1 Chronicles 7:22
And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22-23) This is either what we should call a metaphorical description of the enfeebling of the tribe of Ephraim by the disaster which had befallen two of its chief houses, and of its subsequent recovery owing to the natural increase of its numbers, and the formation of a new and populous clan, that of Beriah; or if this be deemed too bold an interpretation of the archaic record, we have nothing for it but to suppose that the whole account relates to an expedition from Goshen, under two sons of Ephraim, during the lifetime of that patriarch; who, after the death of Ezer and Elead, begat another son, Beriah.

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.).

21. whom the men of Gath … slew, &c.—This interesting little episode gives us a glimpse of the state of Hebrew society in Egypt; for the occurrence narrated seems to have taken place before the Israelites left that country. The patriarch Ephraim was then alive, though he must have arrived at a very advanced age; and the Hebrew people, at all events those of them who were his descendants, still retained their pastoral character. It was in perfect consistency with the ideas and habits of Oriental shepherds that they should have made a raid on the neighboring tribe of the Philistines for the purpose of plundering their flocks. For nothing is more common among them than hostile incursions on the inhabitants of towns, or on other nomad tribes with whom they have no league of amity. But a different view of the incident is brought out, if, instead of "because," we render the Hebrew particle "when" they came down to take their cattle, for the tenor of the context leads rather to the conclusion that "the men of Gath" were the aggressors, who, making a sudden foray on the Ephraimite flocks, killed the shepherds including several of the sons of Ephraim. The calamity spread a deep gloom around the tent of their aged father, and was the occasion of his receiving visits of condolence from his distant relatives, according to the custom of the East, which is remarkably exemplified in the history of Job (Job 2:11; compare Joh 11:19). Ephraim their father; either,

1. That Ephraim of whom he speaks, 1 Chronicles 7:20, whose sons are here named. But that to many seems hard, especially if these several sons, named 1 Chronicles 7:20,21, be understood successively, so as each man be the son of him who is named next and immediately before him, which seems most probable; for so here are seven successive generations of Ephraim, which it is not likely that Ephraim lived to see; for then he must have been near two hundred years old. Although it is not necessary that the persons here said to be slain should be that generation which was last mentioned; but the particle whom may belong to the other sons of Ephraim of the fourth, or fifth, or sixth generation. Nor is the word whom in the Hebrew text, which runs thus, and the men of Gath slew them, i.e. the sons of Ephraim in the general, as they are expressed in the beginning of 1 Chronicles 7:20, without respect to this or that particular generation. And the relative particle them may be referred not unto the persons last named, but unto some of the other and more remote persons; this being a common observation of Hebricians, that the relative oft belongs to the remoter antecedent. Or,

2. Zabad the father of the three persons and families last named, who might possibly have two names, and be called both Zabad and Ephraim. Or rather, the name of Ephraim may be put patronymically (as the learned speak) for the son and successor of Ephraim; who being now in Ephraim’s stead the head of the tribe, as old Ephraim was in his time, might well be called by the same name. Thus Isaac is put for his son Jacob or Israel, Amos 7:9, and Moses for the sons of Moses, Psalm 90:1, and David for his son Rehoboam, 1 Kings 12:16, and for Christ, Jeremiah 30:9 Ezekiel 34:23, and (as many think) Abraham for Jacob, Abraham’s grandchild, Acts 7:16. And these words,

their father, seem to be added by way of distinction, to show that he meant not this of the old Ephraim, but of another, who was father to the three persons said to be slain, 1 Chronicles 7:21. For if he had understood this of the first Ephraim, having called these the sons of Ephraim, it might seem superfluous and tautological to tell us that Ephraim was their father. His brethren, i.e. his kinsmen, as that word is frequently used. And Ephraim their father mourned many days,.... For the loss of his son and grandchildren for the above fact was done while the Israelites were in Egypt, and Ephraim the patriarch yet alive; nor is there any need to suppose another Ephraim, different from him:

and his brethren came to comfort him; some of the heads of the other tribes of Israel, particularly Manasseh, with some of his family.

And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Chronicles 7:15 is literally, "And Machir took a wife to Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of his sister was Maachah, and the name of the second Zelophehad." According to 1 Chronicles 7:16, on the contrary, Maachah is the wife of Machir, and we should consequently expect to find in 1 Chronicles 7:15 only the simple statement, "And Machir took a wife whose name was Maachah." From the words מעכה אחתו מעכה sdrow eh ולשׁפים לחפים no meaning which harmonizes with the context can be obtained. Since ל אשּׁה לקח signifies "to take a wife for one" (cf. Judges 14:2), we can only suppose that by the names Huppim and Shuppim Machir's sons are meant, to whom he, as their father, gave wives. But we cannot suppose that the sons of Machir are referred to, for the birth of the sons is first mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:16. But we have found the names חפם and שׁפם spoken of as descendants of Benjamin; and Bertheau consequently conjectures that these names have been brought thence into our verse by some gloss, and that the beginning of our verse originally stood thus: המלכת אחתו ושׁם מעכם ושׁמה אשׁה לקח ומכיר לקח אשׁה ושׁם, "And Machir took a wife whose name is Maachah, and the name of his sister if Hammoleketh" (the last according to 1 Chronicles 7:18). By this means we certainly bring some meaning into the words; but we cannot venture to maintain that this conjecture corresponds to the original text, but rather incline to doubt it. For, in the first place, the following words, "And the name of the second (is) Zelophehad," do not suit the proposed reading. Berth. must here alter השּׁני into אהיו (the name of his brother). But even after this alteration, the mention of the brother of Machir is not suitable to the context; and moreover Zelophehad was not a true brother, but only a nephew of Machir, the son of his brother Hepher; cf. Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1. And besides this, according to the concluding formula, "These are the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh" (1 Chronicles 7:17), we should expect to find in 1 Chronicles 7:15, 1 Chronicles 7:16, not merely sons or descendants of Machir, but rather descendants of Gilead. We therefore hold the statement of 1 Chronicles 7:15, "And the name of the second if Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had (only) daughters," to be correct and beyond criticism, and the first part of 1 Chronicles 7:15 to be corrupt and defective; and conjecture that a son of Gilead's was mentioned in it, to whose name the words, "And the name of the second," etc., belonged. This son who was mentioned in the text, which has been handed down to us only in a defective state, was probably the Ashriel mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:14, a son of Gilead, whose descent from Machir was given more in detail in the corrupt and consequently meaningless first half of 1 Chronicles 7:15. In 1 Chronicles 7:15, 1 Chronicles 7:17, other descendants of Machir by his wife Maachah are enumerated, which favours the probable conjecture that the wife whom Machir took, according to 1 Chronicles 7:15, was different from Maachah, that Machir had two wives, and that in 1 Chronicles 7:15 originally the sons of the first were enumerated, and in 1 Chronicles 7:16, 1 Chronicles 7:17, the sons of the second. Peresh and Shelesh are mentioned only here. בּנין, "his sons" (that is, the sons of the last-named, Shelesh), were Ulam and Rakem, names which are also met with only here. The name בּדן is found in our Masoretic text, 1 Samuel 12:11, as the name of a judge, but probably בּרק should be read instead.
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