Friday, July 06, 2007

Caleb's Concubines (1 Chron. 2:46, 48) -- corrected

Just read 1 Chron 2:18-4:4 and learned that Caleb, the man who wholly followed God (Deut. 1:36), had two concubines: Ephah and Maacah (1 Chron. 2:46, 48)!

9/12/13 Correction: The Caleb who had concubines was the son of Hezron, son of Perez, son of Judah, and not Caleb, son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite. Same name, different person. My apologies to Caleb the son of Jephunneh!  Post revised to refer solely to King David who apparently had enough concubines that they aren’t even named (cf. 1 Chron. 3:9)

From what we know about the Ancient Near East (cf. Nuzi) concubinage was a specific, legal status that was public—a kind of sub-wife position. Being a concubine was not to be a private ‘mistress’ at all.

I can imagine someone decrying the worldliness of David, articulating the doctrine of marriage from Gen. 1-2 which Jesus himself would later teach, and then separating from these individuals as disobedient to God’s will and plan, compromisers with worldliness.

Would such a person be wrong? No, they would be right. Concubinage was (and is) contrary to God’s will, assimilated from the sinful world, and it brought with it all the consequences of violating God’s will. But the “problem” (for the person who recognizes that concubinage is contrary to God’s will) is that God worked with David anyway. In spite of their blindness to the sins of worldliness in their lives, their hearts were wholly set to please God in view of the light He had given them (1 Kings 15:3).

I think this should tell me that God will work with people as long as they are wholly set to follow Him. The fact that they are compromised by worldliness, unconsciously, will not mean that God cannot or will not use them. The wrong conclusion to draw from this is that God doesn’t really care about what we do as long as we follow Him.

The lesson for me is that my heart must be wholly set to follow God. I must walk in all the light that He has given me. Others aren’t responsible for my light. I am. When I meet or observe modern Davids, I should keep in mind that the fact God is using them does not mean God approves of the areas of their lives where they are living in violation of His word. It just means that God will bless and use anyone whose heart is wholly set to follow Him to the best of their knowledge.

Father, help me to be such a person!

4 comments:

Phillip D said...

I'm finally able to comment under my own blogger name. I have been looking forward to reading whatever you would post next and I have not been disappointed. This is an excellent article on blind spots in the lives of God fearing men. A motivation for us to seek to remove blindspots from our life as much as possible is that our blindspots are often amplified in our children. David's son Solomon took his father's concubinage to a whole new level, perhaps excusing it by saying, "Dad did it and he was a man after God's own heart." I have heard this same story regarding our "fathers" (read: past leaders in our churches) for excusing that which is unBiblical. Whether it be issues of adornment, gluttony or other areas of personal discipline, ministry or parenting philosophies, unBiblical attitudes, etc. At times when I have been tempted to think that something really isn't a big deal, I have reminded myself that I am laying the foundations for my children and grandchildren and I must be doublely careful for they will take what I have done and run with it, whether good or bad. In all I do I want them to be able to say with great profit only, "Dad did it and he was a man after God's own heart." Blessings, Phillip Dickinson

Joel Byer said...

Glad to see your new posts! I always enjoy reading your insights into Scripture.

Jeffrey V. said...

Enjoyed your post. Good thoughts.

Nathan Carpenter said...

I alternate between being amazed at the ignorance of the old ones and being awe-struck by their faith. Then, every once in a great while, reality causes me to shudder when I wonder what I would have done in their place, in their culture, with no Bible.