Chapter One1 Chronicles 1:1-2:2
Adam, Seth, Enosh, 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch,
Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.
4 The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
5 The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and
6 The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.
7 The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittim and the Rodanim.
8 The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put and Canaan.
9 The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah and Sabteca.
The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.
10 Cush was the father of
Nimrod, who grew to be a mighty warrior on earth.
11 Mizraim was the father of
the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 12 Pathrusites, Casluhites (from whom the Philistines
came) and Caphtorites.
13 Canaan was the father of
Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, 14 Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 15 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 16 Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
17 The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram.
The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshech.
18 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber.
19 Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was
divided; his brother was named Joktan.
20 Joktan was the father of
Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah
and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.
24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, 25 Eber, Peleg, Reu, 26 Serug, Nahor, Terah
27 and Abram (that is, Abraham).
28 The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.
29 These were their descendants: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 30 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, 31 Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael.
32 The sons born to Keturah, Abraham's concubine: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan.
33 The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah.
All these were descendants of Keturah.
34 Abraham was the father of Isaac.
The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel.
35 The sons of Esau: Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam and Korah.
36 The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz; by Timna: Amalek.
37 The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah.
38 The sons of Seir: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan.
39 The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan's sister.
40 The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah.
41 The son of Anah: Dishon.
The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
42 The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.
The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
43 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any
Israelite king reigned: Bela son of Beor, whose city was named Dinhabah.
44 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded
him as king.
45 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites
succeeded him as king.
46 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated
Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king.
His city was named Avith.
47 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him
48 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded
him as king.
49 When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Acbor succeeded him
50 When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His
city was named Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel
daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
51 Hadad also died.
The chiefs of Edom were: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 52 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 53 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 54 Magdiel and Iram. These
were the chiefs of Edom.
2:1 These were the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
Biblical scholars have long noted that the
genealogies of the prologue to Chronicles
(1 Chron. 1-9) are a mini-commentary of sorts
on the book of Genesis. This understanding is
largely based on the phrase "these are the generations of," which provides a
structural framework for the narratives of Genesis (e.g., Gen. 5:1; 10:1 RSV).
In most cases, the Chronicler borrows from earlier genealogical sources and
pares the listings to a register of names only (e.g., Gen. 5:1-32; cf. 1 Chron.
1:1-4). God is everywhere assumed but nowhere mentioned in genealogies.
The Chronicler also takes it for granted that his audience knows well the stories
and personalities associated with the names logged in the genealogies.
This fact is important to understanding the rest of the Chronicles as well. The
highly selective retelling of Israel's history presupposes the Chronicler's audience
knows their Hebrew Bible.
Selman has noted that the pivot points of the introductory genealogy
are names of great significance in the early history of God's people, including
Adam (1:1), Noah (1:4), Abraham (1:27, 28, 32, 34), and Israel (or Jacob,
1:34; 2:1). Further, he has observed that each section of the genealogy is
arranged in such a way that the person providing the link from Adam to
Israel is mentioned last in each generation. This means that the sequence of
names does not always correspond with birth order as presented in the
More important are the theological threads unifying this opening genealogy.
(1) The nations are introduced in such a way that all peoples are placed
inside rather than outside the purposes of God's electing love. (2) The nation
of Israel lies at the center of the genealogical scheme. Thus, the Israel of the
Chronicler's day is united with the earlier Israel and with the nations.
The genealogical prologue found in 1 Chronicles 1-9 contains the most
extensive and complex genealogies of the Bible. According to Robert Wilson,
"a genealogy is a written or oral expression of the descent of a person
or persons from an ancestor or ancestors." Particular terminology is sometimes
used to characterize the composition of biblical genealogies, such as:
• breadth, a listing of a single generation of descendants from a common
ancestor (e.g., 2:1)
• depth, a listing of successive generations, commonly four to six (e.g., 3:10-16)
• linear, displaying depth alone (e.g., 2:10)
• segmented, displaying both breadth and depth (e.g., 3:17-24)
• descending, or proceeding from parent to child (e.g., 9:39-44)
• ascending, or moving from child to parent (e.g., 9:14-16)
The basic purpose of the genealogy is to identify kinship relationships
between individuals, families, and people groups. Marshall Johnson has isolated
nine distinct functions that genealogies serve in the Old Testament:
• demonstrate existing relationships between Israel and neighboring
tribes by establishing common ancestors (e.g., the relationship of Lot's
descendants to Israel, Gen. 19:36-38)
• connecting isolated traditions of Israelite origins into a coherent literary
unit by means of an inclusive genealogical system (e.g., the tole-dot formulas in Genesis [5:1; 10:1; etc.])
