1 Chronicles 2:6
And the sons of Zerah; Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all.
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(6-8) The sons of Zerah.—From this point our narrative ceases to depend entirely upon the data of Genesis.

(6) Zimri.—This name is probably a merely accidental variant of Zabdi. Both are genuine Hebrew names occurring elsewhere. But the fact that Zimri here, and Zabdi at Joshua 7:1, are both called sons of Zerah, seems to prove their identity; especially as m is often confused with b, and d with r.

Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara.—It is stated (1Kings 4:31) that Solomon was “wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol.” It will be seen that the first three names coincide with those of our text, and that Dara is only one letter different from Darda. Further, many MSS. of Chronicles, as well as the Svriac and Arabic versions and the Targum, actually have Darda. The Yatic. LXX. reads Darad. There is thus a virtual repetition of these four names in the passage of Kings, and it is difficult to suppose that the persons intended are not the same there and here. Ethan is called an Ezrahite in Kings, but Ezrah and Zerah are equivalent forms in Hebrew; and the Yatic. LXX. actually calls Ethan a Zarhite—i.e., a descendant of Zerah (Numbers 26:13). The designation of the four as “sons of Mahol” presents no difficulty. Mahol is a usual word for the sacred dance (Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4), and the four Zarhites are thus described as “sons of dancing”—that is, sacred musicians. It is likely, therefore, that these famous minstrels of Judah were adopted into the Levitical clans in which sacred music was the hereditary profession. (See Psalms 88, 89., titles.) Whether Ethan and Heman are the persons mentioned in 1Chronicles 6:33; 1Chronicles 6:44; 1Chronicles 15:17; 1Chronicles 15:19 as the recognised heads of two of the great guilds of temple musicians is not clear. The Levitical ancestry ascribed to them in 1 Chronicles 6 would not be opposed to this assumption, as adoption would involve it.

1 Chronicles 2:6. And Dara — If these be the same who are mentioned as the sons of Mahol, (1 Kings 4:31,) either the same man had two names, Zerah and Mahol, as was usual among the Hebrews, or one of these was their immediate father, and the other their grandfather. These are named, because they were the glory of their father’s house. When the Holy Ghost would magnify the wisdom of Solomon, he saith, he was wiser than these four men. That four brothers should be so eminent, was a rare thing.

2:1-55 Genealogies. - We are now come to the register of the children of Israel, that distinguished people, who were to dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations. But now, in Christ, all are welcome to his salvation who come to him; all have equal privileges according to their faith in him, their love and devotedness to him. All that is truly valuable consists in the favour, peace, and image of God, and a life spent to his glory, in promoting the welfare of our fellow-creatures.The sons of Zerah - Here, for the first time, the writer of Chronicles draws from sources not otherwise known to us, recording facts not mentioned in the earlier Scriptures. Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara, sons of Zerah, are only known to us from this passage, since there are no sufficient grounds for identifying them with the "sons of Mahol" (marginal reference). 6. Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara—These five are here stated to be the sons of Zerah, that is, of Ezra, whence they were called Ezrahites (1Ki 4:31). In that passage they are called "the sons of Mahol," which, however, is to be taken not as a proper name, but appellatively for "sons of music, dancing," &c. The traditional fame of their great sagacity and acquirements had descended to the time of Solomon and formed a standard of comparison for showing the superior wisdom of that monarch. Jewish writers say that they were looked up to as prophets by their countrymen during the abode in Egypt. If these be the same who are mentioned as the sons of Mahol, 1 Kings 4:31, either the same man had two names, Zerah and Mahol, as was usual among the Hebrews; or one of these was their immediate father, and the other their grandfather.

And the sons of Zerah,.... The other twin of Judah:

Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all; the Targum calls them governors, and adds, on whom the spirit of prophecy dwelt; and in the Jewish chronology (n) they are said to prophesy in Egypt; and the four last are supposed to be the same with those in 1 Kings 4:31. See Gill on 1 Kings 4:31.

(n) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 20. p. 52.

And the sons of Zerah; Zimri, and {b} Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all.

(b) Of these read 1Ki 4:31.

6. the sons of Zerah] This genealogy appears only in Chron.

Zimri] LXX (B) Ζαμβρεί (β being merely euphonic) here and also Joshua 7:1 where Heb. has “Zabdi.” LXX. is probably right in identifying the two. Either form might arise from the other by easy textual corruption.

