Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Jabez: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 4

Daily Readings
Psalm 54, I Samuel 26, I Chronicles 4, Romans 14

Daily Text: I Chronicles 4

I Chronicles 4 in our genealogical saga brings together the tribes of Judah and Simeon. Long associated geographically and politically, Judah may have absorbed the smaller Simeon into its population. However, the genealogy makes the point that not all of Simeon was absorbed. At least 500 men attacked the Amalekites and settle in their land on Mount Seir, and surviving the exile remained in the land right up until the time the Chronicler assembled this genealogy. Knoppers makes the point that the exile may have affected Judah far more than some of the other tribes for there is biblical and material evidence that the land was never completely emptied [515:370]. The Deuteronomist suggests that the tribes were consolidated under the monarchy and essentially disappeared, but the Chronicler is presenting a different point of view. He is suggesting that they continued to be distinctive within the structure of the monarchy.

There has been much interest in the short reference to Jabez in vss. 9 and 10. Ironically, the translation could be read that “Jabez was heavier than his brothers…” rather than ‘honored more than his brothers’. This translation would then explain his name and why his mother gave him a name that means she ‘bore him in pain.’ This would also explain why he petitions God to deliver him from the implications of his name. Accepting this suggestion one might also assume that ‘enlarging his borders’ had nothing at all to do with greater responsibility, but rather some deliverance from the disrespect of his brothers and perhaps others. Either way, it is fascinating that the Chronicler interlards his genealogy with these salty recollections of some of his references, and theological truths, in this case, the importance of prayer [515:346]. This surely was fascinating to those of his own day.



Collect for the Day
God of mercy, hear our prayer and come to our aid, that from the rising of the sun to its setting we may offer you a pure sacrifice of praise, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[476:774:54 Psalm prayer]


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