Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bible Genealogies (Did You Know?) III

Continued from previous post.

Caleb was one of the two good spies who reported back to Moses and the people in the wilderness about what had been seen when they scouted the Promised Land. Because of that, he was allowed to live through the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness and claim land that Moses promised him when the land was finally possessed.

Did you know that Caleb was the great-grandson of Judah?

Did you know that Caleb's great-grandson was Bezalel, the artisan God appointed to construct the sanctuary will skilled assistans? Bezalel was probably at least 20 years old when given this assignment and this was before the 40 years of wandering in the desert began. If each father was only 15 at the birth of his first son, Caleb would have been at least 65 years old (and quite likely older) when he spied out the land and no younger than 105 when Israel crossed the Jordan River. (Except that Bezalel's grandfather was Caleb's fourth son so add a few more years to all these figures.) At that age (or older) Caleb drove out the three Anakites (they were giants), marched against the people living in the land promised him by Moses and offered his daughter in marriage to the man who attacked and captured a certain city. If his daughter was of marriageable age, she was probably in her early teens. Caleb sired a daughter at the age of 90 or so? The man who won her hand was Caleb's brother. Poor girl if Caleb's brother was even half Caleb's age!

Hezron was Caleb's father. Caleb was the third son. Hezron had three wives (I thought there were four but now I can find only three). He married his second wife when he was 60 years old. This wife was the sister of Gilead, descendant of Joseph's son Mannaseh and of the branch of the Mannaseh tribe that chose to live on the east side of the Jordan, along with Reuben and Gad (the other branch had their territory on the west side of the Jordan with the rest of Israel). Gilead is the name given to the east-of-Jordan territory of Mannaseh.

So, Caleb was from the tribe of Judah, his second wife from the tribe of Mannaseh. Their son, Segub, fathered Jair, who controlled 23 towns in the territory of Mannaseh, not of Judah. This is odd because men inherited land from their fathers, not their mothers. However, if a man died with no sons, his land was inherited by his daughters. Therefore, Hezron's second wife must have had no brothers and her son would have inherited from her instead of from his father, Hezron.

Hezron's third wife was pregnant when he died. This child's son was the father of a man named Tekoa. Tekoa was the name of the area where the prophet Amos was shepherd.

Did you know that because one of Hezron's descendants (about nine generations later) had no sons, the genealogy of his daughter for thirteen generations after her?

Did you know that Bethlehem was a great-grandson of Caleb's second wife, Ephrathah? We all know about the town of Bethlehem. The prophet Micah foretold Jesus' birth: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."

To be continued.

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