Matthew Poole's Commentary
Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four.The sons of Issachar, 1 Chronicles 7:1-5. Of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 7:6-12. Of Naphtali, 1 Chronicles 7:13. Of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 7:14-19. Of Ephraim; their calamity; and habitations, 1 Chronicles 7:20-29. Of Asher, 1 Chronicles 7:30-40.
Jashub, called, by way of contraction, Job, Genesis 46:13.
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.In the days of David, when he numbered the people, 2 Samuel 24:1, &c.
And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.The sons, for the son; for he names but one son.
Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five, including their father
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.Six and thirty thousand men, to wit, of the posterity of Uzzi, as the other twenty-two thousand six hundred, 1 Chronicles 7:2, were the posterity of Tola.
And their brethren among all the families of Issachar were valiant men of might, reckoned in all by their genealogies fourscore and seven thousand.No text from Poole on this verse.
The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.There were ten, Genesis 46:21, and five of them are named, 1 Chronicles 8:1, but here only three are mentioned, either because these were most eminent for courage or fruitfulness, or because the other families were now extinct.
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.Heads of the house of their fathers; each of them head, or chief, or commander of that house or family from which he was descended, or to which he belonged. For it may seem, by comparing this with 1 Chronicles 8:3, &c. that these were not the immediate sons of Bela, but his grandchildren descended each from a several father; and their fathers are here omitted, peradventure because they were obscure persons, as their sons are mentioned for their eminency.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
The sons also of Jediael; Bilhan: and the sons of Bilhan; Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar.No text from Poole on this verse.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir, and Hushim, the sons of Aher.Shuppim also, and Huppim, called Muppim and Huppim, Genesis 46:21, also Hupham and Shupham, Numbers 26:39.
The sons of Aher; but divers take the Hebrew word aher for a common, not proper name, and render the words thus, another son, or the son of another family or tribe, to wit, of Dan, as may be gathered,
1. From Genesis 46:23, where Hushim is mentioned as the only son of Dan, where also the word sons is used of that one man, as it is here.
2. From the clause of the next verse, the sons of Bilhah, who was mother both to Dan and Naphtali.
3. Because otherwise the genealogy of Dan is quite left out.
4. From the word another, which is used in the Hebrew writers to design an abominable thing which the writer disdained to mention; whence they call a swine, which to them was a very unclean and loathsome creature, another thing. And it must be remembered that the tribe of Dan had made themselves and their memory infamous and detestable by that gross idolatry, which began first and continued longest in that tribe, Jud 18; for which reason many interpreters conceive this tribe is omitted in the numbering of the scaled persons, Re 7.
The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.The sons of Bilhah, i.e. the grandchildren; for Bilhah was Jacob’s concubine, and mother both to Naphtali, the father of these last named persons, and to Dan. See Poole "1 Chronicles 7:12".
The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:The sons of Manasseh, i.e. grandchildren, as 1 Chronicles 7:13. For both Ashriel and Zelophehad were the grandchildren of Machir son of Manasseh, Numbers 26:29 &c.; Numbers 27:1.
Whom she bare, to wit, his wife, as may be thought, because his concubine is here opposed to her. Or, whom he got; for the Hebrew word yalad is sometimes used of men’s begetting, as Genesis 5:18, &c. Compare Psalm 2:7. But these and the following words may be otherwise rendered according to the Hebrew text,
whom his concubine the Aramitess bare, who bare him (which ellipses are very frequent in the Hebrew) for meeth, of, or by Machir: so this was a differing Ashriel from him named Numbers 26:31; for that was Gilead’s son, and this his brother.
The father of Gilead; a person so called, as is manifest from 1 Chronicles 7:17 Numbers 26:29.
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.The sister; which word is here fitly understood out of the following clause, where it is expressed, and she is called Maachah, who also is called the wife of Machir, 1 Chronicles 7:16. The name of the second; of the second son or grandson of Machir; for so Zelophehad was, Numbers 26:29, &c. Or Zelophehad is here called the second, because he was the younger brother of Ashriel, who was the eldest son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir.
Had daughters, i.e. only daughters, and no sons.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Ulam; Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.These, to wit, Ashriel and Zelophehad, named 1 Chronicles 7:14,15; the relative being here referred to the remoter antecedent, as is frequent in the Hebrew.
And his sister Hammoleketh bare Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahalah.His sister, i.e. Gilead’s sister.
Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahalah; understand, and Shemidah, out of the next verse.
And the sons of Shemida were, Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,Bered his son; either,
1. The son of
Shuthelah; and so Tahath the son of Bered; and so the rest, which make up seven succeeding generations. Or,
2. The son of Ephraim; and so Tahath is the son not of Bered, but of Ephraim, and so forward. And thus all these were brethren, and sons or grandchildren of Ephraim, living together at one time with their father.
Object. This cannot be, because then Ephraim had two sons called Shuthelah, and two called Tahath.
