The Prowess of Jair
1 Chronicles 2:22, 23
And Segub begat Jair, who had three and twenty cities in the land of Gilead.…

The story of this man is given in Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 13:30. From the repeated mention of him we may assume that he was a remarkable man for military genius, and was in so large a degree successful in his warlike enterprises as to stand out before the ages as a prominent example of the warlike endowment, and its place in the Divine purposes. The brief notice of this man suggests for our consideration - The consecration to God of the military talent. We cannot accept fully the facts of human history without recognizing the Divine gift of the genius of the warrior. Different views are held on the righteousness of war. From the Christian standpoint all offensive war must be at once and entirely condemned, but defensive war - and aid to those called to defensive war - appears to be fully consistent with Christian principles. Still, we shall unfeignedly rejoice when the principle of arbitration can be universally adopted, and the "nations learn war no more." It is, even in its best forms, a terrible human scourge and evil. But, whatever our view of it may be, history keeps her testimony, and declares that, in the long story of our race, war has been one of the important agencies used by God, and overruled by him, to the accomplishment of his gracious ends; and that he has, again and again, raised up men who had "war' for their life-mission, and the military endowment as their precise trust. There have been the Joshuas, the Davids, the Maccabees, the Marlboroughs, and the Wellingtons, etc. Times and circumstances have made war the only possible agency for the punishing of wrong and the deliverance and confirmation of the right. Still, we should distinctly observe that warfare is the creation of man's lust of power and dominion, his ambition to be supreme; and that the "God of peace" does but - if we may so say - fit, temporarily, into the circumstances thus created, until he can get fully established his kingdom of righteousness in which war will be unknown.

I. THE DISTINCTIVE MILITARY GIFT. It is the gift of command over other men finding one particular mode of expression. This is the essence of it, but it is combined with the constructive faculty, the power of organization, courage, bodily skill, quickness of invention, etc. - all, it may be pointed out, endowments which may find other spheres than battle-fields. Illustrate by the devotion of F. W. Robertson's soldierly gifts to the service of the Church, and by the gift of ruling men found in the heads of large mills and factories.

II. THE LOYALTY THAT GUIDES THE USE OF THE MILITARY GIFTS. It is characteristic of the soldier that he is loyal to his king, and this loyalty finds expression in instant and unquestioning obedience. So the soldier among us is a plea urging us to maintain similar relations to our Lord, who is the "King of kings." So far as we can see, it would be a loss to the moral health of a nation if the example of soldierly loyalty and obedience were removed. St. Paul was essentially a loyal soldier. When a command came from his Lord, he tells us, "Immediately we conferred not with flesh and blood."

III. THE WITNESS TO VIRTUE AND DUTY THAT IS MADE BY MILITARY MEN. Lord Nelson's words embody the witness all soldiers make. We must work for, suffer for, and, if need be, die for, duty. "England expects that every man will do his duty. And in this time-serving, self-seeking, money-getting age we cannot afford to lose any agency which renders public witness to the fact that there is something nobler than even life - it is duty. If it could be so that, in the world of the future, the military genius was no longer needed, still even a world at peace would need the story of the heroic ages, and its witness to the dignity of endurance, obedience, promptitude, sacrifice for a high idea, and above all to the paramount claims of duty. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Segub begat Jair, who had three and twenty cities in the land of Gilead.

WEB: Segub became the father of Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead.

Artistic Gifts Finding Religious Spheres
Top of Page
Top of Page