Script for the May 19th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast.
Welcome to the May 19th episode of the “Enjoying the Bible” podcast. I’m Matt Ellis, and I’m the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida.
Today’s reading is in 1 Chronicles 8-10. Hopefully, you’ve already spent time in God’s Word so let’s get started.
1 Chronicles 8
All 40 verses of this chapter provide a list of many of Benjamin’s descendants. There are a lot of names here, but I want to briefly shine the light on a couple of names.
1 Chronicles 8:33 (CSB): “Ner fathered Kish, Kish fathered Saul, and Saul fathered Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal.”
In the genealogy of Benjamin, we see Saul’s name, the very first king of Israel. We also see the name Jonathan, Saul’s son and the one who would have ruled after Saul.
It is appropriate that the writer of Chronicles would include the name of Israel’s first king when providing a list of names for the tribe of Benjamin to which Saul belonged. Yet, when we get to chapter 10, only two chapters away, we realize that the story begins with Saul’s death. So the writer of 1 Chronicles isn’t going to spend much time with the first king of Israel who was rejected by the Lord because of his ungodly behavior. He’s going to mention him and then move quickly to Israel’s King David where he will spend a lot of time.
1 Chronicles 9
This chapter focuses on those who returned from exile. So the 70-year Babylonian exile is over when this chapter is written. The Chronicler wants to write down who came back.
1 Chronicles 9:1-2 (CSB): “1 All Israel was registered in the genealogies that are written in the Book of the Kings of Israel. But Judah was exiled to Babylon because of their unfaithfulness. 2 The first to live in their towns on their own property again were Israelites, priests, Levites, and temple servants.”
So, which Israelite tribes came back? There is a popular view among some that those who were taken captive by Assyria did not come back. They are called “The Ten Lost Tribes,” and it is believed by some that they went even farther away from their homeland. They believe that the tribes of Judah and Benjamin came back to resettle in the Promised Land, but all the other tribes of Israel left.
If you ask a Mormon about the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel, they would tell you that it is quite possible that those Ten Lost Tribes migrated so far east that they crossed over from present-day Russia into present-day Alaska. They would tell you that it is incredibly likely that the Native American Indians were actually the Israelite Jews that were fleeing Assyrian captivity.
One of the many reasons that serious Bible students reject this theory is because of the very next verse…
1 Chronicles 9:3 (CSB): “These people from the descendants of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh settled in Jerusalem:”
Notice that Ephraim and Manasseh are included in the list of those who came back to resettle in the land of Israel. We also learn in a few verses that some of the Levites came back (v. 14). So the Bible doesn’t really allow for a theory that says that ten of the tribes of Israel are lost.
There are so many old and new theories that threaten to bombard and undo Christians. The only sure-fire way to be able to combat them is to know the truth. And there is no shortcut to knowing the truth. It requires significant time every single day digging into God’s Word, asking God’s Holy Spirit to help us understand it and apply it.
But if you do not know the truth of God’s Word, you will be taken captive by false, even crazy beliefs.
1 Chronicles 10
As we have been reading through the first four books of the New Testament, we have realized how much they overlap. By the time we get to Luke, we’re reading stories that we have already read at least once or even twice. It may seem redundant.
Yet, the Lord directed those four Gospel writers, and the Holy Spirit empowered them to write some of the same stories but from different perspectives. Among the many benefits of having not just one but four Gospels are that we get a very good picture of what was said and done because we have so many witnesses speaking about it.
So, when we come to the book of 1 Chronicles, we may feel like we’re reading through the Gospels – we’re reading the same stories again that we read in 1 & 2 Kings.
Just realize that the books of 1 & 2 Kings are given as something of a survey of the kings of Israel and Judah. Not much is told about them. But the reader is introduced to the leaders of the southern and northern nations so that we have a working knowledge of the high points of Israel’s history.
But when we come to 1 & 2 Chronicles, the author desires to elaborate on some of the stories so that we get into more of the details. Further, he is much more interested in the kings of Judah than he is in the kings of the northern nation of Israel. So after the kingdom of Israel splits, the writer of Chronicles will almost solely focus on the nation of Judah.
The story has to begin somewhere. This is always a writer’s initial difficulty is to figure out where to begin a story.
As the Holy Spirit moved the writer of Chronicles, he started at the end of Saul’s reign. In fact, he started at the time of Saul’s death. It’s as if Saul’s reign wasn’t seen as significant, so he started at King Saul’s demise and then focused on David’s reign.
As we read the first 6 verses of 1 Chronicles 10, we are taken back to a hilltop on Mt. Gilboa.
1 Chronicles 10:1-6 (CSB): “1 The Philistines fought against Israel, and Israel’s men fled from them. Many were killed on Mount Gilboa. 2 The Philistines pursued Saul and his sons and killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. 3 When the battle intensified against Saul, the archers spotted him and severely wounded him. 4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and run me through with it, or these uncircumcised men will come and torture me.’ But his armor-bearer would not do it because he was terrified. Then Saul took his sword and fell on it. 5 When his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell on his own sword and died. 6 So Saul and his three sons died—his whole house died together.”
So we read that Saul and his three sons die in the same battle. Saul didn’t want to be tortured by the enemy, so he pleaded with his armor-bearer to run him through to hasten his death. The armor-bearer refuses, so Saul falls on his own sword. The armor-bearer, seeing that Saul had died, fell on his own sword and also died.
Saul’s kingly line is now gone, opening up the throne to the next ruler. But at the present, they weren’t thinking about their next ruler. They were terrified that their king had died.
1 Chronicles 10:8 (CSB): “The next day when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his sons dead on Mount Gilboa.”
So, according to verse 9, “they stripped Saul, cut off his head, and took his armor.” They then put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung his skull and his lifeless corpse in the temple of Dagon.
But we are told that brave men in Jabesh-Gilead heard about how their king’s body had been desecrated. They traveled the 90 or so miles to Ashdod, going behind enemy lines, and even sneaking into a sacred temple to get Saul’s headless body and the bodies of his sons. They threw caution to the wind, being willing to give up their own lives just so their former king’s body could have a decent burial. Regardless of what we think of Saul, these men demonstrated valor in action.
Then, this chapter ends with why Saul died in the first place. It wasn’t because he lost a battle. It wasn’t because he was any less of a warrior. Instead, his death was because of his unfaithfulness to the Lord.
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 (CSB): “13 Saul died for his unfaithfulness to the LORD because he did not keep the LORD’s word. He even consulted a medium for guidance, 14 but he did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.”
Friends, the God who brought tragedy into Saul’s life and brought him to an early grave because of serious sin is the God who still reigns today. God is gracious and he doesn’t always bring an evildoer to an early grave. But it shows that He cannot tolerate sin, especially in those who should know better.
Let’s determine not only to despise sin and abstain from it. Let’s also be serious about obedience to the Lord. Let’s read His Word, and apply everything that pertains to us.
Hebrews 12:14 (CSB): “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.”
Lord Jesus, help us to see sin as You see it. Help us to despise it and desire to live in uninterrupted obedience to You. We can clearly see from the Old Testament stories that You generally tended to bless those who were obedient to You, and You generally tended to bring discipline and calamity upon those who were disobedient to You. So, with this reward and punishment system clearly in our minds, we choose to follow You right now. Holy Spirit, enable us to be obedient to the commands our Heavenly Father has given in our Bibles. We pray this in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
I hope today’s episode has helped you to understand and enjoy God’s Word so that you can apply it in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The “Enjoying the Bible” podcast is a ministry of the First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida. Check us out at fbcpolkcity.com. See you tomorrow!