(26 verses, 3:44 to read)
What I am about to READ
- The genealogies and abridged history of Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.
MARK & LEARN
- (Verses 1-10)–We have here a list of the Reuben’s descendants and a short history of how the tribe of Reuben fought east of the Jordan in the days of Saul.
- Verses 1-2 describe how it came to pass that Reuben (the first born of Jacob by Leah) did not receive the true inheritance due a first born son. Reuben had slept with Bilhah, Rachel’s servant whom she had given to Jacob, Reuben’s father, because at the time she could not conceive a child. Because of this evil, Jacob withdrew the first-born birth right from Reuben and bestowed it upon Joseph by giving his two sons the double portion.
- Reuben was also punished for his evil deed through the promised “chief” that came from his brother Judah. This chief was initially David; but most certainly later was Christ.
- (Verses 11-22)–We have here a list of Gad’s descendants and the continued short history of the battle east of the Jordan during Saul’s reign.
- Gad was the 7th son born to Jacob. His mother was Zilpah, Leah’s servant. His only full brother was Asher.
- Verses 18-22 describe how the tribe of Gad joined forces with the tribe of Reuben and the half-tribe of Manasseh in order to fight for Saul east of the Jordan.
- (Verses 23-26)–We have here a list of the half-tribe of Manasseh’s descendants and a regional description of their land.
- Manasseh (along with his brother Ephraim) was a son of Joseph and received a portion of Reuben’s allotment.
- Here’s a Wikipedia map showing the twelve tribes of Israel:
- As one can see, the two and a half tribes (Reuben, Gad, Manasseh) spoken about in chapter five are all east of the Jordan. Numbers 32 describes how these tribes petitioned Moses to be able to settle on the east side of the Jordan because they found the land to be suitable for raising cattle. Joshua 13:8-32 describes in more detail their inheritance.
- Each of these tribes were given permission to settle east of the Jordan with the stipulation that they would help the rest of the tribes conquer the Promise Land west of the Jordan. Once they had accomplished this, they were allowed to return to their land.
- Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh found themselves aligned with the Northern Kingdom of Israel once the nation split in two. They were, along with the other tribes of the Northern Kingdom, eventually defeated and assimilated by the Assyrians.
- Perhaps the most important verses in chapter 5 are verses 1 and 2. It is here that we see that God gave the promise of His Messiah, not through Reuben the first born, but through Judah. Later we will also see (in the destruction of the Northern Kingdom) that the Lord does not grant salvation through genealogy, but through faith. As Romans 4:16 says, “That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring- not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all.”
- Holy Father, grant to us the faith of Abraham so that we too might receive the promised inheritance of eternal life through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Thoughts? Questions? Join the conversation on our facebook page here.
Pr. Eli Lietzau
Faith in Christ Lutheran–Albuquerque, NM