Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
2. Again the Families of Benjamin, especially the House of Saul: 1 Chronicles 8
1. The Families of Benjamin: 1 Chronicles 8:1–28
1 Chronicles 8:1.And Benjamin begat Bela his first-born, Ashbel the second, and Ahrah 2the third. Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth. 3And the sons of Bela were Addar, and Gera, and Abihad. 4And Abishua, and Naaman, and Ahoah. 5And Gera, and Shephuphan, and Huram.
6And these are the sons of Ehud (these are the heads of the fathers to the 7inhabitants of Geba, and they removed them to Manahath. Even Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera, he removed them): and he begat Uzza and Ahihud.
8And Shaharaim begat, in the field of Moab, after he had sent them away, Hushim and Baarah, his wives. 9And he begat of Hodesh his wife: Jobab, and Zibiah, and Mesha, and Malcam. 10And Jeuz, and Shobiah, and Mirma: these were his sons, heads of fathers. 11And of Hushim he begat Ahitub and Elpaal. And 12the sons of Elpaal: Eber, and Misham, and Shemer; he built Ono and Lod, and her daughters.
13And Beriah and Shema (these were the heads of fathers for the 14inhabitants of Aijalon; these put to flight the inhabitants of Gath). And Ahio,1 15Shashak, and Jeremoth. And Zebadiah, and Arad, and Eder. 16And Michael, and Ishpah, and Joha, sons of Beriah.
17, 18And Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hizki, and Heber. And Ishmerai, and Izliah, and Jobab, sons of Elpaal.
19And Jakim, and Zichri, and Zabdi. 20And Elienai, and Zillethai, and Eliel.21And Adaiah, and Beraiah, and Shimrath, sons of Shimi.
22And Ishpan, and Eber, and Eliel. 23And Abdon, and Zichri, and Hanan.24, 25And Hananiah, and Elam, and Antothijah. And Iphdeiah, and Penuel, sons of Shashak.
26, 27And Shamsherai, and Shehariah, and Athaliah. And Jaareshiah, and Elijah, and Zichri, sons of Jeroham. 28These were heads of fathers in their generations, chiefs ; these dwelt in Jerusalem.
2. The House of Saul: 1 Chronicles 8:29–40
29And at Gibeon dwelt Abi-gibeon; and his wife’s name was Maachah. 30And his first-born son was Abdon, and Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Nadab. 31And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zecher. 32And Mikloth begat Shimah; and these also, beside their brethren, dwelt in Jerusalem with their brethren.
33And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat Saul, and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchi-shua, and Abinadab, and Esh-baal. 34And the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal; and Merib-baal begat Micah. 35And the sons of Micah : Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and Ahaz. 36And Ahaz begat Jehoaddah; and Jehoadah 37begat Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza. And Moza begat Binah: Rapha his son, Elasah his son, Azel his son. 38And Azel had six sons; and these are their names : Azrikam, Bocheru,2 and Ishmael, and Shehariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan; all these were the sons of Azel. 39And the sons of Eshek his brother: Ulam his first-born, Jeush the second, and Eliphelet the third. 40And the sons of Ulam were valiant heroes, archers, and had many sons and sons’ sons, a hundred and fifty; all these were of the sons of Benjamin.
PRELIMINARY REMARK.—This full supplement to the shorter genealogy of Benjamin in 7: 6–11 appears in its whole plan and form to have been taken from another document, when we regard the frequent occurrence of הוֹלִיד, the collection of many families in 1 Chronicles 8:6–28, without expressing their relation with the nearest immediate descendants of Benjamin; and lastly, the termination of the whole genealogy, in a register of the house of Saul, reaching down nearly to the exile (or perhaps quite beyond it, as Bertheau will have it). The latter phenomena remind us of 1 Chronicles 3 and 4 in relation to 1 Chronicles 2, and show that the Chronist had before him genealogical accounts of the tribe of Benjamin, and the royal house descending from it, of the same extent and exactness as of Judah and the royal house of David.
1. Families of Benjamin : 1 Chronicles 8:1–28.—a. Sons of Benjamin and Bela : 1 Chronicles 8:1–5.—For the relation of the five sons of Benjamin here mentioned to those of the parallel list, see on 7:6. Keil is perhaps right in supposing that only those sons are mentioned here who founded families of Benjamin. That Ahrah = Ahiram, Num. 26:38, and also = Ehi, Gen. 46:21, appears certain. It is possible that the not otherwise occurring names Nohah and Rapha correspond to the Shephupham and Hupham of the parallel list, Num. 26, or at least denote descendants of these two sons of Benjamin.