Ethan … Dara] Read, Darda with Vulg., Targ., Pesh. The same four names in the same order occur 1 Kings 4:31 as the names of wise men whom Solomon surpassed in wisdom. They are there called sons of “Mahol” who may have been either a nearer or remoter ancestor than Zerah. Ethan however is there called the Ezrahite (= probably “son of Zerah”). [Psalms 88, 89 bear respectively the names “Heman the Ezrahite,” “Ethan the Ezrahite,” but these (it seems) were Levites (1 Chronicles 15:17; 1 Chronicles 15:19).]

1 Chronicles 2:6Sons and descendants of Zerah. - In 1 Chronicles 2:6, five names are grouped together as בּנים of Zerah, which are found nowhere else so united. The first, Zimri, may be strictly a son; but זמרי may perhaps be a mistake for זבדּי, for Achan, who is in 1 Chronicles 2:7 the son of Carmi, is in Joshua 7:1 called the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah. But זבדּי (Josh.) may also be an error for זמרי, or he may have been a son of Zimri, since in genealogical lists an intermediate member of the family is often passed over. Nothing certain can, however, be ascertained; both names are found elsewhere, but of persons belonging to other tribes: Zimri as prince of the Simeonites, Numbers 25:14; as Benjamite, 1 Chronicles 8:36; 1 Chronicles 9:42; and as king of Israel, 1 Kings 16:9; Zabdi, 1 Chronicles 8:19 (as Benjamite), and 1 Chronicles 27:27, Nehemiah 11:17. The four succeeding names, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara, are met with again in 1 Kings 5:11, where it is said of Solomon he was wiser than the Ezrahite Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Machol, with the unimportant variation of דרדע for דרע. On this account, Movers and Bertheau, following Clericus on 1 Kings 4:31 (1 Kings 5:11), hold the identity of the wise men mentioned in 1 Kings 5:11 with the sons (descendants) of Zerah to be beyond doubt. But the main reason which Clericus produces in support of this supposition, the consensus quatuor nominum et quidem unius patris filiorum, and the difficulty of believing that in alia familia Hebraea there should have been quatuor fratres cognomines quatuor filiis Zerachi Judae filii, loses all its force from the fact that the supposition that the four wise men in 1 Kings 5:11 are brothers by blood, is a groundless and erroneous assumption. Since Ethan is called the Ezrahite, while the last two are said to be the sons of Machol, it is clear that the four were not brothers. The mention of them as men famous for their wisdom, does not at all require that we should think the men contemporary with each other. Even the enumeration of these four along with Zimri as זרח בּני in our verse does not necessarily involve that the five names denote brothers by blood; for it is plain from 1 Chronicles 2:7, 1 Chronicles 2:8 that in this genealogy only single famous names of the family of Zerah the son of Judah and Tamar are grouped together. But, on the other hand, the reasons which go to disprove the identity of the persons in our verse with those named in 1 Kings 5:11 are not of very great weight. The difference in the names דרע and דרדע is obviously the result of an error of transcription, and the form העזרחי (1 Kings 5:11) is most probably a patronymic from זרח, notwithstanding that in Numbers 26:20 it appears as זרחי, for even the appellative עזרח, indigena, is formed from זרח. We therefore hold that the persons who bear the same names in our verse and in 1 Kings 5:11 are most probably identical, in spite of the addition מחול בּני to Calcol and Darda (1 Kings 5:11). For that this addition belongs merely to these two names, and not to Ezrah, appears from Psalm 88:1 and Psalm 89:1, which, according to the superscription, were composed by the Ezrahites Heman and Ethan. The authors of these psalms are unquestionably the Heman and Ethan who were famed for their wisdom (1 Kings 5:11), and therefore most probably the same as those spoken of in our verse as sons of Zerah. It is true that the authors of these psalms have been held by many commentators to be Levites, nay, to be the musicians mentioned in 1 Chronicles 15:17 and 1 Chronicles 15:19; but sufficient support for this view, which I myself, on 1 Kings 5:11, after the example of Hengstenberg, Beitrr. ii. S. 61, and on Psalm 88 defended, cannot be found. The statement of the superscription of Psalm 88:1 - "a psalm of the sons of Korah" - from which it is inferred that the Ezrahite Heman was of Levitic origin, does not justify such a conclusion.

