1 Chronicles 7 (NLT)
About these genealogies:
“How barren to us is this register, both of incident and interest! And yet, as barren rocks and sandy deserts make integral and necessary parts of the globe; so do these genealogical tables make necessary parts of the history of providence and grace in the maintenance of truth, and the establishment of the church of Christ. Therefore, no one that fears God will either despise or lightly esteem them.”
As 1 Chronicles lays out the genealogies of each tribe of Israel one by one, we see Judah and Simeon (the southernmost tribes) in 1 Chronicles 4; Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (the easternmost tribes) in 1 Chronicles 5; Levi in 1 Chronicles 6; and then Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher in 1 Chronicles 7. Curiously, the genealogies of the tribes of Zebulun and Dan are not included. What are we to make of this exclusion?
On the one hand, we don’t have much information to go on. Zebulun and Dan are both members of the northern kingdom of Israel that is eventually conquered by the Assyrians, but so are the tribes of Simeon, Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, Issachar, Naphtali, Ephraim, and Asher, and each of those tribes does receive a genealogy in these early chapters of Chronicles. Any hypothesis about what might be happening here should be held lightly because of our lack of information.
On the other hand, the exclusion of Dan in particular may have some precedent, since Dan is associated with an unusually large degree of idolatry in the stories we have read so far. For example, it is the tribe of Dan who hires the Levite named Jonathan away from Micah in Judges 18—one of the stories leading up to the wicked crime of the Benjaminite city of Gibeah in Judges 19. Furthermore, when the Danites eventually settle into the city of Laish and rename that city Dan, we read that they set up carved images for themselves to worship (Judg. 18:29–31). Then, when Jeroboam leads the ten northern tribes of Israel in rebellion against Rehoboam and the two southern tribes of Judah, the city of Dan becomes one of the places where Jeroboam sets up golden calves for the Israelites to worship (1 Kgs. 12:29–30). Additionally, the prophet Amos singles out the tribe of Dan to associate with “the Guilt of Samaria”—that is, with idolatry (Amos 8:14). Even more curiously, when the book of Revelation prophesies the sealing of groups of twelve thousand from each of the twelve tribes of Israel in Revelation 7, that list of tribes includes Zebulun but does not include Dan (Rev. 7:5–8).
What this suggests—and again, we must make our conclusions tentatively—is that Dan specifically is excluded from the list of tribes because of the tribe’s deep idolatry. Because the restoration of true worship is one of the main focuses of the Chronicles, excluding Dan may serve as a unique punishment for the most idolatrous tribe. On the whole, these written genealogies confront us with the necessity of repentance—even as we prepare to see how the new David will establish perfect worship among God’s people forever. Let us therefore seek Jesus, the Son of David, so that we may rejoice that our names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).
–Jacob D. Gerber
Descendants of Issachar
1 The four sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron.
2 The sons of Tola were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Shemuel. Each of them was the leader of an ancestral clan. At the time of King David, the total number of mighty warriors listed in the records of these clans was 22,600.
3 The son of Uzzi was Izrahiah. The sons of Izrahiah were Michael, Obadiah, Joel, and Isshiah. These five became the leaders of clans. 4 All of them had many wives and many sons, so the total number of men available for military service among their descendants was 36,000.
5The total number of mighty warriors from all the clans of the tribe of Issachar was 87,000. All of them were listed in their genealogical records.
Descendants of Benjamin
6 Three of Benjamin’s sons were Bela, Beker, and Jediael.
7 The five sons of Bela were Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth, and Iri. Each of them was the leader of an ancestral clan. The total number of mighty warriors from these clans was 22,034, as listed in their genealogical records.
8 The sons of Beker were Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth. 9 Each of them was the leader of an ancestral clan. The total number of mighty warriors and leaders from these clans was 20,200, as listed in their genealogical records.
10 The son of Jediael was Bilhan. The sons of Bilhan were Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Kenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishahar.
