1 CHRONICLES 2
1 These are the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun,
2 Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
The Israelites being born into national existence under Moses as a ruler and deliverer, he led them from the Red Sea to the foot of Mount Sinai to meet with God. On their arrival there, the Lord commanded Moses to say to them,
"Ye have seen what I did to the Egyptians; now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine, and ye shall be UNTO ME a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exod. 19:3-6).
This was an offer on the part of God to become their King, predicated upon what He had done for them. If they closed in with the proposal, they would henceforth be a kingdom. Hitherto they had been a crowd of slaves subject to the will of the kings of Egypt. But He proposed to organize them; to give them a constitution, religion, and laws; to appoint them a government; to exalt them by his instructions to the freedom, independence, and moral excellence, which are attainable only by the influence of divine truth; to make them the envy and admiration of surrounding nations: to make them, in short, his kingdom, and his beloved nation.
This was a proposal rich with blessings. All God would require of them was obedience, and adhesion to the covenant He had made with their fathers. The terms of the compact were highly eligible. No nation had received such a liberal and honourable proposal before, or since. Would they accept it, and abide by it? Moses was sent to see.
Having arrived at the encampment, he convened the elders of the people, and laid the proposition before them. Having consulted the nation, they returned answer to Moses, saying,
"All that the Lord hath spoken we will do."
Upon this, Moses returned the words of the people to the Lord. In this transaction a formal agreement was entered into between Israel and the Lord. In the word they sent back by Moses, they accepted the Lord as their King, and became his subjects, or "the children of his kingdom."
The relation of God to the tribes as their king is undoubted; for when they demanded a visible king like other nations, the Lord told Samuel that they had not rejected him but the Lord himself, whose representative among them he was. By this political compact, Abraham's natural seed became "THE KINGD0M OF GOD." It was the first, and the only kingdom, He has ever had among the sons of men. He will yet have other kingdoms.
All the kingdoms of the world will become his; and will yet acknowledge the king He has provided to rule over them (Rev.11:15). But even then, the kingdom founded at the beginning of the ages, the kingdom of Israel, will be his "peculiar treasure above them all.
If, then, we would understand "the things of the kingdom of God," we must never lose sight of Israel in connection with the kingdom. Indeed, without them there is no kingdom of God; and to affirm the contrary is to believe in a kingdom over which there is no nation to rule! No misconduct of Israel can dissolve the covenant entered into between them and God.
Elpis Israel 2.4.
3 The sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah: which three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of Yahweh; and he slew him.
The royal line of David emphasised
This lengthy summary of the genealogy of Judah draws on genealogies from Gen 46: 12-13; Num 26: 19-22; Ruth 4: 18-22; 2 Sam 3: 2-5; 5:13-16
The covenant made with Abraham promised an immortal inheritor of Canaan; and in Jacob's last prophecy it was plainly revealed that he should be its King, and should descend from Judah. By this, it was understood that Judah would be the royal tribe; but it was not known what family of Judah he would be born of.
This was a matter which remained in abeyance until the fourteenth generation. The nation had been long settled in Canaan. For four hundred and fifty years the laws of the kingdom had been administered by judges, until at length the people demanded a king who should go in and out before them, as among the neighbour nations.
This happened in the days of Samuel the prophet, who laid their request before the Lord. Though He was displeased at the demand, as it was in effect a rejection of Him, He nevertheless granted their request, and gave them Saul, of the tribe of Benjamin, until another man upon whom He had set His heart, should have been sufficiently trained in the school of adversity to take his place.
This was David, the son of Jesse, and of the tribe of Judah. God ordered Samuel to anoint him king over Israel. By this act David became the Lord's anointed, or Christ; and when he ascended the throne, ruled the nation as YAHWEH'S king.
Elpis Israel 2.4
Er "was evil in the sight of Yahweh"
And Er, Judah's firstborn, was wicked in the sight of Yahweh; and Yahweh slew him. - Gen 38: 7
And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother. And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased Yahweh: wherefore he slew him also - Gen 38: 8-10.
18 And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth: her sons are these; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon.
The Line of Caleb
Chapters 2-8 -The children of Israel, largely Judah and Levi, because of the kingdom and the priesthood. It is narrowing down now to the main purpose. Chapters 2-3, and most of chapter 4, deal with Judah's genealogy and history. And much of it, 37 verses in chapter 2 alone, regarding one man-Caleb, apparently tracing his line from three different wives. This extreme permanence of Caleb is very interesting and must be significant. He was apparently not in the direct line. At the time, Nahshon, in the direct line of Judah to David, was a prince of Judah.
But the direct line is not elaborated, just carried singly to David in a few verses, while many times as much space is given to the line of Caleb. This does not appear to be the Caleb of Joshua's time, but there does seem to be a connection. The latter Caleb appears almost certainly to have been a Gentile, adopted into the tribe of Judah. He is spoken of as a Kenezite, and God gives special command to Joshua that he be given a portion in Judah. This would not have been necessary, if he had been of Judah by birth, or if the family had been.
In all, Caleb's line is 47 verses, while Asher Naphtali, Issachar, Mannaseh, and Reuben only 37 all together. And Dan and Zebulun are not mentioned at all.
This clearly illustrates the character of the book of Chronicles. It is concerned with things from God's point of view. Mighty nations are dismissed without a word - not even mentioned, or mentioned very briefly. Single faithful individuals have many chapters, IF they are part of the Purpose.
There is a big lesson in all of this. IF we have the wisdom to make ourselves part of God's purpose in the earth, we will endure in the record. We shall be of value and meaning and importance. We shall be noticed and preserved. We shall be part of eternal reality. IF NOT, we shall perish with the perishing world, soon to be swept away, leaving no record behind.
Bro Growcott - The words of the days
Here is another interesting puzzle. The Kenites and Kenizites are mentioned as inhabiting the land at the time of Abraham, and they seem to be closely related. Caleb was spoken of as a Kenizite; Jethro, a Kenite.
The Recabites, a faithful family in Israel, who kept separate from the corruptions of the nations and to whom God promised continuance, are here spoken of as Kenites and seem to be traced through Caleb the Kenizite.
The Kenites, not of the stock of Israel, appear to have been nomads, living in tents, not sowing the land, with no fixed abode. They appear at different times in different parts of the land. But, they were faithful to the God of Israel - more faithful than Israel itself.
All this emphasizes the adoptive and Gentile aspect; the fact that God's Kingdom was never exclusively national, but faithful Gentiles were always welcome to attach themselves. At the time of the regathering according to families and inheritance, the special position of the Kenites would need to be recorded, that they should find their place. And though Gentiles, they were the seed of Abraham by faith and obedience. And their names we find written in the great divine book of "the words of the days."*
*Bro Growcott - The words of the days