1 Chronicles 8:3 ff. And the sons of Bela were Addar, and Gera, etc. The suspicion that the list of the sons of Bela contains several errors of transcription, is raised by the recurrence of the name Gera. אַדָּר also appears to be a transcriptive error for אַרְדְּ, Gen. 46:21, שְׁפוּפָן for שְׁפוּפָם, and חוּדָם possibly for חוּפָם, Num. 26:39. At any rate, several are found among these six sons of Bela, that appear in Gen. 41:21 and Num. 26:38 f. among the sons of Benjamin ; in particular, the first of the two Geras is like the Gera there; and Naaman there appears again here. Only Abihud, Abishua, and Ahrah occur exclusively here as sons of Benjamin.
b. Sons of Ehud: 1 Chronicles 8:6, 7.—And these are the sons of Ehud. As Ehud (אֵחוּד, union, from אחד) is radically different from Ehud (אֵהוּד, mild, from אהד, to be mild), the well-known judge Ehud, the son of Gera, Judg. 3:15, has nothing to do with the person here named.—These are the heads of the fathers to the inhabitants of Geba. These words, with the following notice of the removal to Manahath, are a parenthesis; the names of the sons of Ehud, Uzzah and Ahihud, follow at the close of 1 Chronicles 8:7. For Geba, that is, “Geba of Benjamin,” now Jeba, a Levitical city, comp. 6:45; 1 Sam. 13:3, 16. The place is the same as “Gibeah of Benjamin,” 1 Sam. 12:2, 15, 14:2, 16 (comp. Knobel on Isa. 10:29). For Manahath, a place of uncertain situation, of which the inhabitants were partly from Judah, see on 1 Chronicles 2:52 (Hazi-hammenuhoth). The subject to וַיַּגְלוּם is the three men named in ver 7, of whom, as the sing. הוּא shows, the last must have been the proper originator of the removal. Whether this Gera was the first or the second of the sons of Bela so named, is as uncertain as the other details of this old historical event.
c. Descendants of Shaharaim: 1 Chronicles 8:8–12.—And Shaharaim begat in the field of Moab, etc. This Shaharaim, and his connection with the genealogy of Benjamin, are quite unknown. That he was the same as Ahishahar, 7:10, or Shechariah, 1 Chronicles 8:26, or that he lies hid under אַחֵר (= שַׁחֵר),—all these are uncertain conjectures. Neither do we know the ground of his coming to the field of Moab, or of his tarrying there.—After he had sent them away, (namely) Hushim and Baarah, his wives. מִן שִׁלְחוֹ, literally, “from his sending;” שִׁלְחוֹ, inf. Piel, retaining the i and rejecting the Dag. f. (Ew. § 238, d). The suff. in אוֹתָם though masc., refer only to the two wives whose names are appended (comp. Ew. § 309, c). The construction is thus more loose and negligent than in 1 Chronicles 8:6, 7, since to the prefixing of the verb is added an enallage generis. Moreover, the first of the two names has not a feminine form (חוּשִׁים), and is only known as such by the following נָשָׁיו.
1 Chronicles 8:9. And he begat of Hodesh his wife, namely, his third, after the dismissal of the two above named; perhaps a Moabitess, as the names of some of her sons have a Moabitish sound, particularly מֵישָׁא (comp. the king of Moab, מֵישַׁע, 2 Kings 3), מַלְכָם (name of the idol of Ammon and Moab, Jer. 49:1, 3), etc. For הוֹלִיד מִן, comp. on 2:18.
