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Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster

Dr. Shawn Zelig Aster is an assistant professor of Bible at Yeshiva University and has written several articles for myjewishlearning.com.

II Chronicles – Chapter 12

November 10, 2013, by

Rechavam started out a righteous (if flawed) king, but once he felt secure in his reign, he became full of himself and turned his back on G-d. In the fifth year of his reign, Shishak, king of Egypt, waged war against Jerusalem. They brought 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen and countless troops. He captured Rechavam’s strongholds […]

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II Chronicles – Chapter 11

November 9, 2013, by

Upon his return to Jerusalem, Rechavam gathered the armies of Judah and Benjamin in an attempt to force the rebellious Tribes to rejoin the nation. G-d spoke to the prophet Shmayahu and told him to tell Rechavam to stand down, as the division in the kingdom was His doing. (Rechavam wisely listened and stood down.) […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 9

October 9, 2013, by

This chapter describes the returnees to Jerusalem in the time of Ezra, paralleling the account in Nehemiah chapter 11. We are told that all of Israel had their genealogical records (presumably lost in the Assyrian exile of the northern kingdom), but Judah was exiled to Babylonia, which is why Ezra had access to their records. […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 8

October 8, 2013, by

Here, the text deals with the families of the Tribe of Benjamin. This chapter is far more straightforward than the previous one (especially if one assumes that the Benjamin discussed in chapter 7 is a family in the Tribe of Issachar). Benjamin the son of Israel had ten sons, though only five families are chronicled, […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 7

October 7, 2013, by

This chapter is deceptively complicated as the family lists go. It starts with the sons of Issachar. After naming them (Tola, Pu’ah, Yashuv and Shimron), the text specifies that there are four of them, a fact the reader could easily discern. Any explanation for why Chronicles occasionally does this is purely speculative, though one possibility […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 6

October 6, 2013, by

The previous chapter concluded with the genealogy of the priestly line; this chapter gives a more general accounting of the Tribe of Levi. Verse 6:1, which names the sons of Levi, is identical to 5:27 except that in chapter 5 Gershom is called Gershon. (The Radak explains that the end letters Mem and Nun in […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 5

October 5, 2013, by

Next, the text lists the descendants of Reuben. Though he was Israel’s first-born, he lost the birthright of a double portion because he disrupted his father’s sleeping arrangements. Therefore, the birthright was given to Joseph (firstborn of Rachel), which is why two Tribes come from him (Ephraim and Menashe). Judah, the mightiest of the Tribes, […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 4

October 4, 2013, by

After diverging to discuss the descendants of David in the previous chapter, the narrative now resumes with the rest of the descendants of Judah. In verses 9-10, we are told about Yavetz (Jabez), whom the Talmud in Temura (16a) identifies with the Judge Osniel (from the Book of Judges, natch!). Yavetz was the most honored […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 3

October 3, 2013, by

Chapter 3 starts by naming the sons of David by their mothers. From there, it lists the royal line, starting with Solomon, who succeeded David as king. After Tzidkiyahu, who was the last king of Judah, it continues by enumerating the descendants of Yehoyachin. (The situation with the last three kings of Judah was a […]

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I Chronicles – Chapter 2

October 2, 2013, by

Chapter 2 starts with a list of Israel’s sons, for whom the Tribes were named. Here, they are grouped in order by their mothers, though Dan is out of place. (When Rachel did not initially conceive, she altruistically gave her servant Bilha to Jacob – see Genesis 30. For this reason, Dan, the product of […]

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