The genealogies of Israel in the tribe of Reuben, and also in the tribe of Gad, form the principal subjects of this chapter.
These verses are too important and interesting to be hastily passed by. Reuben, the eldest of Jacob's sons, having forfeited the birth-right by reason of his incest, had the sentence of his father put in execution: see Genesis 49:4. Joseph, therefore, had his and his own portion conferred upon him; for the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, which sprung from Joseph, both of them had each a portion. So the dying patriarch blessed them by faith in the promised seed. Hebrews 11:21. But Joseph had not the whole, for Judah yet more eminently, on account of the promised seed, took precedency of both. So declared Jacob by the spirit of prophecy, when dying: The sceptre was not to depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until the Shiloh should come. And this was literally the case in the royal line going on with Judah, until that Jesus came. Genesis 49:10. And when Christ came the Jews themselves confessed to Pilate, that they had no king but Caesar. John 19:15.
The names and settlements of the Reubenites, are here particularly marked. But what a sad proof of degeneracy this tribe afforded, in setting up their residence, the other side of the land of promise. Numbers 32:1-5.
The tribe of Gad very properly comes in, to be noticed in their genealogy, after that of Reuben; for this tribe also joined with Reuben in the wish of settlement.
We have here a short account of the blessing of God upon the Reubenites and the Gadites. How undeserving soever in themselves, the Lord accepted them in the covenant, and wrought deliverance for them, for his great name's sake.
We have here also an account of their punishment for their departure from the Lord. Though God be true to his covenant engagements in Jesus, yet his own honor will bring forth chastisements to his children. So the Lord hath said: and so the Lord's people find it in all ages. Psalms 89:30; Psa_89:35.
READER! do not hastily pass by the view which this chapter affords of distinguishing grace, in the removal of the honor of birthright from Reuben to transfer it to Joseph, and placing Judah above all his Father's household. Evidently here was fulfilled the dying Patriarch's blessing, when he said, Judah! thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise, and thy father's children shall bow down before thee. But oh! how sweet and precious is this view or Israel's family, when beheld with an eye to Christ. Truly, thou blessed Jesus, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise; for every knee shall bow before thee, and every tongue confess that thou art Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Reader! let you and I seek for grace, that we may not, like the Reubenites and the Gadites, set up our rest on this side Jordan. No! dearest Lord Jesus, it is thou that art the rest, wherewith thou wilt cause the weary to rest, and thou art our only refreshment. Be thou, Lord, my rest, my joy, and my portion forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 5". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany