From Generation to Generation
If you only skimmed through these chapters, I do not blame you. This probably is the best way to handle the material before us. Until now the narrative from Genesis to 2 Kings has been pretty much in chronological order. Here, however, another author covers basically the same material as 2 Samuel, the reign of David. Tradition has it that the author was Ezra, who continues the story through his own time.
These genealogies often seem boring, but they originally served an important purpose, establishing who should inherit the land at the return from exile.
The author begins by listing the generations from Adam to Noah. He then lists the three sons of Noah, and then the descendants of the three sons of Noah. It was with the line of Shem that God dealt especially. When we come to Abraham, God focuses especially upon him and his descendants. Our author lists the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael. He then lists the descendants of Isaac’s son Esau who was the forefather of the Edomites. He then considers the descendants of Israel (Jacob) who constitute the people with whom God had made his covenant. What are we to learn from this? God works through families. We influence our children and our children’s children. We need to think long-term and do today what will develop and strengthen the spiritual inheritance for tomorrow’s generations.