TEXT: 1 Chronicles 3-9
A thorough study of this book clearly shows the audience as returned remnants from exile. They were records of selective Israel’s family tree: the organogram or family structure which clearly defines who they are in terms of tribes and the positions they occupied. It served to link the people with their roots and connect them with their future.
The people needed reassurance that God had not terminated His future purpose to use Israel in order to bring the Messiah into the world through David’s lineage. The book then gives more attention to the royal line of David’s house while ignoring altogether the succession of kings from the northern kingdom. We also discovered two tribes that were given special recognition, Judah and Levi which were the kingly and priestly tribes respectively. This points to the fact that the coming Branch, or Seed of David would not only be a King but also a Priest of God.
1.THE PURPOSE OF BIBLE GENEALOGIES: I Chronicles 9:1; 2Timothy 3:16,17; Romans 15:4;
Passages of Scripture that deal with names and genealogies are often considered barren and boring to study. But there are rich lessons from these records of names and history of tribes because ‘’All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reprove, for correction, for instruction in righteousness’’ (2 Timothy 3:16). Again, ‘’whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have
hope’’ (Romans 15:4).
There is therefore purpose in biblical genealogies as mentioned in answer to question 1. The only caution
is that we must not allow them to degenerate into endless speculations that bring controversy and error (1 Timothy 1:4; Titus 3:9)
2. THE PRE-EMINENCE OF THE KINGLY ANCESTRY OF CHRIST: I Chronicles 3:1-24; 4:1-43; 5:1-26; 6:1-81;7:1-40; 8:1-40; Isaiah 11:1,10; Matthew 27:11; John 18:37; Romans 15:12
The writer of Chronicles having mentioned the twelve sons of Israel takes the genealogy of Judah first (I Chronicles 2:1; 3:1). The reason for this preference is clearly stated “For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief rulers; but the birthright was Joseph’s” (I Chronicles 5:2) Reuben, being the first born could be have been mentioned first but he forfeited that because of his sin.
The sin of an individual can affect succeeding generations. As the tribe of Judah takes pre-eminence in the reckoning of Israel’s genealogy, the line of David was given first priority because it is the kingly line from which Jesus the root of David would come. We have in the list sons born unto him in Hebron and in Jerusalem. But sons of his concubines and other daughters
apart from Tamar were not listed. The list is not just for a census purpose but to establish the royal ancestry of the messiah.
Unfortunately, most of the descendants of David did not follow his good step/piety. Amnon committed sin of incest; Absalom killed Amnon, his half-brother; Adonijah exalted himself and attempted to usurp the throne while David, his father, was still alive. Only Solomon showed a measure of love and hunger for God, but he also turned away form God in old age. This poses a great challenge to believers, the issue of passing on their faith to their children.
The list in our text records the sons of David (I Chronicles 3:1-9); the lineage of the kings of his house up to the captivity of Judah (1 Chronicles 3:10-16); and the royal line from the time of return from exile (1 Chronicles 3:17-24); the list demands some clarification on certain points. (1) The name of David’s second son was called Daniel instead of Chileab as in parallel list. (2) There are variations in spellings of names of the sons of Bathsheba, his wife. (3) The names of Elishama and Eliphelet occurred twice (I Chronicles 3:4; 14:3-7; 2 Samuel 5:14-16). These observations were not major issues as this was common in the feature
with the Israelites. The repetition of Elishama and Eliphelet could be due to the two sons who first bore the names and David repeated the names for other sons after them.
After tracing the royal line of David, additional clan of Judah were listed. Then the tribe of Simeon was treated along with Judah because their inheritance fell within the territory of Judah (Joshua 19:1,9). Next was the two and a half tribes of east of Jordan: Reuben, Gad and half of Manasseh (I Chronicles 4:1-5, 26) The tribe of Levi was given greater attention because it was a priestly tribe. The record shows among them temple singers and cities of the Levites. (I Chronicles 6:49-81). The Levites comprises three families- Kohathites, Gershonites and Merarites. The Kohathites were divided into two distinct lines. The priestly
line of Aaron and non-priestly Kohathites. The four priestly lines were responsible for the temple each carrying specific assignment allotted to them. This is symbolic, in God’s Kingdom, there’s enough work to be done; room to explore talents and gifts for God’s glory. There should be no room for rivalry or unhealthy competition (Phil 2:3; 1 Peter 4:10).
The Genealogy of the three song leaders from the tribe of Levi stands out clearly. A song leader each was chosen from non-priestly families to be in charge of the singing ministry in the temple. Heman- the Kohathites, Asaph, the Gershonite and Ethan (Jedithun) the Merarites from each tribe played the role of song leaders. The bible places high emphasis on singing ministry. Believers called into this ministry should always strive to give their utmost best, and the church should invest necessary resources to develop the music ministry.
3. POST-EXILE LEADERSHIP AND RE-ORGANIZATION OF WORKERS: 1 Chronicles 9:1-44; 23:5; 26:1-32; Nehemiah 11:1-36; 12-1-47’
‘’So, all Israel were reckoned by their genealogies’’ (I Chronicles 9:1). The children of Israel settled in their ancestral land as a united people after their return from captivity. There was no more northern and southern kingdom. They jointly built the temple and returned the organizational structure initiated by David. The 9th Chapter gives the summary of genealogies pf returnee leaders from exile and the reversion to the structure of temple ministry which King David and Samuel the prophet had put in place. The sad story of Israel’s captivity reminds us the setback and great pain arising from choosing sinful lifestyle.
- Sin attracts divine judgment.
- Sin imposes avoidable suffering
- Persistent in sin brings eternal destruction and damnation.
Three categories of temple workers were mentioned in our text: The Priests were the direct descendants of Aaron, they handled the sacrifices and all services pertaining to the holy place in the temple. The leadership of the priests were described as ‘’very able men for the work of the services of the house of God ‘’. (1 Chronicles 9:13b). This implies that leadership demands doggedness, toughness and resilience (II Timothy 2:1,3,4). Believers are described as soldiers of Christ and are expected to be strong, able to endure hardness and disengage themselves from sinful pursuit.
The Levites consist of non-priestly Kohathites, Gershonites and Merarites who served in other areas of ministry, both spiritual and physical. We saw in them, division of labour, orderliness, unity in diversity, diligence and discipline. This is what God expects in His Church.