1 Chronicles 5

1 Chronicles 5 reviews the tribes of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh.  It begins with a look at the sons of Reuben.  He was the firstborn son to Israel (Jacob) but made a big mistake.  He would have become the leader of the family. But Reuben lost those benefits because of his actions. He had sex with Bilhah who was a wife of his father.  That cost him the birthright and ultimately changed history as Joseph becomes the son who receives that as a result.

Reuben….was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s couch, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, so that he could not be enrolled as the oldest son;  though Judah became strong among his brothers and a chief came from him, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph”.  Reuben’s decision to sin against God and his father cost him much.  The benefits that should have been Reuben’s went to Joseph’s sons instead. Joseph was the first son of Rachel. She was Israel’s favorite wife. Joseph had two sons: Ephraim and Manasseh. Each of these sons received the benefits of a tribe. Joseph became the leader instead of Reuben.

Reuben’s descendants did expand and “their livestock had multiplied in the land of Gilead….lived in their tents”.  They grew and were a strong tribe.  The next description is that of the sons of Gad.  They lived in the same area.  These guys were mighty men.  They were ready for war and conquered many people.  “The Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh had valiant men who carried shield and sword, and drew the bow, expert in war, 44,760, able to go to war”.  Not just a few of them either.  There is a literal army of men ready to fight.

They captured a handful of people and carried off the plunder.  Thousands of camels, sheep and donkeys, along with over 100K of people as their captives.  They were large and in charge.  “But they broke faith with the God of their fathers, and whored after the gods of the peoples of the land” and disobedience sets in.  That never goes well.  God stirred up the king of Assyria who came and conquered these two and a half tribes and took them into exile. From victorious to captive all because of disobedience.

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