Today’s passage is a geographic tour of Israel developed out of the family lines of Judah, Simeon, Rueben and Levi. You’ll remember yesterday that Judah’s line through David was recounted, tracing his descendants through the kingdom and exile. Today, Judah is afforded additional space, and it’s remembered that because of Rueben’s defilement, Judah …became strong among his brothers and a chief came from him, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph.
At the opposite bookend is Levi, whose descendants are commended for serving as priests and the sons of Merari, in particular, whom David put in charge of the service of song in the house of the LORD after the ark rested there. Their dwelling places, and specifically their cities of refuge, are catalogued here, as though remembering them keeps the kingdom and all its promise alive.
In between there is Simeon, whose family lived in the South near Beersheba, and who in Hezekiah’s time conquered the Amalakite remnant at Mount Seir. There is the aforementioned Reuben, who lost his birthright but whose descendants, with those of Gad and half of Manasseh, occupied the East Bank of the Jordan. They were remembered as valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war… But they broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile...
If you pay close attention you’ll meet one named Jabez, who was more honorable than his brothers, whose life is oddly defined by pain. You’ll be reacquainted with Caleb, son of Jephunneh. You’ll meet potters who lived in the king’s service, and singers who performed at Solomon’s Temple.
And you’re allowed to marvel at the importance of this record. Written, in some cases, a thousand years after its characters had lived. Who would go to such effort to compile this, and for what purpose would it be so well preserved?
Our verse for this week is Matthew 5:16: In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
1 Chronicles 4 through 6. Now let’s read it!
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.