September 7, 2023
“The sons of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eladah his son, Tahath his son, Zabad his son, Shuthelah his son, and Ezer and Elead.”
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“The sons of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Bered his son, Tahath his son, Eladah his son, Tahath his son, Zabad his son, Shuthelah his son, and Ezer and Elead. The men of Gath who were born in that land killed them because they came down to take away their cattle. Then Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him. And when he went in to his wife, she conceived and bore a son; and he called his name Beriah, because tragedy had come upon his house. Now his daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon and Uzzen Sheerah; and Rephah was his son, as well as Resheph, and Telah his son, Tahan his son, Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Nun his son, and Joshua his son. 1 Chronicles 7:20-27 (NKJV)
When I was a boy, my father used to drive slowly through neighborhoods, peering intently into backyards and garages. No, my dad wasn’t a criminal; he was looking for cars to buy. He was crazy about sports cars. How crazy? He has owned over 100 Corvettes! He has also owned over 100 MG’s, alongside a myriad of British and American muscle and racing cars…and even today, he shows no signs of stopping. Crazy? Indeed. So, you can imagine how boring it was for a grade school boy riding shotgun while his father knocked on the doors of strangers and chatted with them about their automobiles. It was about as boring as reading genealogies in the Bible! But, quite often, my dad would skip back to the car with a huge smile on his face and say, “Let’s go!” and the next thing I’d know, we would be riding home in an exotic new ride. Score!
When we read the story of Ephraim’s genealogy, and the name of a city called Gath is mentioned, we are intended to stop, like my father when he spied some chrome peeking out from under a tarp in a stranger’s garage. We put our Bibles in park and ponder, “Where have I seen that name? It sounds familiar….” That process is called meditating on Scripture.
“And a champion went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span.” 1 Samuel 17:4 (NKJV)
So, what is a man from Gath, the city of giants, doing in Egypt at a time when Joseph’s (aka Prince of Egypt) son was still alive, yet hundreds of years before Moses led the people out during the Exodus? We must only assume the same famine that drove Jacob and Co. to Egypt (Genesis 41:54) also forced other peoples from the land of Canaan to seek provision. Interestingly, the memory of murderers from Gath (during the days of Ephraim) was passed down throughout the generations. Perhaps even more intriguing is how Ephraim’s descendant, Joshua (son of Nun), is also mentioned in today’s genealogy. Furthermore, it was Joshua’s (along with Caleb’s) courage despite the report of “giants in the land” in Numbers 13 and 18 that earned him the right to eventually lead Israel into the promised land by God’s grace when he placed his faith in God’s promise instead of clinging to the fears of past defeat. (Numbers 14:6-9; Joshua 24:15)