Monday November 14
The list of names continues, and a majority of the words in these first two chapters are name. We have the list from Adam to Jacob in chapter 1, and then the tribes of Israel through the time of David. There are many names in here that are familiar, and many that I don’t recognize at all. What is the purpose of this genealogy? Who wrote it? Why was it written? Who was it written for? Why do I care?
Although scholars do not all agree about who wrote it, and we can’t know all the details about why it was written, both Jewish and Christian traditions provide the same possible answer. The writing is credited to Ezra, as are the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. 1 and 2 Chronicles were written after the return from exile, probably during the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
God’s chosen people had been in exile for 70 years. At least most of the people returning to Jerusalem had never actually been in Jerusalem, and all they knew was the Babylonian captivity. This book was probably written as a reminder and source of hope for God’s people. The genealogy shows them where they came from, reminds them of their great ancestors, the growth of the Israelites into a great nation, and where they fit into God’s plan.
So, the hard question for me is still why do I care to read all of these names, most of which I can’t pronounce. If we want to understand and learn from the Israelites, Gods chosen people, we need to understand what was important to them. Their genealogy and history of their people was one of these important things to them. It was used to show how they were all related together, and remind them of all the great people in the history of their nation.
As you read this, try to read every name. Try to think about the names, and why the ones you know were important to the history of Israel. Try to imagine going to your promised homeland that you had never been to, that was destroyed, that needed tons of work, and think how knowing your history would give you hope.
What do we use to give us hope? What do we need to look at daily to remember the hope we have?