1 Chronicles 4:20
And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth.
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(20) The Sons of Shimon.—Nothing is said elsewhere of them, or of the sons of Ishi. Ishi (1Chronicles 2:31) is a Jerahmeelite name; but/as throughout tho section (1Chronicles 4:2-19) we have found indications that the ramifications of the house of Caleb are the principal subject, and as 1Chronicles 4:20 is appended to the rest, without any opposing remark, it, is highly probable that it also refers to some Calebite clans and towns.

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.His wife Hodiah - Not as in the margin, but rather, "the sons of the wife of Hodiah." Hodiah is elsewhere always a man's name Nehemiah 8:7; Nehemiah 9:5; Nehemiah 10:10, Nehemiah 10:13, Nehemiah 10:18. 18. Jehudijah—"the Jewess," to distinguish her from his other wife, who was an Egyptian. This passage records a very interesting fact—the marriage of an Egyptian princess to a descendant of Caleb. The marriage must have taken place in the wilderness. The barriers of a different national language and national religion kept the Hebrews separate from the Egyptians; but they did not wholly prevent intimacies, and even occasional intermarriages between private individuals of the two nations. Before such unions, however, could be sanctioned, the Egyptian party must have renounced idolatry, and this daughter of Pharaoh, as appears from her name, had become a convert to the worship of the God of Israel. Shimon; another son of the father of Keilah, mentioned 1 Chronicles 4:19.

Ishi; son of Tilon last mentioned. And the sons of Shimon,.... Perhaps another son of Mered by his last wife, or the same with Shammai, 1 Chronicles 4:17 were

Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon; nowhere else mentioned:

and the sons of Ishi: who it may be was the brother of Shimon or Tilon: were

Zoheth, and Benzoheth; of whom we know no more than their names.

And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth.
Verse 20. - The names of this verse obtain no light from other passages. The Septuagint (Alexandrian), in loc., speaks of "Someion, the father of Jomam," in the former verse which probably stands for this Shimon. Also the Septuagint for Vulgate, instead of counting Ben-hanan as the name of a third son, translate it, as of Rinnah "son of Hanan." Ishi; not to be confused with ch. 2:31, son of Appaim. Our Authorized Version, following the Vulgate, does not translate Ben-zoheth, while the Hebrew would read naturally "Zoheth, and the son of Zoheth." Descendants of Kenaz. - קנז is a descendant of Hezron the son of Pharez, as may be inferred from the fact that Caleb the son of Jephunneh, a descendant of Hezron's son Caleb, is called in Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:6 קנזּי, and consequently was also a descendant of Kenaz. Othniel and Seraiah, introduced here as קנז בּני, are not sons (in the narrower sense of the word), but more distant descendants of Kenaz; for Othniel and Caleb the son of Jephunneh were, according to Joshua 15:17 and Judges 1:13, brothers.

