1 Chronicles 5:10
And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.
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(10) And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites.—The great extension of the tribe in an easterly direction took place in the reign of Saul, the first king of Israel. Bela and his clan victoriously fought with the Hagarites (Heb., Hagri’im) or Hagarenes (see Psalm 83:7, Hagrim), that is, the sons of Hagar, for possession of the pasture-grounds east of Gilead. This Arab nation is mentioned in the Assyrian inscriptions. (The LXX. has τοὺς παροίκους, i.e., haggārîm, u sojourners,” “nomads.”)

They dwelt in their tents.—This phrase first occurs in Genesis 9:27. The Belaites occupied the territory of the Hagarites.

Throughout all the east land of Gilead.—Rather, on the whole eastern side or border of Gilead. This includes the new settlements of Bela beyond the border.

1 Chronicles 5:10. In the days of Saul they made war — The Gadites and Manassites joining with them in the war, 1 Chronicles 5:18-19. With the Hagarites — The Ishmaelites who dwelt in Arabia Deserta. They dwelt in their tents — The Israelites took possession of their lands, and tents or houses, which lay eastward from the land of Gilead. Thus God fulfilled his promise to his people: he cast out the enemy from before them by little and little, and gave them their land as they had occasion for it.

5:1-26 Genealogies. - This chapter gives some account of the two tribes and a half seated on the east side of Jordan. They were made captives by the king of Assyria, because they had forsaken the Lord. Only two things are here recorded concerning these tribes. 1. They all shared in a victory. Happy is that people who live in harmony together, who assist each other against the common enemies of their souls, trusting in the Lord, and calling upon him. 2. They shared in captivity. They would have the best land, not considering that it lay most exposed. The desire of earthly objects draws to a distance from God's ordinances, and prepares men for destruction.The "Hagarites" or "Hagarenes" are generally regarded as descendants of Hagar, and a distinct branch of the Ishmaelites 1 Chronicles 27:30-31; Psalm 83:6. They appear to have been one of the most wealthy 1 Chronicles 5:21 and widely-spread tribes of the Syrian Desert, being found on the side of the Euphrates in contact with the Assyrians, and also in the Hauran, in the neighborhood of Palestine, in contact with the Moabites and Israelites. If identical with the Agraei of the Classical writers, their name may be considered as still surviving in that of the district called Hejer or Hejera in northeastern Arabia, on the borders of the Persian Gulf. A full account of the war is given in 1 Chronicles 5:18-22. 9. Eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates—The settlement was on the east of Jordan, and the history of this tribe, which never took any part in the public affairs or movements of the nation, is comprised in "the multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead," in their wars with the Bedouin sons of Hagar, and in the simple labors of pastoral life. They had the right of pasture over an extensive mountain range—the great wilderness of Kedemoth (De 2:26) and the Euphrates being a security against their enemies. They made war; the Gadites and Manassites joining with them in the war, 1 Chronicles 5:18,19.

With the Hagarites; the Ishmeelites, who dwelt in Arabia the Desert.

They dwelt in their tents; the Israelites took possession of their lands, and tents or houses.

Throughout all the east land of Gilead; which lay eastward from the land of Gilead.

And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites,.... Not with the Hungarians, as the Targum, a people not then in being; but the Ishmaelites, so called because they descended from Hagar (s), Sarah's maid; the same that are placed by Pliny (t) and Ptolemy (u) in Arabia, near the Batanaeans, or inhabitants of Bashan; with those the Reubenites made war, in conjunction with the Gadites and half tribe of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 5:18, perhaps this war might be much about the time Saul relieved Jabeshgilead, and beat the Ammonites, 1 Samuel 11:1 by which the tribes on that side Jordan might be encouraged to it:

who fell by their hand; were worsted and conquered by them:

and they dwelt in their tents; in which the Arabians used to dwell, because of their flocks; hence some of them were called Scenites:

throughout all the east land of Gilead; or rather throughout all the land of the Hagarites, which lay to the east of Gilead, as the Vulgate Latin version; or otherwise the land of Gilead itself was their original possession.

