|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.
Verse 39. - The place Gedor cannot be identified in this connection. There is a town of the name situated in the mountainous district of Judah between Halhul and Beth-zur, to the north of Hebron (Joshua 15:58). It is evident that this cannot be the place we require here. There is another town of the name (1 Chronicles 12:7), probably belonging to Benjamin, and which as little admits of being fitted in here. Both the Alexandrine and the Vatican Codex of the Septuagint, however, evidently read גְּדרָ for גְּדֹר. Now, Gerar of the Philistines would suit well for position and description, and also (Genesis 10:14) for the allusion found here (ver. 40) to the dwelling there "of old" of the people of Ham. The Hebrew word, however, generally applied to the valley of Gerar (נַחַל, wady) is not the word used here of Gedor (הַגָיְא, ravine). See Stanley's 'Syria and Palestine,' p. 159, and note. Not only are references frequent to the fertility of Gerar, but the significance of that in 2 Chronicles 14:14 speaks for itself. This alteration of reading, however, with acceptance of the Septuagint manuscripts, cannot be regarded as altogether satisfactory, and Keil ('Comm.,' in loc.) offers some suggestions of weight against those of Ewald, Bertheau, and others.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they went to the entrance of Gedor,.... There was a city of this name in the tribe of Judah, 1 Chronicles 4:18 but this seems to be further off, and perhaps is the same with Gedaris, mentioned by Strabo (l) along with Azotus and Askelon, cities that belonged to the Philistines; since it was inhabited by the posterity of Ham, of whom the Philistines were, as in the following verse:
even unto the east side of the valley; which was near to Gedor, and a suitable place:
to seek pasture for their flocks; their sheep and goats.
(l) Geograph. l. 16. p. 522.
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