Saturday, March 29, 2014

I Chronicles 3

I have two items for my blog post today about I Chronicles 3:

1.  V 3 states that David had Ithream “by Eglah his wife” (KJV).  This stood out to me because the chapter mentions other women by whom David had children, yet Eglah is the only woman who is called his wife.  Rashi, drawing from the Midrash, says that Eglah is David’s wife Michal.  “Eglah” is the Hebrew word for “heifer.”  Why would Michal be called a heifer, according to Rashi and his source?  One explanation is that Michal made a sound like a heifer when she gave birth to Ithream, but another is that “Eglah” was a term of endearment.  Samson in Judges 14:18, after all, called the woman he was marrying his heifer.  According to Rashi and his source, Michal had a special place in David’s heart, so David called her his “Eglah,” and the text specifies that she was his wife.

2.  V 24 mentions Anani, who was descended from the Davidic King Jeconiah of Judah.  He appears to be the last descendant of David who is mentioned in the genealogy.  According to Roddy Braun in his Word Bible Commentary about I Chronicles, there was an Aramaic letter dated to 407 B.C.E. that mentions an Anani, and Braun believes it is plausible that this is the same Anani as the one mentioned in I Chronicles 3:24.  That may give us an indication as to the date of I Chronicles.

Interestingly, however, the Targum and other Jewish interpreters affirm that Anani is the coming Messiah.  “Anan” is a word for “cloud,” and Daniel 7:13 affirms that the Son of Man will come in the clouds of heaven.  Apparently, there were Jewish interpreters who regarded the Danielic Son of Man as the Messiah, for they said that Anani was the coming Messiah, and that his very name related to what Daniel 7:13 said about the Son of Man.  I draw my information here from the Orthodox Jewish Artscroll commentary.

How could Anani be the coming Messiah, when he was a figure in the past?  The Artscroll mentions that there were seven generations between Jeconiah and Anani, but it also mentions the view that the “seven” in v 24 relates to the seven eyes of God that roam throughout the earth in Zechariah 4:10, a passage that the Artscroll is taking as Messianic.  The seven in I Chronicles 3:24 appears to be the number of sons of Elioenai.  Could the Jewish interpreters who regarded Anani as the Messiah be interpreting the “sons” of Elioenai loosely: that, yes, some of them could be sons, but that Anani is actually a descendant, the Messiah, who will come in the future?

1 comment:

  1. Who knew genealogies could be so fascinating, lol.

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