The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.
Verses 1-23. - After the large space given to the "sons of David," of the tribe of Judah, in the previous chapter, this chapter returns for twenty-three verses to group together a few additional ramifications of the same tribe, whose registers were for some reasons, perhaps not very evident, preserved and known. The first verses follow in the direction already indicated in ch. 2, near the end of which we were left with Shobal and Haroeh, probably the same with Reaiah (the same name as Reaia, 1 Chronicles 5:5, though not the same person). Verses 1, 2. - The Carrot of ver. 1 is considered to lie doubtful between the Carmi of 1 Chronicles 2:7 or the Chelubai of 1 Chronicles 2:9, in which last alternation the five names of this verse would repeat the line of descent with which chrii, had made us familiar. Even then the object or advantage of repeating the first four of these, so far as what follows is concerned, is not evident. We keep near the close of ch. 2. also in respect of another allusion to the Zorathites (1 Chronicles 2:53), whose families were replenished by the two sons of Jahath, Ahumai and Lahad, of all of whom this is all we know.
And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.
And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:
Verses 3, 4. - Etam is, with little doubt, the name of a place (2 Chronicles 11:6) in Judah, south of Jerusalem. It was near Tekoah (ver. 5, and 1 Chronicles 2:24) and Bethlehem (next verse). The hiatus in the first clause may possibly be supplied by "the families of" from the last verse, or, more fitly, by "the sons of," inasmuch as some manuscripts have it so. The Septuagint, however, and Vulgate displace "the father of" (i.e. chief of), replacing it by "the sons of." The Syriac Version leaves out any notice of the sister, Hazelelponi, and gives the former part of the verse thus: "These are Amina-dab's sons, Ahizareel, Nesma, and Dibas, Pheguel and Husia; These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratha, who was the father," etc. With this the Arabic Version is partly in agreement, but closes the verse with the words, "These are the sons of Hur, son of Ephratha, the father of whom [plural] was of Bethlehem." The Chronicle Targum translates, "the rabbis dwelling at Etam." This variety indicates the difficulty felt by each in turn. The verse, however, purports to give the names of three brothers and one sister (Hazelel-poni, i.e. the shadow looking at me, Gesenius) connected with Etam, as in the following verse Penuel with Gedor (1 Chronicles 2:51) and Ezer with Hushah (1 Chronicles 11:29; 2 Samuel 23:27). Of no one of these, in all six other descendants of Hur, additional to those found at the close of ch. 2, is anything distinct known. It is to be noted that Hut himself is here called father of Bethlehem, while (1 Chronicles 2:51) his son Salma is so called.
And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem.
And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
Verses 5-7. - Another before-mentioned person (1 Chronicles 2:24) is brought forward, viz. Ashur, the posthumous son of Hezron by Abia, now again, as there, styled father, or chief, of Tekoa, a town, as above, near Etam, Bethlehem, etc. He is brought forward that the names of his two wives, with four children to the latter of them and three to the former, may be given. The Roman Septuagint unaccountably gives different names to the mothers, and reverses the groups of the four and three children. Nothing else is known of these nine persons. The last two names of the group of four more resemble in form the name of the head of a family than an individual name; and for Jezoar, the middle name of the group of three, the easy Keri of "and Zohar" is followed by the Septuagint, and was followed by our 1611 Authorized Version.
And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah.
And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.
And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.
Verse 8. - The link of connection between the persons named in this verse and the tribe of Judah is utterly unknown. The introduction of them, abrupt as it is, is, however, paralleled by many others ira-mediately following in this chapter, as well as elsewhere. Nothing has yet been produced in elucidation of any one of the persons designated by these names, or of their relation to the context.
And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
Verse 9. - This is not less true of the name of vers. 9, 10, which, however, has made its own mark amid the whole scene. The episode of these two verses, offering itself amid what should seem, superficially, a dry mass of dead names, is welcome and grateful as the oasis of the desert, and it warns us that life lies hidden at our every footfall on this ground, spread over though it is with monument and inscription, and hollow, as we thought, with the deadest of the dead. But the glimpse of old real life given us in this brief fragment of a biography is refreshing and is very suggestive. It seems an insufficient and unnatural method of accounting for the suddenness of the appearance of this episode to suppose ('Speaker's Commentary,' in lee.) that the name of Jahez was well known, from any cause, to those for whom Chronicles may be supposed to have been primarily intended. We prefer by far one account of it, viz. that the work in our hands is not in its original complete state; or, variously put, that it is in its uncompleted original state. No root corresponding to the characters of this name in present order is known; it is possible that some euphonic reason makes the name יַעְבּצ out of the real word (future Kal) יַעִצֵב, i.e. he causes pains. We cannot suppose there would be any "play" appreciable on a transposition of alphabetical characters for mere play's sake. The resemblance that almost each part of this brief and abruptly introduced narration bears to incidents recorded in Genesis (Genesis 34:19; Genesis 33:20; Genesis 4:25; Genesis 29:32; Genesis 28:20) and Exodus speaks for itself, and strongly countenances the supposition that it is a genuine deposit of the genuinely olden history of Judah. The mother's reason for the naming of the child; the language and matter and form (Genesis 17:18-20; Exodus 32:32) of the prayer of the child, when presumably he was no longer a child; and the discriminating use of the words Elohim (ver. 10) of Israel, as comps, red with the name Jehovah (1 Chronicles 2:3; 5:41), generally found here, - all help to produce this impression, although some of these particulars would carry little conviction by themselves; e.g. a mother's reasons for assigning the name of her child long outlived the earlier times alone. Upon the whole, and regarding the passage in its present place, we may say that it must be very much misplaced, or else must be understood to connect Jabez with some branch of the family of Coz. There is the more room to assume this in the vagueness of the last preceding clause, "The families of Aharhel the son of Harum." The origin of the theories of some of the older Jewish writers, to the effect that Jabez was a doctor in the law, with a school of scribes around him, is probably to be found in the desire to find a connection between his proper name, Jabez, and the place so named (1 Chronicles 2:55), and where, as we are told, "families of scribes dwelt," belonging to the Kenites. That these were connected with Bethlehem, through Salma, and that Jabez of our present passage was also of a family connected with Bethlehem, is worthy of notice, but is not enough by a long way to countenance the thought, in spite of Targum and Talmud (Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' sub vet.). The Targum, as well here as in 1 Chronicles 2:55, identifies Jabez with Othniel "son of Keuaz" (Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; Judges 3:9), or more probably "the Kenizzite" merely; but there is nothing to sustain such an identification. The description, he was more honourable than his brethren, finds a close parallel, so far as the word honourable goes, in Genesis 34:19; although the honourableness of Shechem, the person there in question, does not come out to anything like the same advantage with that of Jabez, nor at all in the same direction. The word, however, is precisely the same, is often used elsewhere, and uniformly in a good sense, although the range of its application is wide. The essential idea of the root appears to be "weight." The phrase may therefore be supposed to answer to our expressive phrase, a "man of weight " - the weight being sometimes due chiefly to character, at other times to position and wealth in the first place, though not entirely divorced from considerations of character. We may safely judge, from what follows, that the intention in our present passage is to describe Jabez as a man of more ability and nobility than his brethren. It can scarcely be doubted that the meaning that lies on the surface is the correct interpretation, when it is said that his mother named him Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. The sorrow refers to unusual pains of travail, not to any attendant circumstances of domestic trial, as e.g. that the time of his birth was coincident with her own widowhood, as happened to the wife of Phinehas, when she named her offspring "Ichabod" (1 Samuel 4:19-22).
And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
Verse 10. - When Jabez grew to manhood he has learnt to estimate rightly the value of God's blessing. He invokes it, and depends upon it. His language implies the confidence that he had in the reality of providential blessing. For the expression, enlarge my coast, see Deuteronomy 12:20; Deuteronomy 19:8; and though we know nothing as matter of fact about the occasion of this prayer, we may assume that it was one when not selfishness and greed of larger territory, but just opportunity, had awakened a strong desire for enlargement of borders. It may have been a legitimate occasion of recovering his own, lost or wrongfully taken from him or his predecessors before him, or of expelling successfully from their hold upon it a portion of the original inhabitants of the promised land of God's people. That thine hand might be with me. Many are the beautiful parallels to be culled from the Word of God for this expression, as e.g. Ezra 7:9; Psalm 80:17; Psalm 119:173; Psalm 139:5, 10; Isaiah 42:6. And that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! This, the last entreaty of the prayer, is the largest and most far-seeing. Warned by his own name, forewarned by his mother's emphasizing of her own pains in him, he thus concludes. Having begun in the evil of pain and excessive sorrow, he prays that he and his career may not so determine and end. He does not necessarily pray to be preserved from all suffering, but from such baneful touch of evil itself, its principle, its tyrannous, merciless hold, as might bring him to real and irreparable grief. Thus closes the whole prayer, each succeeding clause of which has been under the rule of the initial "if," translated with us, Oh that. This well-known Hebrew form of prayer supposes a solemn engagement, and that the answered prayer shall meet with the fulfilment of a vowed promise on the part of the suppliant, according to the pattern of Genesis 28:20. In the absence of that engagement here, we may notice, with Keil, the greater grace of the passage, in that it closes with the statement of the readiness to hear, and the abounding readiness to answer, on the part of Divine beneficence: And God granted him that which he requested. Evidently the thing that he asked pleased the Lord (1 Kings 3:10, 12); although it was in this case some form of riches, and long life for self, and the life of his enemies, that he asked, and was not altogether and in so many words "a wise and understanding heart." Perhaps, also there was in the way of asking, and in the exact occasion, unknown to us, something which quite justified the matter of the prayer, and which thus pleased the Lord. The remarkable and arresting episode could not have closed in more welcome or impressive way than when it is thus briefly but conclusively said, "And God granted him that which he requested."
