In the midst of the genealogy which begins with the tribes of Judah, we find a bit of a gem nestled in this chapter. First of all, Judah, if you remember, was the southern kingdom and Israel, which we saw in chapter 2, was the northern kingdom. Under king David the north and the south were united, but then later on they became divided. This chapter begins with the lineage of Judah, which we can assume could apply primarily to those who went into the Southern Kingdom.
Now, look at vs.10 and you will find what has been called the prayer of Jabez. There was a long kind of cultish following to this prayer in the early 2000’s and people used it constantly as a reference to what they wanted God to do for them. Personally, I never liked it. I see it as a self-centered prayer which is kind of the opposite of what we see in Matthew 25:31-46 where the king honors those who looked after the hungry, thirsty, stranger, naked, sick and in prison and the poor. Not those who pray for the Lord to expand their own borders or to protect them as individuals, even while they were out conquering other nations. This would be a prayer to make me great and to…, well, to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth to anyone else and everyone else who might get in my way. Not really a prayer that our Savior would encourage us to pray. Especially not our Savior who tells us to pray for our enemies and to give them the clothes off our back, even if it means that we are at a loss because of it. I like my savior more than I like Jabez.