God’s Word for You – 1 Chronicles 1:20-27 The line of the Savior

1 CHRONICLES 1:20-27

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20 Joktan was the father of Almoded, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Ebal, Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan.

This part of the line, Joktan’s descendants, the grandchildren of Eber, are not in the line of the Savior but were of course relatives and cousins of the Israelites. In some cases, their names came from earlier people or even from ancient lands. Havilah was the name Moses gave to a place before the flood where there was gold. Ophir’s name is also used for a place where gold was found in Solomon’s time (1 Kings 9:27-28). We encountered a Sheba in the line of Cush (1 Chronicles 1:9), and since he came before Nimrod and the building of the Tower of Babel, this son of Joktan was surely younger.

We know nothing about Almodad, Sheleph, or Jerah in verse 20. But the third name, Hazarmaveth, is a district in southern Arabia. Hadoram is a name used at other times, such as in 1 Chronicles 18:10, for the son of Tou the king of Hamath. Uzal was once the name of a city in Yemen (Arabia). Diklah was a territory in Arabia. Abimael’s name means, I think, “The God of my father,” or “My father is a man of God,” or something like that.

The important name in this series is Jobab. There are are two men with this name in this chapter. The later Jobab is an Edomite king (see also Genesis 36:33-34), and some have thought that one of these two men may have been the Job of the Bible. I mentioned this in our devotion on Job 1:1. But we can’t say for certain.

The line of Israel and the Savior
24 Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, 25 Eber, Peleg, Reu, 26 Serug, Nahor, Terah, 27 Abram (that is, Abraham).

Here our Chronicler jumps ahead to the end of the line of Shem, or at least to the familiar family of Abraham. From Shem, Abraham was tenth in line, or at least the tenth name listed here and in Genesis 11. Shem lived such a long life that Abraham may known him. In fact, most if not almost all students of the Bible believe that Shem and Melchizedek were one and the same person. As priest-king of the Jebusite city of Salem (later Jerusalem), Melchizedek appears with only his great title (“King of Righteousness”) and not his proper name. Who better would qualify as this man, a believer and king who would have commanded Abraham’s respect and obedience, than Shem?

The account of Genesis 11:10-26 lists the same names along with the age of each man when he became the father of the next. What we notice from those verses in Genesis is that men were beginning to sire children at younger and younger ages. In fact, four of these patriarchs (Shelah, Peleg, Serug and Nahor) all became fathers when they were younger than I was when my first son was born. In addition, they were living shorter lifespans. Shem lived to be six hundred, and Eber lived to be 464, but most of the the rest of these men lived just into their two hundreds– lives that were two or three times our lifespans, unlike before the flood when lifespans were up to ten times longer than ours.

Of course, identifying Melchizedek is not what these verses are all about. Nor is the ages of the patriarchs– which are not even given here. These verses are here to show us that the Lord preserved the line of the Savior (see Luke 3:34-36), and how God preserved his people after the flood through the line of Shem. Even though the account of the Tower of Babel is hardly even mentioned (only that Peleg was named when “the earth was divided” (1:19), we see the line continuing through these men.

Today, we want to be sure that we do not despise the preaching of the gospel or the word of God. The Sabbath day should be kept for this reason, athough there is no day in particular that is better or worse for the study of God’s word. But most people who work hard at their jobs can’t devote hours every day to this devotion, and so God commanded a day of rest so that they could relax and be refreshed (for nature itself demands this of the human body), and also so that ordinary people can have time to worship, to receive the sacrament, and to be instructed in the word of God. And, “since we observe holidays anyhow, we should devote their observance to learning God’s Word” (Large Catechism). God preserves his people and his church, but each of us has a role in this, and a part to do. If my work is to bring my children to church and to Sunday school, then let me do it gladly. If my work is to support the church and the Sunday school with my prayers and my offerings, let me do these things gladly. If my work is to preach and to teach, let me do it diligently and happily, and let me “hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that I can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

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Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, New Ulm, Minnesota
God’s Word for You – 1 Chronicles 1:20-27 The line of the Savior

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