1 Chronicles 7 Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
1 Chronicles 7
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four.
VII.

THE GREAT CLANS OF ISSACHAR, BENJAMIN, NAPTHALI, WEST MANASSEH, EPHRAIM, AND ASHER.

(1–5) The tribe of Issachar, its clans and their military strength.

(1) Now the sons of Issachar.—Heb., and to the sonsi.e., “and as for the sons of Issachar, Tola, Puah, &c., four were they.” The Vatic, LXX., has the dative; the Alex, the nominative, which is perhaps a correction. The four names are given Genesis 46:13, where the second is Puwwah, the third lôb; and Numbers 26:23, where also the second name is Puwwah, but the third Iāshûb (he returns). The Heb. text here is Iāshîb (he makes return); the Hebrew margin, adopted by the Authorised Version, is the same as the text of Numbers 26

(2-6) These verses supply names and facts not found elsewhere. We have here some of the results of the census of David (2 Samuel 24, and below, 1 Chronicles 21).

(2) Heads of their father’s house—Rather, chiefs of their father-houses (septs or clans).

Of Tola.Belonging to Tola, that is, to the great clan or sub-tribe so called.

In their generations.According to their registers or birth-rolls.

Whose number.—The number of the warriors of all the six groups of the Tolaite branch of Issachar.

In the days of David.—See the census (1chron xxi,).

(3) Izrahiah . . .—All these names contain a divine element. Izrahiah means “Iah riseth (like the sun)” (comp. Malachi 4:2); Michael, “who like God?” (Comp. Isaiah 40:18; Isaiah 40:25.) Before Ishiah and has fallen out.

Five: all of them chief men.—Heb., five chiefs (heads) altogether (all of them). But perhaps the punctuation should be as in the Authorised Version. 1Chronicles 7:7.)

(4) By their generations.—Heb., after or according to their birth-rolls or registers. The census of the Uzzite warriors was taken “according to their birth-rolls and their father-houses” (septs or clans).

Bands of soldiers.—Heb., troops of the host of war or of the battle-host.

For they had many wives and sons.They are the clans represented by the hereditary chiefs Izrahiah, Michael, and the rest.

(5) And their brethren.—Fellow-tribesmen.

Families.—Clans (mishpehôth). The verse states

the number of warriors for the whole tribe of Issachar in David’s census at 87,000. Render: “And their kinsmen, of all the clans of Issachar, valiant warriors. Eighty-seven thousand was their census for the whole (tribe).”

Reckoned in all by their genealogies.—Heb., hithyahsâm, a difficult word peculiar to the chronicler in the Old Testament, but reappearing in the Rabbinic Hebrew. The present form is a verbal noun with suffix pronoun, and means “their enrolling” or “enrolment,” their census; cp. ἀπογράφεσθαι, (Luke 2:1). As the Tolaites were 22,600, and the sons of Izrahiah 36,000, the other son of Issachar must have amounted to 28,400, to make up the total of 87,000 for the tribe. At the first census of Moses (Num. i 29), the warriors of Issachar were 54,400; at the second (Numbers 26:25) they were 64,300. (Comp. Judges 5:15; Judges 10:1 for the ancient prowess of Issachar.)

-1Genesis 46:21

Bela and Becher and Ashbel, Gera and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard.

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.
-2Numbers 26:38

And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.
-31Chronicles 8:1

All the lists make Bela the first of Benjamin’s sons. In other respects they differ greatly. 1Chronicles 7:6 assigns him two brothers—Éecher and Jediael. Of these, Becher occurs in Genesis 46, Jediael here only.

The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.
(6-11) The tribe of Benjamin.

(6) Benjamin.—Before this word bnê (sons of . . .) has been lost, because Benjamin in Hebrew begins with the same three letters. The present list of the sons of Benjamin may be compared with three others, that of Gen. xlvi 21, that of Num. xxvi 38-41, and that of the next 1chron 1Chronicles 7:1-5.

(6) Becher with different vowels would mean firstborn; and the original reading in Genesis 46 may have been Bela bechoro—“Bela his firstborn,” as in 1Chronicles 8:1.

