Leaving a Legacy

The One Year Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), September 2

UnknownMen who fail morally leave just as much of a legacy as those who live nobly. The chronicler highlights the legacy of the Jacob’s sons. In 1 Chronicles 5 he mentions:

  • Simeon’s military exploits
  • Reuben’s defilement of his father’s bed and a descendant who is given the name “Baal”
  • The unfaithfulness of the children of the half tribe of Manasseh

In chapter 6 the chronicler traces Aaron’s lineage. It is during Hilkiah’s service that the Book of the Law is discovered in the temple. Perhaps this lineage is intended to remind readers that many of the priests have failed miserably to teach the Law and to serve faithfully in the Temple.

Chapter 7 begins with Issachar’s descendants and includes those of Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher:

  • Manasseh’s lineage begins with a forbidden relationship—an Israelite with a Syrian concubine
  • The mention of Ephraim begins with a tragic loss of sons
  • Asher’s descendants are noted for their military expertise

Chapter 8 records polygamy in Benjamin’s lineage, as well as a son named “Baal”. The Benjaminites produce Israel’s first king (who is a disappointment) and many men of valor.

This commentary reveals several important truths about life and legacies:

  • It matters not how large an estate is left, but what has been communicated about God.
  • God takes unfaithfulness seriously; it begins as a heart condition and soon infects the whole person, the whole family, the whole tribe, and future generations. 
  • It is better to begin poorly and end well than to begin well and end poorly.
  • Those who forget that their lives impact those who follow them live carelessly. 
  • The descendants of those who intermarry with unbelievers eventually take on the names and identity of unbelievers.

Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (1 Chron. 5:18-26; 6:3b-15, 49; 7:1-8:28):
What attitude preceded the victories experienced by the tribes east of the Jordan? What does this reveal about God?
What do the genealogies of the different tribes share in common? What does this reveal about life in Israel during the time of the Judges, the Kingdom and Divided Kingdom?