1 Chronicles 9-10
9 All the tribes of Israel were recorded in the book of the kings of Israel; then Judah was exiled to Babylon for their unfaithfulness to God.
It might seem strange that the Jews’ genealogy continues seamlessly from pre-exilic Judah and Israel to their return home, especially since the generations of people who live in exile are lost from the list. But it is important that those who return, who become known as “Jews” while they are exiled in Babylon, are connected to the Israelites. The Jews are the continuation of God’s covenant, so they should remember the long history of faithful ancestors and use them as examples in building the new Israel.
2 At the end of our exile, the first people who returned to their cities were Israelites, Levites, the priests and the temple servants.
3 Some people from the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem: 4 Uthai the son of Ammihud, son of Omri, son of Imri, son of Bani, son of Perez, son of Judah. 5 From the Shilonites were Asaiah (the firstborn) and his sons. 6 From the Zerahites were Jeuel and 690 relatives. 7 From the Benjaminites were Sallu (son of Meshullam, son of Hodaviah, son of Hassenuah), 8 Ibneiah (son of Jeroham), Elah (son of Uzzi, son of Michri), Meshullam (son of Shephatiah, son of Reuel, son of Ibnijah), 9 and 956 relatives. All these were leaders of their clans.
10 From the priests were Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin, 11 Azariah (son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub—the chief officer of the temple), 12 Adaiah (son of Jeroham, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah), Maasai (son of Adiel, son of Jahzerah, son of Meshullam, son of Meshillemith, son of Immer), 13 and their chiefs. These men totaled 1,760 workers in the temple. These were all talented men fit for service in the temple.
14 The Levites who returned included Shemaiah (son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Merari), 15 Bakbakkar, Heresh, Galal, Mattaniah (son of Mica, son of Zichri, son of Asaph), 16 Obadiah (son of Shemaiah, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun), and Berechiah (son of Asa, son of Elkanah). They lived among the Netophathites.[a]
17-18 The gatekeepers, who guarded the entrances and performed other daily chores, were Shallum (stationed at the king’s gate in the east), Akkub, Talmon, Ahiman, and their relatives. 19 These were the gatekeepers for the congregation tent and monitored activities there (as their fathers had ruled the camp of the Eternal One as keepers of the entrance): Shallum (son of Kore, son of Ebiasaph, son of Korah) and his fellow Korahites. 20 Phinehas (son of Eleazar) ruled them previously, and the Eternal was with him. 21 Zechariah (son of Meshelemiah) was gatekeeper at the entrance of the congregation tent. 22 All the men who were gatekeepers numbered 212. They were recorded in the local genealogies and were chosen by King David and the seer Samuel.
23 They and their sons guarded the gates of the temple and the congregation tent. 24 The gatekeepers were stationed on all sides: to the north, south, east, and west. 25 Their relatives joined the gatekeepers once per week to keep them company. 26 The four chief gatekeepers (who were Levites) had the important task of controlling the chambers and treasuries in the temple. 27 Because guarding was their primary task, they spent their nights watching the temple and opened it each morning. 28 Others were in charge of the vessels of service; the vessels were counted as they were brought into and taken out of the temple. 29 Still others were in charge of the sanctuary’s furniture and utensils, and of the flour, wine, oil, frankincense, and spices. 30 Some of the sons of the priests mixed these spices. 31 Mattithiah (a Levite and the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite) was responsible for things baked in pans for offerings. 32 Some of their Kohathite relatives baked the unleavened bread used as showbread every sabbath. 33 These are the singers, the chiefs of the Levites during their own generations, who lived in the chambers of the temple in Jerusalem free from other service because they worked day and night. 34 All these men were the chiefs of the Levites during their own generations, and they all lived in Jerusalem.
All priests may be Levites, but not all Levites are priests. Priests are descendants of Aaron, Israel’s first high priest, and perform sacrifices in the temple. Levites who are descendants of the other Levite patriarchs perform all the other duties necessary in the temple; they are elders, custodians, musicians, assistants, handymen, gatekeepers, treasurers, etc. All jobs are equally necessary to the functioning of the temple, so no one of them should be more highly regarded than another. Even the high priest is no more important than the young Levite who sweeps the floor every day.
35 Jeiel (the leader of Gibeon) lived in Gibeon with his wife Maacah. 36 Their firstborn son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, 37 Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth. 38 Mikloth fathered Shimeam. These lived with their relatives in Jerusalem, across from their other relatives. 39 Ner fathered Kish, whose son was Saul (father of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal). 40 Jonathan’s son was Merib-baal, and Merib-baal’s son was Micah. 41 Micah fathered Pithon, Melech, Tahrea, and Ahaz. 42 Ahaz’s son was Jarah, who fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri fathered Moza, 43 whose lineage descended four generations: Binea, Rephaiah, Eleasah, and Azel. 44 Azel had six sons: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan.
Having explained how the Israelites and the postexilic Jews are part of the same family with this extensive genealogy, the chronicler now presents a narrative about the most glorious period of Israel’s history: the united kingdom. It is in kings David and Solomon that the returning Jews are to find inspiration to rebuild their nation and follow their God.
10 At the end of Saul’s reign as king of Israel, the Philistines attacked Israel. The Israelites fled from the Philistines and were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 As the Philistines tracked Saul and his sons, they killed Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua. 3 The fighting was heavy around Saul. Their archers caught up with Saul and wounded him.
Saul (commanding his armor bearer): 4 Draw your sword and kill me; otherwise these pagans will capture me and mutilate my body.
