1 Chronicles 7:20
And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
7:1-40 Genealogies. - Here is no account either of Zebulun or Dan. We can assign no reason why they only should be omitted; but it is the disgrace of the tribe of Dan, that idolatry began in that colony which fixed in Laish, and called it Dan, Jud 18 and there one of the golden calves was set up by Jeroboam. Dan is omitted, Re 7. Men become abominable when they forsake the worship of the true God, for any creature object.The sons of Ephraim - The genealogy is difficult. It is perhaps best to consider Ezer and Elead 1 Chronicles 7:21 as not sons of Zabad and brothers of the second Shuthelah, but natural sons of Ephraim. The passage would then run thusly:

"And the sons of Ephraim, Shuthelah (and Bered was his son, and Tahath his son and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son, and Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son) and Ezer and Elead, whom the men of Gath slew" (i. e. the settled inhabitants, as contrasted with the nomadic Hebrews, Amalekites, etc.).

1Ch 7:14-40. Of Manasseh.

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."

Bered his son; either,

1. The son of

Shuthelah; and so Tahath the son of Bered; and so the rest, which make up seven succeeding generations. Or,

2. The son of Ephraim; and so Tahath is the son not of Bered, but of Ephraim, and so forward. And thus all these were brethren, and sons or grandchildren of Ephraim, living together at one time with their father.

Object. This cannot be, because then Ephraim had two sons called Shuthelah, and two called Tahath.

Answ. That might easily happen, either because the first Shuthelah and Tahath were dead before the other two of those names were born; or because two of them were Ephraim’s sons, and two of them his grandchildren, called after their uncle’s names. For this is certain, the name of sons is promiscuously used concerning immediate children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

And the sons of Ephraim,.... A son of Joseph, and father of a tribe of this name, whose genealogy through five generations follows: Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eladah, Tahath; the second. And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20–27. The Line of Ephraim to Joshua

20. Shuthelah … Bered … Tahath … Eladah] These four names are taken from Numbers 26:35-36, where they appear to correspond with Shuthelah … Becher … Tahan … Eran.

Verses 20-27. - The chief difficulty of this passage lies in reconciling the points of chronology which it forces to the surface. Vers. 20, 21, purport to contain the line of descent from Ephraim through his son Shu-thelah to the seventh generation, viz. to another Shuthelah. The remaining two names, Ezer and Elead, may perhaps be two brothers of the first Shuthelah, i.e. own sons of Ephraim. If it be so, these two must not be supposed to correspond with Becher and Tahan, called "sons of Ephraim" in Numbers 26:35; for it is evident that they were generations succeeding Shuthelah. Now, Ephraim was born in Egypt (Genesis 46:20), so that, on the above showing, the actual sons of Ephraim must have made some incursion from Egypt into the territories of the settled or possibly aboriginal inhabitants of Gath, and met the fate over which Ephraim so mourned. Such excursions on the part of the Israelites out of Egypt have very little collateral evidence. But there would seem to be no impossibility in the matter, considering Genesis 50:13-23. Next, vers. 23-27 seem to say that in his sorrow Ephraim has another son, whom he names Beriah, and of whose line in the ninth descent comes Joshua, the son of Nun. This also is very doubtful. It may very possibly be that the parenthesis continues to the end of ver. 23 or 24, and that vers. 25-27 carry on the generations from ver. 21. Meantime welcome light breaks in at the stage (ver. 26) at which Ammihud and Elishama are mentioned. For we find these immediate ancestors of the great Joshua repeatedly mentioned at the period of the Exodus (Numbers 1:10; Numbers 2:18; Numbers 7:48, etc.); yet none of these places assist us to say that he did or did not come through Beriah. It is impossible to solve with any certainty the involved question of chronology and genealogy presented by this section. The passage is evidently mutilated and corrupt, though vindicating a high antiquity. Avery original presentation of the whole section, as ingenious as it is conjectural, by Lord A.C. Hervey, may be found in the art. "Shuthclah," Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' 3:1305. It is well worthy of attention that a great point is made in bringing Joshua to the place of the eighth generation from Joseph, in near analogy with the numbers in so many other known cases, of the generations that intervened from the descent into Egypt to the entrance into Canaan. There also may be found the most and best that can be said against the literal reading of what is here written respecting the men of Gath and the cattle. 1 Chronicles 7:20The families of Ephraim. - 1 Chronicles 7:20. Among the Ephraimites, the descendants of Shuthelah, the founder of one of the chief families of this tribe, Numbers 26:35, are traced down through six generations to a later Shuthelah. The names ואלעד ועזר which follow בּנו שׁוּתלח, "And his son Shuthelah," after which בּנו is wanting, are not to be considered descendants of the second Shuthelah, but are heads of a family co-ordinate with that of Shuthelah, or of two fathers'-houses intimately connected with each other. These names are to be taken as a continuation of the list of the sons of Ephraim, which commenced with שׁוּתלח. The suffix in והרגוּם refers to both these names: "The men of Gath, that were born in the land, smote Ezer and Elead." These "men born in the land" Ewald and Bertheau take to be the Avvites, the aboriginal inhabitants of that district of country, who had been extirpated by the Philistines emigrating from Caphtor (Deuteronomy 2:23). But there is no sufficient ground for this supposition; for no proof can be brought forward that the Avvaeans (Avvites) had ever spread so far as Gath; and the Philistines had taken possession of the south-west part of Canaan as early as the time of Abraham, and consequently long before Ephraim's birth. "The men of Gath who were born in the land" are rather the Canaanite or Philistine inhabitants of Gath, as distinguished from the Israelites, who had settled in Canaan only under Joshua. "For they (Ezer and Elead) had come down to take away their cattle" (to plunder). The older commentators assign this event to the time that Israel dwelt in Egypt (Ewald, Gesch. i. S. 490), or even to the pre-Egyptian time. But Bertheau has, in opposition to this, justly remarked that the narratives of Genesis know nothing of a stay of the progenitors of the tribe of Ephraim in the land of Palestine before the migration of Israel into Egypt, for Ephraim was born in Egypt (Genesis 46:20). It would be more feasible to refer it to the time of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, as it is not impossible that the Israelites may have undertaken predatory expeditions against Canaan from Goshen; but even this supposition is not at all probable. Certainly, if in 1 Chronicles 7:23-27 it were said, as Ewald thinks, that Ephraim, after the mourning over the sons thus slain, became by his wife the father of three other sons, from the last named of whom Joshua was descended in the seventh generation, we should be compelled to refer the expedition to the pre-Egyptian period. But the opinion that Rephah and Resheph, 1 Chronicles 7:25, were begotten only after that misfortune has no foundation. Moreover, the statement that Ephraim, after he was comforted for the loss of his slain sons, went in unto his wife and begat a son, to whom he gave the name Beriah, because he was born in misfortune in his house, does not at all presuppose that the patriarch Ephraim was still alive when Ezer and Elead were slain. Were that the case, the necessary result would of course be, that this event could only be referred to the time when the Israelites dwelt in Egypt. In opposition to this, Bertheau's remark that the event in that case would be per se enigmatical, as we would rightly have great hesitation in accepting the supposition of a war, or rather a plundering expedition to seize upon cattle carried out by the Ephraimites whilst they dwelt in Egypt, against the inhabitants of the Philistine city of Gath, is certainly not all decisive, for we know far too little about those times to be able to judge of the possibility or probability of such an expedition.

