This is the last list of genealogies for a while, I promise. But again, it is not without significance. These are the lists of leaders who came out of each of the tribes of Israel. The Chronicler is trying to show Israel who they are, where they’ve come from and how God has moved through them. Chronicles, from a chronology point of view, was the last book written in the Old Testament. In the Hebrew compilation of the canon, this book comes dead last. It was written after Israel returned from the Babylonian exile (which we will read about in Ezra and Nehemiah). The return from the Babylonian exile is the last event recorded in Israel’s history before the transition to the New Testament and the coming of Jesus. The reason we are reading Chronicles now as opposed to last is because the content of the book has to do with Israel’s history during the monarchy, starting with David and working through to the last King of Judah, Zedekiah.
Anyway, the point of the book is to show a new generation of Israel, one returning to their own land after an extended exile, who they are, who God is, why they ended up in exile and how they can avoid that fate in the future. They needed to be told once again that they were special in God’s eyes and that they had a long history of blessings at God’s hands, a history they could plug in to if they re-dedicated themselves to God and his plan for them as a nation.
Winfried Corduan puts it this way: “They (Israel returning from exile) had rebuilt the temple; there was weak local government; and devotion to the Lord was perfunctory…When Ezra and Nehemiah came to Jerusalem, they found a group of people who had a superficial awareness of God. These people maintained a shallow observance of the temple rituals, but they had lost their zeal and sense of identity as God’s special people. The book of Chronicles is what they needed.” (Holman Old Testament Commentary: 1 & 2 Chronicles, pg 2-3)
As you read this list, notice the familiar names that appear. Tola (chapter 7) was a judge prior to the monarchy (Judges 10:1). Gideon was a judge from the tribe of Manasseh (Judges 6). Joshua appears in chapter 7:27. 1 Chronicles 8:6 tell us of Ehud, the left-handed judge from Judges 3.
Chapter 9 then takes the story of Israel’s history and bring it right to the time of the first readers of the book, to those returning from the exile in Babylon. It shows how their families tie into the history of God’s people that the Chronicler has just laid out. It is hard for us to grasp the importance of these chapters, or how those first readers would have felt reading them because we are so far removed from the situation and time of writing. We don’t know what it feels like to have no national or familial identity, no tie to the past or an understanding of where we come from. These people had lots of these types of questions and few answers; which is why Chronicles was written.
Thankfully, chapter 10 gets us back on tracking the history of Israel as we move from the fall of Saul’s monarchy, the death of the remainder of his family and the ascent into David’s reign.
- What was familiar from this passage of scripture? What was something I already knew?
- What was new from this piece of scripture? What was something that really stood out for me that I have never paid attention to before?
- Does Jesus appear in this passage of scripture?
- How does this passage apply to my life, here and now? Do I need to do anything about it?
- What prayer would I offer up to God after reading this piece of scripture?
Tomorrow’s Reading: Psalm 102-104