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huppim and shuppim

So, who were Huppim and Shuppim?  (1 Chronicles 7:12, 15)  Parents, please note: these are perfect names if you are expecting twins!   

Not much is known about Hup and Shup (I'm thinking that was their nicknames) except that they were sons of Ir, and descendants of Benjamin, one of the twelve sons of Jacob (aka Israel).   The meaning of their names is not clear.  Their descendants would be known as Huphamites and Shuphamites, respectively (Num. 26:39).  Okay, now on to what I'm really writing about...

The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles is filled with names.  Lots of names.  And genealogies.   These are the passages you hope you are not called on to read aloud in discussion groups.  

Why all these names, and why all the attention to genealogies?  Keep in mind that all Scripture is inspired and profitable... but not every section is equally profitable in every way.  The 12th chapter of Romans may have more readily applicable teaching than do these genealogies, but they are still are part of the inspired and profitable word of God.  

These sections are important for the following reasons (among others):

1)  God guides history.   "Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning? I, the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he." (Isaiah 41:4)  Though individuals are important, God's purposes are trans-generational.  His plan is larger than any one generation and any one individual or family.  The exile and the return are all part of God's appointed purpose for history.      

2)  God preserves his people.  The faithfulness of God is seen in his care for, and preservation of, his covenant people.  That so many returned from Babylon and were able to continue as a nation is such a remarkable providence!  God's plan would not be thwarted either by opposing empires or by the failures of his own people.  The lineage and the Story line continue.    

3) Reconnecting returning exiles It was important after the Babylonian exile for the returning Jews to show where they connected within Israelite heritage.  Your occupation and land rights where at issue when you returned, and also for the continuing record of your lineage.

4) The Messiah is coming.  The promised King, the coming Son of God, was an individual who was not only manifested by his miracles and teaching, but also by his lineage.  He could not be just a remarkable, good, supernatural person, but he had to be a physical descendant of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, of Judah, and of King David.  He had to be born not only in the lineage of David but also born in David's home village, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  This certainly narrows down the list of candidates of who could be the Son of God and Savior of the World!  Note that two of the four Gospels in the NT contain genealogies of Jesus, connecting him to his Israelite heritage.   

So.... you might read these chapters a little more lightly than others, but remember, they are crucial to God's story and the demonstration of his faithfulness and power.  

And plus, if you are ever in a Bible trivia game -- or Jeopardy ever has a category called "Chronicles" -- you will be able to answer for $1000 the statement, "Huppim's brother", with the correct response... "Who was Shuppim?"  And then you'll thank me for this article. 


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