And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.
Verses 11, 12. - Of the whole of the group of names, contained in these two verses, it must be said that we are in the dark. The suggestion of Grove, in his art. "Ir-enahash" (Smith's 'Bible Dictionary'), is worth notice, that possibly the versos may be a reminiscence of some Canaanitish graft on Judah - the Shuah (שׁוּחָה) of ver. 11 pointing to the Shua (שׁוַּע)of 1 Chronicles 2:3; Genesis 38:2. Beth-rapha (the house of the giant) looks more like the name of a place than of a person, though the text needs a person, and such may be covered possibly by this name, though it be of a place. Ir-nahash (the city of the serpent). Jerome, in his 'Quaestiones Hebraicae in Parah,' asserts or repeats the assertion of some one else that this is no other place than Bethlehem; taking Nahash as a synonym with Jesse. Unlikely as this is, no place of the name is known.
And Eshton begat Bethrapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Irnahash. These are the men of Rechah.
And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.
Verses 13-15. - We return here to the neighbourhood of names not quite strange. From comparison of the many passages in Numbers, Joshua, and Judges, which contain references to Othniel and Caleb (son of Jephunneh), the stronger conclusion to which we are led is that Othniel was younger brother of Caleb (probably not by both the same parents) and Kenaz a forefather, of course not literally father. The conclusion is not arrived at without difficulty, or with any real certainty. In the present instance, e.g., why should Othniel, if the younger brother and so expressly and repeatedly mentioned, be taken first? For the possible Kenaz of this passage, we might then refer to 1 Chronicles 1:53; Genesis 36:42. Hathath. The marginal reading, which joins Meonothai at once to Hathath, and then supplies "who" before "begat Ophrah," is decidedly to be adopted. Joab son of Seraiah is not to be assumed to be one with Joab son of Zeruiah. The valley of the Charashim (see also Nehemiah 11:35), i.e. smiths, or craftsmen, lay east of Jaffa, and behind the plain of Sharon; and is said by Jerome, in his 'Quaestiones Hebraicae in Paral.,' to have been, according to tradition, named so because the architects of the temple came thence. Iru. Perhaps the real name is It, and the final vau rather an initial for the next name. Elah. Probably another name is wanting after this, which the vau will then join to Kenaz; otherwise, as vau will not translate "even," the following name will become, as in the margin, Uknaz. The wanting name might be the Jehalaleel of the next verse. This last name is in the Hebrew identical with the Jehalelel of our Authorized Version (2 Chronicles 29:12).
And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.
And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.
Verse 16. - Of none of the characters of this verse can anything be said beyond what appears here.
And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.
Verses 17, 18. - From the tangle of these verses it is hopeless to attempt any certain conclusions. The fact of the antithesis of the Jewess wife (by some assigned as wife to Ezra), and the presumably Egyptian wife mentioned in the latter verse, is perhaps just enough in the general obscurity to suggest that Mered, the asserted husband of the latter, is to be understood as the husband of the former also But to compass so much as this, we have to overlook omission in ver. 17 and inversion in ver. 18. There is a tone about the verses, due to names they contain, that might suggest to us the times of Egypt and Moses, and traditions in keeping do not fail to come to view in Jerome ('Quaestiones,' etc.; see also art. "Meted," Smith's 'Bible Dictionary'). The four places, Eshtemoa, Gedor, Socho, Zanoah, may all with tolerable confidence be identified in Joshua 15:48-58, as of the number of the cities "in the mountains," though Zanoah and Socho are found also "in the valley" (Joshua 15:33-36). In this passage the Septuagint gives us no help, but betrays its own perplexity, offering to make Jether the father of Miriam; while the Syriac and Arabic versions simply skip the verses as incoherent.
