1 Chronicles 2:7
And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.
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(7) The sons of Carmi.—See Note on 1Chronicles 1:41.

Achar, the troubler of Israel.—See Joshua 7:1, where the man is called “Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah.” The family of Carmi, therefore, were Zarhites. Joshua 7:24 calls him “Achan, the son of Zerah,” an expression which shows, if other proof were wanting, that we must be cautious of interpreting such phrases literally in all instances.

Achar . . . troubler of Israel.—There is a play on the man’s name in the Hebrew, which is, “Achar ’ocher Yisrael.” So in Joshua 7:25 Joshua asks, “Why hast thou troubled us?” (‘achartânu), and in 1Chronicles 2:26 the place of Achar’s doom is called “the valley of Achor” (trouble). Probably Achan is an old error for Achar.

1 Chronicles 2:7. The sons of Carmi — This man is here mentioned, because he was the son of Zimri, who was also called Zabdi, Joshua 7:18. Achar, the troubler of Israel — He who in Joshua 7. is called Achan, is here, by a small variation, elegantly and significantly called Achar, which means troubler: because he had brought Israel into great danger and distress, by the sin he committed.

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."Achan" Joshua 7:1 seems to have become "Achar," in order to assimilate the word more closely to the Hebrew term for "troubler," which was from the time of Achan's sin regarded as the true meaning of his name Joshua 7:25-26. 7. the sons of Carmi—He was the son of Zimri, or Zabdi, as he is called (Jos 7:1).

Achar—or Achan (Jos 7:1). This variety in the form of the name is with great propriety used here, since Achar means "troubler."

Carmi is here mentioned, because he was the son of Zimri, who is also called Zabdi, Joshua 7:1.

Achar; called Achan, Joshua 7:1, and here Achar, with a little variation for greater significancy; for Achar signifies a troubler.

And the sons of Carmi,.... The Targum adds, this is Zimri; but in Joshua 7:1 Carmi is said to be the son of Zabdi, who seems to be the same with Zimri; and some supply the word here, and read (o) the sons of Zimri, Carmi, Achar, who was the grandson of Zimri; his proper name was Achan, Joshua 7:1, but called Achar here by way of reproach, as Jarchi and others observe; being, as it follows:

the troubler of Israel, as Achar signifies: "who transgressed in the thing accursed"; devoted to the Lord, by taking it away for his own use, see Joshua 6:17, hence the valley in which he was put to death was called Achor, Joshua 6:26.

(o) So Junius & Tremellius, & Piscator.

And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.
7. the sons of Carmi] Carmi is probably to be taken as the son of Zimri (= Zabdi, Joshua 7:1). Targ. however has “Carmi who is Zimri.” See note on Zimri 1 Chronicles 2:6.

Achar] This form of the name (instead of “Achan” Joshua 7:1) is used by the Chronicler to bring out better the play on the Heb. word for “troubler.” The Heb. runs, “Achar ocher Israel.”

Verse 7. - We have then so far seven grandsons to Judah, when a new name, unmentioned before, is introduced - Carmi. He is neither described as one of the seven grandsons nor as descended from any one of them, but unenviably enough is marked as the father of Achar - later form of Achau - the troubler of Israel. Joshua 7:1-18 supplies the missing link, and states that Carmi is son of Zimri (Zabdi), one of the aforesaid seven grandsons. By the punishment of death, visited upon this Achar, with his sons and daughters (Joshua 7:24, 25), it may be presumed that the line of Judah through him became extinct. 1 Chronicles 2:7Sons 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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