1 Chronicles 7-8
If the Levites are servants of the temple, then why can they live anywhere besides Jerusalem? The temple calendar is set up so that each Levite only serves for two weeks each year at the temple. For the remainder of the year, the Levites are spread throughout the nation and live in pastoral settings, planting grains and tending flocks just as most of the Israelites do. But they have one more function. Within the various cities, they collect the temple taxes that each Israelite owes based on the tribal area where he lives. This way the Levites keep all of the Israelites accountable to God year round.
7 Issachar fathered four sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. 2 Tola’s sons were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Samuel. These were heroic warriors, and their clans numbered 22,600 during King David’s reign.
3 Uzzi’s son Izrahiah fathered Michael, Obadiah, Joel, and Isshiah, and all were the chiefs of their own generations. 4 The clans these men led numbered 36,000 troops because the men had many wives and sons. 5 These clans, in addition to the other clans of Issachar, totaled 87,000 heroic warriors.
6 Benjamin fathered three sons: Bela, Becher, and Jediael. 7 Bela’s five sons were Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth, and Iri. They were chiefs of their clans, heroic warriors numbering 22,034. 8 Becher’s sons were Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth. 9 They were chiefs in their clans, heroic warriors numbering 20,200. 10 Jediael’s son was Bilhan. Bilhan’s sons were Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishahar. 11 They were chiefs in their clans, heroic warriors numbering 17,200. 12 And Ir fathered Shuppim and Huppim. Aher fathered Hushim.
13 Israel’s concubine Bilhah gave birth to Naphtali, who fathered Jahziel, Guni, Jezer, and Shallum.
14 The sons of Manasseh and his Aramean concubine were Asriel and Machir (father of Gilead). 15 Machir found a wife for Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister was Maacah.[a] The second sister was Zelophehad, who had only daughters. 16 Machir’s wife, Maacah, bore Peresh. His brother was Sheresh, who fathered Ulam and Rakem. 17 Ulam’s son was Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead (son of Machir, son of Manasseh). 18 His sister, Hammolecheth, gave birth to Ishhod, Abiezer, and Mahlah. 19 Shemida fathered Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.
20 Ephraim’s lineage descended seven generations: Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath, 21 Zabad, and Shuthelah. Ezer and Elead (Shuthelah’s sons) were killed by men of the Philistine city Gath because the brothers stole livestock. 22 Their father Ephraim mourned many days, and his relatives comforted him. 23 His wife became pregnant and birthed Beriah (whose name means “misfortune” and commemorates the tragedy in Ephraim’s family). 24 His daughter, Sheerah, built lower and upper Beth-horon and Uzzen-sheerah. 25 His sons were Rephah and Resheph. Resheph’s lineage descended seven generations: Telah, Tahan, 26 Ladan, Ammihud, Elishama, 27 Non, and Joshua.
28-29 The tribes descended from Joseph bordered each other. The Ephraimites occupied Bethel with its towns, to the east Naaran, and to the west the cities and towns of Gezer, Shechem, and Ayyah. Their borders lined Manasseh’s territories: the cities and towns of Beth-shean, Taanach, Megiddo, and Dor.
30 Asher fathered four sons, Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and their sister Serah. 31 Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malchiel (father of Birzaith). 32 Heber fathered three sons, Japhlet, Shomer, and Hotham, and their sister Shua. 33 Japhlet’s sons were Pasach, Bimhal, and Ashvath. 34 Shemer fathered Ahi, Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram. 35 His brother Helem fathered Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal. 36 Zophah’s sons were Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, 37 Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran, and Beera. 38 Jether fathered Jephunneh, Pispa, and Ara. 39 Ulla fathered Arah, Hanniel, and Rizia. 40 All these men were heroic warriors and chiefs of their clans. The Asherites contributed 26,000 men to the army.
8 1-2 Benjamin fathered five sons: Bela, Ashbel, Aharah, Nohah, and Rapha. 3 Bela’s sons were Addar, Gera, Abihud, 4 Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, 5 Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram.
6 Ehud’s sons were the clan leaders in Geba who were exiled to Manahath:[b] 7 Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera (who led them into exile and fathered Uzza and Ahihud).
8 After sending away his two wives, Hushim and Baara, Shaharaim fathered children in the country of Moab. 9-10 By his wife Hodesh he fathered these clan leaders: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachia, and Mirmah. 11 By Hushim he fathered Abitub and Elpaal. 12 Elpaal’s sons were Eber, Misham, Shemed (who built the cities and towns of Ono and Lod), 13 Beriah and Shema (who were clan leaders in Aijalon and drove away the people of the Philistine city Gath), 14 Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth. 15-16 Beriah’s sons were Zebadiah, Arad, Eder, Michael, Ishpah, and Joha. 17-18 Elpaal also fathered Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab. 19-21 Shimei’s sons were Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath. 22-25 Shashak’s sons were Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel. 26-27 Jeroham’s sons were Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah, and Zichri. 28 These men were leaders of their clans who lived in Jerusalem.
Although these ancestral and tribal lists seem tedious and monotonous, they are absolutely essential for marking identity and place in the postexilic community. For example, a person from Saul’s line among Benjamin may have positioned himself for the Judean throne during a time of political and economic weakness. If such a person has arisen from Benjamin or any other tribe such as Ephraim, which is the dominant tribe of the Northern Kingdom, then the scribes in Jerusalem can simply consult the tribal lists in the book of Chronicles.
These lists are not just for noting the “insiders” and “outsiders,” but they also serve the purpose of setting forth a long and special covenant identity before the Eternal One and the specific roles within His nation and people called “Israel.” The ancestry lists of Chronicles support the one who says, “I am a singer before the Eternal One,” and those who say, “We are guards at the house of our God.”