(Note: The words used in Judges 1:13, cf. Joshua 15:17, of the relationship of Othniel and Caleb, הקּטון כלב אחי בּן־קנז, may be, it is true, taken in different senses, either as signifying filius Kenasi fratris Caleb, according to which, not Othniel, but Kenaz, was a younger brother of Caleb; or in this way, filius Kenasi, frater Calebi minor, as we have interpreted them in the text, and also in the commentary on Joshua 15:17. This interpretation we still hold to be certainly the correct one, notwithstanding what Bachmann (Buch der Richter, on 1 Chronicles 1:13) has brought forward against it and in favour of the other interpretation, and cannot see that his chief reasons are decisive. The assertion that we must predicate of Othniel, if he be a younger brother of Caleb, an unsuitably advanced age, is not convincing. Caleb was eighty-five years of age at the division of the land of Canaan (Joshua 14:10). Now if we suppose that his younger or youngest brother Othniel was from twenty-five to thirty years younger, as often happens, Othniel would be from sixty to sixty-one or fifty-five to fifty-six years of age at the conquest of Debir, - an age at which he might well win a wife as the reward of valour. Ten years later came the invasion of the land by Cushan Rishathaim, which lasted eight years, till Othniel had conquered Cushan R., and there were judges in Israel. This victory he would thus gain at the age of seventy-eight or seventy-three; and even if he filled the office of judge for forty years-which, however, Judges 3:11 does not state - he would have reached no greater age than 118 or 113 years, only three or eight years older than Joshua had been. If we consider what Caleb said of himself in his eighty-fifth year, Joshua 14:11, "I am still strong as in the day that Moses sent me (i.e., forty years before); as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war, both to go out and to come in," we cannot think that Othniel, in the seventy-third or seventy-eighth years of his age, was too old to be a military leader. But the other reason: "that Caleb is always called son of Jephunneh, Othniel always son of Kenaz, should cause us to hesitate before we take Othniel to be the proper brother of Caleb," loses all its weight when we find that Caleb also is called in Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:6 קנזי equals בּן־קנז, and it is seen that Caleb therefore, as well as Othniel, was a son of Kenaz. Now if the Kenazite Caleb the son of Jephunneh were a brother of Kenaz, the father of Othniel, we must suppose an older Kenaz, the grandfather or great-grandfather of Caleb, and a younger Kenaz, the father of Othniel. This supposition is certainly feasible, for, according to 1 Chronicles 4:15 of our chapter, a grandson of Caleb again was called Kenaz; but if it be probable is another question. For the answering of this question in the affirmative, Bachmann adduces that, according to 1 Chronicles 4:13, Othniel is undoubtedly the son of Kenaz in the proper sense of the word; but it might perhaps be difficult to prove, or even to render probable, this "undoubtedly." In the superscriptions of the single genealogies of the Chronicle, more than elsewhere, בּני has in general a very wide signification. In 1 Chronicles 4:1 of our chapter, for instance, sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons of Judah are all grouped together as יהוּדה בּני. But besides this, the ranging of the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh (1 Chronicles 4:15) after the enumeration of the sons of Kenaz in 1 Chronicles 4:13 and 1 Chronicles 4:14, is clearly much more easily explicable if Caleb himself belonged to the קנז בּני mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:13, than if he was a brother of Kenaz. In the latter case we should expect, after the analogy of 1 Chronicles 2:42, to find an additional clause קנז אחי after בּן־יפנּה כּלב; while if Caleb was a brother of Othniel, his descent from Kenaz, or the fact that he belonged to the קנז בּני, might be assumed to be known from Numbers 32:12.)

Kenaz, therefore, can neither have been the father of Othniel nor father of Caleb (in the proper sense of the word), but must at least have been the grandfather or great-grandfather of both. Othniel is the famous first judge of Israel, Judges 3:9. Of Seraiah nothing further is known, although the name is often met with of different persons.

The sons of Othniel are Hathath. The plural בּני, even when only one name follows, is met with elsewhere (vide on 1 Chronicles 2:7); but the continuation is somewhat strange, "and Meonothai begat Ophrah," for as Meonothai is not before mentioned, his connection with Othniel is not given. There is evidently a hiatus in the text, which may most easily be filled up by repeating וּמעונתי at the end of 1 Chronicles 4:13. According to this conjecture two sons of Othniel would be named, Hathath and Meonothai, and then the posterity of the latter is given. The name מעונתי (my dwellings) is not met with elsewhere. It is not at all probable that it is connected with the town Maon, and still less that it is so in any way with the Mehunim, Ezra 2:50. Ophrah is unknown, for of course we must not think of the towns called Ophrah, in the territory of Benjamin, Joshua 18:23, and in that of Manasseh, Judges 6:11, Judges 6:24. Seraiah, who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:13, begat Joab the father (founder) of the valley of the craftsmen, "for they (i.e., the inhabitants of this valley, who were descended from Joab) were craftsmen." The valley of the חרשׁים (craftsmen) is again mentioned in Nehemiah 11:35, whence we may conclude that it lay at no great distance from Jerusalem, in a northern direction.

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