Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Chapters 2–8. The Genealogies of the Tribes of Israel
The Chronicler deals very unequally with the tribes in their genealogies; as the following table shews:
1 Chronicles 2:1 to 1 Chronicles 4:23. Judah (102 verses).
1 Chronicles 4:24-43. Simeon (20 verses).
1 Chronicles 5:1-26. Reuben, Gad, and Eastern Manasseh (26 verses).
1 Chronicles 6:1-81. Levi (81 verses).
1 Chronicles 7:1-40. Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Eastern Manasseh (again), Ephraim, and Asher (40 verses).
1 Chronicles 8:1-40. Benjamin, though already noticed in 1 Chronicles 7:6-11 (40 verses).
Zebulun and (perhaps) Dan (cp. 1 Chronicles 7:12, note) are omitted.
It may easily be seen that the tribes in which the Chronicler is really interested are the three southern tribes, Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, together with the priestly tribe, Levi.
The order in which the tribes are mentioned is at first geographical, Judah and Simeon the southern tribes first, then the eastern tribes Reuben, Gad, Manasseh; the rest follow in no fixed order.
The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.Ch. 1 Chronicles 4:1-23. A Genealogy of the Tribe of Judah (cp. 1 Chronicles 2:3 ff.)
1. As Hezron was the son of Perez (ch. 1 Chronicles 2:5) and (if the LXX. be right) Shobal was the son of Hur (1 Chronicles 2:50, note), we have in this verse five, if not six, generations.
Pharez] R.V. Perez.
Carmi] if a descendant of Hezron, then probably not the person mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:7.
And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.2. Reaiah] Cp. note on 1 Chronicles 2:52.
the Zorathites] Cp. note on 1 Chronicles 2:53.
And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:3. these were of the father of Etam] LXX. (“these were the sons of Etam”—Αἰτάν) yields better sense. Etam (1 Chronicles 4:32) was a place; the “sons of Etam” would be families which derived their origin from the place.
And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem.4. Hur] the first-born of Ephratah (R.V. Ephrathah = Ephrath) one of the wives of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:19). Hur was father of Bethlehem through his son Salma (1 Chronicles 2:50-51, LXX.). For the name of the city cp. Genesis 35:19 (Ephrath the same is Bethlehem) and Micah 5:2 (R.V. Thou, Bethlehem Ephrathah).
And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah.
And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.
And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.8. And Coz] R.V. And Hakkoz as in 1 Chronicles 24:10, but there a different person (or family) is meant. The connexion of this verse with the preceding does not appear, and the names given are not otherwise known.
And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.9. The connexion of this verse also does not appear, but according to Targ. (on 1 Chronicles 4:13) Jabez = Othniel, the nephew of Caleb.
And Jabez etc.] Render, And Jabez came to be hononred above his brethren, but his mother had called his name, etc. The man with the ill-omened name staved off ill-fortune by his prayer. Jabez = “He bringeth sorrow.”
And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.10. my coast] R.V. my border.
that thou wouldest keep me from evil] Lit. that thou wouldest make … from evil. Most probably the Heb. text is defective here, one or two words having fallen out, and we should supply the gap somewhat as follows, that thorn wouldest make [room (merḥâbh) for me, and wouldest redeem (phâdîthâ) me] from evil.
that it may not grieve me] R.V. that it be not to my sorrow; cp. last note.
And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.
And Eshton begat Bethrapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Irnahash. These are the men of Rechah.12. These are the men of Rechah] LXX. (B), the men of Rechab; cp. 1 Chronicles 2:55, note. Targ. the men of the Great Synagogue, reading perhaps rabbah (“great”) for Rechah.
And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.13. Othniel] the first of the Judges; cp. Jdg 1:13; Jdg 3:9-11.
And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.14. Meonothai] perhaps a son of Othniel.
the valley of Charashim] R.V. marg. the valley of craftsmen. It is mentioned Nehemiah 11:35 along with Lod (the Lydda of Acts 9:32) and therefore was probably near Lydda.
And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.15. Caleb the son of Jephunneh] Cp. 1 Chronicles 2:42, note.
the sons of Elah, even Kenaz] R.V. the sons of Elah; and Kenaz. The sons of Elah and Kenaz are co-ordinated, as each representing a family descended from Caleb.
And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.16, 17. The connexion of these names with Judah does not appear. Ziph however is the name of a place in the south of Judah (1 Samuel 23:15; 1 Samuel 23:19).
And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.17. and Jalon: and she bare Miriam] As the text stands she has no antecedent. It has therefore been proposed to transfer from 1 Chronicles 4:18 the words And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took, and put them after Jalon. Bithiah then appears as the mother of Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah, and the difficulty of the absence of her sons’ names from 1 Chronicles 4:18 disappears. For father of Eshtemoa see 1 Chronicles 2:14 note, and for Eshtemoa see Joshua 21:14.
And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.18. his wife] the wife of Mered, if the transposition mentioned in the last note be accepted.
his wife Jehudijah] R.V. his wife the Jewess (so called in contrast to his Egyptian wife).
Gedor] Cp. 1 Chronicles 4:4, where a different person is perhaps by a different tradition called father of Gedor. Gedor is to be identified with the ruins of Jedur on the road between Jerusalem and Hebron (Bädeker, p. 135)
Socho] R.V. Soco.
Socho … Zanoah] The two places are mentioned in the reverse order in Joshua 15:34-35 as situated in the lowland (Shephelah). Zâbû‘a still exists (Bädeker, p. 161).
these are the sons of Bithiah] See note on 1 Chronicles 4:17.
And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.19. of his wife Hodiah] R.V. of the wife of Hodiah.
