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Day 220 – Thru the Bible
Today we start First Chronicles. Here is the overview video.
Video – Read Scripture: Chronicles
How does this video help you understand Chronicles?
1 Chronicles 1 – By beginning with Adam, Chronicles, the last book in the Hebrew Old Testament, connects itself to Genesis, the first book in the Hebrew Old Testament. This connection between Genesis and Chronicles is intended to demonstrate the fundamental unity of the story line carefully set forth in the pages of the Old Testament. In fact, Israel’s experiences echoed those of Adam, through God’s creation of a people, provision of special land and law, rest from labor, subsequent sin, and ejection from the land.
The same God who created the universe and granted humanity (Adam) royal dominion over the earth in Genesis was still working to accomplish His redemptive plan in 1–2 Chronicles; even while His people suffered as a community longing to experience the restoration of Davidic kingship, the Aaronic priesthood, and covenant blessings.
The appearance of Adam at the head of the genealogies of Chronicles not only grounded God’s work of restoration in the past; it also began to prepare God’s people for the arrival of the second Adam—Jesus, the son of Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38; Romans 5:15–21; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45–49). These genealogies unite the two Testaments by identifying Jesus as the long–anticipated Seed of the woman who would come as our Savior (Acts 13:23) and crush the head of the Serpent (Genesis 3:15).
1 Chronicles 2 & 3 – The broad, sweeping genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1 come to an end by focusing on Israel (Jacob) and his 12 sons, for whom the 12 tribes of Israel were named. This dual focus, both on the nations in general and then more specifically on Israel, is characteristic of the Old Testament. God’s concern for the whole world is not negated by the attention given to Israel in the Old Testament. Rather, it is helpful here to understand that God’s care for the world is expressed by and mediated through His attention to Israel. This is one of the major components of the promise God made early on to Abraham, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). And this same promise is upheld by God through His servant Israel, even in the midst of the nation’s failure to keep the covenant, “I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:5–7). Thus, aspects of God’s saving and multiplying grace are evident in the way the history of Israel is chronicled.
The genealogies in 1 Chronicles continue to narrow their focus. We have moved from the nations in general (1:1–54) to the specific nation of Israel and her 12 tribes (2:1–2). The rest of chapter 2 focuses on the tribe of Judah, the royal line of Israel from which the Messiah will come (Genesis 49:10). In fact, the genealogical material for Judah extends from 1 Chronicles 2:3 to 4:23, including some 110 verses, more than any other tribe. This type of emphasis clearly highlights the central role that the tribe of Judah will occupy in the upcoming narratives of God’s unfolding grace.
During and after the exile, a concern for the restoration of the Davidic dynasty occupied center stage in Israel’s hope for the future. However, this hope was never fully realized in Israel’s postexilic era. It was not until Jesus, the descendant of David according to the flesh (Romans 1:3), ascended to the throne of the heavenly Father, that this hope began to find a satisfying expression (Luke 22:69; Acts 2:25, 33–34; 5:31; 7:56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3; 1 Peter 3:22).
In 1 Samuel 17:12–14, David is identified as the eighth son of Jesse, the youngest son. Here, however, David is identified as the seventh son of Jesse, omitting Elihu from the list of Jesse’s sons (1 Chronicles 27:18). It is unlikely that the author of Chronicles has made a mistake. Rather, he may be making the theological point that David represents the seventh son, the son who would become the vehicle of God’s sabbatical rest for God’s people (Genesis 2:1–3; 2 Samuel 7:1, 12–13).
The rest that David received from God as he reigned over Israel continues a whole-Bible trajectory beginning with day 7 of creation in Genesis 2 and ultimately culminating in the rest that the greater David, Jesus, would secure for His people. Recall the words of Jesus: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29; Hebrews 4:1–13).