29 In Gibeon, Jeiel (the father of Gibeon) lived with his wife Maacah. 30 His sons were Abdon (the firstborn), then Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, 31 Gedor, Ahio, and Zecher. 32 Mikloth fathered Shimeah, and they also lived with their relatives in Jerusalem across from their other relatives. 33 Ner fathered Kish, the father of Saul, the first king in Israel. Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
34 Jonathan’s son Merib-baal fathered Micah. 35 The sons of Micah were Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. 36 Ahaz fathered Jehoaddah, who then fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri’s lineage descended five generations: Moza, 37 Binea, Raphah, Eleasah, and Azel. 38 Azel had six sons: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. 39 His brother, Eshek, fathered three sons in order: Ulam, Jeush, and Eliphelet. 40 Ulam’s sons were heroic warriors and archers who had 150 sons and grandsons. All of these were of the tribe of Benjamin.
At different points in Acts, Luke shows how the good news of Jesus challenges Greco-Roman culture and religion, but he also shows that Christianity is not subversive to the Roman government. These direct statements by Roman officials about Paul’s innocence support this message. However, a challenge to culture and religion always ends up becoming a challenge to the government, as later Christians will learn.
27 The date was set for us to depart for Rome, and Paul and some other prisoners were transferred to the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a member of the Augustan Division. 2 I, Luke, was permitted to join Paul for his journey to Rome, along with Aristarchus, a Macedonian brother from Thessalonica. We boarded a ship from Adramyttium that was stopping in ports along the coast of Asia. 3 We stopped the next day at Sidon, and Julius kindly allowed Paul to visit friends and be taken care of by them. 4 We sailed from there north of Cyprus because the winds were unfavorable. 5 We passed Cilicia and Pamphylia on our right and then came to Myra in Lycia. 6 There Julius found a ship from Alexandria heading directly to Italy, to which we transferred. 7 The winds were still contrary, so we made slow progress for a number of days and with difficulty passed Cnidus and sailed south toward Crete and past Cape Salmone on its eastern end. 8 Sailing conditions were adverse to say the least. Finally we came to a place called Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea on the south coast of Crete. 9 We had lost a lot of time already—it was late in the year for sailing—following the Day of Atonement, and conditions had deteriorated from adverse to dangerous. Paul tried to warn those in charge.
Paul: 10 Sirs, if we proceed, I can see that our voyage will be dangerous and will involve heavy loss, not only of cargo, but of the ship itself; not only of the ship, but also of our lives.
11 But the officer ignored Paul and instead trusted the ship’s pilot and owner who felt they could proceed.
12 We had two choices. We could anchor in the harbor at Fair Havens and spend the winter, or we could proceed west along the coastline, hoping to reach Phoenix and wait there for calmer spring weather. Fair Havens was not a good option, though, being vulnerable to winter storms; so most of us agreed we should try to reach Phoenix, whose harbor was more protected. 13 One day a moderate south wind began to blow, which made an attempt possible. We weighed anchor and sailed west, staying near shore. 14 Then things got scary. A violent northeaster, the Euraquilo, blew down across Crete. 15 We were caught. We couldn’t turn and sail into this fierce wind, so we had no choice but to let it drive us. 16 We briefly found a bit of shelter from the wind near the island of Clauda. We had been having trouble securing the ship’s lifeboat; 17 but we were able there to hoist it up and send down cables to brace the hull, which was in danger of breaking apart under the strain of the storm. The wind was relentless, and soon we were again being driven southwest at the mercy of the storm. We feared it would drive us all the way to the Syrtis Banks, down near the North African coast, so we threw out the sea anchor to slow us down. 18 All through the night, the storm pounded us violently. The next day, the crew threw the ship’s cargo overboard; 19 and the day after that, they discarded any of the ship’s equipment they could do without. 20 Days passed without relief from the furious winds, without a single break in the clouds to see sun or stars, even for a moment. Despair set in, as if all hope of rescue had been cast overboard as well.
A song[a] of David to the Eternal regarding Cush, the Benjaminite.
1 O Eternal my God, in You I seek refuge.
Save me from those who are chasing me. Rescue me,
2 Or else they will tear me to pieces as a lion devours his prey;
they will carry me off with no one to snatch me from their jaws.
3 O Eternal my God, if I have done anything wrong to deserve this,
if there is blood on my hands,
4 If I have mistreated a friend,
or if I have stolen from an adversary without just cause,
5 Then let my enemy come after me and catch me,
stomping me into the ground, ending my life,
and grinding my honor into the dirt.
6 Arise, O Eternal One, inflamed by Your anger.
Come and counter the rage of my adversaries;
open Your eyes, my God; hear my plea for justice once and for all.
7 Let the people gather around You.
Return to Your rightful place above them in the high court.
8 The Eternal will judge the nations.
Judge me now, Eternal One, according to my virtue and integrity.
9 Please, bring the evil actions of these wicked, wicked people to an end!
But secure the righteous,
For You, righteous God,
examine our hearts and minds.
10 God is my defender;
He rescues those who have a pure heart.
11 God is a just judge;
He passes judgment daily against the person who does evil.
12 If the wicked do not turn from their evil deeds, God will sharpen His sword;
He will bend His bow, stringing it in readiness.
13 Yes, He has prepared His deadly weapons
with His arrows flaming hot.
14 See, my enemies are fertile with evil.
They conceive trouble
and give birth to deception.
15 They prepare a trap, digging a deep pit,
and fall into the snare they have made.
16 The trouble they plan will return to punish them,
and their violent acts will come back to haunt them.
17 As a result, I will thank the Eternal for His justice
and sing praises in honor of the Eternal, Most High.
22 The man who finds a wife finds something good,
and the favor of the Eternal is indeed his.