The three tribes mentioned here were the ones most easily overlooked, the ones who had played ever only a minor part in Israel. God did not want His people to overlook or forget these tribes in the return from exile. The hope was always a return for all Israel – as the Apostle Paul wrote: and so all Israel will be saved. Romans 11:26. Are there people from your congregation’s past whom you have forgotten?
So yeah, we need to keep in mind while reading these genealogies, that the remnant, the returning from exile people were reading them.
They are an encouragement to the people returning, to see God’s hand at work.
But they are also a clear convicting word to not forget them.
Because in today’s reading we have Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh (half of them again). Those who decided to live to the east of the promised land in the lands of Sihon king of the Amorites and Og king of Bashan (Numbers 32, Joshua 22).
Ch 5 v25 in today’s reading clearly points to their sin, breaking faith with the Lord, and v26 gives the consequence for that. These tribes of Israel were, at this point, scattered across a number of locations (also ch 4 v43 has mention of another small portion of the Simeonites living in Mount Sier at this point in time).
But the exiles returning were not to forget them!
And as Stuart Snr encourages us, it helps us to think of any in our own congregations who might be on the outside, seemingly forgotten.
God isn’t forgetting His people. But we, His people, can sometimes forget one another. So He reminds us!