These Are The Sons Of Israel
I Chronicles 2:1-2 – “These are the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.”
The Books of I and II Chronicles were written by Ezra, according to Jewish tradition.
In I Chronicles, Chapters 1 through 9, we are given the genealogies of particular families. Many pay no mind to these genealogies, even wondering why they are given. The reason they are given and the reason they are important is because they lead to the Birth of Christ. In fact, when one reads these genealogies, you are actually reading your Salvation. All of these names, all of these families culminate with Jesus Christ and for that reason alone we should not skip over these names.
The name “Chronicles” is from the Hebrew “Divrei Hayyamim,” which means, “words of the days” or, in the language of today, “the diary” – a Diary kept by God. As well, according to the Jewish Canon, the two Books are the conclusion of the Old Testament with the genealogies leading to those of the New Testament.
EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE IS IMPORTANT
In the first two Verses of I Chronicles, Chapter 2, we are given the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel). It is easy for one to pass over these names and not really pay attention to them, but to do so is to make a grave mistake. Never forget that everything in the Bible was placed there by the Holy Spirit for a specific reason. That which we think at times is not very important can, at times, be a fount of blessing with just a little study on our part and that’s exactly what is important about these two Verses.
THE TWELVE SONS OF JACOB
As stated, I Chronicles 2:1-2 give us the twelve sons of Jacob. However, when one compares the order of their listing to Genesis, Chapters 29-30, one will notice the order of the names is different. In I Chronicles, the six sons of Leah are given first, then the four sons of Rachel and her maid Bilhah, and then the two sons of Leah’s maid, Zilpah.
So, the question must be asked, why did the Holy Spirit do this? I think the reason is found in the meaning of each of the names, so let’s look at the meaning of these names.
- Reuben: his name means “a son is born,” representative of all born into the world.
- Simeon: his name means “hearing.” The son is born, and then he is to “hear” the Word of God. Likewise, the Lord desires that all are to “hear” the Gospel.
- Levi: his name means “joined.” The son is born, he hears the Word of God, and is then “joined” to the Father. The Lord wants all to be “joined” to the Lord. He does not want any to perish.
- Judah: his name means “praises.” The son is born, he hears the Word of God, and he is then joined to the father and “praises” the Lord. To all who are Saved, we burst forth in praise to God for sending His Son Jesus Christ to die on the Cross that we might be Born-Again.
- Issachar: his name means “reward.” The son is born, he hears the Word of God, he is joined to the Father, he praises the Lord and he receives a “reward.” To all who are Saved, we are given a great “reward,” all the Blessings that Salvation grants us.
- Zebulon: his name means “to dwell.” The son is born, he hears the Word of God, he is joined to the Father, he praises the Lord, he receives a reward, and he is made “to dwell” in the House of the Lord forever.
In these six names, we are given the entire Plan of Salvation.
Dan means “judgment.” There is a specific reason Dan is placed in this spot and that reason is that if one rejects the Plan of God given in the meaning of the names of the six sons of Leah, then “judgment” will be the end result. All of humanity will know the Lord as either Saviour or Judge.
JOSEPH AND BENJAMIN
The next two names given are Joseph and Benjamin. Their meanings are as follows:
- Joseph: his name means “adding.” If the Plan of God is accepted, everything we need will be added and nothing will be subtracted.
- Benjamin: his name means “strong right hand.” If the Plan of God is accepted, everything will be added and we will have the Power of God that comes through the Holy Spirit.
NAPHTALI, GAD, ASHER
The last three names mean the following:
- Naphtali: his name means “wrestling.” The Lord has “wrestled” and defeated the enemy of our Lord.
- Gad: his name means “troop,” as in the Army of the Lord. It also means “good fortune.”
- Asher: his name means “happy.” The only true happiness in the world is the life lived in Christ.
TYPES OF CHRIST
In closing, it is also important to note that all of these sons are Types of Christ as well:
- Reuben: Jesus is the “Son” of God.
- Simeon: Through Jesus, we “hear” God.
- Levi: Through Jesus, we are “joined” to the Father.
- Judah: Through Jesus, God has accepted our “praises.”
- Dan: Jesus has taken the “judgment” due us.
- Naphtali: Jesus has “wrestled” the powers of darkness all on our behalf, and has defeated the foe.
- Gad: Jesus is the “troop” who has fought on our behalf and has brought us “good fortune.”
- Asher: Jesus has made us “happy.”
- Issachar: Jesus is our “reward.”
- Zebulon: Jesus has made it possible for Believers “to dwell” in the House of the Lord forever.
- Joseph: Jesus has “added” all Believers to the Kingdom.
- Benjamin: Jesus is the Father’s “Strong Right Hand.”
I hope you can see that these genealogies are not merely given to take up space, but if one looks closer, one can begin to see great truth and meaning.
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