And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.
And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.
Verse 19. - The first clause of this verse in the Hebrew is, And the sons of the wife of Hodiah. The margin offers the Jewess again for Hodiah. Nothing is known explanatory of the descriptive word Garmite here. Its meaning, according to Gesenins, is "bony." Eahtomoa is here distinguished from the same-spelt word in ver. 17 by the description the Maachathite, Maachad being a region at the foot of Hermon, bordering on and belonging to Syria.
And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth.
Verse 20. - The names of this verse obtain no light from other passages. The Septuagint (Alexandrian), in loc., speaks of "Someion, the father of Jomam," in the former verse which probably stands for this Shimon. Also the Septuagint for Vulgate, instead of counting Ben-hanan as the name of a third son, translate it, as of Rinnah "son of Hanan." Ishi; not to be confused with ch. 2:31, son of Appaim. Our Authorized Version, following the Vulgate, does not translate Ben-zoheth, while the Hebrew would read naturally "Zoheth, and the son of Zoheth."
The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
Verses 21-23. - The first of these verses takes us back to 1 Chronicles 2:3, where the first three of the patriarch Judah's sons are introduced in the genealogy, as Er, Onan, and Shelah; where of Er it is said," He was evil in the sight of the Lord; and he slew him;" and where nothing is added of Onan or Shelah. It would appear now that Shelah gave the name of the slain brother to his son. Respecting this Er of Lecah - with little doubt the name of a place - and Laadah, nothing else can be adduced; but Marebah (1 Chronicles 2:42) is the name of a place in the Shefelah, given in the same passage with Kailah and Nezib (Joshua 15:44; see also 2 Chronicles 11:8; 2 Chronicles 14:9). The fine linen (בּוּצ) here spoken of is, according to Gesenius, equivalent in this passage and in the later Hebrew, to the byssus of the Egyptians (Exodus 26:31; 2 Chronicles 3:14), the שֵׁשׁ, from which the Syrian byssus (Ezekiel 27:16), to which בּוּצ does more strictly apply, is distinguished in some other places. It was of fine texture, costly, and used as the clothing of kings (1 Chronicles 15:27), of priests (2 Chronicles 5:12), and of the very wealthy (Esther 1:6; Esther 8:15). Gesenius says that, after long research and dispute, microscopic investigations in London have concluded that the threads of the cloth of byssus are linen, not cotton. Ashbea (אַשבֵּע) is not yet recognized elsewhere. Jokim. Gesenius considers this name (יוקִים) as a contracted form of יויָקִים (Joiakim) of Nehemiah 12:10. Chozeba. The meaning of this name is "lying;" not found elsewhere, it is probably the same as the אַכזִיב, a town in the tribe of Judah (Genesis 38:5), and that is probably the same as the אַכזִיבּ, of the "valley" list of Judah cities (Joshua 15:44) and of Micah 1:14, where it is mentioned in near connection with the Mareshah, which also accompanies it in the above "valley" list. Joash. This name appears in three forms: יואָשׁ, as in the text and 2 Kings 12:20; יְחואָשׁ, as in 2 Kings 12:1; and יועָשׁ, as in 1 Chronicles 7:8. Seraph. This is the word the plural of which gives us our seraphim (Isaiah 6:2), and is from a root of somewhat uncertain meaning. The different significations to which the root seems to lend itself in the substantive, according as it is used in the singular or plural, are startling (see Gesenius, 'Lexicon,' sub voce). The apparent meaning of this verse is that there was a time of old, when the above, of whom we can ascertain nothing elsewhere, ruled over Moab. Jerome, in the Vulgate, has made a strange rendering of this verse by translating some of the proper names, and reading at least one of them, the first, as though it were a form in the Hebrew (יָקִים), which it is not: Et qui stare fecit solem, virique Mendacii et Securus et Tircendens, qui principes fuerunt in Moab et qui reversi sunt in Lahem; haec autem verba vetera. Thus Jokim is turned into Elimelech, and the men of Chozeba into Mahlon and Chillon of the Book of Ruth, and Jashubi-lehem into Naomi and Ruth; and the last clause of the verse is equivalent to citing the Book of Ruth. Barrington ('Genealogies,' 1:179) regards Jokim as Shelah's third son in this enumeration; and ethers regard Jashubi-lehem as his fourth son. The preposition לְ prefixed to מואָב and following the verb, is to be noted Ver. 23 brings us to the last of Judah, and leaves us to part with the account of the tribe in the same obscurity which has lately involved it. The plants and hedges are probably an instance of inopportune translation of proper names, which should rather appear as Nelaira and Gedara, the former place or people not found elsewhere, but the latter possibly referred to. Joshua 15:36. Again, who they were that were the potters, is not clear - whether all of the preceding verse, or the last mentioned. From the last clause it may be probably safely concluded, that those designated, whoever they were, were employed habitually in the service, not indeed of one king necessarily, but of the succession of royalty. Passages that may be taken to throw interesting light upon this subject are 1 Chronicles 27:25-31; 2 Chronicles 26:10; 2 Chronicles 27:4; 2 Chronicles 32:27-29.
