1 Chronicles 5:9
And eastward he inhabited to 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). The families of the tribe of Reuben. - 1 Chronicles 5:1, 1 Chronicles 5:2. Reuben is called the first-born of Israel, because he was the first-born of Jacob, although, owing to his having defiled his father's bed (Genesis 49:4), his birthright, i.e., its privileges, were transferred to the sons of Joseph, who were not, however, entered in the family register of the house of Israel according to the birthright, i.e., as first-born sons. The inf. התיחשׂ with ל expresses "shall" or "must," cf. Ew. 237, e., "he was not to register," i.e., "he was not to be registered." The subject is Joseph, as the Rabbins, e.g., Kimchi, have perceived. The clauses after הוּא כּי form a parenthesis, containing the reason of Reuben's being called ישׂראל בּכור, which is still further established by its being shown (in 1 Chronicles 5:2) how it happened that Joseph, although the birthright was given to him, according to the disposition made by the patriarch (Genesis 48:5.), yet was not entered in the family registers as first-born. The reason of this was, "for Judah was strong among his brethren, and (one) from him became the Prince;" scil. on the strength of the patriarchal blessing (Genesis 49:8-12), and by means of the historic fulfilment of this blessing. The "prevailing" of Judah among his brethren showed itself even under Moses at the numbering of the people, when the tribe of Judah considerably outnumbered all the other tribes (cf. t. i. 2, S. 192). Then, again, it appeared after the division of the land of Canaan among the tribes of Israel, Judah being called by a declaration of the divine will to be the vanguard of the army in the war against the Canaanites (Judges 1:1.); and it was finally made manifest by the נגיד over Israel being chosen by God from the tribe of Judah, in the person of David (cf. 1 Chronicles 28:4 with 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 25:30). From this we gather that the short, and from its brevity obscure, sentence ממּנוּ וּלנגיד bears the signification we have given it. "But the birthright was Joseph's;" i.e., the rights of the progenitor were transferred to or remained with him, for two tribal domains were assigned to his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh, according to the law of the first-born (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).

After this parenthetic explanation, the words "the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel," 1 Chronicles 5:1, are again taken up in 1 Chronicles 5:3, and the sons are enumerated. The names of the four sons correspond to those given in Genesis 46:9; Exodus 6:14, and Numbers 26:5-7.

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