1 Chronicles 4

The bald list of descendents of Judah is punctuated with a few small comments and biographical facts. The lists are so meaningless to us now that those facts become very prominent.

Jabez was a good man.

The valley where these people settled became famous for handicrafts.

I remember teachers giving advice about answering exam questions “think about the answers, don’t just write down everything you know”. But when you are preserving what you can of a shattered national culture, a heritage, that is actually the right approach.

I interviewed a woman at work who told how the broken culture of her people was preserved through unlikely magazines designed by the government to help Aboriginal people assimilate, reporting on them and emphasising ways in which they matched expectations of them living a western life. They formed a sort of written social history that is very valuable for people teaching their Aboriginal heritage.

So I do understand the value of these lists, building blocks of the identity of Christ and the Jewish nation.

But they don’t make interesting or enlightening reading particularly, taken as I am, daily devotional chunks.

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