1 Chronicles 8:11, 12. Here follow the descendants of Shaharaim by Hushim, and these are certainly, in contrast with those Moabites, genuine Israelitish and cisjordanic, as the reference of the places Ono and Lod, west of the tribe of Benjamin, to one of them (probably to Elpaal, to whom the הוּא appears to apply) shows. Ono, without doubt adjacent to Lod, occurs also in Ezra 2:33, Neh. 7:37, 11:35, as a place in West Benjamin (properly by situation in Dan), and Lod is certainly Lydda, afterwards Diospolis, now Ludd or Lidd, north of Ramleh, near the road from Jaffa to Jerusalem. In 1 Chronicles 8:17, 18 follows a further series of sons of an Elpaal, whose identity with the present one is uncertain.
d. Benjamite Heads of Families of Aijalon, 1 Chronicles 8:13, and of Jerusalem (see 1 Chronicles 8:28): 1 Chronicles 8:13–28.—And Beriah and Shema, etc. There is no visible genealogical connection of these and the next following with the foregoing names. On the contrary, a partly genealogical connection seems to exist between the five heads of families in 1 Chronicles 8:13 and 14 and the following names in 1 Chronicles 8:15–27. For in 1 Chronicles 8:15, 16 are “ sons of Beriah ” enumerated, in 1 Chronicles 8:22–25 “ sons of Shashak ” (see 1 Chronicles 8:14); and if we may connect “ the sons of Shimi” in 1 Chronicles 8:19–21 with Shema, 1 Chronicles 8:13 (because שֶׁמַע and שִׁמְעִי look like two forms of the same name), and discover in “ the sons of Jeroham,” 1 Chronicles 8:26, 27 (by assuming an error of the pen), descendants of Jeremoth, 1 Chronicles 8:14, it will be still more natural to combine “ the sons of Elpaal,” 1 Chronicles 8:17, 18, with the fifth of the heads of families in 1 Chronicles 8:13 f., and suppose “Ahio,” 1 Chronicles 8:14 = Elpaal, read אָחִיו, with the Sept., instead of אַחְיוֹ, and supply אֶלְפַּעַל before it (according to Bertheau’s proposed emendations; see Crit. Note). Many doubts, however, remain in force against this hypothesis, especially the circumstance that both 1 Chronicles 8:13 and 1 Chronicles 8:15 (where the descendants of Beriah, the first of the five heads of families, are enumerated) begin with a mere ו instead of a more distinct formula of introduction (such as in 1 Chronicles 8:6, וְאֵלֶּה וגו׳).—These were the heads of fathers for the inhabitants of Aijalon . . . Gath. A historical notice in parenthesi, like that in 1 Chronicles 8:6, 7. Aijalon, now Jalo, lay west of Gibeon, in the earlier district of Dan, where also Ono and Lod as Benjamite colonies were situated (comp. on 1 Chronicles 8:12); see Josh. 10:12, 19:42. Because Beriah and Shema are here named as conquerors of the inhabitants of Gath, Bertheau thinks we may infer an identity of the present fact with that mentioned 7:21 ff., that the Benjamite family Beriah, after the defeat there recorded (in which Ezer and Elad fell), came to the help of Ephraim against the Gathites, overcame and chastised them, in gratitude for which they were admitted by the Ephraimites into their community, whence Beriah is there represented as a late-born son of Ephraim. That this is a mere fancy is manifest from the impossibility of understanding the account of Ephraim and his sons in 7:21 ff. otherwise than literally (see on the passage). Besides, the name Beriah is by no means so rare that the identity of these persons and events can be inferred from it alone (comp. for example, Asher’s son Beriah, 7:30). And why might not Gath, in the long period of conflict between Israel and the Philistines, have been the object of repeated attacks by Israel?
1 Chronicles 8:15, 16. And Zebadiah, and Arad, and Eder, etc. Of these six sons of Beriah nothing further is known, though their names almost all occur elsewhere: Zebadiah, 1 Chronicles 8:17, among Elpaal’s sons, and also 8:7, Ezra 8:8, 10:20; Michael still oftener, etc.
1 Chronicles 8:17, 18. And Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hizki, etc. Of these seven sons of Elpaal, Bertheau will identify three, Meshullam, Heber, and Ishmerai, with the three sons of Elpaal in 1 Chronicles 8:12, Misham, Eber, and Shemer, to make the identity of the Elpaal in both places probable. But this assumption is the more uncertain, the more doubtful it is whether that earlier Elpaal family that dwelt in Ono and Lydd can, by a supposed migration, be connected with the present family in Jerusalem (see 1 Chronicles 8:28).
1 Chronicles 8:19 ff. On Shimi, Shashak, and Jeroham, and their probable identity with Shema, Shashak, and Jeremoth, 1 Chronicles 8:13, 14, see above. Of the sons of these three heads of families given as far as 1 Chronicles 8:27, nothing is known elsewhere, although their names mostly recur.
