I've been the bible a chapter a day, I'm in Chronicles, and ran across the Prayer Of Jabez. I'm sure you're familiar with this little Ditty. if not, follow the link. What struck me was how out of place it seemed. Chronicles is largely a Story of how Israel and Judah became failed states under a Monarchy. I like to that a typical passage is "King Whosit was the most evil in the history of Israel. He led his people into abominable sin, and put Asherah poles on every street corner. He ruled for a year, and was assassinated by his son Whatshisname, who was even more. Fun reading, isn't it?
So , what do we make of this bright spot in a Doom and Gloom book? You could ague that the Chronicler was show that god would prosper those who are faithful to him. And I think that this is what the author had in mind. If you look at the few time when the Kingdoms had Faitful leadership they prospered, otherwise, it's pretty much gloom and doom.
And Jabez really asking for the proverbial Mercedes-Benz? once again, the passage by itself does seem to lend itself does seem to endorse the "prosperity gospel" . But what's meant by "enlarging my territory"? Maybe Jabez was asking for more responsibility, not more wealth ( I'm thinking of today's Gospel reading.)
I've always been taught that Gospel should have a high degree of coherence. And while at first, it does seem wildly out of place, it does fit in the Grand Scheme of things