Jediael, friend of God, may be a substitute for Ashbel, i.e., Eshbaal, man of Bel or Baal. (Comp. 1Chronicles 3:8, Eliada for Beeliada.) Ashbel is the second son of Benjamin in Numbers 26 and 1 Chronicles 8, and the third (perhaps second) in Genesis 46

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) And the sons of Bela.—The names are wholly different in 1Chronicles 8:3-4. The reason would seem to be that the names before us represent the chieftains and clans of Bela as they existed at a given epoch, viz., the time of David’s census. The list of 1 Chronicles 8 belongs to another period. Here, as elsewhere, it is evident enough that the chronicler has faithfully followed or rather transcribed his sources, without a thought of harmonising their apparent inconsistencies.

Heads of . . . fathers.—Rather, heads of their father-houses, i.e., chieftains.

And were reckoned by their genealogies.And their census was 22,034. This number represents the fighting strength of the Belaites,. who are here identified with their heads.

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) Nine sons of Becher.

The sons of Becher.—See Note on 1Chronicles 7:6. The nine Benjamite houses here enumerated might have been known as “sons of the firstborn.” They are nowhere else recorded. The remarkable name Elioenai is frequent in the Chronicles. (See 1Chronicles 3:23; 1Chronicles 4:36; 1Chronicles 7:8; Ezra 10:22; Ezra 10:27; uncontracted, Eliohenai, 1Chronicles 26:3, Ezra 8:4.)

Anathoth and Alameth (Alemeth) were Levitical towns in Benjamin (1Chronicles 6:60).

Jerimoth, or Jeremoth (a son of Bela, 1Chronicles 7:7), looks like another local name. (Comp. Jarmuth and Ramoth.) It also occurs often in the Chronicles (eight or nine times). The clans may have borne the names of their seats.

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) And the number . . .—Render, “And their census (hithyahsâm) according to their birth-rolls, heads of their clans, valiant warriors, was 20,200.” This means that the total number of the warriors of Becher, chiefs with clans, was 20,200. “Their census:” that is, the census of the chiefs who are regarded as one with their clans. Others assume that the names in these registers are merely those of supposed founders of the clans; eponyms like Hellen, Ion, Dorus, &c, or Italus, Latinus, Romulus, and Remus.

The sons also of Jediael; Bilhan: and the sons of Bilhan; Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar.
(10) Eight sons of Jediael.

Bilhan.1Chronicles 1:42, a son of Seir. Perhaps an Edomite element in Benjamin. (Comp. 1Chronicles 2:34; 1Chronicles 4:18; 1Chronicles 2:46, and especially the case of Caleb the Kenizzite.)

Jeush.—So Heb., margin. Text, Jeish; a son of Esau (1Chronicles 1:35).

Benjamin.—It is curious that a Benjamite clan should have borne the tribal name. (Comp. 1Chronicles 4:16, Asareel and Note.)

Ehud.—A namesake of Ehud the judge, who slew Eglon the Moabite oppressor of Israel (Judges 3:15). Ehud the judge was a son of Gera, and Gera was a division of Bela (1Chronicles 8:3; 1Chronicles 8:5).

Chenaanah (Canaanitess) is perhaps a Canaanite house which had amalgamated with the bnê Jediael.

Tharshish.—Elsewhere the name of a famous Phœnician colony in Spain. The name occurs once again as a personal name (Esther 1:14, one of the seven Persian princes). In Exodus 28:20, and six other places, it is the name of a gem.

Ahishahar.Brother of dawn. (Comp. Shaha-raim—double dawn, 1Chronicles 8:8, and Isaiah 14:12, ben-shahar—son of dawn.) Perhaps the common Arab designation bnê qedem—“sons of the east”—is similar.

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) All these the sons of Jediael.—Render, “All these were sons of Jediael; (according) to the heads of the clans, valiant warriors; 17,200 going out in host to the battle.” Perhaps the particle (according to) should be omitted. In any case, the chiefs or the clans are regarded as one with their warriors.

The sum of the warriors of Benjamin is thus 54,434. The Mosaic census (Numbers 26:41) gave 45,600. An increase of barely 14,000 in the course of atleast three centuries may seem too small. But the tribe was well-nigh exterminated in the vengeance which Israel took for the crime of Gibeah (Judges 20:47).

Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir, and Hushim, the sons of Aher.
(12) Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir.—Literally, and Shuppim and Huppim sons of Ir; Hushim sons of Aher. The copulative and suggests that “Shuppim and Huppim” are other Benjamite clans thrown in at the end of the account. We have seen (see Note on 1Chronicles 7:6-11) that Genesis 46:21 names “Muppim and. Huppim” as sons of Benjamin, and that Numbers 26 has “Snephupham and Hupham” corresponding to the same pair of names. Lastly, 1Chronicles 8:5 mentions “Shephupham and Huram” among the sons of Bela, son of Benjamin. It is clear that “Muppim” is a mere slip of the pen for “Shuppim,” to which the name Shephupham is really equivalent. From Shephupham, according to Numbers 26, sprang the clan of the “Shuphami” (Shuphamite), as from “Hupham” the clan of the Huphami. Shupham and Hupham are quite natural variants of Shuppim and Huppim. The “Huram” of 1Chronicles 8:5 is a scribe’s error for “Hupham.” Shuppim and Huppim, called sons of Benjamin in Genesis and Numbers, and sons of Bela in 1 Chronicles 8, are here called “sons of Ir;” 1Chronicles 7:7 above informs us that Ir or Iri (? the Irite) was a son of Bela. There is no more contradiction here than there would be in calling the same person a son of David, son of Judah, and son of Abraham.

Hushim, the sons of Aher.—The name Hushim (a plural form) recurs at 1Chronicles 8:8; 1Chronicles 8:11, as a Benjamite clan. Aher looks like a variant of the Ahiram of Numbers, and the Ahrah of 1 Chronicles 8, and perhaps of the Ehi-Rosh of Genesis. From this it would appear that the whole verse is an appendix to the genealogy of Benjamin. The word Aher, however, happens to mean another, and if the reading were certain (comp. the variants Ahiram, Ahrah, &c), would be very singular as a proper name. The clause has been rendered “Hushim. sons of another;” and this odd expression has been taken to be a veiled reference to the tribe of Dan, whose name is omitted in the present section. Genesis 46:23, “And the sons of Dan, Hushim,” a statement occurring like the present clause between that of the sons of Benjamin and the sons of Naphtali, is cited in support of this view. This last coincidence is certainly remarkable; but the following considerations are decidedly adverse to the view in question: 1. Numbers 26:42 calls the offspring of Dan, Shuham, not Hushim, though there also Dan follows Benjamin. 2. Dan is, indeed, omitted here, but so also is Zebulun, just as Gad and Asher are omitted in 1Chronicles 27:16-22; and Naphtali here has only one verse 3. The chronicler’s dislike of the tribe of Dan is probably an unfounded supposition, suggested by some accidental omissions; he has mentioned that tribe by name in 1Chronicles 2:2; 1Chronicles 12:35; 1Chronicles 27:22. If the omission in the present list be neither accidental nor due to imperfect MSS., it may be ascribed to later editors of the book. (Comp. Judges 18 and Revelation 7:5-8.)

The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.
(13) The sons of Naphtali.—See Numbers 26:48 seq., and Genesis 46:24, which read Jahzeel and Shillem.

Sons of Bilhah.—Dan and Naphtali were her sons (Genesis 46:25). That does not, however, prove that a reference to Dan is intended here. Both in Genesis, 50100, and in the present text, grandsons are reckoned

THE TRIBE OF WEST MANASSEH (1Chronicles 7:14-19). 1Chronicles 7:14-15 are very obscure.

The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:
(14) The sons of Manasseh.—Translate, the sons of Manasseh, Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bare. (She bare Machir, father of Gilead.) Numbers 27:1, Joshua 17:3, give the line

Zelophehad has five daughters, but no sons. Numbers 26:29-33 gives the same line with additions thus:—

This last passage is important, because it expressly declares that the names all represent clans, with the exception of Zelophehad, who “had no sons, but daughters.” It also shows that Asriel was great-grandson of Manasseh. The parenthesis of 1Chronicles 7:14, therefore, appears to be intended to warn the reader that Asriel was the “son” of the Aramean concubine of Manasseh, mediately through descent from Machir.

