Genealogy: Twelve Sons of Jacob (Israel)
2 These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
3 The sons of Judah were Er, Onan and Shelah; these three were born to him by Bath-shua the Canaanitess. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, so He put him to death. 4 Tamar his daughter-in-law bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.
5 The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 6 The sons of Zerah were [a]Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol and [b]Dara; five of them in all. 7 The [c]son of Carmi was [d]Achar, the troubler of Israel, who violated the ban. 8 The [e]son of Ethan was Azariah.
Genealogy of David
9 Now the sons of Hezron, who were born to him were Jerahmeel, Ram and Chelubai. 10 Ram [f]became the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, leader of the sons of Judah; 11 Nahshon became the father of Salma, Salma became the father of Boaz, 12 Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse; 13 and Jesse became the father of Eliab his firstborn, then Abinadab the second, [g]Shimea the third, 14 Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh; 16 and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. And the three sons of Zeruiah were [h]Abshai, Joab and Asahel. 17 Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was [i]Jether the Ishmaelite.
18 Now Caleb the son of Hezron had sons by Azubah his wife, and by Jerioth; and these were her sons: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. 19 When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20 Hur became the father of Uri, and Uri became the father of Bezalel.
21 Afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was sixty years old; and she bore him Segub. 22 Segub became the father of Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead. 23 But Geshur and Aram took [j]the towns of Jair from them, with Kenath and its villages, even sixty cities. All these were the sons of Machir, the father of Gilead. 24 After the death of Hezron in Caleb-ephrathah, Abijah, Hezron’s wife, bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa.
It would be easy to get lost again the long list of who bore who, especially when sons like Caleb are intermixed in the stories of their fathers (Hezron in this case). But if you’re paying attention, you’ll note something strange, which is that it lists the sons of David’s sisters. Now, if a man has no sons, that’s one thing, but Jesse had seven, and a future king among them. So why does it mention his sisters?
Most likely, it is because David’s nephews were leaders in David’s army. Though it’s said elsewhere that David’s family/brothers did help him when he was on the run from Saul, no doubt they had families of their own, especially since they were all older. So they were less able to leave home and help David in his battles. No, that was a task for the young men like Abshai (Abishai elsewhere), Joab, Asahel, and Amasa.
But why only his sister’s sons, and not the sons of his brothers? That adds yet another twist to the plot, and while we don’t know for sure, it’s possible jealousy ruled the day. The fact that their younger brother was chosen to be the next king instead of them likely did not go over well. Yet David was the “man after God’s own heart”, and he was the only one, though younger, to stand up to Goliath. This was the Philistine giant who taunted Israel, and mocked God himself.
Whatever the case, God continued to use the unlikely to be heroes, to lead the charge in battle, and to win the victories He had planned for David and the nation of Israel. God doesn’t often choose the most likely to succeed. He often picks the unlikeliest, but in all cases, God uses those who are willing, those who surrender their will to His. Want to be used by God? Then surrender your will and practice serving those in need. Look for His will in your life, and follow it to the best of your ability, relying on Him all along the way.