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

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Lists on Purpose: Bible Comment on I Chronicles 3 with poem by Christopher Smart, Jubilate Agno

Daily Readings
Wisdom of Solomon 13, I Samuel 25, I Chronicles 3, Romans 13

Daily Text: I Chronicles 3

Lists on Purpose
Genealogies are created for a purpose. The question is in the identification of that purpose. This one has produced a bumper crop of suggestions from Davidic ascendancy to the idea that it supports messianic claims. In fact, the Davidic claims foundered with the fall of Jerusalem in 587, and yet this genealogy goes into the return from exile, that is, down to about 350 B.C. Knoppers [515:333ff] makes the assertion that the primary role for this fascinating account of the royal line was simply to spell out its vitality. There is only one reference to the great events of those 600-700 years, and that is the minor reference to Jeconiah the captive in vs. 17, alluding to the Babylonian captivity. Overwhelmingly, however, there is little distinction between the sons of David and those at the end of the genealogy, the sons of Elioenai. This dynasty simply persisted and in so doing became the great dynasty of the Jewish people. Whether such a point serves its restoration hopes, gives the priests and Levites additional cachet to assert their authority or points to Messianic dreams is a moot point. None of these lines of thinking are developed, but that the Davidic line persists is abundantly clear.

There are some fascinating details in I Chronicles 3. The immediate sons of David up until those by Bathsheba are each firstborn by the mother mentioned, with Ammon presumably being the firstborn of all those firstborns. That is, only Bathsheba has more than one son listed in this genealogy of David’s offspring. A second little known fact is that Solomon is the fourth son of Bathsheba and David! We didn’t know that before. Nathan is older than Solomon in this list and Luke, in contradistinction from Matthew, brings Jesus’ line through Nathan (cf. Luke 3:31; Matthew 1:6) rather than Solomon. One wonders why. In verses 5-9 two sons are listed twice: Elishama and Eliphelet. It may be that the first son in each of these cases died and a later was named for him [520:17], or these may simply reflect scribal errors. Selections of names to be included almost always reflect lines of succession for the kings of Judah. There is a marriage of strategic political importance included (vs. 2), there are wives of foreign extraction, there is a reference reflecting movement of the capitol to Jerusalem, but all is carefully and economically presented, not to simply magnify the Davidic line, but to reflect its flexibility and most of all its persistence.

from Jubilate Agno
Christopher Smart

For man is between the pinchers while his soul is shaping and purifying.
For the English are the seed of Abraham and work up to him by Joab,
David, and Naphtali. God be gracious to us this day. General Fast
March 14th 1760.
For the Romans and the English are one people the children of the
brave man who died at the altar praying for his posterity, whose
death was the type of our Saviour’s.
For the Welsh are the children of Mephibosheth and Ziba with
mixture of David in the Jones’s.
For the Scotch are the children of Doeg with a mixture of Cush the
Benjamite, whence their innate antipathy to the English.
For the Irish are the children of Shimei and Cush with a mixture of
something lower—the Lord raise them!
For the French are Moabites even the children of Lot.
For the Dutch are the children of Gog.
For the Poles are the children of Magog.
For the Italians are the children of Samuel and are the same as the
For the Spaniards are the children of Abishai Joab’s brother, hence is
the goodwill between the two nations.
For the Portuguese are the children of Ammon—God be gracious to
Lisbon and send good angels amongst them!
For the Hottentots are the children of Gog, with a Black mixture.
For the Russians are the children of Ishmael.
For the Turks are the children of Esau, which is Edom.
For the Wallachians are the children of Huz. God be gracious to
Elizabeth Hughes, as she was.
For the Germans are the children of the Philistines even the seed of
For the Prussians are the children of Goliah—but the present, whom
God bless this hour, is a Campbell of the seed of Phinees.
For the Hanoverians are Hittites of the seed of Uriah. God save the
For the Hessians are Philistines with a mixture of Judah.
For the Saxons are Benjamites, men of great subtlety and Marshal Saxe
was direct from Benjamin.
For the Danes are of the children of Zabulon.
For the Venetians are the children of Mark and Romans.
For the Swiss are Philistines of a particular family. God be gracious to
Jonathan Tyers his family and to all the people at Vaux Hall.
For the Sardinians are of the seed of David—The Lord forward the
Reformation amongst the good seed first.
For the Mogol’s people are the children of Phut.
For the old Greeks and the Italians are one people, which are blessed in
the gift of music by reason of the song of Hannah and the care of
Samuel with regard to divine melody.
For the Germans and the Dutch are the children of the Goths and
Vandals who did a good in destruction of books written by heathen
Free Thinkers against God.
For there are Americans of the children of Toi.
For the Laplanders are the children of Gomer.


Collect for the Day
Almighty God, you have given us this good land as our heritage. May we prove ourselves a people mindful of your generosity and glad to do your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honourable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance; and from every evil course of action. Make us who came from many nations with many different languages a united people. Defend our liberties and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful; and, in troubled times, do not let our trust in you fail. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

[476:678:For the Nation]


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