And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.
These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.
The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:
Verses 24-27. - The second of the twelve tribes is now taken, and occupies but small space as compared with Judah preceding, or Levi and Benjamin when their turn comes. The comparison of the enumeration of the sons of Simeon here with that in Genesis 46:10, Exodus 6:15, is helpful in detaching the idea that the compiler of Chronicles copied direct from Genesis and Exodus, or that he depended exclusively on identical sources of information. That comparison shows six names in both of those passages for only five here, and it shows also difference in three of the names, viz. Jemuel, Zohar, and Jachin, for Nemuel, Zeta, and Jarib. On the other hand, the list of Numbers 26:12 is in exact agreement with our list here (the omission of Ohad in both being sufficiently accounted for by one and the same reason), with the exception of Jarib here for Jachin still there; and this solitary difference may justly be suspected to be nothing but an early corruption of resh for caph and beth for nun (see Kennicott, 'Diss.,' 1:178; Barrington's 'Genealogies,' 1:55). Ver. 25 contains three descents from one of these - Shaul. Of Shallum, the first, it may be noted that there are fourteen others of the same name in the Old Testament; and of Mibsam and Mishma (whom some call brothers, surely in error), that there were others of the same name (and certainly given as brothers), viz. the sons of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13; ch. 1:29). Ver. 26 adds apparently another three descents, viz. from Mishma. Of the first-named of these, Hamuel, it may be noted that the name appears in many Hebrew manuscripts as Chammuel; of the second-named, Zacchur, that six others of the same name (though the Authorized Version gives them Zaccur) are found in Numbers, the First Book of Chronicles, and Nehemiah; while on the third, Shimei (of which name the Old Testament contains fifteen others), our attention is especially detained as father of sixteen sons and six daughters, though it is observed that his brethren (query Hammuel and Zacchur) had not large families. The smallness of the whole tribe relatively to Judah, was only saved from being smaller by him. With this agrees the census of Numbers 1:23, 27; Numbers 2:4, 13; Numbers 26:14. It is possible that this Shimei is the same with Shemaiah of ver. 37.
Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.
And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.
And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.
And they dwelt at Beersheba, and Moladah, and Hazarshual,
Verses 28-33. - These "thirteen cities with their villages" and "five cities" are found, with some slight differences, in Joshua 19:1-9 (comp. 15:26-32, 42). They were carved out of the "portion of Judah," which had been found disproportioned during the interval that elapsed between the first settlements, viz. of Judah and the sons of Joseph, and the completion of the settlements westward of Jordan (Joshua 18:1-6; comp. Judges 1:3, 17). From the second of these groups, Tochen (see suggestion in' Speaker's Commentary,' in loc.) is omitted in Joshua 19:7, where only "four cities" are summed. The allusion (ver. 31) to the reign of David is sufficiently explained by the fact that during his persecuted wanderings he was often in the portion of Simeon, to three of the cities of which he sent presents from the spoils of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30:26-31); and Ziklag became his own (1 Samuel 27:6), special mention being made of how it passed into the tribe of Judah. The fuller name of Baal (ver. 33) is given as Baalath-beer in Joshua 19:8, where it is followed by the addition "Ramath [height] of the south." It may be noted that this description of the allotment of Simeon begins with Beer-sheba and ends with Baalath-beer. The expression (ver. 33), and their genealogy" - הִתְיַחְשָׂם infinitive Hithp., used as a noun - will be more properly translated, their table of genealogy, or their registration. The following לָהֶם may then refer to "their habitations" rather than themselves, so that the clause, as a whole, would mean, "These were their dwellings, and their registration was correct to them." Bertheau, however, takes the meaning to be, "And there was their family register to them," i.e. "They had their own family register."
