|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:1-43 Genealogies. - In this chapter we have a further account of Judah, the most numerous and most famous of all the tribes; also an account of Simeon. The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great, is to seek to do God's will, and to pray earnestly. Here is the prayer he made. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. He does not express his promise, but leaves it to be understood; he was afraid to promise in his own strength, and resolved to devote himself entirely to God. Lord, if thou wilt bless me and keep me, do what thou wilt with me; I will be at thy command and disposal for ever. As the text reads it, this was the language of a most ardent and affectionate desire, Oh that thou wouldest bless me! Four things Jabez prayed for. 1. That God would bless him indeed. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God's blessings are real things, and produce real effects. 2. That He would enlarge his coast. That God would enlarge our hearts, and so enlarge our portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, ought to be our desire and prayer. 3. That God's hand might be with him. God's hand with us, to lead us, protect us, strengthen us, and to work all our works in us and for us, is a hand all-sufficient for us. 4. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.
Verses 13-15. - We return here to the neighbourhood of names not quite strange. From comparison of the many passages in Numbers, Joshua, and Judges, which contain references to Othniel and Caleb (son of Jephunneh), the stronger conclusion to which we are led is that Othniel was younger brother of Caleb (probably not by both the same parents) and Kenaz a forefather, of course not literally father. The conclusion is not arrived at without difficulty, or with any real certainty. In the present instance, e.g., why should Othniel, if the younger brother and so expressly and repeatedly mentioned, be taken first? For the possible Kenaz of this passage, we might then refer to 1 Chronicles 1:53; Genesis 36:42. Hathath. The marginal reading, which joins Meonothai at once to Hathath, and then supplies "who" before "begat Ophrah," is decidedly to be adopted. Joab son of Seraiah is not to be assumed to be one with Joab son of Zeruiah. The valley of the Charashim (see also Nehemiah 11:35), i.e. smiths, or craftsmen, lay east of Jaffa, and behind the plain of Sharon; and is said by Jerome, in his 'Quaestiones Hebraicae in Paral.,' to have been, according to tradition, named so because the architects of the temple came thence. Iru. Perhaps the real name is It, and the final vau rather an initial for the next name. Elah. Probably another name is wanting after this, which the vau will then join to Kenaz; otherwise, as vau will not translate "even," the following name will become, as in the margin, Uknaz. The wanting name might be the Jehalaleel of the next verse. This last name is in the Hebrew identical with the Jehalelel of our Authorized Version (2 Chronicles 29:12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the sons of Kenaz,.... Who was either the son of Chelub, or of Eshton:
Othniel, and Seraiah; the first of these is he who is mentioned, Joshua 15:17 and was the first judge in Israel:
and the son of Othniel, Hathath; and the next mentioned.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. the sons of Kenaz—the grandfather of Caleb, who from that relationship is called a Kenezite (Nu 32:12).
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