1 Chronicles 4
Although this is a chapter of genealogies, it is very different from some of the others we’ve read. Instead of following a line through its generations, this genealogy seems to jump around a bit. It follows a line through a few generations and then jumps to another line without much context. It makes me wonder why?
The answer, or at least a possible answer, comes toward the end of the chapter, at the end of verse 33, “These were their settlements. And they kept a genealogical record.” It seems that this is a compilation of genealogical records kept by the clans.
Since the land was divided based on the tribe, with larger tribes receiving more land, the families had good reason to keep record of everyone who was part of their tribe. But it’s interesting that some of the lines begin with an unfamiliar name with no reference to that person’s tribe. They appear out of nowhere, have sons and grandsons, and disappear into the mist of history. Why are their names recorded here without any context?
Jabez is certainly an example of this. There is no mention of who Jabez’ father or mother was, or who his brothers were, only that his mother named him based on her pain and he was more honorable than his brothers. Maybe Jabez is the nickname his mother gave him, and he is one of the sons or grandsons of Helah listed in verse 7-8 “The sons of Helah: Zereth, Zohar, Ethnan, and Koz, who was the father of Anub and Hazzobebah and of the clans of Aharhel son of Harum.” How’d you like to have a nickname that means sorrowful and sounds like pain? Enough has been written about Jabez’ prayer, some of it good and some questionable, but the point of his inclusion is clear: He called out to God and trusted God, and God answered.