1 Chronicles 4:31
And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.
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(31) Beth-marcaboth = “house of chariots.”

Hazar - susim = “village of horses;” for which Hazarsusah is an equivalent (susah being used as a collective word).

Beth-birei.—Probably a corrupt writing of Beth-lebaoth, “house of lionesses” (Joshua 19:6), for which Joshua 15:32 has the contraction Lebaoth. There were lions in the wilds of Judah (1Samuel 17:34). (Comp. Judges 14:5; 1Kings 13:24.)

Shaaraim (two gates) is Sharuhen (Joshua 19:6), and Shilhim (Joshua 15:32). Sharuhen is known from Egyptian inscriptions (Sharuhuna).

These were their cities unto the reign of David, and their villages.Joshua 19:6 shows that this is the right punctuation: “And Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen: thirteen towns, and their villages.”

Unto the reign of David.—Does this mean that in the age of David the thirteen cities passed from the possession of the Simeonites? Ziklag, at all events, was at that time a Philistine borough (1Samuel 27:6).

1 Chronicles 4:31. These were their cities — Several of these cities, though given to Simeon by Joshua, yet, through the sloth or cowardice of that tribe, were not taken from the Philistines until David’s time, who took some of them, and, the Simeonites having justly forfeited their right to them by their neglect, gave them to his own tribe. For it is evident concerning Ziklag, one of them, that it was in the Philistines’ hands in David’s time, and by them given to him, and by him annexed to the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 27:6.

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.Unto the reign of David - It is not quite clear why this clause is added. Perhaps the writer is quoting from a document belonging to David's reign. Or, he may mean that some of the cities, as Ziklag 1 Samuel 27:6, were lost to Simeon about David's time. 31-43. These were their cities unto the reign of David—In consequence of the sloth or cowardice of the Simeonites, some of the cities within their allotted territory were only nominally theirs. They were never taken from the Philistines until David's time, when, the Simeonites having forfeited all claim to them, he assigned them to his own tribe of Judah (1Sa 27:6). Either,

1. Of David’s posterity, i.e. as long as the kingdom of Judah lasted, or until the captivity of Babylon. But this seems not to be true, for Simeon was gone into captivity with the rest of the ten tribes long before that time. Or rather,

2. Of David himself. And this may seem to be added, because some of these cities, though given to Simeon by Joshua, yet through the sloth or cowardice of that tribe were not taken from the Philistines until David’s time, who took some of them, and, the Simeonites having justly forfeited their right to them by their neglect, gave them to his own tribe. For it is evident concerning Ziklag, one of them, that it was in the Philistines’ hands in David’s time, and by them given to him, and by him annexed to the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 27:6.

And they dwelt at Beersheba,.... posterity of Simeon; and this and the other places of their habitation are mentioned in the same order, and with very little variation of names to the end of 1 Chronicles 4:31, as in Joshua 19:2 and here, at 1 Chronicles 4:31 it is added:

these were their cities unto the reign of David; when, according to Kimchi, and other Jewish writers, he expelled them from thence, and restored them to the tribe of Judah.

And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of {k} David.

(k) Then David restored them to the tribe of Judah.

31. Beth-marcaboth … Hazar-susim] These names mean respectively, House of chariots, and Court of horses. They may have been royal chariot-cities, 1 Kings 9:19.

Shaaraim] 1 Samuel 17:52.

These were their cities unto the reign of David] This may he a reference to David’s census, which doubtless shewed generally the possessions of tribes or families as well as their numbers. It does not necessarily mean that these cities ceased to belong to Simeon after David’s day.

