1 Chronicles 2:18-4:4; Acts 24:1-27; Psalm 4:1-8; Proverbs 18:16-18
Genealogies. You either love them or you hate them. They can seem awfully dry and boring or delicious and interesting. It depends on your perspective and what you are searching for.
1 Chronicles is a genealogy. But it’s not a dry account of who begat whom. Instead, it’s an annotated list of ancestors. And yes, there are a lot of names, but some tidbits are interspersed unexpectedly. Women occur rather frequently—wives, daughters, concubines and sisters.
Some of the entries seem random: under the descendants of Judah, “Their sister was named Hazzelelponi” (1 Ch. 4:3). I looked up that name in The NIV Exhaustive Concordance and this is the only time this name occurs in the Bible. Who was Hazzelelponi other than a descendant of Judah, important though that is? I have to admit I admire her name. According to Women in Scripture, edited by Carol Meyers, her name means “he gives my face shade.” My own research leads me to believe that her name refers to God by the syllable ‘el’ which is repeated, and therefore means, “God gives my face shade”. Perhaps Hazzelelponi is a good name for a sunscreen! Or a name we could have used for a daughter: Hazzelelponi Sunukjian. That uses just about every letter in the alphabet and pretty much guarantees she would never have gotten out of first grade! But I digress.
Other entries are quite purposeful. David’s nineteen sons born to his seven wives (all are named) are listed (1 Ch. 3:1-8), and his daughter, Tamar, is mentioned, too (vs. 9).
And some entries make me smile. “Sheshan had no sons—only daughters. He had an Egyptian servant named Jarha. Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his servant Jarha, and she bore him Attai” (1 Ch. 2:34-35). Sheshan and Jarha are mentioned only here in the Bible, and notice that the daughter is not named at all! Yet it was important enough information to record in the Bible for us to read.
I like to read the 1 Chronicles genealogies because I love the tidbits. They make the Bible come alive and I realize as I read that these were real people. The scribes who recorded the names in the genealogies had reasons for including each name, but they didn’t know who would go on to become an important part of history. Perhaps Hazzelelponi, from the tribe of Judah, is one of the women through whom the line of Judah ran straight to Jesus Christ our Lord. Notice, too, that she is identified as being a descendant of Hur, who is called “father of Bethlehem” (1 Ch. 4:4) where Jesus will be born centuries after these words were written (Mt. 2:1).
David writes these words in Psalm 4, “Know the LORD has set apart the godly for Himself; the LORD will hear when I call” (Ps. 4:3). Yes, He has set apart the godly, and that includes us, for Himself. We are all important cogs in the history of God At Work. None of us is insignificant or unworthy of being recorded in His book of Life. We all have a function to fulfill and a message to give to our world.
Maybe that’s the point of the genealogies: they all had a function to fulfill and a message to leave. None of them was insignificant or unworthy of being recorded in the Chronicles.
- Nell Sunukjian