Chronicles is a retelling of Israel’s monarchy in light of the return from Babylonian exile. The message is, after experiencing God’s punishment, Yehovah is still with them after exile. Yehovah is still Israel’s God no matter what happened to their ancestors. It was also written to ascertain the genealogy of the Messiah and to give a larger account of the tribe of Judah.
This book was originally one book and is called “Divrei Ha Yamim” or the “Account of the days.” It is believed by some scholars that Chronicles was written by Ezra dealing with the events already in earlier prophetic books. It is the story of the Jewish people and how history moves towards the coming of the Messiah. Much of the information contained in First and Second Chronicles will be similar to First and Second Kings, so we will not get into as much detail as we did in Kings. However, we are going to point out concepts as we move through the book quickly in our overview. First Chronicles will give a longer account of the tribe of Judah and it also will determine the genealogy of Yeshua as the Messiah. This is to make it clear what tribe and what family the Messiah came through.
The first ten chapters consist of genealogies going back to Adam. Some think that the name “Adam” is taken from the fact that he was taken from the ground, but so were the animals (Gen 1.24). There is more to it than that. In 1 Chron 1.1 in Hebrew, the first letter in Adam is the “aleph” and it is enlarged, indicating he was the first man (aleph is the first letter in the Hebrew alphabet). From him all men descended, including Yeshua, the second Adam. Adam can mean “blood of God” or “first blood” because aleph is the “first” letter of the alphabet and stands for God, and “dam” is blood in Hebrew.
We know that Adam and Chava had at least three sons by name, and many unnamed sons and daughters (Gen 5.4). But, in 1 Chr 1.1, Cain and Abel are not mentioned, only Seth. This is because this genealogy is selective and given for a specific purpose, the Messianic line. The sons of Japheth (Yaphet) founded the people of Europe and northern Asia. Javan founded Greece Ionia; from Gomer came the Cimmerians of the Russian plains; from Maddai came the Medes and the Persians; from Tubal and Meshech came the people of the Turkish plateau. Kittim and Rodanim are Cyprus and Rhodes (1 Chr 1.5-7). Rome is called Kittim in Dan 11.30.
In 1 Chr 1.8-16 we have the descendants of Ham. They populated Africa and the far east. Cush founded Mesopotamia and Babylon, and was the father of Nimrod. Mizraim is a son of Cush and is the name for Egypt in Hebrew. Put refers to Libya in North Africa. Canaan refers to the peoples who were originally in the land of Israel. The Philistines came from Casluhim (Casluh) who were “sea peoples.” The Casluhim were of Egyptian origin, related to the Minoan culture of Caphtor (Crete).
In 1 Chr 1.17-26 we have the descendants of Shem. Elam was the ancestor of the Persians; Asshur was the father of the Assyrians; Lud was the father to the Lydians in Asia Minor; Aram was the father of the Arameans (Syrians) and Arphaxad was the ancestor to Abraham and the Hebrews. Uz was the son of Aram and a region in Arabia was named after him as we learned in the book of Job. Shelah became the father of Eber (the word Hebrew came from this) and was an ancestor of Abraham. Peleg was living when the nations were divided at the Tower of Babel. Terah is the father of Abraham
Now the genealogy begins to narrow down, beginning in 1 Chr 1.27-28. We will learn about the sons of Abraham and their descendants to David. In 1 Chr 1.29-31 we learn about the descendants of Ishmael. God promised to make through him a great nation (Gen 21.18) and would eventually be fulfilled in the Arab peoples. 1 Chr 1.32-33 tells us about the descendants of Abraham through Keturah. She was the second wife of Abraham. 1 Chr 34-42 tells us about the descendants of Abraham through Esau. Israel (Jacob) was the other son of Isaac, and he was chosen to be the heir of the covenant of Abraham.In 1 Chr 1.43-54 we have the kings and chiefs of Edom (Esau). These sons of Esau were important to God’s plan but Messiah would come through Jacob (Israel).
This chapter gives us an overview of God’s interaction with mankind in creation and the redemption. God’s name does not appear but his actions are evident. We see him creating Adam and we see the blessing on Seth, who replaced a murdered Abel. We see Enoch, who walked with God. We see Noah who built the Ark and survived a worldwide flood. We see God dividing the inheritance among these nations, dividing the earth at the time of the Tower of Babel in the days of Peleg.
We see God calling a Babylonian from an idol worshiping family named Abraham and bringing him into Canaan. We also see Isaac, saved from the sacrificial knife on Mount Moriah and how he fathered Jacob, later to be named Israel. He would carry on with the covenant of Abraham as the heir and the promise of the Messiah. We also see Esau and his descendants, fulfilling his promise.
In 1 Chr 2.1-2 we learn more about the Messianic line through the descendants of Abraham. In 1 Chr 2.3-17 we have the descendants of Judah to Jesse, the father of David. His genealogy is listed first because David, the kings and Messiah would come through him. Remember, these genealogies could be easily checked in the time of Yeshua to prove he was a direct descendant of David.
