This chapter lists the Army divisions and their leaders, the tribal leaders, and King David’s management team. Remember that this is all thought to have been written by Ezra, at the time the exiles returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, about five hundred years after the time period described. To put that in context, that’s about twice as long as the United States has been in existence.
Of course, the oral traditions of the Israelites had allowed them to preserve knowledge of individual ancestors and their stories for thousands of years, so this period of time isn’t surprising.
What is a little surprising is that the tribes of Gad and Asher are omitted from the tribal leaders.
There are lots of thoughts on this offered on the internet. I don’t know that we can be certain why they were not included, but the idea that it was an oversight is unconvincing. Too many details were included in these lists to think that such a huge omission was simply scribal error.
Perhaps it relates to Ezra’s purpose for this book. Remember he wrote 1 Chronicles to unite the Israelites around their shared history, and we’ve seen previously where he omitted points of contention for the sake of unity.
Some call it “majoring on the majors” or “keeping the main thing the main thing.” This is not my strong suit. I can easily get caught up in debates over things that are not of primary importance. And basically, anything that isn’t central to the gospel is not of primary importance. I have thoughts, opinions, even leadings from the Lord or convictions, that I feel passionately about. And social media provides the opportunity to share them. With everyone.
Lord, help me to remember this lesson from Ezra. Help me to ask myself, “Is this likely to cause division? Is it central to the gospel? Is this something God wants me to speak, or something I just feel the need to say?”