• bridge chronological gaps in the biblical narratives (e.g., Ruth 4:18-22)
• serve as chronological controls for the dating of key Old Testament
events (e.g., the date of the book of Esther in relationship to the Babylonian
exile, Est. 2:5-6-although the selective nature of biblical
genealogies may compromise the accuracy of the genealogy as a
• perform a specific political and/or military function, as in the taking
of a census (e.g., Num. 1:3-46)
• legitimize an individual or family in an office or enhance the stature
of an individual by linkage to an important clan or individual of the
past (e.g., Zeph. 1:1)
• establish and preserve the ethnic purity of the Hebrew community, as
in the case of the records found in Ezra and Nehemiah (e.g., Ezra 7)
• assert the importance of the continuity of God's people through a
period of national calamity (prominent in Chronicles, e.g., the line of
David in 1 Chron. 3:17-24)
• express order, structure, and movement in history according to a
divinely prearranged plan (e.g., identifying Haman, the son of
Hammedatha, as an Agagite, Est. 3:1, 10).
It is evident the genealogies of 1 Chronicles 1-9 serve multiple purposes,
especially in legitimizing the authority of Levitical priesthood as the rightful
successors to the royal authority of Davidic kingship and in asserting the
continuity of the Hebrew people through the national distress of the Babylonian
exile. There is even a sense in which the juxtaposition of certain
genealogies (e.g., that of Esau and Israel or Saul and David) works to express
movement in history according to God's redemptive plan.
A child was named immediately upon birth during Old Testament
times, and the name was usually chosen by the mother (e.g., Gen. 35:18;
1 Sam. 1:20). The ancients understood the name to signify the essence of
a thing or a person. The naming process involved knowledge of the thing
or person named and power over that entity once the name was ascribed
(e.g., Pharaoh's naming Joseph as Zaphenath-Paneah, Gen. 41:45).
Since the name denoted essential being, a child's name was chosen with
great care. A person's name revealed the character and personality as well as
the reputation, authority, vocation, and even the destiny of the bearer. At
times unusual circumstances surrounding the birth inspired a child's name
(e.g., Isaac, Gen. 21:6-7; Samuel, 1 Sam. 1:20). On occasion the shifting fortunes
in a person's life situation or the transformation of a person's character
prompted a name change (e.g., Jacob becomes Israel, Gen. 32:28; Naomi
becomes Mara, Ruth 1:20).
Many Old Testament names are theophoric; that is, they contain some
element of a divine name or title indicating one's religious loyalty (e.g., Josiah
[= "Yahweh will give"], 1 Chron. 3:14; Elkanah [= "God has created"],
1 Chron. 6:23; Merib-Baal ["the Lord/Baal contends"], 1 Chron. 8:34). All this
is a part of the worldview of the Chronicler's audience. The genealogy is
not simply a catalog of the names of dead ancestors. Rather, it represents a
rich history of family, clan, and nation told and retold through the life and
story represented by the personal names of individuals who form an integral
part of the larger story of the Israelite community.
The Chronicler's panoramic sweep of ancient history from Adam to Noah
to Abraham and Israel transports the audience into the accounts of the book
of Genesis. There the emphasis was on God's dealings with humanity both
in terms of creation and redemption. The same is true for the Chronicler,
especially as he traces the names of key players in the unfolding drama of
God's redemptive plan for humanity. The stories behind the names in the
genealogies may hint at themes and ideas important to the Chronicler. For
example, Enoch "walked" with God (1 Chron. 1:3; cf. Gen. 5:24), a repeated
phrase in the Chronicler's evaluation of the kings of Judah (e.g., 2 Chron.
17:3; 21:12; etc.). Perhaps Nimrod the "mighty warrior" (1 Chron. 1:10; cf.
Gen. 10:8-9) inspires the descriptions of the mighty warriors of David's day
(e.g., 1 Chron. 12:8, 21, 28, etc.).