In this chapter, Ezra is giving select genealogies of the twelve tribes. I have covered the first eight in previous posts. I'm also cross-referencing what Jacob blessed or predicted for each of them before he passed. he completes this section of the book with the final tribes.
He has two entries for Manasseh, but only has twelve entries...one tribe must be missing?
Genesis 49:21 "Naphtali is a doe let loose, He gives beautiful words."
Ryrie translates that as swift and eloquent of speech.
Ezra, in I Chronicles, also only gives Naphtali 1 verse, listing his sons.
He and his tribe seem to have been a fairly unimpressive group? Looking at the map, they received one of the northern most pieces of land in the Promise Land. It looks mountainous and is on the land-locked side.
Manasseh is one of the two sons of Joseph, so he wasn't blessed by name in Jacob's speech; but the predictions for Joseph are pretty special, so his sons start out in good shape.
This passage is for the second half of the tribe that stayed with the nation as it crossed and settled west of the Jordan River.
Looking at the map of the inheritances of the twelve tribes, on the west side of the Jordan, Manasseh has one of the two biggest portions (It's tough to tell by the way Judah includes Simeon. And on the east side, Manasseh is the biggest by quite a bit. Together, this tribe has the largest portion by a mile. Joseph was blessed!
Back in I Chronicles, verses 7:14-19, this is an actual list of their genealogy. Whereas in chapter 5:23-26, it only lists the heads of the "fathers" within the tribes at that time. It discusses that they were mighty men of valor; but abandoned God and were carried off.
Ephraim is the second son of Joseph. So, again, he wasn't named in Jacob's speech; but Joseph's blessing would have to come through one or both of the only two sons he had.
On the map, the tribe received a mid-sized portion, in the middle. But it is land-locked.
It is attached to the Manasseh portion, so at least one and a half of Joseph's portion shares a border.
Back in I Chronicles, verse 7:20-29:
It names several sons of Ephraim; but I'm not always clear on if they are all his sons or sons of sons. And then at least two of them are murdered. Again, the structure makes it hard to be clear if it was the two or all? The murder was because "they came down to take their livestock." But I can't tell for sure if it was Ephraim's son doing the stealing. It sort of looks like it is.
But the outcome made Ephraim sad, so he grieved and went and had another son.
He also has a daughter get recorded! She "built lower and upper Beth-horon..." I don't know what that means; but she made the record! And built stuff!
Then it lists several more sons. Which ends with Joshua. I think this is THE Joshua of Moses fame. I know he came from this tribe.
Then he describes their boundaries.
He ends this sub-section on Ephraim with, "In these lived the sons of Joseph, the sons of Israel."
This seems significant to me. He doesn't do that with the others. Maybe he did with Judah. But he's using Israel, not Jacob, so I think that significant.
In Genesis 49:20, Asher only gets one verse, but it's a beauty. "...his food shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties."
Ryrie interprets that to be predictive of Asher's tribe receiving the rich seacoast area near Mount Carmel.
Back in I Chronicles, verse 7:30 lists four sons for Asher and a sister, Serah. Which is an unusual thing to list back then. Then when they are listing the great-grand sons we also get a sister!
They don't explain why these two women are included...but I'm guessing there is a reason.
He ends this subsection with the might men of valor and their headcount.
Having completed Ezra's genealogies of the tribes, I wanted to end on some deep conclusion. Nothing came to mind, so I began to pray. I still didn't hear anything profound; but a steady reminder that it is important to keep track of our history.
Ezra didn't write down every event. He had an agenda and selected the history based on that (and probably whatever was available).
Then it occurred to me that out of the blue this week I received info about my birth father and my birth mother.
I had already found the obit of my birth father a few years ago; but had it sent to me again this week. Then my birth mother sent me a rambling account of her life she had written for a church group to which she belongs.
Neither piece is earth-shattering and I didn't have any sort of emotional response to either one. These just are not people who were in my life in any way that mattered.
But maybe I take my cue from Ezra and make a record. Keep a note of history. Which makes sense. It was my undergrad degree (History) and me area of teaching. I'm fascinated by people's history.
This is no different except that I carry a root of bitterness for these two people and want to not care. Not be interested. Not be moved. Plus it feels like a betrayal to my wonderful real parents who did all the work, bore all of the burdens, raised and loved me.
Lord, Heavenly Father, Please remove the root of bitterness toward these two people who you used to bless me with life. It is well with my soul. You gave me life and You directed and guided me. You chose a different (and far better) family for me. And I am so grateful. Please bless them and their families. Please heal my heart and cleanse it that I would no longer grow fruit from the root of bitterness of rejection from these two selfish sinners, as I also am a selfish sinner in need of your forgiveness. I set them free of any debt I hold in my heart. They are part of my history. A very small part, but worth noting the facts they may be useful some day. I don't have to have some emotional care for them to understand that there are things about them that may be of interest in my own story. Thank you for continuing to deal with me and my heart. I want to become who You designed me to be and I cannot do that with these roots of bitterness clogging up the heart you gave me. I love You and thank You, Lord. Amen