A Time for War

The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish, and Nodab. And when they prevailed over them, the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hands, for they cried out to God in the battle, and he granted their urgent plea because they trusted in him. They carried off their livestock: 50,000 of their camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys, and 100,000 men alive. For many fell, because the war was of God. And they lived in their place until the exile. 1 Chronicles 5:18-22.

We don’t know much about this conflict, but it appears that it was not of the Jews’ choosing. After all it says that they made war with these people but that they called out urgently to their God. This urgency may be because they were on the losing end for a while. But then the Lord turned it around for them. God may have set up this conflict because he wanted to punish this group of idolaters and drive them from the land. After all, that is what he had commanded them to do.

When Procreation was the Mission

The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal. Reaiah the son of Shobal fathered Jahath, and Jahath fathered Ahumai and Lahad. These were the clans of the Zorathites. These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi, and Penuel fathered Gedor, and Ezer fathered Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah; Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. The sons of Helah: Zereth, Izhar, and Ethnan. Koz fathered Anub, Zobebah, and the clans of Aharhel, the son of Harum. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked. 1 Chronicles 4:1-10.

So that’s where “The Prayer of Jabez” is. I remember when this prayer became a cottage industry as it started turning up on all kinds of household items, and there was even a book about it. It was probably a good prayer for it’s time. If you think about it, God’s earliest marching orders were: “Make babies and fill the earth.” And every man saluted and commenced knocking out kids with multiple wives and concubines.

Generations later, they were given the law by Moses, and commanded to take a certain land, establish God’s government, and purge the land of idolatry. And the slaying began; a generation late because of initial pushback, but it got started.

When Jesus came we got some new orders. He told us to love one another, and even our enemies. He also told us to preach salvation in His name, obedience to his commands, and to relieve poverty and suffering from sickness and demonic oppression.

Unfortunately, it seems like we think these last orders expired, and that we are to hunt down every promise and prayer that will make us rich.

Henry the Eighth He Was Not

These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn, Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite; the second, Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite, the third, Absalom, whose mother was Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur; the fourth, Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith; the fifth, Shephatiah, by Abital; the sixth, Ithream, by his wife Eglah; six were born to him in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years and six months. And he reigned thirty-three years in Jerusalem. These were born to him in Jerusalem: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan and Solomon, four by Bath-shua, the daughter of Ammiel; then Ibhar, Elishama, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet, nine. All these were David’s sons, besides the sons of the concubines, and Tamar was their sister. 1 Chronicles 3:1-9.

Whereas King Henry VIII of England would have to keep trading in wives to get a male heir, David had no such problem. It appears he had nineteen potential heirs to the throne, and that was itself a problem. Two of his sons were ambitious enough to try to get the crown against their father’s wishes. And one of those was willing to kill him.

It is interesting that God gave the kings special instructions that included not to have many wives or they would turn their hearts after other gods. But how many is “many”? And David seemed to keep only Israelite girls in his stable, so he never became an idolator, unlike his son, Soloman, who pressed the limits of too many at 1,000.

David had too many, even for the times. After all, if you produce 19 sons, you are bound to neglect some of them. And resentful, angry sons of royalty can cause a national emergency.

More for the Genealogy Freaks

These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. 3 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; these three Bath-shua the Canaanite bore to him. Now Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, and he put him to death. 4 His daughter-in-law Tamar also bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all. 1 Chronicles 2:1-5.

Is there really anything important about the genealogies of the Bible? I know the first time I read through them my eyes were glazing over and I got nothing out of them. But after I’d read through the Bible once, my next trip had me stopping at familiar names, and remembering the stories behind them. It was as if I was doing my own family’s genealogy and discovering my great-grandfather had fathered my grandfather by his father’s widow. Almost nothing in the family history is neat and tidy and wholesome.

These records remind us that God works His will through people we would have been unwilling to use. It tells us that this is a redemption story from beginning to end. It also tells me to never give up on anyone.

The Genealogy of the Nations

Adam, Seth, Enosh; Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared; Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech; Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath,[b] and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.

The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put, and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah, and Sabteca. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush fathered Nimrod. He was the first on earth to be a mighty man. 1 Chronicles 1:1-10.

There is not much to say here. This is the list of first families, and some of these became nations.