The long genealogy of Israel ends in today’s reading from 1 Chronicles. The “Chronicler” has framed Israel’s entire history in the context of genealogical lists!
Remember, the Chronicler lived in post-exile Jerusalem and wanted to remind the people of their history and heritage. The structure* of these nine chapters reveals his purposes…
- He covers Judah first… the royal tribe, the lineage of King David, and the main tribe of the southern kingdom.
- He ends with Benjamin, using the tribes of the southern kingdom to bracket* the other tribes.
- In the very center, or heart* of the genealogies, is the Levite tribe – representing the spiritual heart of the nation.
- The inclusion of the northern tribes affirms that God considered all of Israel his chosen people – and there were some from the northern tribes living in the post-exile Jerusalem.
If you drill down into each tribe’s genealogies, they were strategically structured to remind the people of their heritage. He recounted how both the northern and southern tribes “broke faith” with God (1 Chronicles 5:25-26, 1 Chronicles 9:1, respectively). Since they were on the other side of judgment, he was trying to point to God’s grace of restoration – so that they might order their lives around the law of God and experience a more full restoration.*
If the detailed genealogies in 1 Chronicles aren’t enough, we are inundated with even more details, as we read about Paul’s travels in Acts. Sandwiched between these details, however, is a humorous story of Paul boring a young man to sleep with his “prolonged speech.” And then, as Paul “talked still longer,” the man was sleeping so soundly that he fell from the third story window and died! Thankfully, Paul was given the power to revive him. This “interruption” was no deterrent to Paul who kept right on talking until daybreak.
Hidden in the humor of this story is a glimpse of Paul’s character… He was wholly devoted to his mission to teach the gospel. Nothing would distract him – not even the death of a bored seeker!
Think of how easily we are distracted by both the pleasures and plights of this world. We must not be distracted! We must keep our eyes fully focused on His word and work in this world!!
*ideas or words with an asterisk (*) came from the study notes of the ESV Study Bible (Crossway).