(s) So David de Pomis, Lexic. fol. 45. 4. (t) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. (u) Geograph. l. 5. c. 19.

And in the days of Saul they made war with the {e} Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.

(e) The Ishmaelites who came from Hagar Abraham's concubine.

10. in the days of Saul] Saul’s great victory over the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11) may have paved the way for the expansion of Israel east of Jordan.

the Hegarites] R.V. the Hagrites as Psalm 83:6 (R.V. mg.). They were an Arab people. Details of the war are given 1 Chronicles 5:18-22.

the east land of Gilead] R.V. the land east of Gilead, i.e. the land between Gilead and the Euphrates (cp. 1 Chronicles 5:9).

Verse 10. - Among such conflicts, one with a people descended presumably from Hagar or Ishmael (though 1 Chronicles 27:30, 31, and Psalm 83:6 are somewhat needlessly interpreted to be opposed to this) is here alluded to. It takes us to the time of Saul, and from that time up to the time of "the Captivity" (ver. 22) the victorious Reubenites, Gadites, and people of the half-tribe Manasseh had the benefit of enlarged domain at their expense: "They dwelt in their steads," after seizing great spoil. It is exceedingly likely that we have the perpetuation of the name Hagarenes in the Agraeei (modern Hejer) of Strabo, 16:767; Pliny, 'Hist. Nat.,' 6:32; Dionysius, 'Perieg.,' 956; Pt. 5:2 (see art. "Hagarenes" in Smith's 'Bible Dictionary'). 1 Chronicles 5:10"In the days of Saul they made war upon the Hagarites, and they fill into their hands, and they dwelt in their tents over the whole east side of Gilead." The subject is not determined, so that the words may be referred either to the whole tribe of Reuben or to the family of Bela (1 Chronicles 5:8). The circumstance that in 1 Chronicles 5:8 and 1 Chronicles 5:9 Bela is spoken of in the singular (יושׁב הוּא and ישׁב), while here the plural is used in reference to the war, is not sufficient to show that the words do not refer to Bela's family, for the narrative has already fallen into the plural in the last clause of 1 Chronicles 5:9. We therefore think it better to refer 1 Chronicles 5:10 to the family of Bela, seeing that the wide spread of this family, which is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:9, as far as the desert to the east of the inhabited land, presupposes the driving out of the Hagarites dwelling on the eastern plain of Gilead. The notice of this war, moreover, is clearly inserted here for the purpose of explaining the wide spread of the Belaites even to the Euphrates desert, and there is nothing which can be adduced against that reference. The אחיו in 1 Chronicles 5:7 does not, as Bertheau thinks probable, denote that Bela was a contemporary of Beerah, even if the circumstance that from Bela to Joel only three generations are enumerated, could be reconciled with this supposition. The spread of Bela's family over the whole of the Reubenite Gilead, which has just been narrated, proves decisively that they were not contemporaries. If Bela lived at the time of the invasion of Gilead by Tiglath-pileser, when the prince Beerah was carried away into exile, it is certainly possible that he might have escaped the Assyrians; but he could neither have had at that time a family "which inhabited all the east land," nor could he himself have extended his domain from "Aroer and Nebo towards the wilderness," as the words יושׁב הוּא, 1 Chronicles 5:8, distinctly state. We therefore hold that Bela was much older than Beerah, for he is introduced as a great-grandson of Joel, so that his family might have been as widely distributed as 1 Chronicles 5:8, 1 Chronicles 5:9 state, and have undertaken and carried out the war of conquest against the Hagarites, referred to in 1 Chronicles 5:10, as early as the time of Saul. Thus, too, we can most easily explain the fact that Bela and his brothers Jeiel and Zechariah are not mentioned. As to הגרעים, cf. on 1 Chronicles 5:19.
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