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) And Machir took to wife.—The Hebrew cannot mean this. Translate, now Machir took a wife of Huppim and of Shuppim (the two Benjamite clans of 1Chronicles 7:12); and the name of the first (read ‘ahath) was Maachah, and the name of the second (read shēnîth) was. . . .” (the name is omitted). It is tempting to make Zeiophehad the other wife, who had only daughters, whereas Maachah bore a son (1Chronicles 7:16); but Numbers, l.c., and Josh., l.c., make Zelophehad a man. We must, therefore, suppose a lacuna of some few words, which gave the name of Machir’s second wife, and the descent of Zelophehad from her. The expression “of Huppim and of Shuppim” is literally “to Huppim and to Shuppim,” that is, belonging to. So “of Tola,” (1Chronicles 7:2).

We have no means of further elucidating the import of this curious tribal record. That it relates to West Manasseh is inferred from its position here, as well from the fact that 1Chronicles 5:23-24 treated of East Manasseh. (See also Joshua 17:1-5.) The name of Gilead, however, points to the transjordanic half of the tribe. The whole passage seems to assert an Aramean and a Benjamite element in the population of Western Manasseh.

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.
(16) Peresh . . . Sheresh occur nowhere else.

Ulam and Rakem (Rekem) were probably sons of the elder, Peresh, whose line would naturally be continued, as usual.

And the sons of Ulam; Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.
(17) Bedan (i.e., ben Dan “the Danite” in 1Samuel 12:11 is a judge between Jerubbaal and Jephthah. Here a clan is meant, not a person.

These were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.—These words appear to refer to a series of names which has dropped out of the text, but which may be inferred from Numbers 26:30-32 to have included Abiezer (of which Jeezer is a contraction) and Shemidah. (See the genealogy, 1Chronicles 7:14, Note.) 1Chronicles 7:17 b and 1Chronicles 7:18 may thus have read, “These were the sons of Gilead, &c. Abiezer . . . Shemidah. (Now his sister Hammoleketh had borne Ish-hôd and Abiezer and Mahalah.) And the sons of Shemidah were,” &c. (1Chronicles 7:19).

Hammoleketh—or, the queen, as the Vulg. renders it, may be conceived of here as a half-sister and consort of Gilead.

Ishod = Man of majesty.

And the sons of Shemida were, Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam.
(19) Shechem.—See Joshua 17:2. The name points to West Manasseh.

Ahian, Likhi, and Aniam, are not mentioned elsewhere.

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.
THE TRIBE OF EPHRAIM (1Chronicles 7:20-29).

Shuthelah (Numbers 26, 35) was head of the first of the four Ephraimitic clans (mishpehôth). The names of six successive chieftains of his line appear to be given in 1Chronicles 7:20-21, ending with his namesake Shuthelah. It is likely, however, that these names really represent clans, as in other similar cases. (Comp. Numbers 26:29-33.) “Bered” (Genesis 16:14) is a local name, a place in the desert of Shûr. But Bered may be a mistake for Becher. So “Tahath” (Numbers 33:26) was a desert station of Israel. But Tahath may well be a corruption of Tahan, son of Ephraim (1Chronicles 7:25, and Numbers 26:35).

(21) Ezer and Elead.—Apparently these names are coordinated with the Shuthelah of 1Chronicles 7:20, as sons of Ephraim. Elead is a masculine form of Eleadah.

Whom the men of Gath. . . .—Literally, and the men of Gath who were born in the land slew them; for they had come down to take their cattle.

Born in the land—That is, aborigines of Canaan as contrasted with the Ephraimites, who were foreign invaders. Others think the real aborigines of Philistia, the Avim of Deuteronomy 2:23, are meant. In 1Chronicles 7:21-22 we have a brief memorial of an ancient raid of two Ephraimite clans upon the territory of Gath, for the purpose of lifting cattle, much as the Highland freebooters used to drive off the herds of their Lowland neighbours.

They came down.—The reference of the pronoun is not quite clear. Conceivably the Gittites were the aggressors. The expression “carne down” is often used of going from Canaan to Egypt, but not vice versa. It can hardly, therefore, apply to an invasion of Gath by Ephraimites from Egypt. And the phrase “born in the land” excludes an expedition of Gittites to Goshen. It seems, then, that the descent was made upon Philistia from the hill country of Ephraim, in the early days of the settlement of the tribe in Canaan.

And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.
(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.

