1 Chronicles Chapter 5

A Family Tree

A genealogy record of the children of Israel is given in this chapter of Chronicles. A record of the sons of Judah and Simeon were recorded already, and this chapter will list some of the line of Reuben. (Note: The wording of these genealogies is not always easily understood, but this is what I gather from these verses.) It begins as follows:

1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph’s:)
3 The sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were, Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
4 The sons of Joel; Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,
5 Micah his son, Reaia his son, Baal his son,
6 Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites.
7 And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,
8 And Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, even unto Nebo and Baal-meon:
9 And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.
10 And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.

Reuben was the firstborn son of Israel (Jacob), by his first wife Leah, but his birthright was taken from him when he slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah. The birthright, which as the firstborn was a double-portion, was given to the two sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. Joseph was the firstborn of Jacob’s second wife. The genealogy is not continued with the birthright, because the tribe of Judah became the chief tribe. It is the tribe of the King of Kings, even Jesus the Christ. The sons of Reuben were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. The sons of Joel were Shemaiah, Gog, Shimei, Micah, Reaia, Baal, and Beerah. Beerah, prince or leader of the Reubenites, was carried away captive by Tilgath-pilneser of Assyria. The genealogy continued with the leader, Jeilel, Zechariah, and Bela, the son of Azaz, who was the son of Shema, who was the son of Joel of Aroer. At the time of the rule of Saul, the Reubenites made war with the Hagarites, who were defeated. They lived in the eastern part of the land of Gilead, which was apart from the majority of the land belonging to the tribes of Israel and separated by the Jordan.

11 And the children of Gad dwelt over against them, in the land of Bashan unto Salchah:
12 Joel the chief, and Shapham the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan.
13 And their brethren of the house of their fathers were, Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven.
14 These are the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz;
15 Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.
16 And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in her towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, upon their borders.
17 All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.

The descendants of Gad lived near them, in he land of Bashan. Their leader were Joel, Shapham, Jaanai, and Shapha in Bashan. Their seven brothers were Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jachan, Zia, and Heber. Abihail, son of Huri, was the patriarch of the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jehishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz, Ahi the son of Abdiel, and the son of Guni who was the leader of their family. These people lived in Gilead. They were counted in the days of Jotham of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel.

18 The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.
19 And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab.
20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him.
21 And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand.
22 For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity.

A war was made with the Hagarites, Jetur, Nephish and Nodab. 44,760 valiant and able fighters from the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, gathered together to fight this war. They cried to God and were helped for putting their trust in Him. The Hagarites were delivered into their hands. They also took their cattle, 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys and 100,000 men. Many of their enemy died because God fought for them. They lived in their homes, until captivity.

23 And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Bashan unto Baal-hermon and Senir, and unto mount Hermon.
24 And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valour, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers.

The children of the half tribe of Manasseh lived in the land and increased in number. Their leaders were Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah, and Jahdiel. There were famous and mighty men.

25 And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the people of the land, whom God destroyed before them.
26 And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.

Eventually, the Reubenites, Gadites and half of Massaeh, transgressed against God. They turned to idolatry, as did so many of the children of Israel. The spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, was stirred up against these tribes, and he carried them away captive to Assyria, to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan.

It is important that every tribe of the children of Israel recorded a genealogy of their family, however the reason why there is little in this record of the Reubenites, is because the tribe of Judah became the leaders of the land. King David was from Bethlehem and his kingdom was established in Jerusalem. A king reigned in Judah until the time of capture when Zedekiah reigned. Most ancient records that we have of genealogy, contain records of kings and leaders. As for the tribe of Reuben, I think that this chapter includes those who were leaders of the tribe as well. Not much can be learned of these individuals of the children of Reuben, from the Bible, but this chapter teaches me the importance of keeping these records for all people, even if all we have is a name. A single name can connect us to the generations of the past, all the way back to Adam and Eve. I may not become anything great in the grand picture of mankind, but I hope that my name is at least known to my family in the generations to come.

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