1 Chronicles 8:28. These were heads of fathers in their generations, chiefs. The repetition of רָאשִׁים serves scarcely (as the Vulg., principes inquam, and some older expositors will have it) to lay stress on the idea of heads, which would be here quite unmeaning. The sense rather appears to be, “ that the persons named in the genealogical lists are cited as heads (of houses); and this appears to be noted, that those cited as sons of such and such persons may not be taken for individual members of houses” (Keil).—These dwelt in Jerusalem, not merely the heads, but their families, who cannot be supposed to be separate from them.
2. The House of Saul: 1 Chronicles 8:29–40 (comp. 1 Chronicles 9:35–44, where this section, with the exception of 1 Chronicles 8:39, 40, recurs).—a. Saul’s Ancestors: 1 Chronicles 8:29–32.—And at Gibeon dwelt Abi-gibeon; and his wife’s name was Maachah. The plur. יָֽשְׁבוּ refers also to the sons of Abi-gibeon, to be named in the following verse. Gibeon is now el Jib, two and a half hours north-west of Jerusalem; comp. Rob. 2:351. The here appellatively-named Abi-gibeon, that is, father (founder) of Gibeon (comp. the like remarks in 2:42 ff.), bears in 9:35 the name Jeiel or Jeuel (יְעִואֵל; Kethibיְעוּאֵל). His descent from Benjamin is not given, and he occurs only here; and so it is with Maachah his wife, whose name, however, is of frequent occurrence (comp. on 2:48).
1 Chronicles 8:30. And his first-born son was Abdon, etc. Instead of the eight sons of Abi-gibeon here named, 1 Chronicles 9:36 f. enumerates ten; and, in fact, the names of two seem to have fallen out of our passage, namely Ner (between Baal and Nadab) and Mikloth (at the end of the series, ver 31), for their descendants are given in the following verses. It is doubtful whether the names בַּעַל and נָדָב at the close of our verse are to be combined into one, בַּעַלְנָדָב (as Wellh., Text d. B. Sam. p. 31, will have it). In 1 Chronicles 9:37 we find Zechariah in place of the present זֶכֶר.
1 Chronicles 8:32. And Mikloth begat Shimah. In 9:38 he is called Shimam.—And these also, namely Shimah and his family, beside their brethren, dwelt in Jerusalem with their brethren. “These also ” perhaps points only to Mikloth’s family as likewise dwelling in Jerusalem. The “brethren” of these descendants of Shimah are the remaining Benjamites, in the first phrase (“beside their brethren”) perhaps those dwelling outside of Jerusalem to the west and north, and in the second (“with their brethren”) those settled in Jerusalem itself.
b. The Family of Ner, and the House of Saul: 1 Chronicles 8:33–45.—And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat Saul. As in 1 Sam. 9:1, 14:51, the father of Kish is called Abiel, Ner is an earlier ancestor, perhaps the father or grandfather of the Abiel. Possibly, indeed, there was originally in the text, “ And Ner begat Abner (comp. 1 Sam. 14:51), and Kish begat Saul ;” for it is scarcely conceivable that the celebrated general Abner, the uncle of Saul, should be originally wanting in this genealogy (comp. Berth. and Kamph.).—And Saul begat Jonathan . . . and Eshbaal. Instead of these four sons of Saul, 1 Sam. 14:49 names only three—Jonathan, Ishui, and Malchishua. But Ishui is, as appears from 1 Sam. 31:2 and 1 Chron. 10:1, only another name for Abinadab; and thus the three, who are the three that fell with Saul, quite agree with the first three of those here named. But Eshbaal is no other than Ishbosheth, the well-known rival of David, 2 Sam. 2:8 ff. The change of the second element of this name (בַּעַל) intoבֹּשֶׁת, “shame, idol,” expressing abhorrence and contempt, may be compared with Jerubbaal, Judg. 6:32, changed into Jerubbesheth (יְרֻבֶּשֶׁת), 2 Sam. 11:21, or with the name of the son of Ishbosheth, who is here called Merib-baal (so, with a slight difference in orthography, מְרִי־בַעַל, 9:40), but in 2 Sam. 4:4, 21:7, Mephibosheth (or perhaps מְרִיבֹשֶׁת, as at least Berth, thinks; but comp. Wellh., Der Text d. B. Sam. p. 31).
