Well, today we’re looking at yet more genealogy. That’s not to say that there aren’t some interesting things to note, of course, but I suspect that for many it might be a bit of “yawner”. So, what is interesting here?
We have, for example, a summary of the pecking order of the patriarchs — things that were implied in Genesis and other places, but stated plainly in 1 Chron. 5:1,2. Joseph had received the birthright “double-portion” — this is why there is an Ephraim and Manasseh among the tribes. But Judah (because of the scandal and shame of his older brothers’ actions — Simeon and Levi slaughtered the men of Shechem, and Reuben had sex with his father’s concubine) became the family ruler. The tribe of Ephraim tended to dispute this, by the way, expecting to be consulted on military matters (e.g., Judges 8:1; Judges 12:1), and it could be that this was the origin of the division between Israel and Judah — there seems to have been some friction between them long before the Rehoboam / Jeroboam split. But the inspired indications of leadership have consistently been that Judah was to hold the scepter (e.g., Gen. 49:8-10; Psa. 60:7; Psa. 108:8), which is the tribe from which Jesus came.
And one may wonder what the point of the genealogy is here. I’ll hazard an educated guess here — but please understand that this is “The Gospel According to Park”. Genealogy is largely under-appreciated by Americans. Yes, I know that there are genealogical organizations, software, and the entire Mormon Church that is big into it, but the average guy on the street is only barely aware of what or who his family was a couple of generations ago. The American psyche has been formed largely by being “The New World” mentality: a people without a pedigree (or “criminal record” in many cases), making history rather than reading about it, and lives too busy to pass on many family stories. But in other more “historied” places in the world family and genealogy is quite important and gives a sense of where the story you are telling fits in with their family history. The writer of Chronicles, as he was about to tell of the grand sweep of history of the Judahite kings, feels compelled to remind his readers that this is real history connected to people with whom they had familial ties.
But let me leave you today with an encouragement to be not only a daily reader of the Scripture, but an applier of it as well. You’ll hopefully remember the story in 1 Kings 22, when Ahab was trying to convince Jehoshaphat to join him in a military campaign against the Arameans. Ahab trotted out his favorite prophets to show that this military adventure would meet with success, but Jehoshaphat (apparently smelling a set-up) asked if there were any other prophets that they could consult with. Ahab’s response, you’ll remember, was that there was one more (a certain Micaiah), but that he didn’t like to consult with him because “… he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings 22:8, NAS95). You know, there’s a lot of folks who don’t like reading the Bible for that very same reason.
Someone (I wish I knew who to give credit to on this one) wrote in a bulletin article many years ago that in the spirit of warning labels that we often put on products that the Bible might stand a warning label of its own: “Warning, reading Scripture may be hazardous to your…”
If you’re interested in keeping some of these in your life, don’t read the Scripture. But if you’re serious about your discipleship, there could be no greater “disinfectant” than the Lord’s own word, the Bible. Keep reading!!
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.