1 Chronicles 7
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.

Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four.
1–5. The Genealogy of Issachar

1. the sons of Issachar] Genesis 46:13; Numbers 26:23-24.

Puah] In Gen. and Num. Puvah (R.V.), but in Jdg 10:1 Puah as here. A descendant of Puah named Tola was one of the Judges.

Jashub] So in Num., but in Gen. Iob (not Iyob as in Job 1:1, R.V. mg).

The treatment of different tribes is unequal in this chapter. In the case of Issachar (1 Chronicles 7:1-5), Benjamin (1 Chronicles 7:6-12), and Asher (1 Chronicles 7:30-40), genealogies are given and the number of fighting-men of each tribe is stated. To Naphtali is devoted a single verse, giving only the names of his sons. For Manasseh and Ephraim genealogies are given and their possessions are shortly enumerated. The mention of Dan is obliterated, owing to the state of the text of 1 Chronicles 7:12.

And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father's house, to wit, of Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred.
2. of their fathers’ house] R.V. of their fathers’ houses. Cp. 1 Chronicles 7:4; 1 Chronicles 7:9; 1 Chronicles 7:40. Fathers’ houses is an awkward term for “clans, patriarchal families” (Greek πατριαί).

valiant men of might] R.V. mighty men of valour.

in their generations] Render, after (or according to) their generations, the rendering given to the same Heb. phrase in Genesis 10:32; Genesis 25:13.

their number] The divisions of Issachar which claimed Tola as an ancestor amounted to 22,600 fighting men.

in the days of David] 1 Chronicles 21:1 ff. (= 2 Samuel 24:1 ff.).

And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.
3. five] We can make up this number only by counting Izrahiah one and the sons of Izrahiah four. Reckoned thus the second Izrahiah would denote a fresh person.

And with them, by their generations, after the house of their fathers, were bands of soldiers for war, six and thirty thousand men: for they had many wives and sons.
4. by their generations] i.e. according to descent. Each head commanded men that were his kinsfolk.

the house of their fathers] R.V. their fathers’ houses.

of soldiers for war] R.V. of the host for war.

And their brethren among all the families of Issachar were valiant men of might, reckoned in all by their genealogies fourscore and seven thousand.
5. men of might] R.V. mighty men of valour (as 1 Chronicles 7:2).

The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.
6–12 (cp. ch. 1 Chronicles 8:1-40). The Genealogy of Benjamin

6. The sons of Benjamin] The Heb. word for the sons of being just like the beginning of the word Benjamin has fallen out through an error of transcription. The names of these are also given in 1 Chronicles 8:1-5; Genesis 46:21; Numbers 26:38-41. There are variations of reading and probably also variations of tradition in the different lists; e.g. here the sons of Benjamin are reckoned to be three in number, but in 1 Chronicles 8:2 to be five.

Bela, and Becher, and Jediael] These three names come from Genesis 46:21, Jediael (“Known to God”) being substituted for the heathen-sounding Ashbel (= Ishbaal, “Man of Baal”). The Chronicler in this case conforms literally to the principle laid down in Hosea 2:17. (See note on Eshbaal, 1 Chronicles 8:33.) In 1 Chronicles 8:1 on the contrary the three names Bela, Ashbel, Aharah (= Ahiram) are taken from Numbers 26:38 without misgiving.

And the sons of Bela; Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five; heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour; and were reckoned by their genealogies twenty and two thousand and thirty and four.
7. the sons of Bela] These are differently stated in 1 Chronicles 8:3-5.

and were reckoned by their genealogies] R.V. and they were reckoned by genealogy.

And the sons of Becher; Zemira, and Joash, and Eliezer, and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abiah, and Anathoth, and Alameth. All these are the sons of Becher.
8. Anathoth, and Alameth] both names of places; 1 Chronicles 6:60 (45, Heb., “Allemeth”); Jeremiah 1:1. Descendants of Bela inhabited these towns.

And the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations, heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour, was twenty thousand and two hundred.
9. the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations] R.V. they were reckoned by genealogy, after their generations.

of the house of their fathers] R.V. of their fathers’ houses.

The sons also of Jediael; Bilhan: and the sons of Bilhan; Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar.
All these the sons of Jediael, by the heads of their fathers, mighty men of valour, were seventeen thousand and two hundred soldiers, fit to go out for war and battle.
11. by the heads of their fathers] R.V. according to the heads of their fathers’ houses.

soldiers, fit to go out for war and battle] R.V. that were able to go forth in the host for war. The total armed strength of Benjamin acc. to 1 Chronicles 7:7; 1 Chronicles 7:9; 1 Chronicles 7:11 was 59,434; cp. Numbers 1:37; Numbers 26:41.

Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir, and Hushim, the sons of Aher.
12. Shuppim also, and Huppim] These names appear in Numbers 26:39 as Shephupham and Hupham, and in 1 Chronicles 8:5 as Shephuphan and Huram.

Ir] In 1 Chronicles 7:7 Iri.

Hushim, the sons of Aher] In Genesis 46:23 (cp. Numbers 26:42), the sons of Dan; Hushim. In Chron. the word Dan is replaced by Aher, either the Chronicler himself or some copyist having found Dan illegible. The word Aher (lit. “another”) is used in non-Biblical Hebrew to designate “a certain [unnamed] person.”