1 Chronicles 4 & 5 – Among those listed in the genealogies of Judah, the author of Chronicles chose to highlight Jabez as one who “was more honorable than his brothers.” In addition to his honor and the account of how the circumstances of his birth resulted in his name, the author of Chronicles took the time to record one of Jabez’s prayers. In the context of the exile and the difficulty of returning home, this prayer reminded God’s people that His gracious hand remained upon them to deliver from pain and to restore the blessings of the covenant.
In 4:24–5:26, the genealogies of Simeon, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh are presented. Though these tribes were smaller in number and not as prominent as some of the larger tribes in terms of the history of God’s people as recorded in Scripture, Chronicles is concerned to demonstrate that God’s salvation is for all of God’s people, even for those who appear, at first glance, to play a minor role in the story (1 Corinthians 1:27–29). By including these smaller, lesser-known tribes, the author reminds us about the nature of Israel’s election: “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set His love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deuteronomy 7:7). We are further reminded, then, of what Jesus had to become for us, in order that He might help His weak and needy people: “For He was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but in dealing with you we will live with Him by the power of God” (2 Corinthians 13:4).
This section also describes the devastating impact that sin can have in the lives of God’s people. In 1 Chronicles 5:1 it is explained that Reuben’s sin caused the forfeiting of his birthright. Then, in 5:25–26, these tribes are removed from the lands of their inheritance and sent into exile because they “whored after the gods of the peoples of the land.” Left to our own sinful devices, we would be utterly doomed and completely helpless. But thanks be to God “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15).
1 Chronicles 6 & 7 – At the center of the genealogies in 1 Chronicles, the tribe of Levi appears, occupying 81 verses of text, an amount second only to the royal tribe of Judah at 110 verses. By placing the Levitical genealogies at the center and providing this detailed account, the author highlights the importance of worship for God’s people, as they respond to His gracious provision with thanksgiving, sacrifice, and praise. In the New Testament, the importance of worship continues, and it will become the center of activity in the new heavens and new earth (John 4:20–24; Romans 12:1; Hebrews 12:28–29; Revelation 21:22–26; 22:3–5).
1 Chronicles 8 – It should be shocking to discover the position of prominence allotted to the tribe of Benjamin in the genealogies of Chronicles, ranking third in length after Judah and Levi. In the book of Judges, the sinfulness of the tribe of Benjamin was so great that Israel was compelled to wage war against it, bringing this tribe to the brink of extinction (Judges 19–20). Then, in the books of Samuel, the tribe of Benjamin forfeited its royal status because of the sinful disobedience of King Saul, a Benjaminite. And so when we encounter in 1 Chronicles the prominence of the genealogy of Benjamin, the last in order and rank among Jacob’s sons, we are truly reminded of the good news of God’s abundant grace: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end” (Lamentations 3:22).
1 Chronicles 9 –We are reminded here that Israel’s exile was precipitated by her unfaithfulness to the Mosaic covenant. The events of the exile, though disciplinary, should also remind us of God’s faithfulness to keep His covenant promises, even if that promise means exile for the sake of producing repentance (Deuteronomy 4:25–31). When God disciplines His people, it is always with the intent of restoration rather than annihilation (Hebrews 12:5–6).
Though genealogies can be difficult to read through, what from the notes above caught your attention or helped you understand their importance?
1 Chronicles 10 – This account of Saul’s death includes two important facts. First, Saul died because of his sin. Second, the text is clear to point out that God executed Saul. Thus, we are instructed to view the Philistines as the mere instruments of God’s just hand.
By contrast, in the New Testament, we encounter another King who was put to death by God, Jesus the Messiah. (Acts 2:23; 4:27–28; Romans 8:32). But this King was not put to death for His own sin. Rather, He died because of the sins of His people, those united to Him by faith (Romans 4:24–25). When King Saul died, he forfeited the kingdom and his heirs perished with him. When King Jesus died, his heirs received the power of eternal life and rights to the eternal kingdom of God.
How does this truth lead you to worship Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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