But the armor bearer was afraid to kill his king, so Saul committed suicide, falling on his own sword. 5 When the armor bearer saw Saul’s body, he also committed suicide, falling on his own sword. 6 It was at this battle that Saul, his three sons, and his household were annihilated.
7 When the Israelites remaining in the valley realized their kinsmen had fled and Saul and his sons were dead, they also left their cities and fled. The conquering Philistines then inhabited these conquered cities of Israel. 8 The next day, when the Philistines returned to the battlefield to rob the dead, they found Saul and his sons slain on Mount Gilboa. 9 So the Philistines stripped Saul and sent his head and armor throughout Philistia, announcing their victory to their gods and to the people. 10 They put Saul’s armor in their gods’ temples and mounted his head in the temple of Dagon.
A prominent god whom the Philistines worship is Dagon. They believe he brings rain, which in turn is vital to the crops, and thus makes life possible in their land.
11 When Jabesh-gilead heard how the Philistines desecrated Saul’s remains, 12 the heroic men buried the bodies of their king and his sons under the oak tree in Jabesh and fasted for seven days.
13-14 Because Saul disobeyed the Eternal One and trusted in the counsel of a medium instead, he died at the Eternal’s hand; and the Eternal gave the kingdom to the great king David, son of Jesse.
- 9:16 People from an area about three miles southeast of Bethlehem
21 On top of all of this, the crew had been unable to eat anything because of the turmoil. Paul saw the crew had reached a critical moment. He gathered them.
Paul: Men, if you had listened to my warning, we would still be safe in Crete and would have avoided this damage and loss. 22 I was correct in my warning, so I urge you to believe me now: none of you will die. We will lose the ship, but we will not lose one life. So keep up your courage, men! 23 The God I belong to, the God I worship, sent a heavenly messenger to me this night. 24 He said, “Do not be afraid, Paul. I’m not finished with you yet. You are going to stand before the emperor! You can be certain that God has granted safety to you and all your companions.” 25 So listen, men: you must not give up hope! Keep up your courage! I have faith in God that things will turn out exactly as I was told last night. 26 Here’s what I foresee: we will run aground on some island.
27-28 Imagine what happened: It’s the 14th night of our nightmare voyage; we’re being driven by the storm somewhere in the Adriatic Sea. It’s about midnight, and the sailors are taking soundings, fearing we might run aground. “Twenty fathoms,” somebody calls out in the darkness, then a little later, “Fifteen fathoms.” We’re nearing land! 29 But hope quickly gives way to a new fear. At any moment in this darkness, they realize, we could be smashed onto unseen rocks. So they drop four anchors from the stern and pray for first light.
30 Then some of the crew decide to make a run for it on their own. They say they need to let out more anchors from the bow, and this will require lowering the ship’s lifeboat. They actually plan to abandon us; we realize what’s going on. 31 Paul quickly speaks to the officer and soldiers.
Paul: Unless these men stay on board, you won’t survive.
32 So the soldiers intervene, cut away the lifeboat, and let it drift away. 33, 37 We wait. Just before dawn, Paul again gathers everyone on the ship—all 276 of us. He urges everyone to eat and encourages us not to lose hope.[a]
Paul: Listen, men, we’ve all been under incredible stress for 14 days. You haven’t eaten anything during this whole time. 34 I urge you to take some food now because it will help you survive what we’re about to face. And I want to assure you—not one of you will lose a single hair from your head. We’re all going to make it—all 276 of us!
35 Then Paul takes a loaf of bread and gives thanks to God in front of all of them. He breaks it, takes a piece, and begins to eat. 36 A fresh surge of courage seems to fill their hearts as they also begin to eat. 38 After satisfying their hunger, the crew lightens the ship by throwing the remaining wheat overboard. 39 Day finally breaks. They survey the coastline and don’t recognize it, but they do notice a bay with a beach—the best place to try to run ashore.
40 So they cut the anchor ropes, untie the steering oars, hoist the foresail to the wind, and make for the beach. 41 But then there’s a horrible sound, and we realize we’ve struck a reef; the bow is jammed solid, and the waves are smashing the stern to pieces. 42 The soldiers start talking about killing the prisoners so they won’t swim away and escape; 43 but the officer wants to save Paul, so he stops them. He tells those who can swim to jump overboard and swim to the shore, 44 and those who can’t, he tells to hold on to planks and other pieces of the ship when it breaks apart. Some hours later, we reassemble on the beach, each one safe and sound.
For the worship leader. A song of David accompanied by the harp.[a]
This Davidic psalm based on Genesis 1 celebrates not only God’s majesty as Creator but also the unique place of human beings in His creation.
1 O Eternal, our Lord,
Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth;
Your magnificent glory shines far above the skies.
2 From the mouths and souls of infants and toddlers, the most innocent,
You have decreed power to stop Your adversaries
and quash those who seek revenge.
3 When I gaze to the skies and meditate on Your creation—
on the moon, stars, and all You have made,
4 I can’t help but wonder why You care about mortals—
sons and daughters of men—
specks of dust floating about the cosmos.
5 But You placed the son of man just beneath God
and honored him like royalty, crowning him with glory and honor.
6 You ordained him to govern the works of Your hands,
to nurture the offspring of Your divine imagination;
You placed everything on earth beneath his feet:
7 All kinds of domesticated animals,
even the wild animals in the fields and forests,
8 The birds of the sky and the fish of the sea,
all the multitudes of living things that travel the currents of the oceans.
9 O Eternal, our Lord,
Your majestic name is heard throughout the earth.
- 8:title Hebrew, gittith, a winepress or a musical instrument from Gath
23 The poor plead for help,
but the rich respond harshly.
24 Someone with many so-called friends may end up friendless,
but a true friend is closer than a brother.