1 Chronicles 4:31The ancient dwelling-places of the Simeonites, which they received within the tribal domain of Judah at the division of the land by Joshua; cf. Joshua 19:1. - There are in all eighteen cities, divided into two groups, numbering thirteen and five respectively, as in Joshua 19:2-6, where these same cities are enumerated in the same order. The only difference is, that in Joshua thirteen cities are reckoned in the first group and four in the second, although the first group contains fourteen names. Between Beersheba and Moladah there stands there a שׁבע which is not found in our list, and which might be considered to be a repetition of the second part of בּאר־שׁבע, if it were not that in the list of the cities, Joshua 15:26, the name שׁמע before Moladah corresponds to it. The other differences between the two passages arise partly from different forms of the same name being used, - as, for example, בּלהה for בּלה (Josh.), תּולד for אלתּולד, בּתוּאל for בּתוּל; and partly from different names being used of the same city, - e.g., בּית־בּראי (1 Chronicles 4:31) instead of בּית־לבאות, "the house of lions" (Josh.), שׁערים instead of שׁרוּחן (Josh.). All these cities lie in the south land of Judah, and have therefore been named in Joshua 15:26-32 among the cities of that district. As to Beersheba, now Bir es Seba, see on Genesis 21:31; and for Moladah, which is to be identified with the ruin el Milh to the south of Hebron, on the road to Ailah, see on Joshua 15:26. Bilhah (in Joshua 15:29, בּעלה), Ezem, Tolad, and Bethuel (for which in Joshua 15:31 כּסיל is found), have not yet been discovered; cf. on Joshua 15:29 and Joshua 15:30. Hormah, formerly Sephat, is now the ruin Sepata, on the western slope of the Rakhma table-land, 2 1/2 hours south of Khalasa (Elusa); cf. on Joshua 12:14. Ziklag is most probably to be sought in the ancient village Aschludsch or Kasludsch, to the east of Sepata; cf. on Joshua 15:31. Beth-marcaboth, i.e., "carriage-house," and Hazar-susim (or Susa), i.e., horse-village, both evidently by-names, are called in Joshua 15:31 Madmannah and Sansannah. Their position has not yet been discovered. Beth-Birei, or Beth-lebaoth, is also as yet undiscovered; cf. on Joshua 15:32. Shaaraim, called in Joshua 15:32 Shilhim, is supposed to be the same as Tell Sheriah, between Gaza and Beersheba; cf. Van de Velde, Reise, ii. S. 154. The enumeration of these thirteen cities concludes in 1 Chronicles 4:31 with the strange subscription, "These (were) their cities until the reign of David, and their villages." וחצריהם, which, according to the Masoretic division of the verses, stands at the beginning of 1 Chronicles 4:32, should certainly be taken with 1 Chronicles 4:31; for the places mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:32 are expressly called cities, and in Joshua 19:6, cities and their villages, הצריהם, are spoken of. This subscription can hardly "only be intended to remind us, that of the first-mentioned cities, one (viz., Ziklag, 1 Samuel 27:6), or several, in the time of David, no longer belonged to the tribe of Simeon;" nor can it only be meant to state that "till the time of David the cities named were in possession of the tribe of Simeon, though they did not all continue to be possessed by this tribe at a later time" (Berth.). Ziklag had been, even before the reign of David, taken away from the Simeonites by the Philistines, and had become the property of King Achish, who in the reign of Saul presented it to David, and through him it became the property of the kings of Judah (1 Samuel 27:6). The subscription can only mean that till the reign of David these cities rightfully belonged to the Simeonites, but that during and after David's reign this rightful possession of the Simeonites was trenched upon; and of this curtailing of their rights, the transfer of the city of Ziklag to the kings of Judah gives one historically attested proof. This, however, might not have been the only instance of the sort; it may have brought with it other alterations in the possessions of the Simeonites as to which we have no information. The remark of R. Salomo and Kimchi, that the men of Judah, when they had attained to greater power under David's rule, drove the Simeonites out of their domains, and compelled them to seek out other dwelling-places, is easily seen to be an inference drawn from the notices in Joshua 19:33-43 of emigrations of the Simeonites into other districts; but it may not be quite incorrect, as these emigrations under Hezekiah presuppose a pressure upon or diminution of their territory. We would indeed expect this remark to occur after Joshua 19:33, but it may have been placed between the first and second groups of cities, for the reason that the alterations in the dwelling-places of the Simeonites which took place in the time of David affected merely the first group, while the cities named in Joshua 19:32., with their villages, remained at a later time even the untouched possession of the Simeonites.
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