1 Chronicles 2:50-55 – Family Pedigree Does Not Guarantee Salvation

Posted: November 19, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

1 Chronicles 2:50b-55

Descendants of Caleb’s Son Hur

What can we learn from another segment of genealogies at the end of this chapter – 1 Chronicles 2? On the surface, it does not look like much until you do a little research. That’s the difference between reading the Bible and studying it. When we don’t understand something that is written, go look up commentaries (as easy as looking up on the internet) to see what you might be missing. That’s the case here today. My question was who was Hur? Never had heard of him or the name except maybe in that movie, Ben Hur, one of those late 1950’s overblown classic films where the costumes were overdone and the acting was as well. Other than that non-biblical reference to a film, I have not encountered this character in the Old Testament. So, who was this Hur? Well, from the first half of Verse 50 that was part of my last blog and this second half of the same verse that appears here, we know that he was the son of Caleb. But which Caleb? There are two as my research found out. There’s Caleb that we know from the story of The Exodus of God’s people from Egypt. And then, there’s this Caleb in this passage. The least famous Caleb here is part of the natural line of descendancy from Judah so this dude is right in there in the tribe that became the tribe from which David arose and later Jesus himself. He’s a pure bred. He is part of the line that goes back to Abraham. He is naturally part of God’s chosen people. Thus, his son Hur is part of that same lineage of the house of David and of Jesus.

But the other more famous Caleb, we know his exploits. The story of Caleb, a faithful man of God, begins in the book of Numbers. After being delivered from bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were led by God to the border of the land of Canaan, a land “flowing with milk and honey” that God had promised they would inherit (Exodus 3:8, 17). Moses had chosen twelve men, one from each tribe, to scout the land before entering. Among them was Caleb, representing the tribe of Judah. The twelve men spied out the land for forty days and then came back to Moses. They reported that the land was indeed fruitful but its inhabitants were the mighty descendants of Anak. Terrified by the size and strength of the Canaanites, ten of the spies warned Moses not to enter Canaan (Numbers 13:23–33).

Caleb silenced the murmuring, fearful men by saying, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30). Caleb took his stand because he followed the Lord wholeheartedly (Joshua 14:8–9). Caleb knew of the promises of God to the Israelites, and, despite the evidence of his own eyes regarding the obstacles, he had faith that God would give them victory over the Canaanites. Unfortunately, the people of Israel ignored Caleb and listened to the report of the other spies.

What we forget is that the more famous Caleb was not a natural born citizen of the people of God. The term Kenizzite is also seen in the plural form as the Kenizzites listed in Genesis 15:19, and it’s the same Hebrew spelling that is used of Caleb’s father הַקְּנִזּי haKenizi. Genesis 15:19 speaks of the ten different ethnic groups of people in Canaan that the Hebrews were to dispossess when God brought Israel out of Egypt. We don’t know how Caleb came to be in Egypt enslaved along with the Jewish people but we do have a clue in his name. You see “Caleb” means “dog.” Now, would you call your son or daughter “dog?” No, of course not and parents would be even more unlikely to do that in that culture and time. To call someone “dog” in Old Testament times was a great insult. I mean canines were of no value in that culture, so this name hints at the fact that Caleb was of no value to his parents. It tells us he might have been abandoned, an unwanted child. Perhaps his cruel parents sold him into slavery and that’s how he came to Egypt but in spite of this by the providence of God Caleb was folded into the family of God. And not only that, he was placed in the tribe of Judah, which means he became a member of the Jewish aristocracy because from Judah came the kings the great spiritual, political, and military leaders of the nation. Caleb’s life is a testimony of Deuteronomy 10:18 where it says that God, ” defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing.” And, Caleb responded to God’s gracious provision. Even though he was a foreigner, he still regarded himself as a faithful follower of the Jewish God. In fact, he followed God whole-heartedly to the very end of his life trusting God more in fact than many of his Jewish peers.

That’s the thing this morning. Just because you are born into the family of God does not guarantee anything. It does not guarantee that you will become some great man of God such as the biblical heroes that we all know so well. Just because you are born in the family of God does not mean even that you will follow God. Earthly birth lineage among God’s people does not guarantee anything. I know my story growing up as a preacher’s kid did not guarantee my own salvation. I did not come to know Christ as my Savior until age 39 and then did not become a full-time pastor until age 55. Now, if you grew up in a household where no one knew Jesus Christ as their Savior and you have lived a life that reflects that, Caleb shows you that there is hope for you among the people of God. Through Jesus Christ, our past is no longer a qualifier or a disqualifer to entrance into the family of God. There is hope for you to be counted among the people of God. With that in mind, let’s read about this less popular Caleb and his son, Hur, and the descendants of Hur in 1 Chronicles

The sons of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathah:

Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim, 51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, and Hareph the father of Beth Gader.