1 Chronicles 8:35. The sons of Micah, the son of the lame Meribbaal, are four in number, the same as in 9:41, 42, only that the last but one is called Tahrea (תַּחְרֵעַ) instead of Tarea (תַּאְרֵע).
1 Chronicles 8:36. And Ahaz begat Jehoaddah. The descendants of this Ahaz are traced through ten generations. For יְהוֹעַדָּה (יוֹעַדָּה) stands in 9:42יַעְרָה, by a mistake of ר for ד. Of the two following names, Alemeth occurs (with a slight variation) in 9:42 as a Benjamite place, and Azmaveth twice, 11:33 and 12:3, as a Benjamite person.
1 Chronicles 8:37. Instead of Rapha (רָפָא), the parallel 9:43 has the longer and more original form Rephaiah (רְפָיָה).
1 Chronicles 8:38. For the name Bocheru, the second of the sons of Azel, comp. Crit. Note.
1 Chronicles 8:40. And the sons of Ulam were valiant heroes, archers. For the expression, comp. 5:18. For the thing, namely, the warlike prowess of the tribe of Benjamin, comp. Judg. 20:16, Gen. 49:27.—And had many sons and sons’ sons, a hundred and fifty. For מַרְבִּים, properly “ multiplying” sons, comp. 7:4, Lev. 11:42. As grandsons of Ulam and grand-nephews of Azel (who was the thirteenth in descent from Saul), the hundred and fifty here mentioned were the fifteenth generation from Saul. If we reckon for every generation a maximum average of thirty years, the resulting sum of 450 years from the time of Saul (1095–1055) would terminate in the middle or second half of the 7th century B.C., and therefore in the time before the exile. Against Bertheau’s attempt to assign the sons and grandsons of Ulam to the time after the exile, Keil justly remarks on the whole: “ This reckoning is too high. Sixty years cannot be allowed for Saul and Jonathan, as Jonathan fell in the year 1055, and his son Meribbaal was then only five years old, and therefore born in 1060. In the following generations also not more than twenty-five years on an average (?) can be allowed. Accordingly, the grandsons of Ulam’s sons, who were the twelfth generation from Micah (son of Meribbaal), may have come into the world about 760 B.C.., have grown into the host of 150 grandsons of Ulam about 760–700. But even if thirty years be reckoned for each generation, the last-named generation of 150 grandsons and great-grandsons of Ulam would have lived in the period from 660–600, and therefore before the exile, at least before the first great deportation of the people under Jehoiachin, 599 B.C.” Moreover, the traces of a representation of the relations of the tribe of Benjamin after the exile which he has endeavoured to show in our chapter,—for example, the occurrence of several names of places and persons of our section in the history of the times of Ezra and Nehemiah, the connection of the Benjamites in the land of Moab mentioned 1 Chronicles 8:8–10 with the “princes in Moab” (פחת מואב) named in Ezra 2:6, 8:4, 10:30, Neh. 3:11, 7:11, the form בֹּכְרוּ corresponding with גַּשְׁמוּ, the near agreement of the number 150 with the numbers of some families in Ezra and Nehemiah (comp. Ezra 2:18–30, 8:3 ff.), etc.,—-would only render it probable that the present genealogical account extends beyond the exile, if we were entitled to suppose that a number of links had fallen out in the series of generations from Saul to Ulam and his grandsons. The possibility of such assumption is as undeniable as it is precarious to take it for granted without any sufficient ground.—All these were of the sons of Benjamin. “All these” goes back to 1 Chronicles 8:1, and includes the whole of the names in our section.
1Instead of a proper name אַחְיוֹ, the Sept. read אָחִיו, as they render ὁ ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ. The conjecture of Bertheau, that the appellative is the original sense, and that the name Elpaal, which from 1 Chronicles 8:18 we expect here, has fallen out before this אחיו, so that the text was originally וְאֶלְפַּעַל אָחִיו וְשְׁשָׁק, is very plausible. See Exposition
2For בֹּכְרוּ (with the closing u of proper names, comp. גַּשְׁמוּ, Neh. 6:6) the Sept. (πρωτότοκος αὐτοῦ) and some Hebrew MSS. read בְּכוֹרוֹ, incorrectly however, as six sons of Azel are announced.
Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third,