Welcome Back to the Bible Blog!
Whew! It’s been a while… For some of you I’ve already explained this, but I thought if you weren’t aware I’d tell you where the term ‘blog’ comes from. According to my exclusive & secret sources (read Google) a ‘blog’ is a shortened term for ‘web log’. It’s a forum for occasional articles to be posted, usually (but not always) by amateurs like me, sometimes with comment sections below for interaction with the author and other readers.
Now, for a term I’ve created… the ‘blag’. A ‘blag’ is when there is a lag in posting the blog. ;o)
Yes, it’s been a while, so please allow me to thank you for your patience and grace. We’ll be caught up soon. Here’s Week 18’s entry…
Genealogies… AGAIN!! I can almost hear your thoughts, “People, people, people!” Haven’t we read all these already? Is history repeating itself? Well, the books of 1&2 Chronicles (actually only one book in the Hebrew text) do repeat much of the stories of 2Samuel through 2Kings (also one book each in the Hebrew). However, the books of Chronicles are written more from a theological perspective than an historical one as were Samuel and Kings.
Historians estimate that Chronicles was written in the 5th Century BC (so somewhere between 400 and 500 BC). In fact it is the last book in the Hebrew Bible (our Old Testament). Some believe it may have been written by Ezra, though it could simply have been a contemporary of his.
Chronicles begins with genealogies, describes the establishment of the Davidic line, gives the history of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) from the establishment of the kingdom, through it’s division into Northern (Isreal) and Southern (Judah), to it’s fall and captivity by Babylon. It closes with the decree of King Cyrus when captives begin to return home. This sets up the books of Ezra and Nehemiah where the temple and the city walls (of Jerusalem) are rebuilt. This is why the books of Chronicles focus more on Judah (the Southern Kingdom) than Israel (the Northern Kingdom).
The first 17
Digging into these first 17 chapters of 1Chronicles we have lots of names to read (or stumble over) in seemingly endless lists. You may be asking, ‘Why go through these genealogies again?’ Good question. Scholars believe that these were important to help the exiles returning to their land to be certain of how the land should be divided, by tribe as directed by Moses. It was also important to determine who were the descendants of Levi as only his tribe was entitled to serve as priests in God’s temple, which they hoped to restore.
Getting past the names there are a few items of interest that may have stood out to you. The first is in chapter 4 and is often (now) referred to as The Prayer of Jabez. Verses 9-10 (ESV) read as follows…
‘Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.’
Somehow this brief passage (this is really all there is about Jabez and his prayer) was turned into a book, a 30-day devotional that sold more than 9 million copies in 2001! [Disclaimer… I have not actually read this book by Bruce Wilkinson, but…] It’s been reported that author Bruce Wilkinson encourages the reader to follow his 30-day plan of reading this prayer everyday, supposedly so that God will bless them abundantly as a result.
Maybe because it was the beginning of the 911 culture, or because critics were perhaps correct in calling this a ‘prosperity Gospel’ device where people more focused on their own riches than God’s were excited about a Biblical formula for blessing, but whatever the reason there were many additional works created around this book and it’s supposed Biblical applications. Perhaps this ‘prayer’ did prosper Bruce Wilkinson, but was it really a Biblical principle for the Church to follow? Based on only one or two verses… what do you think?
In chapter 11 we see Uriah the Hittite (remember Uriah?) again. This time he is clearly described as one of David’s Mighty Men. These men are described as ‘giving him strong support’ to make him King over Israel. This was a man of great character who David murdered to cover up his own sin with Bathsheba.
Finally in chapter 17 we see one the most hope-filled verses in all of Scripture. Even though David was a flawed individual (he was) he still had a heart that followed after God. God makes a promise to David that one of his descendants will sit on his throne forever. Here is 17:11-14 in the ESV…
‘When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’”
Ahhh… Jesus, the coming King!
What are your thoughts and reflections on these 17 chapters?
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