52 The descendants of Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim were:

Haroeh, half the Manahathites, 53 and the clans of Kiriath Jearim: the Ithrites, Puthites, Shumathites and Mishraites. From these descended the Zorathites and Eshtaolites.

54 The descendants of Salma:

Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth Beth Joab, half the Manahathites, the Zorites, 55 and the clans of scribes[a] who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the Rekabites.[b]

In this passage, I found at first glance not too much that I could sink my teeth into. However, a little research always helps. According to my research at http://bible.ucg.org/bible-commentary/1-Chronicles/The-family-of-Israel,-starting-with-Judah/, I found the following:

Caleb, the son of Hezron and of Judah, despite his numerous descendants, is not mentioned as the object of God’s special favor. But if the fragmentary genealogies of Caleb the son of Judah are proof of the existing disorder, God puts these fragments together for a special purpose, and we find a deeper thought in them. Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, is the one whom God has particularly in view, as the Word teaches us; he is the one whom He introduces in so extraordinary a way into the genealogy of the son of Hezron (1 Chron. 2:49). It is in view of him that this genealogy is inscribed next to that of David, as forming part of the tribe of Judah, from whence the royal race comes.

“But what connection does Caleb the son of Jephunneh, whose daughter was Achsah, have with Caleb the son of Hezron? Here we find a most interesting fact which has perhaps not been given sufficient attention. Caleb the son of Jephunneh was not originally of the people of Judah. In Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:6, 14 he is called Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. Likewise, Caleb’s younger brother Othniel, to whom Caleb gave his daughter Achsah as wife, is called ‘the son of Kenaz’ (Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; Judges 3:9, 11). Now in Genesis 36:11 we learn that Kenaz is an Edomite name. Hence the conclusion that at some point of time the family of Kenaz, and therefore the family of Caleb the son of Jephunneh, was incorporated into the tribes of Israel just as so many other foreigners, such as Jethro, Rahab, and Ruth, who in virtue of their faith became members of the people of God. This explains a characteristic phrase in Joshua 15:13: ‘And to Caleb the son of Jephunneh he gave a portion among the children of Judah according to the commandment of Jehovah to Joshua…that is, Hebron.’ And in Joshua 14:14: ‘Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed Jehovah the God of Israel.”

“Thus Caleb, who by his origin really had no right of citizenship in Israel, received this right amidst Judah by virtue of his faith and was incorporated into the family of Caleb the son of Hezron, as it appears in 1 Chronicles 2:49 and in the passages already cited in Joshua. The fragments preserved of the genealogy of Caleb the son of Hezron confirm the place that God assigned to Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and this substitution is one of the important points the Spirit of God calls our attention to here.”

That maybe is the important point of this genealogy of the sons of Hur is that it is through this line of people that David, the greatest king of Israel, springs. And it is through the royal line of David from which the earthly lineage of Jesus Christ is found. Thus, in the line of Jesus, there are those who have been adopted into the family of our Savior. It is that foundation from which we who become children of God through our faith in Jesus Christ are adopted into the family of God. When you look at the earthly genealogy of Christ, there are a cast of characters, a group of misfits, that are part of Jesus’ earthly heritage. What that says to us, we can become part of the family of God even when we have been complete and total screw-ups before we come to know Jesus as our Savior. We do not have to have some perfect life. Jesus’ earthly lines includes murders, adulterers, prostitutes, etc. No matter your background, if you fully believe that Jesus died for your sins and was resurrected because He is the Son of God, then, that’s all the prerequisites that are necessary to become part of the family of God’s chosen people.

Where do you stand? Are you a person that grew up with Christian parents and you are relying on that as your ticket into heaven? We are not measured by our pedigree. God will want to know about our hearts. Were we submitted to Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord? That’s the question that matters. That’s the question of eternity. On the flip side of that coin, are you afraid to darken the door of a church? Are you afraid that your past disqualifies you from coming before the Lord and asking Him into your heart and making Him your Savior and Lord? Are you afraid that you have disqualified yourself because of the way you have lived your life so far? Well, there’s good news! All that is necessary to become part of God’s people is to realize that you are totally lost in sin and kneel down and pray to God to forgive you for the mess you have made of your life. Then, ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior because He died for your sins and took your punishment. Then believe that He has given you new life as evidenced by His arising from the dead giving us full confidence that He is the Son of God. That’s all it takes! Leave your past behind you and come join the people of God today!

Amen and Amen.

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