Reading through the Bible together
One could easily read the names in today’s chapter and move on. We could read the names of warriors and men of valor, the names of some who had only sons, and some who only had daughters, also the names of those who died, and others who mourned. However, there is a simple familiar theme in this chapter, that is, family.
Notice in verses 4 and 5, we have a reference to fathers, wives and sons, and the words family and valor are blended into the mention of their great numbers. In verses 15-18 we find that Zelophehad was Gilead’s grandson and had only daughters, and that Gilead’s sister Hammoleketh had three sons. In verse 21-23, we hear about a tragic invasion by the native men of Gath. These men killed the sons of Ephraim because they were taking away their cattle. Ephraim mourned for his sons. He and his wife had another child, and named him Beriah, meaning tragedy.
Verse 24 notes a mighty woman, Sheerah. She was instrumental in helping Solomon rebuild the Canaanite regions of Beth Horon (2 Chronicles 8 and Joshua 16). It also appears she built her own town and named it, Uzzen Sheerah. Her leadership and the reference to her in this predominately male list of names denotes her to be a highly regarded woman of God.
From these stories we can probably find things relating to our own family. Is there a warrior, a man or woman of valor in our family? Is there someone with sons and daughters, or only sons, or only daughters? Surely we have all experienced death and mourning of someone close? That is what it means to be family, to identify with the burdens and joys of others. We are part of God’s family and the genealogy listed here reminds us that our family reunion in heaven will be a great one! I want to be there, don’t you?