And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,
And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,
And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.
And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:
And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.
And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah,
Verses 34-41. - These verses record an organized and determined movement in quest of new and rich territory on the part of some of the tribe of Simeon. They were thirteen princes of the tribe of Simeon who led the movement, possibly representing respectively the "thirteen cities" given above. The movement took place in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah (B.C. 726-698). That the house of their fathers had increased greatly is probably mentioned as some explanation of the cause of the movement. Though in one name out of the thirteen (ver. 35) the ancestors are traced to the third generation, and in another (ver. 37) to the fifth, no name is reached of the sons of Simeon enumerated in vers. 24-27. These mentioned by names is to be translated strictly these coming by names; and it is open to question whether the word of ver. 41, הכְּתוּבִים, be not omitted after הַבָּאִים; so that the passage would read, "These that came, written by names, were princes in their families." Of the names, twenty-two in all, found in these verses, just so much is known as is here written.
And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,
And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,
And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;
These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.
Verse 39. - The place Gedor cannot be identified in this connection. There is a town of the name situated in the mountainous district of Judah between Halhul and Beth-zur, to the north of Hebron (Joshua 15:58). It is evident that this cannot be the place we require here. There is another town of the name (1 Chronicles 12:7), probably belonging to Benjamin, and which as little admits of being fitted in here. Both the Alexandrine and the Vatican Codex of the Septuagint, however, evidently read גְּדרָ for גְּדֹר. Now, Gerar of the Philistines would suit well for position and description, and also (Genesis 10:14) for the allusion found here (ver. 40) to the dwelling there "of old" of the people of Ham. The Hebrew word, however, generally applied to the valley of Gerar (נַחַל, wady) is not the word used here of Gedor (הַגָיְא, ravine). See Stanley's 'Syria and Palestine,' p. 159, and note. Not only are references frequent to the fertility of Gerar, but the significance of that in 2 Chronicles 14:14 speaks for itself. This alteration of reading, however, with acceptance of the Septuagint manuscripts, cannot be regarded as altogether satisfactory, and Keil ('Comm.,' in loc.) offers some suggestions of weight against those of Ewald, Bertheau, and others.
And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.
And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks.
Verse 41. The habitations that were found there. So the Authorized Version, which has mistakenly Englished a word which should have been left a proper name, "the Maon-ires," i.e. the people elsewhere called in the Authorized Version the Mahunim. In doing this, our translators followed the Targum, copied by Luther and Junius (but see Gesenius, 'Thesaurus,' 1002 a; 'Notes on Burckhardt,' 1069; Bertheau, in 'Chronik.;' and Septuagint reading). Unto this day, in this verse, as also in ver. 43, must not be understood to mark the date of the compiler of Chronicles, but that of the document or authority upon which he as a compiler drew - anterior, of course, to the Captivity.
And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi.
Verses 42, 43. - These verses give the further exploits, with a view of settlement, of certain of the tribe of Simeon. And of them we should prefer to apply to those already mentioned (vers. 34-41), did the expression stand alone. But the following clause in apposition, of the sons of Simeon, seems intended to prevent the supposition that they are the Simeonites to whom alone allusion is made. Keil again ('Comm.,' in loc.) refers those intended to ver. 27, because he reads, for Ishi, the Shimei of ver. 27, on very insufficient grounds. It is a question whether the movement of ver. 42 is to be understood as arising out of that other the account of which closes in ver. 41, or whether it were not a co-ordinate movement. It still would probably enough spring from the same intrinsic causes. The allotment of the tribe of Simeon carved out of that of Judah was found too small for their growing numbers, though Simeon was not of the most numerous. Nor is it necessary to suppose - perhaps it is rather necessary to correct the impression - that this expedition, issuing in a permanent settlement, lay at all near the conquests of the "thirteen princes." It is, on the whole, most natural to consider that one event concludes with ver. 41, and that the following events (vers. 42, 43) are distinct and independent. All requisite light as to who these "smitten Amalekites" were, is for them too significantly furnished by comparison of 1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 30:1; 2 Samuel 8:12; with 1 Samuel 14:48; 1 Samuel 15:7. Of the names, five in number, found in this verse, just so much and no more is known.
And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.