The tradition of firstborn rights in inheritance and genealogy is often the norm in the ancient world, but God sees fit to rearrange customs and alter expectations. In such an important listing of Israel like the book of Chronicles—which marks out in detail the Israelite people all the way to Adam—Jacob’s firstborn Reuben is not mentioned until the third spot! The genealogy starts in chapter 4 with Judah and then moves to Simeon, Reuben, Gad, Manasseh, and Levi.
The prominence of David from Judah’s line goes back to the Genesis stories that told of how Reuben, Simeon, and Levi all committed horrible sins that removed them from royal contention and headship over their brothers, who would later become twelve tribal groups. In a way, everything in Chronicles (from ancestry lists to temple building) is set around King David from Judah and his lineage up to the Babylonian exile, which concludes the book of Chronicles.
3 The great king David fathered 6 sons during his 7½ years reigning in Hebron. Ahinoam the Jezreelitess gave birth to his first son, Amnon. Abigail the Carmelitess birthed his second son, Daniel. 2 Maacah, the daughter of Talmai (king of Geshur) bore his third son, Absalom. His fourth son, Adonijah, was born to Haggith. 3 Abital bore his fifth son, Shephatiah. Ithream was his sixth son, and was born to his wife, Eglah.
4 These were the 6 sons born to him in Hebron during his 7½-year reign there. David then ruled from Jerusalem for 33 years. 5 There, Bath-shua (the daughter of Ammiel) gave him 4 sons: Shimea, Shobab, Nathan, and Solomon; 6-8 and 9 other sons also were born there: Ibhar, Elishama, Eliphelet, Nogah, Nepheg, Japhia, Elishama, Eliada, and Eliphelet. 9 These were David’s sons, in addition to their sister, Tamar, and his concubines’ children.
10 David’s son and successor, Solomon, had 15 generations of descendants: Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, 11 Joram, Ahaziah, Joash, 12 Amaziah, Azariah, Jotham, 13 Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, 14 Amon, and Josiah.
15 Josiah’s sons were, in order from the firstborn to the last: Johanan, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, and Shallum. 16 The sons of Jehoiakim were Jeconiah and Zedekiah. 17 The sons of Jeconiah (who was taken prisoner by Nebuchadnezzar) were Shealtiel, 18 Malchiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama, and Nedabiah. 19 The sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei. Zerubbabel fathered Meshullam and Hananiah, and their sister, Shelomith. 20 He had five other children, Hashubah, Ohel, Berechiah, Hasadiah, and Jushab-hesed. 21 Hananiah fathered Pelatiah and Jeshaiah, the sons of Rephaiah, the sons of Arnan, the sons of Obadiah, and the sons of Shecaniah. 22 Shecaniah had six descendants: his son Shemaiah, and his grandsons Hattush, Igal, Bariah, Neariah, and Shaphat. 23 Neariah fathered three sons: Elioenai, Hizkiah, and Azrikam. 24 Elioenai fathered seven sons: Hodaviah, Eliashib, Pelaiah, Akkub, Johanan, Delaiah, and Anani.
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