Othniel's Adventure; Or, the Impulse of Promised Rewards
1 Chronicles 4:13
And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.

For the story, see Joshua 15:16, 17; Judges 1:12, 13; Judges 3:9. The point of the narrative, for the sake of which it is preserved, appears to be this: Othniel acted, vigorously and successfully, under the impulse of offered reward. The daughter of one so honoured as Caleb was a prize indeed worth winning, and she was to be given to the man who, by his valour and skill, could take the city of Kirjath-sepher. Compare the offer of reward which David made on the occasion of the siege of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 11:6). Some interest attaches to Kirjath-sepher as meaning the "Book-town,' and suggesting the existence of a literature at that time among the Canaanites. Its earlier name (Debir, oracle) may indicate that it was a national sanctuary where the national records were preserved; and, if so, we may be sure that it was securely walled and stoutly defended. The incident may be used to introduce the consideration of the appropriateness of offering rewards, as an incentive to the doing of duty, and in the higher spheres of morals and religion, where all the quality of actions must depend on the motives for which they find expression. In relation to the education and training of the young, the subject of rewards is frequently discussed; some urging that childhood needs the help to effort and perseverance which may be found in the promise of reward; while others contend that a child is deteriorated, and led to adopt false sentiments for life, who is impelled to exertion by the hope of what is to be gained by it, and not to act or to abstain from acting because the thing required is right. It may, however, be fairly contended that, besides the proper and high motives of duty and right, we may thankfully accept the aid of auxiliary motives, and that among these may be set in a first place the promise and the hope of reward. But it would seem to settle the question, that we can show so fully how God has been pleased - in lesser spheres and in greater, in temporal affairs and in spiritual, throughout all the long ages - to use the impulse of rewards. This may be fully and impressively illustrated in the Bible story; and of the character of the illustrations we give a few suggestive instances.

1. In the first trial of humanity it was distinctly understood that the maintenance of all that was gathered up in Paradise was the reward of obedience.

2. To Abraham God offered himself, in his personal favour, and in his power to guide and bless, as "his exceeding great Reward," and even Abraham's faith and loyalty were upheld by the promise that in his "seed all nations of the earth should be blessed."

3. Israel was helped to endure the rigours of Egypt, and to make a great stand for liberty, under the assurance of a great reward, even the heritage of the land that flowed with milk and honey. And it has often been pointed out that temporal prosperity in Canaan was distinctly offered as the reward of obedience to the Law.

4. The prophets - as may be most impressively seen in Isaiah - held before the people most glowing visions of coming days as the sure reward of a full and hearty national return to Jehovah.

5. Our Lord himself fitted the impulse of reward into his most gracious invitation, "Come unto me... and I will give you rest.

6. The apostles urge the disciples to all earnestness in the Christian life and labour, by the assurance that we run for an incorruptible crown," and may hope to receive a "crown of glory, that fadeth not away." Our last sight of Christ in the Word presents him as saying," Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me." We may, then, use the promise of rewards; they appeal to sentiments and feelings in us that are good and useful. We may magnify the grace of God in even thus helping us to win "the holy." And we may reasonably expect present, and certainly look for future, gracious rewards of obedience and faithfulness. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.

WEB: The sons of Kenaz: Othniel, and Seraiah. The sons of Othniel: Hathath.

General Truths from Genealogical Tables
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