1 Chronicles
Introduction 1-10 Descendants of Reuben 11-22 Descendants of Gad 23-26 Descendants of the Half-Tribe of Manasseh
Introduction

The three tribes, whose descendants are mentioned in this chapter, Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, live in the wilderness side of the Jordan.


Descendants of Reuben

1Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. 2Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him [came] the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph), 3the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel [were] Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. 4The sons of Joel [were] Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, 5Micah his son, Reaiah his son, Baal his son, 6Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away into exile; he was leader of the Reubenites. 7His kinsmen by their families, in the genealogy of their generations, [were] Jeiel the chief, then Zechariah 8and Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who lived in Aroer, even to Nebo and Baal-meon. 9To the east he settled as far as the entrance of the wilderness from the river Euphrates, because their cattle had increased in the land of Gilead. 10In the days of Saul they made war with the Hagrites, who fell by their hand, so that they occupied their tents throughout all the land east of Gilead.

Reuben lost his birthright by an act of fornication (verses 1-21Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; so that he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.2Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him [came] the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph),; Gen 35:2222It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard [of it]. Now there were twelve sons of Jacob—; 49:3-43“Reuben, you are my firstborn;
My might and the beginning of my strength,
Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
4“Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence,
Because you went up to your father’s bed;
Then you defiled [it]—he went up to my couch.
). That birthright went to Joseph. God’s choice goes beyond the natural. But Judah gets the most important place because through him the royal line runs and from his descendants the Leader, the Lord Jesus, will be born.

Reuben has enlarged his area (verses 9-109To the east he settled as far as the entrance of the wilderness from the river Euphrates, because their cattle had increased in the land of Gilead.10In the days of Saul they made war with the Hagrites, who fell by their hand, so that they occupied their tents throughout all the land east of Gilead.). He was given permission to stay on the east side of the Jordan and was not compelled to live in the land (Num 32:1-5,331Now the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad had an exceedingly large number of livestock. So when they saw the land of Jazer and the land of Gilead, that it was indeed a place suitable for livestock,2the sons of Gad and the sons of Reuben came and spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the priest and to the leaders of the congregation, saying,3“Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo and Beon,4the land which the LORD conquered before the congregation of Israel, is a land for livestock, and your servants have livestock.”5They said, “If we have found favor in your sight, let this land be given to your servants as a possession; do not take us across the Jordan.”33So Moses gave to them, to the sons of Gad and to the sons of Reuben and to the half-tribe of Joseph’s son Manasseh, the kingdom of Sihon, king of the Amorites and the kingdom of Og, the king of Bashan, the land with its cities with [their] territories, the cities of the surrounding land.). He wanted to stay on the east side of the Jordan because of his many cattle. It is the side that speaks of the earthly blessings.

What Reuben does present to us the man who would like to possess more of the earthly blessings. For the Christian, it is dangerous to engage in the accumulation of earthly possessions as an end in itself. He will thereby pierce himself with many griefs (1Tim 6:9-10,17-199But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction.10For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.17Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.18[Instruct them] to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share,19storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.).


Descendants of Gad

11Now the sons of Gad lived opposite them in the land of Bashan as far as Salecah. 12Joel [was] the chief and Shapham the second, then Janai and Shaphat in Bashan. 13Their kinsmen of their fathers’ households [were] Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jacan, Zia and Eber, seven. 14These [were] the sons 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; 15Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, [was] head of their fathers’ households. 16They lived in Gilead, in Bashan and in its towns, and in all the pasture lands of Sharon, as far as their borders. 17All of these were enrolled in the genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel. 18The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, [consisting] of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and [were] skillful in battle, [were] 44,760, who went to war. 19They made war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. 20They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who [were] with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him. 21They took away their cattle: their 50,000 camels, 250,000 sheep, 2,000 donkeys; and 100,000 men. 22For many fell slain, because the war [was] of God. And they settled in their place until the exile.

Gad is a tribe where prayer plays a role (verse 2020They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who [were] with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him.). Just like Jabez, the Gadites are also heard. In a joint war of the tribes on the east side of the Jordan against the Hagrites they cry out to God. By this they overcome, and not by their defensibility and practice in war (verse 1818The sons of Reuben and the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, [consisting] of valiant men, men who bore shield and sword and shot with bow and [were] skillful in battle, [were] 44,760, who went to war.). This war was not waged for their own benefit, but for God, it was a “war of God” (verse 2222For many fell slain, because the war [was] of God. And they settled in their place until the exile.). Although that was the case, they had to fight themselves. Their crying to God is mentioned and shows that God remembers the moments when these tribes also showed their dependence on Him.


Descendants of the Half-Tribe of Manasseh

23Now the sons of the half-tribe of Manasseh lived in the land; from Bashan to Baal-hermon and Senir and Mount Hermon they were numerous. 24These were the heads of their fathers’ households, even Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel, mighty men of valor, famous men, heads of their fathers’ households. 25But they acted treacherously against the God of their fathers and played the harlot after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. 26So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan, to this day.

The half-tribe of Manasseh answers the blessing of God, which has been shown by a great number of descendants, with unfaithfulness to Him. Their unfaithfulness also has consequences for the other two tribes – who certainly also did not remain faithful, but that is not mentioned here – because they are taken away together with the half-tribe of Manasseh by the king of Assyria. The deportation is mentioned several times in this chapter (verses 6,22,266Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away into exile; he was leader of the Reubenites.22For many fell slain, because the war [was] of God. And they settled in their place until the exile.26So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, even the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away into exile, namely the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara and to the river of Gozan, to this day.).


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