1 Chronicles 4:1-23

Line of Hur, Asher

The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal. Reaiah the son of Shobal [a]became the father of Jahath, and Jahath became the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites. These were the [b]sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi. Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah. Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. The sons of Helah were Zereth, [c]Izhar and Ethnan. Koz became the father of Anub and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum. Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, “Because I bore him with pain.” 10 Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.

11 Chelub the brother of Shuhah became the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. 12 Eshton became the father of Beth-rapha and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of [d]Ir-nahash. These are the men of Recah.

13 Now the sons of Kenaz were Othniel and Seraiah. And the sons of Othniel were Hathath and Meonothai. 14 Meonothai became the father of Ophrah, and Seraiah became the father of Joab the father of [e]Ge-harashim, for they were craftsmen. 15 The sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh were Iru, Elah and Naam; and the [f]son of Elah was [g]Kenaz. 16 The sons of Jehallelel were Ziph and Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel. 17 The [h]sons of Ezrah were Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. ([i]And these are the sons of Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took) and she conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18 His Jewish wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. 19 The sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham, were the [j]fathers of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite. 20 The sons of Shimon were Amnon and Rinnah, Benhanan and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were Zoheth and Ben-zoheth. 21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were Er the father of Lecah and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of the linen workers at Beth-ashbea; 22 and Jokim, the men of Cozeba, Joash, Saraph, who ruled in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem. And the [k]records are ancient. 23 These were the potters and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah; they lived there with the king for his work.

It’s an interesting note that Ezra makes while he is putting together all this family history, that “the records are ancient”. And indeed they would have been, since he was writing these things down after (many, but not all of) the children of Israel had returned to their homes from captivity in Babylon, Persia, and Media.

Some of the names here recorded were centuries old, if not a millennia previous to the time of writing, and Ezra would have been drawing from what records could be found. So it’s somewhat amazing that among all the notes, he finds that “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” Nowhere else does it speak of Jabez, or how God granted his prayer. Whole sermons and books have been written about this small “footnote”, but it certainly must have been notable for his record to have survived centuries.

To be clear, I don’t want to get into some shady theology where, if we just ask God to bless us and enlarge our territory, that He is going to do it. God knows what is best for us, and enlarging their territory was precisely what God had told the Israelites to do. So Jabez wasn’t asking for anything that would run contrary to God’s character, nor what He had already promised them many years before when they first entered the promised land.

But many before Jabez had stopped short of God’s promise. They were content with what they had, and future generations suffered because the Israelites did not complete the task God set before them. So it was a daring task to reclaim the promise of God and to trust that God would be with Jabez as he fought to claim the promise.

In short, God has plans for our lives, I’ve said that a hundred times (or more), but those plans involve trusting Him. They may involve pain, difficulty, struggle, and adversity. In fact, its far safer to say that His plans will include pain, suffering, etc. than otherwise. Don’t get discouraged in the trials, but keep going after God. Likewise, don’t be content or get comfortable until you’ve completed what God asked you to do. That may be a lifelong journey, but keep pressing on, and see what God can do!

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