James Bejon Profile picture
Mar 18, 2020 27 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
THREAD: The Chronicler’s Genealogies.

In times of worry and panic, it can be helpful to think about something completely different for a while.

To that end, may I commend to you some thoughts on the genealogies contained in 1 Chronicles 1–9.

#BibleStudy #Chronicles
Biblical genealogies aren’t merely records of history.

They have a purpose, a message, and a theology to convey.

And the genealogies in 1 Chronicles are no exception.
In a future thread, I hope to zoom in on in Benjamin’s genealogy,

which is scattered throughout 1 Chronicles 7–9.

But, here, I’ll share a few thoughts on the big picture of the Chronicler’s genealogies.
The text of 2.1–9.1 sums up Israel’s life and history in a chiastic set of genealogies.

Each section is delimited by a reference to ‘the sons of X’, where X is a tribal head (or all Israel).

The resultant super-genealogy pans out as follows: Image
This structure is significant for at least three reasons.

First, it highlights the importance and centrality of Israel’s temple—and, more specifically, of its servants, the Levites.
Flanked by six tribes on each side, the tribe of Levi is framed as the focal-point of Israel’s assembly—a glue/preservative distributed throughout the land of Israel (in Levitical cities), which holds the twelve tribes together and sums them up before God in praise. Image
As such, the text of 2.1–9.1 can be thought of as a genealogical portrayal of the high priest’s breastplate,

which (re)presents the twelve tribes before God in heaven.
Relatedly, the Chroniclers’ genealogies depict the Kohathites’ distribution as a kind of human menorah.

The text of 6.1–15 describes the central stem/branch of the Kohathites, namely the Aaronic line of high priests (6.1–15).
And the text of 6.54–60 then describes the distribution of the rest of the Kohathites’ throughout six other genealogies, i.e., throughout cities in the ‘tribes/branches’ of Judah, Benjamin, and Manasseh.

Note: The word ‘tribe’ (מַטֶּה) can also denote a ‘branch’. Image
As such, the Kohathites are distributed in the shape of a menorah,

with a central stem stationed at the Temple and—due to the oddities of the Chronicler’s genealogies—three ‘branches’ on either side. Image
Second, the Chronicler’s genealogies connect the Levities with *cleanness*.

Just as the laver/sea (constructed by Solomon in 2 Chr. 4) is borne up by twelve bulls, so the Levites are borne up by twelve tribal genealogies.

(Image from pinterest.co.uk.) Image
And, just as three bulls face each point of the compass, so (with the exception of Benjamin, which we’ll discuss later) the Chronicler’s genealogies are grouped in threes on the basis of their location in Israel: Image
The Levites are hence depicted as a kind of tribal ‘laver/sea’—i.e., a source of cleanness for Israel—,

which is precisely how their ministry is described in 6.49. (‘Aaron and his sons made…atonement for Israel, in accord with everything Moses had commanded.’)
The function of the Levites is to keep Israel’s land and people clean. And, when they are no longer able to do so (because the Temple has become too polluted: Ezek. 8ff.), the only option left for is exile.

The land itself will vomit Israel out (Lev. 18.28).
Third, the text of 2.1–9.1 can be thought of as a genealogical portrait of Solomon’s throne.

(Photo from worthpoint.com.) Image
Just as six steps with a lion on each side lead up to Solomon’s throne, so six genealogies lead up to the high-point of the Chronicler’s genealogies, and six more genealogies then lead back down from it on the other side: Image
And, just as Solomon’s throne has a lion beside each armrest, so the ‘central platform’ of the Chronicler’s genealogies (viz. 6.1–8.1) involves two distinct offices/genealogies:

Aaron’s and the rest of the Levites’.
As such, the Chronicler portrays the Levites not merely as a religious entity, but as a royal priesthood—a kingdom of priests (Exod. 19.6).
At the same time, the Chronicler portrays Solomon’s authority as borne up by the ministry of the Levites.

Solomon is flanked on one side by the high-priest (6.1–15) and on the other by the singers (6.16–32),
which is why Solomon is anointed as king by Zadok the high-priest and confirmed as king by song (1 Kgs. 1.38–40, 45–46).

Like YHWH himself, Solomon is ‘enthroned/seated on the praises of Israel’ (Psa. 22.3).

First, a plea to translators.

If the actual words of Scripture matter, then can we have more literal translations please?
Can we have, for instance, ‘sons of the half-tribe of Manasseh’ (בני חצי שבט מנשה) rather than ‘members’ (5.23)?

And can we have ‘from the tribe of Reuben, and from the tribe of Gad, and from the tribe of Zebulun’ rather than ‘from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Zebulun’ (6.63)?
Second, the shape and structure of the Chronicler’s genealogies have an important point to make.

