed accounting of the tribe of Benjamin. But with that done, he has included the twelve tribes of Israel. In reality, he has left out the tribes of Dan and Zebulun. He had included the tribe of Levi and had dealt with the two halves of the tribe of Manasseh separately. So if he had included Dan and Zebulun, it would have added up to 14 tribes. So it seems that it was more important to the writer to keep intact the 12 tribes than worry about which ones got left out or included. But notice that he gave special emphasis to the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. The tribe of Benjamin is covered in verses 6-12 of chapter 7, but then again in greater detail in all of chapter 8. Judah was also given more extensive coverage. Why? It seems that these two tribes held special significance because the first two kings of Israel came from them. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin. David was of the tribe of Judah. Saul was the first king and the people’s choice. David was the second king and God’s choice.
But it seems that the chronicler is going out of his way to emphasize that God is the God of all the tribes of Israel. They had all been returned by God from exile in Babylon to the land of promise. Every person who read this account could trace back his lineage to one of these tribes. They could relate to the history of Saul and David. They all shared the same covenant-keeping God. God had a plan for all of Israel, not just Judah. But He was going to use Judah to establish His kingdom – in the future. From the tribe of Judah would come the Messiah.
By providing the lengthy genealogies, the writer is reminding the people of Israel of their significance in the world. They have a rich heritage and are each descendants of Abraham, and, as such, are the chosen people of God. This fact could have easily been forgotten after spending 70 years in exile. So God reminds them of who they are and from whence they have come. He has returned them to the land, and while things might not look so good at the moment, He is far from done.
Father, too often we forget our heritage. We forget that we are sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We live like we are exiles, living in a strange land and getting comfortable with the lifestyle of those around us. But like you did with the Israelites returning from Babylon, You remind us of our unique heritage. We are Your sons and daughters. We are Your children. And You have chosen us so that You might bless us. Let us never forget who we really are. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men