Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Harvest 3, Diane Scherer, 2016. Wired magazine, Artist Teaches Roots To Grow In Beautiful, Alien Patterns.

Adam, Sheth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jered, Henoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
1 Chronicles 1:1-4

Chronicles is thought by most theologians to have been written at the end the period of exile, after Persia had captured Babylon, and the Judean slaves were granted their freedom. Heading back to their homeland after seventy years of exile, much of their own history would have been neglected and forgotten. The writer of Chronicles, generally considered to be the Levite priest, Ezra, draws on priestly records to write a full account of the genealogy of the returning people, starting all the way back with Adam, and tracing the lines of the tribes until the current time.

The genealogy would allow the returning exiles to establish what lands were rightly theirs, so this was an important legal document, as well as an historical, and theological one. As David Guzik writes,

"We can imagine the importance of these genealogical lists for the returning exiles. The message of the continuity of God's work through the generations was important for them, as well as helping them to affirm their own place in that flow of God's work through the ages."1

Ancestry matters. Our roots remind us who we are, from whence we came, and perhaps even "what God expects us to do".2 By connecting the people back to the anchor of Adam, the Chronicler effectively offers a tether to this wondering, disoriented remnant of Israel. Becoming rooted once again allows the returnees to rebuild their broken cities, and to reestablish themselves as God's chosen people. It's amazing what a simple list of names can represent—and there are nine chapters of this in 1 Chronicles! What appears to us today to be a dull semi-historical document, offered to its readers of the time status, security, connection, brotherhood, intimacy with God, and a sense of future purpose.

1 1 Chronicles 1: From Adam to Abraham, by David Guzik, Enduring Word
2 Tevye, Tradition, from the musical 'Fiddler on the Roof', 1964