The decision to which we must come as to this obscure matter depends, in the first place, on how the words וגו ירדוּ כּי are to be understood; whether we are to translate "for they had gone," or "when they had gone down to fetch their cattle," i.e., to plunder. If we take the כּי par partic. ration., for, because, we can only take the sons of Ephraim, Ezer and Elead, for the subject of ירדוּ, and we must understand the words to mean that they had gone down to carry off the cattle of the Gathites. In that case, the event would fall in the time when the Ephraimites dwelt in Canaan, and went down from Mount Ephraim into the low-lying Gath, for a march out of Egypt into Canaan is irreconcilable with the verb ירד. If, on the contrary, we translate ירדוּ כּי "when they had gone down," we might then gather from the words that men of Gath went down to Goshen, there to drive away the cattle of the Ephraimites, in which case the Gathites may have slain the sons of Ephraim when they were feeding their cattle and defending them against the robbers. Many of the old commentators have so understood the words; but we cannot hold this to be the correct interpretation, for it deprives the words "those born in the land," which stand in apposition to גת אנשׁי, of all meaning, since there can be absolutely no thought of men of Gath born in Egypt. We therefore take the words to mean, that the sons of Ephraim who are named in our verse attempted to drive away the cattle of the Gathites, and were by them slain in the attempt. But how can the statement that Ephraim after this unfortunate event begat another son, Beriah, be reconciled with such a supposition, since the patriarch Ephraim was dead long before the Israelites came forth out of Egypt. Bertheau understands the begetting figuratively, of the whole of the tribe of Ephraim, or of a small Ephraimite family, which at first was not numbered with the others, into the number of the famous families of this tribe. But this straining of the words by an allegorical interpretation is not worthy of serious refutation, since it is manifestly only a makeshift to get rid of the difficulty. The words, "And Ephraim went in unto his wife, and she conceived and bare a son," are not to be interpreted allegorically, but must be taken in their proper sense; and the solution of the enigma will be found in the name Ephraim. If this be taken to denote the actual son of Joseph, then the event is incomprehensible; but just as a descendant of Shuthelah in the sixth generation was also called Shuthelah, so also might a descendant of the patriarch Ephraim, living at a much later time, have received the name of the progenitor of the tribe; and if we accept this supposition, the event, with all its issues, is easily explained. If Ezer and Elead went down from Mount Ephraim to Gath, they were not actual sons of Ephraim, but merely later descendants; and their father, who mourned for their death, was not Ephraim the son of Joseph, who was born in Egypt, but an Ephraimite who lived after the Israelites had taken possession of the land of Canaan, and who bore Ephraim's name. He may have mourned for the death of his sons, and after he had been comforted for their loss, may have gone in unto his wife, and have begotten a son with her, to whom he gave the name Beriah, "because it was in misfortune in his house," i.e., because this son was born when misfortune was in his house.

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