Answ. That might easily happen, either because the first Shuthelah and Tahath were dead before the other two of those names were born; or because two of them were Ephraim’s sons, and two of them his grandchildren, called after their uncle’s names. For this is certain, the name of sons is promiscuously used concerning immediate children, and grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
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.This history is not recorded elsewhere in Scripture, but it is in the ancient Hebrew writers, though mixed with many fables. The Philistines (one of whose cities this Gath was) and the Egyptians were next neighbours; and in those ancient times it was usual for such to make inroads one into another’s country, and to carry thence what prey they could take, as we find both in Scripture and in profane writers. And as the Philistines had probably made such inroads formerly into Egypt, and particularly into the land of Goshen, which was the utmost part of Egypt bordering upon the Philistines’ land; so the Israelites might requite them in the like kind: and particularly the children of Ephraim, either presuming upon their numbers and strength, or having possibly received the greatest injury from the Philistines in their last invasion, might make an attempt upon the Philistines to their own great loss, as is here related. And this seems to have happened a little before the Egyptian persecution, and before the reign of that new king mentioned Exodus 1:8. The Philistines are here called
the men of Gath, either because they were subject to the king of Gath, as afterwards that people were, or because they lived about Gath. And this clause,
that were born in that land, may be added emphatically, as the motive which made them more resolute and furious in their fight with the Ephraimites, because they fought in and for their own land, wherein all their wealth and concerns lay, and against those that unjustly endeavoured to turn them out of their native country.
And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.Ephraim their father; either,
1. That Ephraim of whom he speaks, 1 Chronicles 7:20, whose sons are here named. But that to many seems hard, especially if these several sons, named 1 Chronicles 7:20,21, be understood successively, so as each man be the son of him who is named next and immediately before him, which seems most probable; for so here are seven successive generations of Ephraim, which it is not likely that Ephraim lived to see; for then he must have been near two hundred years old. Although it is not necessary that the persons here said to be slain should be that generation which was last mentioned; but the particle whom may belong to the other sons of Ephraim of the fourth, or fifth, or sixth generation. Nor is the word whom in the Hebrew text, which runs thus, and the men of Gath slew them, i.e. the sons of Ephraim in the general, as they are expressed in the beginning of 1 Chronicles 7:20, without respect to this or that particular generation. And the relative particle them may be referred not unto the persons last named, but unto some of the other and more remote persons; this being a common observation of Hebricians, that the relative oft belongs to the remoter antecedent. Or,
2. Zabad the father of the three persons and families last named, who might possibly have two names, and be called both Zabad and Ephraim. Or rather, the name of Ephraim may be put patronymically (as the learned speak) for the son and successor of Ephraim; who being now in Ephraim’s stead the head of the tribe, as old Ephraim was in his time, might well be called by the same name. Thus Isaac is put for his son Jacob or Israel, Amos 7:9, and Moses for the sons of Moses, Psalm 90:1, and David for his son Rehoboam, 1 Kings 12:16, and for Christ, Jeremiah 30:9 Ezekiel 34:23, and (as many think) Abraham for Jacob, Abraham’s grandchild, Acts 7:16. And these words,
their father, seem to be added by way of distinction, to show that he meant not this of the old Ephraim, but of another, who was father to the three persons said to be slain, 1 Chronicles 7:21. For if he had understood this of the first Ephraim, having called these the sons of Ephraim, it might seem superfluous and tautological to tell us that Ephraim was their father. His brethren, i.e. his kinsmen, as that word is frequently used.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.
(And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah.)His daughter, i.e. his grandchild, or great-grandchild, for such are oft called sons or daughters in Scripture.
Who built Beth-horon, i.e. rebuilt or repaired, which possibly she did in Joshua’s time. And this work may be ascribed to her, because these works were done either by her design or contrivance, or by her instigation and influence upon her husband and brethren who did it.
And Rephah was his son, also Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahan his son,No text from Poole on this verse.
Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son,Elishama; the head of the tribe of Ephraim in the wilderness, Numbers 1:10.
Non his son, Jehoshua his son.No text from Poole on this verse.
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:Their possessions, i.e. the portion allotted to the tribe of Ephraim.
Beth-el; which stood in the border of Benjamin, but belonged to Ephraim.
Unto Gaza, not that of the Philistines, which belonged to another tribe, and was remote from Ephraim; but another of the same name. Or rather Adasa, as it is in the margin of our Bible; the particle ad, here rendered unto, being a part of the name; for why should unto be put to this town, which is not put to any of the other?
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.The children of Joseph, i.e. of Ephraim, Joseph’s eldest son, who is sometimes called Joseph, as hath been noted before.
The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and Serah their sister.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel, who is the father of Birzavith.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Japhlet; Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath. These are the children of Japhlet.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Shamer; Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of his brother Helem; Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal.His brother; brother either of Shamer the eldest, namely, Hotham; or of Aram last mentioned.
The sons of Zophah; Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah,No text from Poole on this verse.
Bezer, and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran, and Beera.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Jether; Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara.No text from Poole on this verse.
And the sons of Ulla; Arah, and Haniel, and Rezia.Ulla; another son of Jether, as may be gathered by the course of the genealogy, though he be not expressed with his brethren, 1 Chronicles 7:38. See the like defect 1 Chronicles 7:18,34.
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.No text from Poole on this verse.