1 Chronicles 7:29
And by the borders of the children of Manasseh, Bethshean and her towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and her towns. In these dwelled the children of Joseph the son of Israel.
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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.Sherah could scarcely herself have built the Palestinian cities here mentioned, which must belong to a time not earlier than Joshua. By "she built" we must understand "her descendants built." 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). The children of Joseph, i.e. of Ephraim, Joseph’s eldest son, who is sometimes called Joseph, as hath been noted before. And by the borders of the children of Manasseh,.... Of the half tribe of Manasseh on this side Jordan: near to them the Ephraimites dwelt, even near to

Bethshean and her towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and her towns; of all which places see Joshua 17:11,

in these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel; the Ephraimites, in those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:28, and the Manassites, in those that are here mentioned; who were both the children or posterity of Joseph, the beloved son of Israel.

And by the borders of the children of Manasseh, Bethshean and her towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and her towns. In these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. Beth-shean] In 1 Samuel 31:10; 1 Samuel 31:12 spelt Beth-shan. It is the Greek Scythopolis, the modern Beisan. Bädeker, p. 222.

Taanach] See 1 Chronicles 6:70, note on Aner.

Megiddo] Jdg 5:19; 2 Kings 23:29; Zechariah 12:11. A city (at present not certainly identified) which gave a name to the great plain watered by the Kishon and its tributaries.

Dor] Joshua 17:11the children of Joseph] The Ephraimites dwelt in the towns mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:28, and the Manassites in those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:29.Verse 29. - The places mentioned in this verse were assigned to Manasseh. Bethshean was on the west of Jordan, and was within the borders of Issachar (Joshua 17:11-13; 1 Kings 4:11, 12). Dor was within the borders of Asher (Joshua 11:1, 2; Joshua 12:23; Joshua 17:11; Judges 1:27, 28). Taanach. This place also lay within the borders of Issachar or Asher (Joshua 17:11, 12; Joshua 21:25; Judges 5:19). Megiddo. This place is constantly coupled with the preceding. It lay on the south of the plain of Esdraelon (Joshua 12:21; Joshua 17:12; Judges 1:27; 1 Kings 4:12). The 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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