1 Chronicles 1:34-54 (Part 1) – What’s Your Family’s Pot of Stew Rift?

Posted: November 5, 2019 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 1:34-54 (Part 1 of 3)

Descendants of Isaac

In this section of the genealogies of 1 Chronicles we see the lineage of Isaac whose sons were Jacob and Esau. It reminds you of what family rifts can do to a family. There are those watershed moments in family life where things get said or things get done and there is this huge family blow-up. After the blow-up, family members don’t talk to each other for a long time. If it is allowed to continue, the thing that caused the blow-up gets warped out of proportion and families sometimes never heal from the wounds caused.

In my extended family, this very thing did happen. There was a visit to my grandparent’s house (at that time, they owned a farm in northern Spartanburg [SC] County) by my uncle Doug. This was way back in 1966. I was 4 at the time and was not there and all of this information was shared over the years by my dad. Back then, in 1966, my uncle Doug was about 23 and my grandad, Pop, was around 51. The visit was to inform Pop and Granny that Doug and Marlene were going to adopt children, two girls, because they were unable to conceive on their own. Somewhere in this fateful conversation, my grandad, the rough, group, no filter, full of sarcastic humor, guy that he was, said something to the effect of Doug not being a man because he could not impregnate his wife. Knowing Pop as I came to know him over the years, it was just him trying to be sarcastically funny. However, this was a situation where that type of humor was not what was called for. But Pop being Pop, with no filter between his thoughts and his mouth, he said it. It was out there. Uncle Doug did not take it well at all. In fact, he immediately got up and departed Pop and Granny’s house and slammed the front door so hard that it shattered the glass in the door. Surely, there were other things brewing between Pop and Uncle Doug and this was just the final straw. That day, in 1966, effectively ended the relationship between Uncle Doug and our extended family (Pop, Granny, the four other brothers and all of us kids of those four remaining brothers). Within a few years after the blow-up, my Uncle Doug went as far as to tell others that his parents had died when he was young and publicly claimed a couple in Spartanburg with whom he had a close relationship as his parents. It got THAT bad.

The rift in the family was never healed. Uncle Doug never came around the family again. Although my dad tried to mediate the rift several times over the first decade of the rift, it was never healed. No one stepped forward. Neither Pop or Doug was willing to give ground to one another. When my grandfather passed away suddenly in the Summer of 1979, nothing changed for Doug. Further down the road, when my grandmother passed away in 2009, nothing changed for Doug in all those 30 years and now that both the parents were gone. Between 2009 and Doug’s death in 2015, there were no attempts by Doug to reconcile with his brothers and their families. The remaining brothers did not wish to have things the way they were but over the years, their efforts to reconcile with Doug had always been thwarted. They took the approach that if he wanted to be part of the family, it was his call. So, sometimes, one act, one moment in time becomes a permanent fracture in families. Sometimes, we offer so much forgiveness to others but yet offer absolutely none to family.

That’s what I thought of this morning as I reflected on this particular part of the genealogies presented in 1 Chronicles 1. The fact that Esau never reconciled with his brother, the fact that Esau’s descendants became enemies of the nation of Israel/Judah, all of it began over some stew, literally. Little thing led to a little bigger thing, selling a birthright for the stew, that became a rift in the family. Mistakes were made all around and yet it was never healed. Forgiveness was not part of the equation for these very real people. Let’s read the passage now, 1 Chronicles 1:34-54 for the first of three blogs about this passage.

34 Abraham was the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel.[a]

Descendants of Esau

35 The sons of Esau were Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

36 The descendants of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho,[b] Gatam, Kenaz, and Amalek, who was born to Timna.[c]

37 The descendants of Reuel were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.

Original Peoples of Edom

38 The descendants of Seir were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.

39 The descendants of Lotan were Hori and Hemam.[d] Lotan’s sister was named Timna.

40 The descendants of Shobal were Alvan,[e] Manahath, Ebal, Shepho,[f] and Onam.

The descendants of Zibeon were Aiah and Anah.

41 The son of Anah was Dishon.

The descendants of Dishon were Hemdan,[g] Eshban, Ithran, and Keran.

42 The descendants of Ezer were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.[h]

The descendants of Dishan[i] were Uz and Aran.

Rulers of Edom

43 These are the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before any king ruled over the Israelites[j]:

Bela son of Beor, who ruled from his city of Dinhabah.

44 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah became king in his place.

45 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites became king in his place.

46 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad became king in his place and ruled from the city of Avith. He was the one who destroyed the Midianite army in the land of Moab.

47 When Hadad died, Samlah from the city of Masrekah became king in his place.

48 When Samlah died, Shaul from the city of Rehoboth-on-the-River became king in his place.

49 When Shaul died, Baal-hanan son of Acbor became king in his place.

50 When Baal-hanan died, Hadad became king in his place and ruled from the city of Pau.[k] His wife was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred and granddaughter of Me-zahab. 51 Then Hadad died.

The clan leaders of Edom were Timna, Alvah,[l] Jetheth, 52 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 53 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 54 Magdiel, and Iram. These are the clan leaders of Edom.

In this passage, we see that Israel is another name for Jacob, the name given to him by God (Genesis 32:28). Israel means “someone who struggles with God”. Israel’s (Jacob’s) 12 sons become the nation of Israel. Esau’s descendants became the nation of Edom, a constant enemy of Israel. Esau was a manly, man. He was the consummate outdoorsman. He was the eldest son of Isaac and being born first, he had the natural rights given to the eldest son (birthright). Jacob got his name from the birth process too as after “his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob” (Gen 25:26).

The author of Hebrews warns against a root of bitterness springing up and says

“See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears” (Heb 12:15-17).

A “root of bitterness” did spring up from Esau and it is understandable in a sense because Jacob tricked him into giving him Esau’s birthright for one simple meal. Jacob took advantage of Esau’s hunger and exhaustion but this also proved that Esau didn’t really appreciate his birthright (despised it) and gave it away to satisfy his appetite. In other words, Esau gave up his birthright and all the blessings that went with that, to satisfy the flesh but for a moment.

My Uncle Doug allow a root of bitterness toward my grandfather to fester into a forest of bitterness that separated him from his family for a half a century. It is only now that they are all in heaven that they will be reunited. In this passage, the root of bitterness created a nation of people that were bitter enemies of Israel/Judah. All of it could have been avoided with a little forgiveness and Esau’s descendants would have been a part of God’s chosen people rather than enemies of them.

Let us all look at our family situations. Are there things going on in your family where pride has gotten in the way of forgiveness. What if God did not forgive us for our sins. Let us love the way God loves. Sure, there are things that we all sometimes have to apologize for. There are things that we have to eat our pride about. There are things that we just need to sit down and talk out. Love should always win. Not pride. See what pride did to the Edomites vs. the Israelites. It did not have to be that way. Neither does it in your family.

Remember, we offend God. We grieve God. We cause tears in His eyes because of our blatant rebellion against His will for us. Yet, He loved us enough to send His Son to die for our sins even though we don’t deserve a daggum bit of it. We don’t deserve God’s love an forgiveness, but He thinks of our eternal future as being greater than His being right about our inability to be good children. He loves us anyway. Is there someone in your family that you just need to love anyway?

Amen and Amen.

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