Thursday, November 13, 2014

Journal Through the Bible: Week 87 Tuesday

I Chronicles 1:35-54

Inserted into the Israelite genealogy is the parenthetical lineage of those descended from Esau, the brother of Jacob. Esau is the 22nd generation from Adam but is not in the lineage of Jesus.

There are no answers to the 4 questions that I record in my journal, but Esau's information is given in both Genesis chapter 36 and here in the latter portion of I Chronicles 1. I believe this is meant to show a parallel: a compare and contrast of sorts, between the families of the twin brothers, Esau and Jacob, or Israel as he was renamed by God.

The genealogy of Esau's descendants reads easily enough in verses 35-37 and by comparing these verses with verse 39 and Genesis chapter 36 we can place each person in their proper place in the family tree given earlier in I Chronicles 1.

22. Esau
23. Eliphaz
24. Teman
24. Omar
24. Zephi (Zepho)
24. Gatam
24. Kenaz and Timna
25. Amalek
23. Reuel
24. Nahath
24. Zerah
24. Shammah
24. Mizzah
23. Jeush
23. Jaalam
23. Korah

Then things get a bit confusing. Who is this "Seir" of verse 38? There is no one by that name in the previous family tree! Genesis 14:6 tells us that the Horites in mount Seir were under the tribute of Chedorlaomer, a king of Elam, who came with his confederates to battle with the city-states on the plain including Sodom during Abram's sojourn on the plain of Mamre the Amorite. In the ensuing battle Abram's nephew, Lot, was taken captive. Abram armed 318 of his trained servants and rescued him. Chedorlaomer and his allies were killed.

Genesis 32:3 tells us that Esau made his home in the land of Seir which later became known as the country of Edom. It was to the land of Seir that Jacob sent messengers stating that he, Jacob, was coming to see Esau. Remember that the last time Jacob interacted with Esau was when he, Jacob, had tricked their father, Isaac, into giving Esau's blessing to Jacob. Now Jacob feared Esau so he sent an emissary before him requesting forgiveness and peace. It was that very night as Jacob camped after hearing from his messenger that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men that the Angel (most likely a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus) wrestled with Jacob, wounded him (therefore making him weaker right before the big meeting with Esau!), and changed his name from Jacob (which means "cheater") to Israel (which means "God strives").

Why then was the name of Seir included in I Chronicles 1:38? A good clue is found in the name that I have highlighted in blue above. Timna was the concubine of Kenaz, Esau's grandson. Seir was Timna's father which explains how Mount Seir became the land of Edom. Esau's family married into Seir's family. See Genesis 36:12, 22 to view Timna's place in the history of Edom.

We have the records both here and in Genesis 36 of how this land was ruled in the years prior to the kingdom years of Israel. Ironically, it may have been jealousy over the kingdom of Edom, Esau's land, that made Israel's descendants demand a king of their own! They did not seem to grasp that their relatives relied upon depraved humanity to rule in justice while they themselves had God, the Supreme Ruler of the universe as their King.

We do not know where Seir fits into the "big picture" on Noah's family tree but since many of the branches end much earlier than that of Esau's family tree Seir could have been descended from either Shem, Ham, or Japheth. The only reason we know anything about him at all is because his family intermarried with Esau's family and were therefore distantly related to the Hebrews.

1. Seir (where Esau relocated after he left Isaac was known as Mt. Seir)
2. Lotan
3. Hori (whose descendants were known as the Horites)
3. Homam
2. Timna (female, the concubine of Kenaz, the grandson of Esau)
2. Shobal
3. Alian
3. Manahath
3. Ebal
3. Shephi 
3. Onam
2. Zibeon
3. Aiah
3. Anah
4. Dishan
5. Amram
5. Eshban
5. Ithran
5. Cheran
2. Anah
2. Dishon
2. Ezar
3. Bilhan
3. Zavan
3. Jakan
2. Dishan
3. Uz
3. Aran

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Psalms 19:14 (KJV)