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) Because it went evil.—Beriah is derived from a root, bara’, and apparently means gift. Heb., because in evil it (i.e., the birth of Beriah) happened in his house. There is an allusive play on the words Beriah (“gift”) and bera’ah (“in evil”) such as we often meet with in Genesis (see Genesis 5:29; Genesis 11:9). To call such plays on words derivations would be a tasteless anachronism. Their purpose is to point a moral, not to teach etymology.

(And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah.)
(24) His daughteri.e., Ephraim’s.

Built may mean rebuilt, or restored, or fortified (Joshua 6:26; Psalm 102:16; 2Chronicles 11:6).

Beth-horon the nether, and the upper.—The two Beth-horons (Joshua 10:10) were apparently a Canaanite foundation. They are now Beit ur et-Tahta and Beit-ur el-Fariqa—i.e., Lower and Upper Beitur.

Uzzen-sherah.—Sherah’s ear, or peak, only mentioned here. The relation of Sherah to Beth-horon may be compared with that of Achsah to the Negeb of Judah (Joshua 15:19. Cf. also Joshua 17:4).

And Rephah was his son, also Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahan his son,
(25) And Rephah his son; and Resheph and Telah his son.—(Heb. text). This seems to mean that Rephah was son of Beriah. But perhaps a son of Ephraim is intended. Rephah does not occur among the sons of Ephraim (Numbers 26:35-36). The word “his son” (benô) may have fallen out after Resheph. Otherwise Resheph is brother and Telah son of Rephah (the elder). Resheph, which means “arrow,” “lightning,” “fever,” was a title of the Phoenician Baal. “Tahan,” a son of Ephraim (Numbers 26:35 : “the clan of the Tahanites”).

Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son,
(26) Blishama son of Ammihud was tribal prince or Emir of Ephraim in the time of Moses (Numbers 7:47).

Non his son, Jehoshua his son.
(27) Non.—Everywhere else Nun, the father of Joshua the servant and successor of Moses. 1Chronicles 7:25-27 trace his ancestry, as it would seem, through seven or eight generations to Rephah, son of Beriah or Ephraim. At 1Chronicles 6:1-3 only two names are given between Levi, uncle of Ephraim, and Moses, Joshua’s elder contemporary. But abundant reason has already been shown for not interpreting these genealogies in a slavishly literal spirit, and without regard to their own contrary indications. It is obvious to common sense that when it is said that Moses was “son of Amram, son of Kohath, son of Levi,” the meaning cannot be that only two generations intervened between the tribal patriarch and the age of Moses. Moreover, it is, to say the least, doubtful that the names in 1Chronicles 7:25 represent a lineal descent of individuals, and not a group of variously connected clans. “Telah” looks like a fragment of Shuthelah (1Chronicles 7:20); and perhaps the true reading of 1Chronicles 7:25 is, “And Rephah his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Tahan his son,” we-Reshef, we-The-lah being a possible distortion of we-Shuthelah.

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:
THE BOUNDS OF EPHRAIM AND WEST MANASSEH

(1Chronicles 7:28-29).

Comp. 1Chronicles 6:54, sqq., where a list of the cities of the Levites is similarly added to their tribal registers.

(28) And their possessions.—Heb., and their domain and their seats were Bethel and her daughters; “their domain,” that is, the domain of both divisions of the tribe of Joseph.

Bethel—originally assigned to Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), belonged later to the northern kingdom. The present list appears therefore to be younger than the disruption of Solomon’s empire.

Naaran, or Naarah (Naapá) (Joshua 16:7) was a town north-east of Jericho. Gezer lay on the southwest border of Ephraim (Joshua 16:3), Shechem (Nablûs, Νεάπολις) on the north. Gaza: so the LXX„ Vulg. (Aza which represents the Hebrew ‘Azzāh, i.e., Gaza), and Targum; but a great number of MSS. and seventeen editions read Ayyah, a place not mentioned elsewhere, but doubtless lying on the north-west border of Ephraim.

(29) And by the borders of the children of Manasseh.—Literally, and upon the hands of the sons of Manasseh, a favourite phrase with the chronicler, occurring nine times in Chronicles and once in Ezra. (See Note on 1Chronicles 6:31.) The four cities lay within the territory of Issachar and Asher, but were assigned to Manassen (Joshua 17:11). They mark the northward marches of the two houses of Joseph, as the cities of 1Chronicles 7:28 mark the southward. They long withstood the Israelite occupation (Joshua 17:12-16; see also Judges 5:19. “Then fought the kings of Canaan, in Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo.”)

