Heads of fathers’ houses
Those seem to be the key phrases of the section. You get the idea, if you aren’t using your brain, that it was just a bunch of men back in those days. But don’t be mistaken, there were plenty of women, because all of these men had to come out of somewhere. That’s the sad part though, the women were really only seen as baby makers. And while it’s true they do a darn good job at that, women can and do fulfill many other roles. We must remember, this was written many, many moons ago in a distant land.
Also in this section, we see a brief interruption to make note of a robbery on Ephraim and his family’s livestock. It seems random, but perhaps it gives us a clue into how infrequent crimes of theft were in those days.
We also see, starting in chapter 9, that Judah was taken into exile because of their breach of faith. Which makes me think: In Christian pop culture today, we think God is with us no matter what. He will never let go, no matter how bad circumstances are, no matter how bad we are. If we sin, He will still love us, bless us, pamper us, because after all, we are the King’s kids.
But what about discipline? Chastening? A little smack from His rod and staff? If we discipline our kids, will not the Lord do the same with His? He disciplines those whom He loves and He does it for our benefit, just as we love our kids and discipline them for their benefit. It may not seem like it at the time, but afterward, it yields good fruit. Surely, for Judah this was the case.
Perhaps, even more difficult, is answering the question: will we be disciplined as a nation for our sins? Think on that for a bit.
In closing, may it be said of us as it was of Phineas, the Lord was with him. And like those in the latter 1/2 of chapter 9, may we too find our place of service in the Lord’s house.