1 Chronicles 8:13
Beriah also, and Shema, who were heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove away the inhabitants of Gath:
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(13) Beriah also, and Shema.—After these two names the Masoretic punctuators have put a stop. Thus 1Chronicles 8:12-13 give five sons of Elpaal. Or 1Chronicles 8:13 may be disconnected from 1Chronicles 8:12, and Beriah and Shema regarded as beginning a new series of Benjamite clans.

Who were heads of the fathers. . . .—Rather, “THEY were heads of the clans of the inhabitants of Aijalon; THEY put to flight the inhabitants of Gath.” The pronoun is emphatic in both cases. The clans of Beriah and Shema, who were settled at Ajalon (Yalo), near Gibeon, appear to have expelled a Gittite population from Ajalon, and dwelt in their stead. At all events, there is evident allusion to some famous exploit, in which the two Benjamite houses were more fortunate than the Ephraimites Ezer and Elead (1Chronicles 7:21). We must not identify this Benjamite Beriah with the Ephraimite Beriah of 1Chronicles 7:23. There was also an Asherite clan of Beriah (1Chronicles 7:30).

8:1-40 Genealogies. - Here is a larger list of Benjamin's tribe. We may suppose that many things in these genealogies, which to us seem difficult, abrupt, and perplexed, were plain and easy at that time, and fully answered the intention for which they were published. Many great and mighty nations then were in being upon earth, and many illustrious men, whose names are now wholly forgotten; while the names of multitudes of the Israel of God are here kept in everlasting remembrance. The memory of the just is blessed.After he had sent them away - Translate it: "after he had divorced his wives, Hushim and Baara." 8. Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab—He had probably been driven to take refuge in that foreign land on the same calamitous occasion that forced Elimelech to emigrate thither (Ru 1:1). But, destitute of natural affection, he forsook or divorced his two wives, and in the land of his sojourn married a third, by whom he had several sons. But there is another explanation given of the conduct of this Benjamite polygamist. His children by Hushim are mentioned (1Ch 8:11), while his other wife is unnoticed. Hence it has been thought probable that it is Baara who is mentioned under the name of Hodesh, so called because her husband, after long desertion, returned and cohabited with her as before. Aijalon; a place formerly belonging to the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:42; but after the return from Babylon possessed by the Benjamites, because both Dan and the rest of the ten tribes were yet for the generality of them in captivity, and but few of them returned.

Who drove away the inhabitants of Gath; either,

1. At that time when they made such a slaughter among Ephraim’s children, 1 Chronicles 7:21, and were possibly pursuing their victory till they were driven back by these Benjamites, who came to the succour of their brethren. Or,

2. Now when they were returned from the captivity, and found the men of Gath possessed of Aijalon. Or,

3. At some other time not mentioned in Scripture.

Beriah also, and Shema,.... These were sons of Elpaal:

who were heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Aijalon; which, though in the tribe of Dan, Joshua 19:42 might afterwards come into the possession of Benjamin; or this may be another place of the same name in Benjamin; or, however, might be inhabited by Benjaminites, upon the return from captivity, who descended from those men:

who drove away the inhabitants of Gath; dispossessed them of their city, in revenge for what they had done to the Ephraimites, 1 Chronicles 7:21.

Beriah also, and Shema, who were heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove away the inhabitants of Gath:
13. of the fathers] R.V. of fathers’ houses, as in 1 Chronicles 8:10.

drove away] R.V. put to flight. Probably an allusion to some fight the memory of which was kept alive in local song. Cp. 1 Chronicles 7:21-22.

Aijalon] Joshua 10:12; 1 Samuel 14:31.

Verse 13. - Aijalon. A similar kind of history belongs to this place. It was assigned to Dan (Joshua 19:40-48). Unsubdued by them (Judges 1:34-36), the Ephraimites possessed it awhile (1 Chronicles 6:47-49), until it came to be more like the common property or care of Benjamin and Judah, situated as it was on their boundary line (1 Samuel 14:31; 2 Chronicles 11:10; 2 Chronicles 28:18). 1 Chronicles 8:13Heads of fathers'-houses of the tribe of Benjamin, who dwelt partly in Aijalon (1 Chronicles 8:13) and partly in Jerusalem. - Their connection with the heads of fathers'-houses already mentioned is not clear. The names ושׁמע בּריעה might be taken fore a fuller enumeration of the sons of Elpaal (1 Chronicles 8:12), were it not that the names enumerated from 1 Chronicles 8:14 or 15 onwards, are at the end of 1 Chronicles 8:16 said to be those of sons of Beriah; whence we must conclude that with וּבריעה, 1 Chronicles 8:13, a new list of heads of Benjamite fathers'-houses begins. This view is supported by the fact that the names from 1 Chronicles 8:14 or 1 Chronicles 8:15 to 1 Chronicles 8:27 are divided into five groups of families: the sons of Beriah (1 Chronicles 8:16), of Elpaal (1 Chronicles 8:18), of Shimhi (1 Chronicles 8:21), of Shashak (1 Chronicles 8:25), and of Jeroham (1 Chronicles 8:27). But as two of these, Beriah and Shashak, occur in 1 Chronicles 8:13, 1 Chronicles 8:14, and שׁמעי is probably another form of שׁמע, Bertheau conjectures that the last two names, Shashak and Jeroham, are represented by אחיו and ירמות dna א (1 Chronicles 8:14). ירחם and ירמות may be explained by the supposition of a transcriber's error, or by one person having two names; but the word אחיו is rendered by the lxx by ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ ( equals אהיו); and the view that אחיו is a nom. prop. is opposed, as in 1 Chronicles 8:31, by the fact that the ו cop. is not found before the following שׁשׁק, for here, throughout, the names are all connected with each other by the w cop. Bertheau therefore conjectures that the text originally ran thus, ושׁשׁק אהיו ואלפּעל, and that the name Elpaal was dropped out; and that in consequence of that, אחיו had been punctuated as a nom. prop. These conjectures seem satisfactory, especially as it may be adduced in their favour that אהיו has been added to the name Elpaal to connect the names in 1 Chronicles 8:15 with the enumeration (1 Chronicles 8:13) interrupted by the parenthetical remarks. No certainty, however, can be attained in a matter so obscure. If a new series of groups of families begins with 1 Chronicles 8:13, we should expect an introductory formula, as in 1 Chronicles 8:6. Beriah and Shema are called heads of the fathers'-houses of the inhabitants of Aijalon, i.e., heads of the groups of related households inhabiting Aijalon, the present Jalo to the west of Gibeon (see on Joshua 19:42). It is quite consistent with this that their sons or descendants dwelt in Jerusalem. Next a heroic deed of theirs is related, viz., that they (in some war or other) turned to flight the inhabitants of Gath (without doubt Philistines). This remark reminds us of the statement in 1 Chronicles 7:21, that sons of Ephraim were slain by those born in Gath, because they had gone down to drive away the herds of the inhabitants. But Bertheau draws an erroneous conclusion from this fact, when he says that because in both passages the name Beriah occurs, both refer to the same event, and thereafter attempts by various hypotheses to make the Benjamites mentioned in our verse into Ephraimites. For the name Beriah is not at all so rare as to allow of our inferring from that alone that the various persons so called are identical, for Jacob's son Asher also named one of his sons Beriah; cf. 1 Chronicles 7:30 with Genesis 46:17. The notion that the Benjamites Beriah and Shema defeated those inhabitants of Gath who had slain the sons of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:21) is quite unsupported, as the Philistines lived at war and in feud with the Israelites for hundreds of years.
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