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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

1 Chronicles 8

Verses 1-44

C. The Lineage of Saul chs. 8-9

This list obviously parallels to some extent David’s genealogy (chs. 1-3). Saul came from the tribe of Benjamin, not from the tribe of Judah that God had promised leadership of the nation. One reason the writer had an interest in the tribe of Benjamin (ch. 8) was that it was the only tribe other than Judah to remain loyal to the Davidic line. The tribe of Benjamin "ranked second only to Judah in postexilic society." [Note: Payne, "1, 2 Chronicles," p. 360.] Furthermore, Jerusalem stood in the Benjamin tribe’s territory.

"From the lengthy genealogy provided, we may see that centuries later there remained families of Israelites who pointed with pride to their descendancy from Israel’s first kings." [Note: Braun, 1 Chronicles, p. 128.]

In both chapters 8 and 9, the writer drew a distinction between those people who lived in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 8:28; 1 Chronicles 9:34) and those who lived in Gibeon (1 Chronicles 8:29; 1 Chronicles 9:35). There were Benjamites who lived in Jerusalem and others who lived in Gibeon. Both these towns were important religious centers. Gibeon was where the central sanctuary stood during most of Saul’s reign and from then on until Solomon built the temple. Nonetheless it was not God’s chosen place of worship. The ark was never in the sanctuary at Gibeon. Rather, the Gibeon site was the people’s choice, even as Saul was. God’s choice was Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 6:6). God did not choose Saul or Gibeon, but He had chosen David and Jerusalem. David and Jerusalem are the two major pieces in God’s plan of salvation and blessing in Chronicles.

Chapter 9 brings the genealogical roots of Israel down to real life in postexilic Jerusalem. The emphasis in this chapter is again on the temple: the priests (1 Chronicles 9:10-13), the Levites (1 Chronicles 10:14-14), and the temple servants (1 Chronicles 9:17-34).

"The Chronicler established Israel’s place in the world through the lengthy genealogies of chaps. 1-9 so that his audience might understand anew their role among the nations." [Note: Thompson, p. 48.]

These nine chapters of genealogy prepare for the narrative section of the book that follows and the very next section, the record of Saul’s death (1 Chronicles 10:1-14). God permitted leadership by Saul and worship at Gibeon, but His plan called for leadership by David and worship at Jerusalem. Thus the Chronicler reminded his readers that their forefathers’ premature insistence that God give them a king like all the other nations was a serious mistake. They should learn from their history and not seize the initiative from God again, but simply follow Him faithfully.

"With his first nine chapters the Chronicler has introduced his ambitious re-presentation of Israel’s history as a sermon. Drawing on ancient material, much of which is familiar to us from the earlier books of the Bible, he has already indicated his major concerns. He will be focusing on the kingship and the priesthood-that is, as it will turn out, on the throne of David and the temple of Solomon-and he will be selecting and simplifying, as he preaches on the story of these things, so as to bring out unchanging principles and ultimate truths." [Note: Wilcock, p. 51.]

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Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 8". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-8.html. 2012.