Genesis 46:12
And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
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(12) Judan has five sons, of whom Er and Onan die prematurely. The names of the other three are Shelah. Pharez, and Zarah (spelt correctly Zerah in Numbers 26:20; 1Chronicles 2:4). So also the right spelling is Pherez, and not Pharez. In 1Chronicles 4:1 Judah has five sons: Pharez, Hezron, Carini, Hur, and Shobal, and Shelah is also mentioned there in Genesis 46:21, but see Note there.

46:5-27 We have here a particular account of Jacob's family. Though the fulfilling of promises is always sure, yet it is often slow. It was now 215 years since God had promised Abraham to make of him a great nation, ch. 12:2; yet that branch of his seed, to which the promise was made sure, had only increased to seventy, of whom this particular account is kept, to show the power of God in making these seventy become a vast multitude.The sons of Leah and their descendants are here enumerated. Reuben has four sons, who appear without variation in the other two lists Numbers 26:5-6; 1 Chronicles 5:3. Of the six sons of Simon, Ohad appears in the other lists, and Nemuel and Zerah appear as colloquial variations of Jemuel and Zohar. Such diversities in oral language are usual to this day in the East and elsewhere. "Son of a Kenaanitess." This implies that intermarriage with the Kenaanites was the exception to the rule in the family of Jacob. Wives might have been obtained from Hebrew, Aramaic, or at all events Shemite tribes who were living in their vicinity. The three sons of Levi are common to all the lists, with the slight variation of Gershom for Gershon. The sons of Judah are also unvaried. We are here reminded that Er and Onon died in the land of Kenaan Genesis 46:12, and of course did not come down into Egypt. The extraordinary circumstances of Judah's family are recorded in Genesis 38:In order that Hezron and Hamul may have been born at the arrival of Jacob's household in Egypt, Judah's and Perez's first sons must have been born in the fourteenth year of their respective fathers. For the discussion of this matter see the remarks on that chapter. The four sons of Issakar occur in the other lists, with the variation of Jashub for Job. The three sons of Zebulun recur in the book of Numbers; but in the list of Chronicles no mention is made of his posterity. Dinah does not appear in the other lists. The descendants of Leah are in all thirty-two; six sons, one daughter, twenty-three grandsons, and two great grandsons. "All the souls, his sons and his daughters, were thirty and three." Here "all the souls" include Jacob himself, and "his sons and his daughters" are to be understood as a specification of what is included besides himself.8-27. all the souls of the house of Jacob, which came into Egypt, were threescore and ten—Strictly speaking, there were only sixty-six went to Egypt; but to these add Joseph and his two sons, and Jacob the head of the clan, and the whole number amounts to seventy. In the speech of Stephen (Ac 7:14) the number is stated to be seventy-five; but as that estimate includes five sons of Ephraim and Manasseh (1Ch 7:14-20), born in Egypt, the two accounts coincide. Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan, and therefore are not contained in the following number, Genesis 46:15.

Hezron and Hamul, though they seem to have been born in Egypt, yet are here set down amongst those who came into Egypt, because they came thither in their father’s loins, as Levi is said to pay tithes in Abraham, Hebrews 7:9. And the children may as well be said to come thither in their parents, as their father Jacob is said to return from thence, Genesis 46:4, in his children.

Object. If this be the sense, why should these two be mentioned rather than the grandchildren of the other brethren, who came into Egypt in the same manner?

Answ. This may be done either,

1. From some special excellency or eminency in them above the rest, as Hezron was eminent for being the progenitor of the Messiah, and Hamul might be so for some other cause, though unknown to us. Or,

2. Because they were the first grandchildren that were born in Egypt, and it may be all that were born whilst Jacob lived there, and therefore are not unfitly named with Jacob, and allotted to him; as Joseph’s two eldest sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, were by Jacob appropriated to himself, and reckoned as his immediate sons, when all the rest of Joseph’s sons were excluded from that privilege, Genesis 48:5,6. And the like may be said of the other two grandchildren mentioned Genesis 46:17. And the sons of Judah, Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez,

and Zarah,.... Five of them:

but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan; and so did not go with Jacob into Egypt; and which is observed that they might not be reckoned among them, though it was proper to take notice of them in the genealogy:

and the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul; some think that these could not be born in Canaan, but in Egypt; and that they are mentioned among those that went down to Egypt, because they went there in the loins of their father, and to supply the places of Er and Onan, who died before, and have the honour to be here named, because they might be the first of Jacob's great grandchildren born there; though others suppose that Pharez was at this time fourteen years of age, and instances are given of some, who before that age have been fathers of children; the difficulty is not easily solved: the Targum of Jonathan expressly says,"Shelah and Zarah did not beget children in Canaan, but there were two sons of Pharez who went down into Egypt, Hezron and Hamul.''

And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah, and Pharez, and Zarah: but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. And the sons of Pharez were Hezron and Hamul.
12. As Numbers 26:20 f.

Er … Onan] See Genesis 38:3-10. The note, in this verse, on their death is probably a later insertion for the purpose of harmonizing the numerical computation in Genesis 46:15.

Shelah] See Genesis 38:5.

Perez … Zerah] See Genesis 38:29-30.

Hezron] See note on Genesis 46:9.Verse 12. - And the sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah (vide Genesis 38:3), and Pharos, and Zarah (Genesis 38:29; 1 Chronicles 2:4): but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan (Genesis 8:7, 10). And the sons of Pharez were Hezron (vide on ver. 9) and Hamul, - "One who has experienced mercy" (Gesenius). Strengthened by this promise, Jacob went into Egypt with children and children's children, his sons driving their aged father together with their wives and children in the carriages sent by Pharaoh, and taking their flocks with all the possessions that they had acquired in Canaan.

(Note: Such a scene as this, with the emigrants taking their goods laden upon asses, and even two children in panniers upon an ass's back, may be seen depicted upon a tomb at Beni Hassan, which might represent the immigration of Israel, although it cannot be directly connected with it. (See the particulars in Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses.))

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