(Note: The above quoted statement of the superscription of Psalm 88:1 can contain no information as to the author of the psalm, for this reason, that the author is expressly mentioned in the next sentence of the superscription. The psalm can only in so far be called a song of the children of Korah, as it bears the impress peculiar to the Korahite psalms in contents and form.)

For though the musician Heman the son of Joel was Korahite of the race of Kohath (1 Chronicles 6:18-23), yet the musician Ethan the son of Kishi, or Kushaiah, was neither Korahite nor Kohathite, but a Merarite (1 Chronicles 6:29.). Moreover, the Levites Heman and Ethan could not be enumerated among the Ezrahites, that is, the descendants of Zerah, a man of Judah.

The passages which are quoted in support of the view that the Levites were numbered with the tribes in the midst of whom they dwelt, and that, consequently, there were Judaean and Ephraimite Levites - as, for example, 1 Samuel 1:1, where the father of the Levite Samuel is called an Ephrathite because he dwelt in Mount Ephraim; and Judges 17:7, where a Levite is numbered with the family of Judah because he dwelt as sojourner (גּר) in Bethlehem, a city of Judah - certainly prove that the Levites were reckoned, as regards citizenship, according to the tribes or cities in which they dwelt, but certainly do not show that they were incorporated genealogically with those tribes because of their place of residence.

(Note: Not even by intermarrying with heiresses could Levites become members of another tribe; for, according to the law, Numbers 36:5., heiresses could marry only men of their own tribe; and the possibility of a man of Judah marrying an heiress of the tribe of Levi was out of the question, for the Levites possessed no inheritance in land.)

The Levites Heman and Ethan, therefore, cannot be brought forward in our verse "as adopted sons of Zerah, who brought more honour to their father than his proper sons" (Hengstb.). This view is completely excluded by the fact that in our verse not only Ethan and Heman, but also Zimri, Calcol, and Dara are called sons of Zerah, yet these latter were not adopted sons, but true descendants of Zerah. Besides, in 1 Chronicles 2:8, there is an actual son or descendant of Ethan mentioned, and consequently בּני and בּן cannot possibly be understood in some cases as implying only an adoptive relationship, and in the others actual descent. But the similarity of the names is not of itself sufficient to justify us in identifying the persons. As the name Zerah again appears in 1 Chronicles 6:26 in the genealogy of the Levite Asaph, so also the name Ethan occurs in the same genealogy, plainly showing that more than one Israelite bore this name. The author of the Chronicle, too, has sufficiently guarded against the opinion that Zerah's sons Ethan and Heman are identical with the Levitical musicians who bear the same names, by tracing back in 1 Chronicles 6 the family of those musicians to Levi, without calling them Ezrahites.

(Note: The supposition of Ewald and Bertheau, that these two great singers of the tribe of Judah had been admitted into their guild by the Levitic musical schools, and on that account had been received also into their family, and so had been numbered with the tribe of Levi, is thus completely refuted, even were it at all possible that members of other tribes should have been received into the tribe of Levi.)

But to hold, with Movers, S. 237, that the recurrences of the same names in various races are contradictions, which are to be explained only on the supposition of genealogical combinations by various authors, will enter into the head of no sensible critic. We therefore believe the five persons mentioned in our verse to be actual descendants of the Judaean Zerah; but whether they were sons or grandsons, or still more distant descendants, cannot be determined. It is certainly very probable that Zimri was a son, if he be identical with the Zabdi of Joshua 7:1; Ethan and Heman may have been later descendants of Zerah, if they were the wise men mentioned in 1 Kings 5:11; but as to Calcol and Dara no further information is to be obtained. From 1 Chronicles 2:7 and 1 Chronicles 2:8, where of the sons (בּני) of Zimri and Ethan only one man in each case is named, it is perfectly clear that in our genealogy only individuals, men who have become famous, are grouped together out of the whole posterity of Zerah. The plural בּני in 1 Chronicles 2:7 and 1 Chronicles 2:8, etc., even where only one son is mentioned, is used probably only in those cases where, out of a number of sons or descendants, one has gained for himself by some means a memorable name. This is true at least of Achan, 1 Chronicles 2:7, who, by laying hands on the accursed spoils of Jericho, had become notorious (Joshua 7). Because Achan had thus troubled Israel (עכר), he is called here at once Achar. As to Carmi, vide on 1 Chronicles 4:1.

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