Ehud — a left-handed judge of Israel and a brave man! He went to the king of Moab to deliver a secret message from the Lord, which turned out to be a foot-and-a-half long double-edged sword into the king’s belly. Then he calmly left the palace room, locking the doors behind him. The king’s guards thought the king had locked the door for privacy as he went to the bathroom! “They waited to the point of embarrassment,” Scripture says, before they broke into the room and found their king on the floor, dead. The whole priceless story is found in Judges 3:12-30.
11 Each of them was the leader of an ancestral clan. From these clans the total number of mighty warriors ready for war was 17,200.
12The sons of Ir were Shuppim and Huppim. Hushim was the son of Aher.
Descendants of Naphtali
13The sons of Naphtali were Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. They were all descendants of Jacob’s concubine Bilhah.
Descendants of Manasseh
14 The descendants of Manasseh through his Aramean concubine included Asriel. She also bore Makir, the father of Gilead. 15 Makir found wives for Huppim and Shuppim. Makir had a sister named Maacah. One of his descendants was Zelophehad, who had only daughters.
Zelophehad is mentioned in Numbers 26:33, 27:1-11 and 36:1-12 when his five daughters come to Moses with a question about female inheritance rights.
16 Makir’s wife, Maacah, gave birth to a son whom she named Peresh. His brother’s name was Sheresh. The sons of Peresh were Ulam and Rakem. 17 The son of Ulam was Bedan. All these were considered Gileadites, descendants of Makir son of Manasseh.
18 Makir’s sister Hammoleketh gave birth to Ishhod, Abiezer, and Mahlah.
19The sons of Shemida were Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.
Descendants of Ephraim
20 The descendants of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath, 21 Zabad, Shuthelah, Ezer, and Elead. These two were killed trying to steal livestock from the local farmers near Gath.
“There are thieves out there eyeing your cattle. It’s time we keep a close eye on them to help reduce cattle theft once and for all. That’s why we have created CATTLE WATCH™ and http://www.cattlewatch.com, a national program to raise awareness of cattle rustling, help educate producers to prevent theft and fraud, and assist in putting offenders away.”
22 Their father, Ephraim, mourned for them a long time, and his relatives came to comfort him. 23 Afterward Ephraim slept with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Ephraim named him Beriah because of the tragedy his family had suffered. 24 He had a daughter named Sheerah. She built the towns of Lower and Upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah.
25 The descendants of Ephraim included Rephah, Resheph, Telah, Tahan, 26 Ladan, Ammihud, Elishama, 27Nun, and Joshua.
Joshua — one of the two faithful spies and after the death of Moses, the leader of the people and commander of the army of Israel. He led them across the Jordan and into the Promised Land by way of the city of Jericho. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” he said.
28 The descendants of Ephraim lived in the territory that included Bethel and its surrounding towns to the south, Naaran to the east, Gezer and its villages to the west, and Shechem and its surrounding villages to the north as far as Ayyah and its towns. 29 Along the border of Manasseh were the towns of Beth-shan, Taanach, Megiddo, Dor, and their surrounding villages. The descendants of Joseph son of Israel lived in these towns.
Descendants of Asher
30 The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah. They had a sister named Serah.
31 The sons of Beriah were Heber and Malkiel (the father of Birzaith).
32 The sons of Heber were Japhlet, Shomer, and Hotham. They had a sister named Shua.
33 The sons of Japhlet were Pasach, Bimhal, and Ashvath.
34 The sons of Shomer were Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah, and Aram.
35 The sons of his brother Helem were Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal.
36 The sons of Zophah were Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah,
37 Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran, and Beera.
38 The sons of Jether were Jephunneh, Pispah, and Ara.
39 The sons of Ulla were Arah, Hanniel, and Rizia.
40 Each of these descendants of Asher was the head of an ancestral clan. They were all select men—mighty warriors and outstanding leaders. The total number of men available for military service was 26,000, as listed in their genealogical records.
Speaking of mighty men and outstanding leaders — One stands out! There is power in His name! HERE Chris Tomlin sings “Name of Jesus.”
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.