1 Chronicles 5:9
And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness.—As their flocks and herds increased, the Reubenites gradually spread eastward, to the great desert lying between the Euphrates and Syria. This desert was a painful memory to the restored exiles. Ezra took four months to cross it (Ezra 7:9; Ezra 8:22). The form of the expression, “unto the entrance into the wilderness from the river Euphrates,” seems to indicate that this account was written originally in Babylonia.

Because their cattle were (had) multiplied in the land of Gilead.—Gilead, in Old Testament usage, means all Israelite territory east of the Jordan.

1 Chronicles 5:9. And eastward he inhabited — That is, the tribe of Reuben. Unto the entering in of the wilderness, &c. — From Jordan and the wilderness, beyond it unto Euphrates. Or, of the wilderness, which lies toward, or reacheth to the river Euphrates — Namely, the great wilderness of Kedemoth, (Deuteronomy 2:26,) which was extended far and wide toward Euphrates: for that was the eastern border of Reuben’s possession, and not Euphrates, to which their habitation never reached. Because their cattle were multiplied — Which forced them to enlarge their habitation as far as they could toward Euphrates.

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.He inhabited - i. e. Reuben. Eastward the Reubenites inhabited as far as the commencement of the great Syrian Desert, which extended all the way from the river Euphrates to their borders. 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. He inhabited, i.e. the tribe of Reuben.

From the river Euphrates; from Jordan and the wilderness beyond it unto Euphrates. Or,

of the wilderness, which lies towards or reacheth to the river Euphrates, namely, the great wilderness of Kedemoth, Deu 2:26, which was extended far and wide towards Euphrates; for that was the eastern border of Reuben’s possession, and not Euphrates, to which their habitation never reached.

Their cattle were multiplied; which forced them to enlarge their habitation as far as they could eastward towards Euphrates.

And eastward he inhabited,.... Either Bela, or the tribe of Reuben:

unto the entering in of the wilderness; the wilderness of Kedemoth, which was near to Sihon king of Heshbon, whose land the Reubenites inhabited, Deuteronomy 2:26.

from the river Euphrates; a learned man (r) thinks that this river Phrat was different from the Euphrates near Babylon, which was northward, since this was to the east or southeast:

because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead; therefore their habitation was extended further, even to the river Euphrates, as in the days of David and Solomon, 2 Samuel 8:3.

(r) Texelii Phoenix, l. 3. c. 7. p. 272.

And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 9. - Keil and others refer this verse to the people of Bela; yet others apply it to Joel It would seem nearest the facts to apply it to the main subject of the paragraph - Reuben. Gilead (Deuteronomy 3:12-16) had for its boundaries, on the north Bashan, on the south Moab, on the east the Arabian desert. Its situation evidently exposed it to Assyrian invasion and frequent encounter with desert tribes (Joshua 17:1; Numbers 26:29, 30). 1 Chronicles 5:9"Eastward to the coming to the desert (i.e., till towards the desert) from the river Euphrates," i.e., to the great Arabico-Syrian desert, which stretches from the Euphrates to the eastern frontier of Perea, or from Gilead to the Euphrates. Bela's family had spread themselves so far abroad, "for their herds were numerous in the land of Gilead," i.e., Perea, the whole trans-Jordanic domain of the Israelites.
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