A billion and one events took place in the world in the period from c. 960–587 BC.
Empires rose, and empires fell.

People married, gave in marriage,

bought, sold,

were born, and died.
And yet the most important events which took place on earth took place in a narrow strip of land named ‘Israel’.

(World history is dealt with in a mere twenty-seven verses in 1.1–27.)

And central to these events was worship.

And central to that worship were two things:
first, family traditions (6.1–15), i.e., a line of high priests, each of whom bequeathed their duties to their sons (who then did likewise),

and, second, the maintenance/preservations of God’s appointed songs, roles, and responsibilities,

each in their proper place (6.16–81).
Readers are left to make their own applications.


Please Re-Tweet in order to encourage the study of #Scripture in the present days.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with James Bejon

James Bejon Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @JamesBejon

Apr 16
THREAD: The Chronicler’s Theology

Paul views Israel’s temple as an essentially human structure, fulfilled in believers on earth as they worship the God of heaven.

Yet Paul’s theology isn’t an NT innovation; it’s rooted in the Hebrew Bible, most particularly in Chronicles. Image
Chronicles is few people’s favourite book.

The index to Walter Moberley’s ‘Old Testament Theology’ contains over 600 OT references, only two of which come from the book of Chronicles,

and neither of them has anything to do with its genealogical material.
Yet the text of I Chr. 1–9 is a remarkable composition, rich with symbolic and theological import.

Below, I’ll try to explain why I think so.
Read 60 tweets
Apr 10
THREAD: Easter, Esther, & the Third Day

In and through Jesus’ resurrection, the third day is associated with new life.

But the association of life with a third day isn’t a New Testament innovation; it’s deeply engrained in the Biblical narrative. Image
In the very first chapter of Scripture, on the third day of Creation week, land emerges from the world’s watery depths—from a world full of raw potential and yet devoid of actual life.

Grass springs up from the earth, followed by fruit trees.
And these plants don’t represent an isolated spark of life, destined to peter out and disappear.

Embodied within them is the means to produce further life—seed which will bring forth life after its kind (Gen. 1.11). Image
Read 42 tweets
Jan 8
🧵 THREAD: Elijah, Some Patronyms, and an Egyptian Mongoose

For the details, scroll down. ⤵
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah is told to anoint three different folk (1 Kgs. 19.16ff.).

One of them is ‘Jehu the son of Nimshi’,

whose name is worthy of attention.
Outside of 1 Kings 19, Jehu is referred to twice as ‘Jehu the son of Nimshi’ (2 Kgs. 9.20, 2 Chr. 22.7)...

...and twice as ‘Jehu the son of *Jehoshaphat*, the son of Nimshi’ (2 Kgs. 9.2, 14).

‘Nimshi’ doesn’t, therefore, seem to designate Jehu’s father, but his *clan*.
Read 16 tweets
Dec 12, 2022
🧵 THREAD: Into the Christmas Narratives Again…

TITLE: The Shepherds, the Manger, the River Chebar, and the Siege of Jerusalem

As the time for nativity sermons draws near, may I suggest a reconsideration of the sometimes overlooked connections between Luke and Ezekiel 1–11?
One of the primary themes of Luke’s birth narrative(s) is the return of God’s presence and glory to his Temple.

That theme is brought to our attention by Luke at in at least three different ways.

➡️ First, by means of his description of Mary’s pregnancy.
Just as God’s glory would overshadow the tabernacle before it was taken to a new place (Exodus 40), so the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, who set out for Judah soon afterwards (Luke 1.35+).
Read 24 tweets
Dec 6, 2022
🧵 THREAD: Ezra’s clans, the Jubilee, and 153 Fish.

Exegesis by numbers.

Image by A. Levin. Image
Ezra 2’s list of clans deserves serious attention.

Consider, for a start, some of its numerical properties:

➡️ It begins with the classic introduction to Biblical lists of people, viz. ‘Now these...’ (וְאֵלֶּה), which has a gematrial value of 42.
➡️ It details the community membership of a total of 42,000 individuals (to the nearest thousand) (2.64).

➡️ Its main body contains 42 head-counts.
Read 37 tweets
Nov 24, 2022
🧵 Lamentations is a book of pain & sorrow.

Yet amidst its pain, somehow, is beauty,

& its sorrow is underlain by hope, which briefly (& triumphantly) rises to the surface.

Moreover, the book’s lament provides us with an exquisite picture of the work and woes of the Messiah.
One of the most important features to grasp in an analysis of Jeremiah’s lament is its direction of travel.
⬇️ — CHAPTER 1 — ⬇️

As we join Jeremiah in ch. 1, we find him (seated?) amidst Jerusalem’s ruins in what can only be described as shock horror—a Job-like character about to begin a Job-like lament.
Read 70 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!