Keilah] a town of the Shephelah (Joshua 15:44), the scene of one of David’s exploits (1 Samuel 23:1-5).
Eshtemoa the Maachathite] The epithet distinguishes this Eshtemoa from that of 1 Chronicles 4:17. The Maachathite may mean the descendant of Maachah (1 Chronicles 2:48), the concubine of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel.
And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth.
The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,21. Shelah] 1 Chronicles 2:3.
Lecah] an unknown place.
Mareshah] 1 Chronicles 2:42; 2 Chronicles 11:8; Joshua 15:44 (mentioned with Keilah). A town in the south of Judah.
the house of Ashbea] Nothing is known of such a family. We might render, Beth-Ashbea, but nothing is known of such a place.
And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.22. and Joash, and Saraph, who etc.] Targ. “and Joash who is Mahlon and Seraph who is Chilion who took wives of the daughters of Moab” (cp. Ruth 1:2; Ruth 1:4). There is little to be said for the identification, which rests on the fact that the Hebrew word for had dominion might be translated married. We find no other trace of these two as rulers of Moab.
and Jashubi-lehem] Vulg. who returned to Bethlehem, a translation which requires only an easy emendation of the present Hebrew text. Mahlon and Chilion did not return. Joash and Saraph may have retired to Moab either (like Mahlon and Chilion) because of a famine, or to escape foreign oppression, e.g. that of the Chaldeans, married wives there, and subsequently returned to their own country.
these are ancient things] R.V. the records are ancient.
These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.23. those that dwelt amongst plants and hedges] R.V. The inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah.
there they dwelt with the king for his work] In the days of the kingdom the inhabitants of these villages were clients of the king and did his work; cp. 1 Kings 7:46. The simplicity of this statement seems to have been a stumbling-block to the early translators; LXX. They were strong in his kingdom and dwelt there; Targ., They made their dwelling there with the Shekinah of the King of the World for the practice of the Law.
The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:24–27. The Genealogy of Simeon
24. The sons of Simeon] in Genesis 46:10 and Exodus 6:15 we have six sons of Simeon named as against five here;—Jemuel (here Nemuel), Jamin (as here), Ohad (not mentioned here), Jachin (here Jarib), Zohar (here Zerah), and Shaul (as here). In Numbers 26:12-13 the same list is given as here (except that Jachin stands for Jarib), and descendants are ascribed to the five. Ohad is omitted from Num. and Chron., perhaps as having no children.
Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.
And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.
And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.27. six daughters] LXX. three daughters.
And they dwelt at Beersheba, and Moladah, and Hazarshual,28–33 (= Joshua 19:1-8). The Territory of Simeon
28. Beer-sheba] at the southern extremity of Palestine, as Dan was at the northern (1 Samuel 3:20).
And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,29. Tolad] in Joshua 19:4 Eltolad, but el in this case is probably only the Arabic definite article.
And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,30. Bethuel] The name is elsewhere (Genesis 22:22-23; Genesis 24:15) the name of a person. In Joshua 19:4 Bethul.
Hormah] Numbers 14:45; Numbers 21:3.
Ziklag] 1 Chronicles 12:1; 1 Chronicles 12:20; 1 Samuel 27:6; 1 Samuel 30:1.
And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.31. Beth-marcaboth … Hazar-susim] These names mean respectively, House of chariots, and Court of horses. They may have been royal chariot-cities, 1 Kings 9:19.
Shaaraim] 1 Samuel 17:52.
These were their cities unto the reign of David] This may he a reference to David’s census, which doubtless shewed generally the possessions of tribes or families as well as their numbers. It does not necessarily mean that these cities ceased to belong to Simeon after David’s day.
And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:32. And their villages were] These villages (ḥǎçêrîm) are called at the end of the verse cities, but sometimes ḥǎçêrîm are described as un-walled (Leviticus 25:31) and sometimes as dependencies of cities (1 Chronicles 4:33 of this ch.). In these two cases ḥǎçêrîm would be distinguished from cities.
Etam] In the parallel passage, Joshua 19:7, Etam is omitted and the villages (“cities”) are reckoned as four not five.
And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.33. unto Baal] Baal (“lord”) standing by itself is an unlikely name for a town; the parallel passage. Joshua 19:8, reads Baalath-beer, Ramah of the South (“the mistress of the well, the high place of the South”), a better reading.
And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah,34–43. The Heroes of Simeon and their Exploits
38. the house of their fathers] R.V. their fathers’ houses.
And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,
And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,
And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;
These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.39. the entrance of Gedor] R.V. the entering in of Gedor. The Gedor of Joshua 15:58 is identified with Jedur, Ijdur (north of Hebron, Bädeker, p. 135), the neighbourhood of which seems an unlikely scene in the days of Hezekiah for the exploit described in 1 Chronicles 4:41. LXX. has Gerar (cp. Genesis 20:1; Genesis 26:1), perhaps rightly.
And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.40. they of Ham] Canaanites who had not been dispossessed at the Conquest and therefore expected no disturbance at a later time.
And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks.41. and the habitations] R.V. and the Meunim. Cp. 2 Chronicles 20:1 (note) and 1 Chronicles 26:7, R.V.
destroyed them utterly] R.V. mg., devoted them (cp. Joshua 6:18; Joshua 6:21, R.V.).
in their rooms] R.V. in their stead. Cp. Luke 14:8, A.V. and R.V.
And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi.
And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.43. the rest of the Amalekites] R.V. the remnant of the Amalekites i.e. the descendants of those who had escaped from Saul (1 Samuel 15). They had apparently found refuge in some part of the Edomite territory, for Mount Seir is a synonym for the land of Edom.