The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and Serah their sister.
THE TRIBE OF ASHER (1Chronicles 7:30-40).

(30, 31) The sons of Asher; Imnah. . . . Malchiel.—This is a literal transcript of Genesis 46:17. Comp. also Numbers 26:44-46, where the clan (mishpahath) of each eponym is assigned; but the name of Isaah (Heb., Yishwāh) does not appear.

Beriah.—Also the name of an Ephraimitic stock (1Chronicles 7:23). Malchiel is called the “father (chief or founder) of Birzavith” only here. The Heb. margin has Birzayith, perhaps “well of olive” (be-er zayith); the text, Berazôth or Barzûth. It is probably the name of a place.

And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister.
(32-34) The race of Heber (spelt differently from Heber, Abraham’s ancestor). Nothing is known of any of these families. The name Japhleti (the Japhletite) occurs as a clan (Joshua 16:3), but far away from the bounds of Asher.

And the sons of Shamer; Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram.
(34) Shamer (pausai form of Shemer) probably identical with Shomer, the second son of Heber (1Chronicles 7:32).

Jehubbah.—Heb. margin has we-Hubbah, “and Hubbah,” which is correct according to the prevailing form of this list (and before each name).

Aram is the ordinary name of the Syrians east and west of the Euphrates. It may here designate a clan of half -Aramean extraction.

(35–39) And the sons of his brother Helem.—Apparently the offshoots of Helem, “brother” of Sheraer-Shomer. If we construe brother in the strict sense, we must assume that Helem is the same as Hotham (1Chronicles 7:32), and that one or the other name is corrupt. But Helem may be the name of another chief house of Asher not directly connected with that of Heber. The brotherhood then would be that of the tribe, not of the clan or family.

The sons of Zophah; Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah,
(36) The branches of Helem through Zophah the elder house. Eleven names of the sons of Zophah. The second, “Harnepher,” has a name which looks like pure Egyptian: Har nefer, “the beauteous Horus,” or morning sun. Comp. the case of the Egyptian slave Jarha 34), and the marriage of Mered with “Pharaoh’s daughter” (1Chronicles 4:18). (See also the Notes on 1Chronicles 7:10.)

And the sons of Jether; Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara.
(38) The sons of Jether.—Jether and Ithran (1Chronicles 7:37) are virtually the same name, and perhaps to be identified here. This will connect 1Chronicles 7:38 with the preceding line of the sons of Zophah.

Jephunneh.—The name of the father of Caleb the Kenizzite.

And the sons of Ulla; Arah, and Haniel, and Rezia.
(39) The sons of Ulla.—Apparently Ulla is not connected with the foregoing genealogy. But he seems to be the same as Ara (1Chronicles 7:38). ‘Arâ’ is a very curious form, and may be due to a copyist’s eye having wandered to Be-era at the end of last verse; ‘Ullâ’ is intelligible, and probably correct. If the identification be allowed, we get a complete concatenation from 1Chronicles 7:30-39.

Arah is in Hebrew quite different from Ara.

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) The summing up of the list. “All these were sons of Asher, picked chiefs of the father-houses, valiant warriors, chiefs of the princes.” This declares that the names in the foregoing series are those of the chiefs of the different Asherite clans. They are called “choice,” picked men, eximii, and chiefs of the princes or emirs. The clans appear to be identified with their chieftains.

And the number throughout the genealogy.—Better, and their census, in the host, in the battletheir number in men was 26,000.” Perhaps we should render in the case of service in war. The census here given has reference only to the number of males qualified for military service. In the Mosaic census (Numbers 1:41) the total of males of the tribe of Asher was 41,500; and a generation later, the fighting men were 53,000 (Numbers 26:47). The date of the present census is not assigned. If it be that of David, which appears likely, the tribe may have declined in numbers and importance by his day. (Comp. Judges 5:17. “Asher continued at the sea-shore, and abode on his creeks;” i.e., did not bestir himself for the war).

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

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1 Chronicles 6
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