The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.
13. The Genealogy of Naphtali

13. Jahziel … Shallum] In Genesis 46:24, Jahzeel … Shitlem.

The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:
14. Ashriel, whom she bare] R.V. Asriel, whom his wife bare. Numbers 26:31.

his concubine the Aramitess] The inhabitants of Gilead were thus in part Aramaeans (Syrians) by descent.

14–17. The Genealogy of Eastern Manasseh

A difficult section. The text is much disturbed in 1 Chronicles 7:14-15; and there is hardly any material available for the illustration of 1 Chronicles 7:16-17.

And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maachah;) and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters.
15. took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim] R.V. took a wife of H. and Sh., i.e. allied himself by marriage to these two families.

whose sister’s name] Render, and his (Machir’s) sister’s name. The statement regarding Maachah is ethnographical, and means that the people of Maachah (a district at the foot of Hermon) were related by blood to Machir (the Eastern Manassites).

Zelophehad had daughters] Numbers 27:1-11.

And Maachah the wife of Machir bare a son, and she called his name Peresh; and the name of his brother was Sheresh; and his sons were Ulam and Rakem.
And the sons of Ulam; Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.
17. the sons of Ulam] Sons of Ulam are mentioned (1 Chronicles 8:40) among the descendants of Benjamin. A variation in the tradition of their descent is possible.

And his sister Hammoleketh bare Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahalah.
18, 19. The Families of Western Manasseh

18. Abiezer] Gideon’s family; Jdg 6:11; cp. Joshua 17:2.

And the sons of Shemida were, Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam.
19. Shechem] This name represents the Israelite portion of the inhabitants of Shechem: the rest of the inhabitants were Hivites or Canaanites. See Judges 9.

And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,
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.

And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle.
21. they came down] This phrase suits a descent from the hills of Ephraim, but not an invasion from Goshen. It therefore occurred probably after Israel was settled in Canaan, i.e. long after Ephraim was dead, and the conduct ascribed to Ephraim in 1 Chronicles 7:22-23 must be understood of the tribe personified in its ancestor. The clan Beriah became prominent after disaster had befallen the clans Ezer and Elead.

And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.
And when he went in to his wife, she conceived, and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house.
23. Beriah, because it went evil] Heb. Beriah because it went beraah, a play on the sound of the name. Cp. Genesis 30:11.

(And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah.)
24. Beth-horon] See 1 Chronicles 6:68, note.

And Rephah was his son, also Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahan his son,
Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son,
Non his son, Jehoshua his son.
27. Non … Jehoshua] R.V. gives the familiar form of these names, Nun … Joshua.

And their possessions and habitations were, Bethel and the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the towns thereof:
28. Beth-el] Jdg 1:22-25; 1 Kings 12:29; 1 Kings 12:32. Beth-el is perhaps the modern Beitîn (Bädeker, p. 213). The city was on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin and in Joshua 18:22 is assigned to Benjamin, but it was originally conquered by Ephraim (Jdg 1:22), and during the division of the kingdom it belonged to the North: cp. 2 Chronicles 13:19, note.

Naaran] In Joshua 16:7, Naarath (R.V. Naarah).

Gezer … Shechem] See 1 Chronicles 6:67, note.

unto Gaza] Gaza (Heb. Azzah) the well-known Philistine city was in the extreme south-west of Palestine and can hardly be intended here in a list of Ephraimite cities. Some Heb. MSS read Ayyah, a reading which is in part supported by LXX (B) ἔως Γαιάν.

28, 29. The Seats of the Sons of Joseph

It is difficult to say why the possessions of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:28) and Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:29) are mentioned here, and also why having been mentioned, they are not more fully described.

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.
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.

The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and Serah their sister.
30–40. The Genealogy of Asher

30. the sons of Asher] The names in 1 Chronicles 7:30-31 are derived from Genesis 46:17 (cp. Numbers 26:44-46). There is no variation in the Heb. spelling of the names, but Isuah (R.V. Ishuah) is missing in Num.

Isuah, and Ishuai] R.V. Ishvah, and Ishvi.

And the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel, who is the father of Birzavith.
31. Birzavith] R.V. Birzaith, probably the name of a place, “The well of the olive-tree.”

And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister.
And the sons of Japhlet; Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath. These are the children of Japhlet.
And the sons of Shamer; Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram.
34, 35. Shamer … Helem] Read perhaps Shomer … Hotham, to agree with 1 Chronicles 7:32. In 1 Chronicles 7:35 for son read sons (as R.V.).

And the sons of his brother Helem; Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal.
The sons of Zophah; Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah,
Bezer, and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran, and Beera.
And the sons of Jether; Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara.
And the sons of Ulla; Arah, and Haniel, and Rezia.
All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father's house, choice and mighty men of valour, chief of the princes. And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men.
40. of their fathers’ house] R.V. of the fathers’ houses.

the number … to battle was] R.V. the number of them reckoned by genealogy for service in war was, etc.

twenty and six thousand] In 1 Chronicles 12:36 the men of war of Asher are reckoned at forty thousand (cp. Numbers 1:41; Numbers 26:47, where still higher reckonings are given). The numbers here and in 1 Chronicles 7:5; 1 Chronicles 7:7; 1 Chronicles 7:9; 1 Chronicles 7:11 (as well as in 1 Chronicles 7:2, which see) seem to refer to the time of David. The numbers may be based on family traditions, but it would be unsafe to draw any important conclusions from them.

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