1 Chronicles 7:6-12 – God Is Still in the Redemption Business!

Posted: January 16, 2020 in 13-1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 7:6-12

Descendants of Benjamin

If the Lord can use me to be a preacher, then, it validates that grace is enough. When reading about the descendants of the tribe of Benjamin in this passage, I was taken back to all the bad stuff that came out of this tribe. During the period of the Judges, we find the rape of the concubine of a Levite by numerous drunken members of the tribe of Benjamin. It was an ugly scene. She ended up dying from the brutality and frequency of her rape. If you think of the worst gang rapes of a woman that you have read in the news over the years, this was like that. King Saul came from this tribe who was a self-centered, self-seeking man that did not follow God’s directions as king. However, from this same tribe comes Saul who later became Paul. Paul is most likely the second most important person in the history of Christ’s church behind Jesus Christ himself.

So, if he can take a tribe of men who were responsible for the brutal rape of a woman that caused a civil war within Israel and put forth a king who was not after God’s heart, but then have it all redeemed by producing one of the most important men in Christian history, then he can redeem whatever you have done in the past. As for me, that’s an important lesson from the tribe of Benjamin. They were redeemed and made useful to the kingdom. In Revelation, we see 12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin will spread the gospel along with 12,000 each from other tribes of Israel. That means to me that me, all of us, have hope of being redeemed through Jesus Christ. No matter what we have done in our past, no matter how far we have strayed from God, no matter how ungodly we have behaved, all it takes to cry out to Jesus Christ to be the Savior of our lives and the Lord over it all and we will be saved. We will be redeemed. We will and can be made useful to the kingdom. If he can take me from my life of partying and self-seeking and living in the mess of those consequences and eventually turn me into a pastor, then He is still in the miracle business. He is still in the redemption business.

How do you get that from a genealogy? Well, you have to have read the story of Israel before this genealogy and remember the stories. You have to remember some of the low points that the honest portrayal of the people of Israel before this in the previous books of the Old Testament. One of the reasons that I love the Old Testament is that it a story that shows all the warts of the people of Israel. It’s an ugly picture so real that we can see ourselves in the stories of the Old Testament and the people of Israel. God’s own chosen people were far from being what God intended them to be. That’s us, too. Yet, God remained faithful to them as He does with us. These stories prior to 1 Chronicles and through the reprise and remembrance going on in 1 Chronicles, it is a reminder that you and I are like the people of Israel – capable of unimaginable sinfulness but yet God relentlessly pursues relationship with us. He can take us from our desperate self-seeking sinfulness and redeem us and wash away all of that horridness and make us into something that He can use to bring glory to His name. If he can take me, save me, then mold me, and instill a desire in me to serve the Lord, and then make me into a preacher of the gospel, then He can redeem you too. Nobody is too far gone from the Great Reclaimer, the Great Recycler. He did it for the tribe of Benjamin. He did for me. He can for you, too.

With that in mind, let’s us remember the past and the future of the tribe of Benjamin as we read their genealogy here in 1 Chronicles 7:6-12:

6 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, and Jediael, three. 7 The sons of Bela: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth, and Iri, five, heads of ancestral houses, mighty warriors; and their enrollment by genealogies was twenty-two thousand thirty-four. 8 The sons of Becher: Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth. All these were the sons of Becher; 9 and their enrollment by genealogies, according to their generations, as heads of their ancestral houses, mighty warriors, was twenty thousand two hundred. 10 The sons of Jediael: Bilhan. And the sons of Bilhan: Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishahar. 11 All these were the sons of Jediael according to the heads of their ancestral houses, mighty warriors, seventeen thousand two hundred, ready for service in war. 12 And Shuppim and Huppim were the sons of Ir, Hushim the son[c] of Aher.

In this passage, we are reminded that, in Genesis 49, the patriarch Jacob, sensing his impending death, gathers his sons to his bedside to bless them. Each son became the progenitor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Benjamin, as the youngest, receives his father’s blessing last: “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil” (Genesis 49:27). The warlike nature of the small tribe of Benjamin became well known, as exhibited in their swordsmen (Judges 20:15–16; 1 Chronicles 8:40, 12:2; 2 Chronicles 14:8, 17:17) and in their ungodly defense of their extreme wickedness in Gibeah (Judges 19—20).

Benjamin’s blessing has three parts. Compared to a wolf, his blessing has two time frames, morning and evening; it has two actions, devouring and dividing; and two outcomes, prey and spoil. This sets up a type of “before and after” experience for Benjamin and his offspring. Scripture shows that at least four great people came from Benjamin’s tribe, even though it was the smallest of the twelve tribes (1 Samuel 9:21). First, Ehud, a great warrior who delivered Israel from Moab (Judges 3:12–30). Next, Saul becomes the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 9:15–27). In later Jewish history, many Jews lived in Persia, God used Mordecai and Esther, from the tribe of Benjamin, to deliver the Jews from death (Esther 2:5–7). Finally, in the New Testament the apostle Paul affirms he, too, came from Benjamin. “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin” (Romans 11:1). Paul repeats this affirmation in Philippians 3:4–5.

Yet Benjamin’s tribe had its dark side. Their warlike nature came out not only in defense of their country but also in depravity within their country. In Judges 19—21 Benjamin takes up an offence against the other eleven tribes of Israel, and civil war ensues. This period had the reputation of everyone doing what was right in his own eyes (Judges 21:25). What led to the civil war was the horrific abuse and death of an unnamed Levite’s concubine (Judges 19:10–28). The eleven tribes turned against the tribe of Benjamin and nearly annihilated them because of their refusal to give up the perpetrators (Judges 20:1—21:25). Eventually, the tribes restored Benjamin’s tribe, greatly diminished due to the war, and the country reunited.

In Jewish culture the day begins at evening. Here begins the “after” for Benjamin. Benjamin’s prophecy ends in the evening, the beginning of a new day, in which he will “divide the spoil.” This has two aspects. First, through the apostle Paul, who testifies, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). In the apostle Paul Benjamin’s tribe had a citizen who served God mightily, as he says of himself, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith“ (2 Timothy 4:7).

But Benjamin’s “dividing of the spoil” has another fulfillment yet future. In Revelation 7:8, during the tribulation period, 12,000 men from Benjamin, along with 12,000 from each of the other tribes of Israel, will reach the world’s population with the gospel. The result will be a multitude of the saved “that no man could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands” (Revelation 7:9). The second dividing of the spoil for Benjamin comes in the millennial kingdom when they will have a place in the land of Israel, along with a gate that has their name on it in the city of Jerusalem (Ezekiel 48:32). They, along with the other tribes of Israel, will find the ultimate dividing of the spoils in the New Jerusalem as each gate has a name of one of the tribes, Benjamin included (Revelation 21:12–13). What a glorious finish! What grace is this!

Benjamin has great truths to teach. First, God doesn’t see as men see, for God looks on the heart. God saw a warrior inside of Benjamin. Outwardly, others saw him as the youngest son and his tribe as the smallest tribe. But God saw more, a man who would both devour and divide. The second lesson for us lies in the two Sauls who came from the tribe of Benjamin. King Saul, the epitome of the sin nature and its war against God, and Saul/Paul whose nature was changed by God from a murderous Pharisee to the apostle of grace. Paul is the example of what God does for those who come to Christ in faith. God is still in the redemption business in the 21st century.

Amen and Amen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s