1 Chr 2.18-24 lists other descendants of Judah, separate from the line that led to David. In 1 Chr 2.25-41 we have Jerahmeel, a great grandson of Judah. In 1 Chr 2.42-55 we have the family of Caleb, a great grandson of Judah, and we have the Kenites. They were originally a foreign people (Gen 15.19), some of whom became incorporated into Judah by adoption of marriage. Some believe they were descendants of Jethro (“Yitro”-Judges 1.16, 4.11; Exo 18.9; Num 10.29-32) who came came into Canaan with Israel and lived in tents (1 Sam 15.6; Jer 35.6-7). They were zealous for the Lord (2 Kings 10.15-23).
In 1 Chr 3.1-9 we have the wives and sons of David in two groups. Some were born in Hebron and others in Jerusalem. In 1 Chr 3.10-16 we have the line of David to the time of Judah’s exile, and 1 Chr 3.17-24 gives us the line after the exile of Judah. We have an interesting side note in 1 Chr 3.24 with Anani, meaning “my cloud.” The Targum makes Anani to be the Messiah because the word Anani is connected with a word in Deut 7.13 and translated “clouds.” Messiah is called the “son of the clouds” based on Dan 7.13 and Rev 1.7.
1 Chr 4 through 8 will tell us about the tribes of Israel and their descendants. 1 Chr 4.1-23 lists the descendants of Judah. In 1 Chr 4.9-10 we have a man named Jabez. He said a prayer to Yehovah for a blessing and it was answered. The name “Jabez” means “distress.” A Christian book was written about this prayer so that Christians could pray it and be blessed. It is good to go to the Scriptures and find good prayers to model our prayers after, but let’s look a t this prayer a little closer.
In 1 Chr 4.9 the Targum adds, “And wiser in the Torah than his brothers.” That is the key as to why God answered his prayer. Jabez was Torah observant and did what was right. He walked in the revealed truth of the Torah and the commandments (mitzvot). The context of this prayer is he was praying for his family and about his ancestral border before he began, the expulsion of the Canaanites in his border. He needed and wanted protection from the dangers he was going to be exposed to. God did not answer him because he said the right words or formula, he answered him because he did the right thing, he was Torah observant.
Jabez was a Torah observant Jew who prayed a good prayer. To take his words by non-Torah observant people to get a blessing is going against what God said in the Scriptures (Deut 28.1-14). It borders on “magic” and trying to manipulate God. It would be a waste of time for people who reject the Torah commands (they are lawless) to pray this prayer, thinking they will get blessed. Again, its not because Jabez said the right things, but its because Jabez did the right things (Torah observant).
Replacement Theology Christianity opposes the things of God and actually teaches their people to to disobey the Torah (God’s word). One should not expect to be blessed if they believe the Torah (Law) has been done away with. The book, “The Prayer of Jabez” by Bruce Wilkinson is full of false teachings and assumptions, and this prayer was not meant to be repeated over and over again like a mantra to get a blessing.
So far in this book we have the line from Adam to Abraham, and from there we have the line from Abraham through Isaac, and then to Jacob. Then we have the tribe of Judah and that leads us to the family of David, and that line leads us to the Messiah. 1 Chr 4.24-13 gives us the sons of Simeon and their descendants. The population of this tribe decreased during the wilderness years.
In 1 Chr 5.1-10 we have the tribe of Reuben and they settled on the east side of the Jordan. Reuben was the first born of Jacob, but lost that right as described in verse 1. 1 Chr 5.11-22 describes the tribe of Gad and his descendants. They were also on the east side of the Jordan, along with half the tribe of Manasseh (1 Chr 5.23-26). They made war on the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodath (they were Ishmaelites). They did not continue in their godly ways as time went on however. They were distant from the other tribes and their spiritual life weakened, and they were attracted to the gods of the land. They were later deported by Assyria. Bad company corrupts good character (1 Cor 15.33).
1 Chr 6.1-30 describes the tribe of Levi and his descendants, and also Aaron. We have the fathers and the heads of the tribe. Eleazar was the first high priest after Aaron and then it goes down. We see in 1 Chr 6.28 and 33 the name of Samuel the prophet among the families of Kohath. In 1 Chr 6.31-48 we have the ones David appointed over the avodah (service) of the Mishkan until Solomon built the Temple. In 1 Chr 6.49-53 it tells us that the sons of Aaron who officiated at the altar of burnt offering, incense and the work of the Kodesh Ha Kodashim. 1 Chr 6.54-81 tells us about the cities where the priests and the Levites lived.
Then we will have the sons of Issachar in 1 Chr 7.1-5; the sons of Benjamin in 7.6-12; the sons of Naphtali in 7.13. This only one verse, but many families sprung from these mentioned (Num 26.48-50). Then we have the sons of Manasseh in 7.14-19; the sons of Ephraim in 7.20-29 and the sons of Asher in 7.30-40.
In 1 Chr 8.1-40 we have the sons of Benjamin again, along with several principal men and families. For instance, we have Saul and his posterity listed in 1 Chr 8.33-40 with the sons of Jonathan numbering into the thousands. The tribe of Dan is not listed at all, and we know Dan was involved in idolatry and not listed in Rev 7.5-7. Zebulon is at least mentioned in 6.63,77 in the Levitical list of towns, but not listed in genealogical terms. Nobody really knows why Zebulon is not listed. However, both are listed in the Atid Lavo (Messianic Kingdom) land inheritance in Ezek 48.1-2,26.
We will pick up in 1 Chr 9.1-44 in Part 2.