We conclude our journey through the Old Testament with the book of Chronicles. Like Samuel and Kings, you can think of these as one book split into two scrolls. Its history is significantly longer, at least if you count the genealogies, spanning from Adam all the way past the exile. And there is a plan, a focus, that will reveal itself in time.
As with other historical books, its author remains anonymous, but we can detect a lot about him from his tome. He is versed in the books of Moses, and often references both the narratives and the law. He had access to a thorough genealogy, tracing a line from Adam through the kingdom, with special emphasis on Judah’s ascendancy. And he is unusually familiar with the histories of other kingdoms, tracing centuries of genealogies of multiple royal houses.
A few other details about him become evident in these first three chapters as well. With a keen ear that is also familiar with the books of Moses, you will find that the author is not afraid to weave other narratives into his own, as evidenced by his verbatim repetition of Genesis 10:8, 25:4, and others. You will pick up that even the genealogies themselves seem designed to emphasize something beyond a simple recitation of family lines. And you’ll discover that either the author, or the final compiler, lived at least six generations after the destruction of Jerusalem, given his knowledge of Jeconiah’s descendants in chapter 3 (You might recall that Jeconiah is an alternate name for Jehoiachin, who surrendered to Babylon and was released from prison over thirty years later).
But you’ll have to do this reconnaissance all while dodging the hundreds of names and thousand of years of history that are being launched at us. The genealogies at the beginning of Chronicles might be the most difficult to read in the entire Bible, because there is seemingly no organization to them whatsoever. The spotlight jumps forward and backward, family to family, even kingdom to kingdom, usually without warning. There is a strange beauty to the frenetic excitement, though: and that excitement itself may just be an important point.
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 1 through 3. Now let’s read it!
1 Chronicles 1 - 3
1:1 Adam, Seth, Enosh; Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared; Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.
The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush fathered Nimrod. He was the first on earth to be a mighty man.
Egypt fathered Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim (from whom the Philistines came), and Caphtorim.
Canaan fathered Sidon his firstborn and Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, the Arvadites, the Zemarites, and the Hamathites.
The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad, Lud, and Aram. And the sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshech. Arpachshad fathered Shelah, and Shelah fathered Eber. To Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg (for in his days the earth was divided), and his brother's name was Joktan. Joktan fathered Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab; all these were the sons of Joktan.
Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah; Eber, Peleg, Reu; Serug, Nahor, Terah; Abram, that is, Abraham.
The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael. These are their genealogies: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebaioth, and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These are the sons of Ishmael. The sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine: she bore Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the descendants of Keturah.
Abraham fathered Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel. The sons of Esau: Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, Kenaz, and of Timna, Amalek. The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
The sons of Seir: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. The sons of Lotan: Hori and Hemam; and Lotan's sister was Timna. The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. The son of Anah: Dishon. The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the people of Israel: Bela the son of Beor, the name of his city being Dinhabah. Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place. Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, reigned in his place, the name of his city being Avith. Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates reigned in his place. Shaul died, and Baal-hanan, the son of Achbor, reigned in his place. Baal-hanan died, and Hadad reigned in his place, the name of his city being Pai; and his wife's name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. And Hadad died.
The chiefs of Edom were: chiefs Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram; these are the chiefs of Edom.
2:1 These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; these three Bath-shua the Canaanite bore to him. Now Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, and he put him to death. His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.
The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul. The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara, five in all. The son of Carmi: Achan, the troubler of Israel, who broke faith in the matter of the devoted thing; and Ethan's son was Azariah.
The sons of Hezron that were born to him: Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai. Ram fathered Amminadab, and Amminadab fathered Nahshon, prince of the sons of Judah. Nahshon fathered Salmon, Salmon fathered Boaz, Boaz fathered Obed, Obed fathered Jesse. Jesse fathered Eliab his firstborn, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, Ozem the sixth, David the seventh. And their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel, three. Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite.
Caleb the son of Hezron fathered children by his wife Azubah, and by Jerioth; and these were her sons: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. Hur fathered Uri, and Uri fathered Bezalel.
Afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was sixty years old, and she bore him Segub. And Segub fathered Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead. But Geshur and Aram took from them Havvoth-jair, Kenath, and its villages, sixty towns. All these were descendants of Machir, the father of Gilead. After the death of Hezron, Caleb went in to Ephrathah, the wife of Hezron his father, and she bore him Ashhur, the father of Tekoa.
The sons of Jerahmeel, the firstborn of Hezron: Ram, his firstborn, Bunah, Oren, Ozem, and Ahijah. Jerahmeel also had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam. The sons of Ram, the firstborn of Jerahmeel: Maaz, Jamin, and Eker. The sons of Onam: Shammai and Jada. The sons of Shammai: Nadab and Abishur. The name of Abishur's wife was Abihail, and she bore him Ahban and Molid. The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim; and Seled died childless. The son of Appaim: Ishi. The son of Ishi: Sheshan. The son of Sheshan: Ahlai. The sons of Jada, Shammai's brother: Jether and Jonathan; and Jether died childless. The sons of Jonathan: Peleth and Zaza. These were the descendants of Jerahmeel. Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters, but Sheshan had an Egyptian slave whose name was Jarha. So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to Jarha his slave, and she bore him Attai. Attai fathered Nathan, and Nathan fathered Zabad. Zabad fathered Ephlal, and Ephlal fathered Obed. Obed fathered Jehu, and Jehu fathered Azariah. Azariah fathered Helez, and Helez fathered Eleasah. Eleasah fathered Sismai, and Sismai fathered Shallum. Shallum fathered Jekamiah, and Jekamiah fathered Elishama.
The sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel: Mareshah his firstborn, who fathered Ziph. The son of Mareshah: Hebron. The sons of Hebron: Korah, Tappuah, Rekem and Shema. Shema fathered Raham, the father of Jorkeam; and Rekem fathered Shammai. The son of Shammai: Maon; and Maon fathered Beth-zur. Ephah also, Caleb's concubine, bore Haran, Moza, and Gazez; and Haran fathered Gazez. The sons of Jahdai: Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah, and Shaaph. Maacah, Caleb's concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah. She also bore Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbenah and the father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah. These were the descendants of Caleb.
The sons of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah: Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim, Salma, the father of Bethlehem, and Hareph the father of Beth-gader. Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim had other sons: Haroeh, half of the Menuhoth. And the clans of Kiriath-jearim: the Ithrites, the Puthites, the Shumathites, and the Mishraites; from these came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites. The sons of Salma: Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites. The clans also of the scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites and the Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.
3:1 These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn, Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite; the second, Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite, the third, Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah, by Abital; the sixth, Ithream, by his wife Eglah; six were born to him in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years and six months. And he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem. These were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon, four by Bath-shua, the daughter of Ammiel; then Ibhar, Elishama, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine. All these were David's sons, besides the sons of the concubines, and Tamar was their sister.
The son of Solomon was Rehoboam, Abijah his son, Asa his son, Jehoshaphat his son, Joram his son, Ahaziah his son, Joash his son, Amaziah his son, Azariah his son, Jotham his son, Ahaz his son, Hezekiah his son, Manasseh his son, Amon his son, Josiah his son. The sons of Josiah: Johanan the firstborn, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. The descendants of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son; and the sons of Jeconiah, the captive: Shealtiel his son, Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah; and the sons of Pedaiah: Zerubbabel and Shimei; and the sons of Zerubbabel: Meshullam and Hananiah, and Shelomith was their sister; and Hashubah, Ohel, Berechiah, Hasadiah, and Jushab-hesed, five. The sons of Hananiah: Pelatiah and Jeshaiah, his son Rephaiah, his son Arnan, his son Obadiah, his son Shecaniah. The son of Shecaniah: Shemaiah. And the sons of Shemaiah: Hattush, Igal, Bariah, Neariah, and Shaphat, six. The sons of Neariah: Elioenai, Hizkiah, and Azrikam, three. The sons of Elioenai: Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah, and Anani, seven.