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1 Chronicles 8

September 8, 2023

Groundworks Ministries Daily Bible Challenge

“Ner begot Kish, Kish begot Saul, and Saul begot Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-Baal.”

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1 Chronicles 8

“Ner begot Kish, Kish begot Saul, and Saul begot Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-Baal." 1 Chronicles 8:33 (NKJV)

Today’s chapter is devoted entirely to the family tree of “King Saul of Benjamin.” It’s interesting how the author of 1 Chronicles (Ezra, who taught the exiles returning from Babylonian captivity how to fear the Lord rightly and who most likely compiled the Old Testament) wanted to stress how the values of the tribe of Benjamin led to Saul’s wicked reign and continued beyond him to his son, Esh-Baal.

Esh-Baal is known as “Ishbosheth” in 2 Samuel 2:8. After the death of Saul and his sons Jonathan, Malchishua, and Abinadab (1 Samuel 31), Abner, commander of Saul’s army, attempted to establish Esh-Baal (Ishbosheth) as king, in place of David.

“David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh-gilead and said to them, The Lord bless you, because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord when buried him. Now, may the Lord show kindness and faithfulness to you, and I will also show the same goodness to you because you have done this deed. Therefore, be strong and courageous, for though Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.’ Abner the son of Ner, commander of Saul’s army, took Saul’s son Ish-bosheth and moved him to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Asher, Jezreel, Ephraim, Benjamin – over all Israel.” 2 Samuel 2:5-9 (HCSB)

There are times in the Bible when the Lord commands the army of Israel to “completely destroy” an enemy. And there are times when He directs a more merciful approach. Skeptics may suggest that God is merciless when He declares total war, but we must never put the character of God on trial. We must simply trust that He knows who will repent and follow Him and who will not. Today, God has allowed us to peer into His wisdom so that we may trust Him, regardless of whether He chooses to extend mercy or levy judgment. Just the mention of Esh-Baal should strike loathing in the reader. Frankly, the mention of the tribe of Benjamin itself (harkening to its historically dubious value system) should make us bristle.

“So all the men of Israel gathered united against the city. Then the tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, ‘What is this outrage that has occurred among you? Hand over the perverted men in Gibeah so we can put them to death and eradicate evil from Israel.’ But the Benjaminites would not obey their fellow Israelites. Instead, the Benjaminites gathered together from their cities to Gibeah to go out and fight against the Israelites.” Judges 20:11-14 (HCSB)

Lest we be prejudiced toward all Benjaminites, today’s chapter also mentions Merib-Baal (aka Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 21:7), reminding us of God’s grace to the meek.

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