The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bore: (but his concubine the Aramitess bore Machir the father of Gilead:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The sons of Manasseh.—Translate, the sons of Manasseh, Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bare. (She bare Machir, father of Gilead.) Numbers 27:1, Joshua 17:3, give the line
Zelophehad has five daughters, but no sons. Numbers 26:29-33 gives the same line with additions thus:—
This last passage is important, because it expressly declares that the names all represent clans, with the exception of Zelophehad, who “had no sons, but daughters.” It also shows that Asriel was great-grandson of Manasseh. The parenthesis of 1Chronicles 7:14, therefore, appears to be intended to warn the reader that Asriel was the “son” of the Aramean concubine of Manasseh, mediately through descent from Machir.
14, 15. The sons of Manasseh—or descendants; for Ashriel was a grandson, and Zelophehad was a generation farther removed in descent (Nu 26:33). The text, as it stands, is so confused and complicated that it is exceedingly difficult to trace the genealogical thread, and a great variety of conjectures have been made with a view to clear away the obscurity. The passage [1Ch 7:14, 15] should probably be rendered thus: "The sons of Manasseh were Ashriel, whom his Syrian concubine bare to him, and Machir, the father of Gilead (whom his wife bare to him). Machir took for a wife Maachah, sister to Huppim and Shuppim."The sons of Manasseh, i.e. grandchildren, as 1 Chronicles 7:13. For both Ashriel and Zelophehad were the grandchildren of Machir son of Manasseh, Numbers 26:29 &c.; Numbers 27:1.
Whom she bare, to wit, his wife, as may be thought, because his concubine is here opposed to her. Or, whom he got; for the Hebrew word yalad is sometimes used of men’s begetting, as Genesis 5:18, &c. Compare Psalm 2:7. But these and the following words may be otherwise rendered according to the Hebrew text,
whom his concubine the Aramitess bare, who bare him (which ellipses are very frequent in the Hebrew) for meeth, of, or by Machir: so this was a differing Ashriel from him named Numbers 26:31; for that was Gilead’s son, and this his brother.
The father of Gilead; a person so called, as is manifest from 1 Chronicles 7:17 Numbers 26:29.
and then adds:
who also bare Machir the father of Gilead; so that Ashriel and Machir were brethren; from which Ashriel sprung the family of the Ashrielites, Numbers 26:29 as from Machir the Machirites, Numbers 26:29.The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)14. Ashriel, whom she bare] R.V. Asriel, whom his wife bare. Numbers 26:31.
his concubine the Aramitess] The inhabitants of Gilead were thus in part Aramaeans (Syrians) by descent.
14–17. The Genealogy of Eastern Manasseh
A difficult section. The text is much disturbed in 1 Chronicles 7:14-15; and there is hardly any material available for the illustration of 1 Chronicles 7:16-17.Verse 14. - The sons of Manasseh. The tribe of Manasseh has been partly treated of in 1 Chronicles 5:23-26, viz. those of the tribe who inhabited Gilead and Bashan. Here those who inhabited this side Jordan are treated cf. And it is very difficult to give any coherent account of the differences of this passage when compared with Numbers 26:28-34 and Joshua 17:1-4. In these places six families, or heads of families, are noted to only two, or at most three here, viz. Askriel, Shemida, and perhaps Abiezer (iq. Jeezer, Numbers 26:30; comp. with Joshua 17:2). The opening clause of this verse also is unmanageable as it stands. One way of reducing it to coherence would be to Supply the words "his wife" between whom and bars, the similarity of the Hebrew letters of which to those of the Hebrew for "whom" might possibly account for the loss of it. The parenthesis about the concubine would then read with emphasis. But there is not the slightest reason to suppose there was such a wife. Another way would be to read the concubine as the mother of Ashriel, and prefix a conjunction, and, to the second "bare;" i.e. and she bare, or, she bare also Machir." But it seems pretty plain from Numbers and Joshua that Ashriel was not strictly a son, but only descendant of Manasseh; and, further, the irresistible impression is that Machir was the only son, strictly speaking (see especially Genesis 50:23). The position of Ashriel in our present passage, first, is also very unsatisfactory in face of Genesis 50:23 and the other references already given. 1 Chronicles 6:45; and for ענתות, Joshua 21:18; Isaiah 10:30; Jeremiah 1:1). We may, without doubt, accept the supposition that in these cases the cities received their names from the heads of the families which inhabited them. In 1 Chronicles 7:9, אבותם בּית ראשׁי stands in apposition to, and is explanatory of, לתולדותם: "And their register, according to their generations," viz., according to the generations, that is, the birth-lists, "of the heads of their fathers'-houses, is (amounts to) in valiant heroes 20,200 men."
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