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1 Chronicles 2

September 2, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“The sons of Judah were Er, Onan and Shelah. These three were born to him by the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. Er, the firstborn of Judah, was wicked...”

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1 Chronicles 2

“The sons of Judah were Er, Onan and Shelah. These three were born to him by the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. Er, the firstborn of Judah, was wicked in the sight of the Lord; so He killed him. And Tamar, his daughter-in-law, bore him Perez and Zerah. All the sons of Judah are five.” 1 Chronicles 2:3-4 (NKJV)

Do you remember your great-great-grandfather on your father’s side? Perhaps you have researched an ancestry website and discovered his name. You may have even uncovered some military and civic records, but you probably do not know his worldview, how he treated his neighbors, or whether he loved his kids enough to spend time with them after work. But, chances are, your values for those exact aspects of life were shaped by your relatives, two or three generations removed. Values are passed down throughout the generations by those people with whom we live in close proximity. Values aren’t taught; they are caught.

With that in mind, it is important for us to understand that genealogies in the Bible are more than just a list of ancestors. They are telling the history of a person’s values instead of communicating a direct narrative. So, a phrase like “son of…son of…son of…” conveys a familial pattern of either sin or righteousness. Basically, “He is no different from his father, who was no different from his…”. And the Lord, speaking through the Bible writers, assumes that every Israelite was seeking His Word every day. (Deuteronomy 6:6-7) Therefore, He does not feel the need to keep telling their stories. He just mentions the characters, and we should already know the story by heart. The fact that most Christians get bored in the genealogies is more a testimony to their Biblical illiteracy than a commentary on how boring the genealogies are!

Now, to today’s passage, notice how the tribe of Judah - the family through whom Messiah would come - was rife with Jews who acted like pagan Gentiles and Gentiles who acted like righteous Jews. By verse 17 in today’s chapter, King David’s own sister has a child by an Ishmaelite! (see also: 2 Samuel 17:25) The New Testament begins with a similar genealogy, albeit a more gracious retelling.

“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:

Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.” Mathew 1:1-6 (NKJV)

Notice how Matthew 1:1 calls Jesus “Son of David, Son of Abraham.” David, the shepherd of Israel; Abraham, the Gentile from Ur who heeded the call of the Lord. Not only was Jesus’ genealogy (the tribe of Judah) mixed between Jew and Gentile, but He came to save Jew and Gentile: In short, He came to save the World. (John 3:16-17)

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