1 Chronicles 1:38
And the sons of Seir; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, and Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan.
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(38-42) The sons of Seir (from Genesis 36:20-30).—There is no apparent link between this series and the preceding. Comparison of Genesis 36:20 shows that Seir represents the indigenous inhabitants of Edom (“the inhabitants of the land,” comp. Joshua 7:9) before its conquest by the sons of Esau. In time a fusion of the two races would result, the tribes of each being governed by their own chieftains, as is indicated by Genesis 36:20-21, where the seven sons of Seir (1Chronicles 1:38) are called “chiliarchs of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom.” Deuteronomy 2:22 implies not the actual extermination of the Horites (Troglodytes or Cave-dwellers) by their Semitic invaders, the sons of Esau, but only their entire subjugation. The differences of spelling noticed in the margin are unimportant as regards the names Zephi (1Chronicles 1:36), Homam (1Chronicles 1:39), and Alian and Shephi (1Chronicles 1:40); the note on Ebal-Obal (1Chronicles 1:22) explains them. The written w and y in Hebrew are so similar as to be perpetually confounded with each other by careless copyists. The same fact accounts for the missing conjunction and in 1Chronicles 1:42, which is expressed in Hebrew by simply prefixing the letter w to a word. The w in this case having been misread, and transcribed as y, the name Jakan (Yaqan) resulted. The Aqan (not Achan) of Genesis 36:2 is correct. (So some MSS., the LXX., and Arabic.) Amram, in 1Chronicles 1:41, is a mistake of the Authorised version. The Hebrew has Hamran, which differs only by one consonant from the Hemdan of Genesis 36:26; a difference due to the common confusion of the Hebrew letters d and r, already exemplified in 1Chronicles 1:6-7 (Riphath—Diphath, Dodanim—Rodanim). Many MSS. and the Arabic read Hemdan here.

1 Chronicles 1:38. The sons of Seir — This Seir was not Esau, nor of his posterity, but the ancient lord of this country, from whom it had its name, (see Genesis 36:20,) whose genealogy is here set down, that it might be understood from whom Eliphaz’s concubine and the mother of Amalek sprung; and because of that affinity which was contracted between his and Esau’s posterity. Those who were not united and incorporated with them, were destroyed by them, Deuteronomy 2:12.

28-54 The genealogy is from hence confined to the posterity of Abraham. Let us take occasion from reading these lists of names, to think of the multitudes that have gone through this world, have done their parts in it, and then quitted it. As one generation, even of sinful men, passes away, another comes. Ec 1:4; Nu 32:14, and will do so while the earth remains. Short is our passage through time into eternity. May we be distinguished as the Lord's people.Timna - In Genesis 36:11, Eliphaz has no son Timna; but he has a concubine of the name, who is the mother of Amalek, and conjectured to be Lotan's sister 1 Chronicles 1:39. The best explanation is, that the writer has in his mind rather the tribes descended from Eliphaz than his actual children, and as there was a place, Timna, inhabited by his "dukes" (1 Chronicles 1:51; compare Genesis 35:40), he puts the race which lived there among his "sons." 37. Reuel—a powerful branch of the great Aeneze tribe, the Rowalla Arabs.

Shammah—the great tribe Beni Shammar. In the same way, the names of the other kings and dukes are traced in the modern tribes of Arabia. But it is unnecessary to mention any more of these obscure nomads, except to notice that Jobab (1Ch 1:44), one of the kings of Edom, is considered to be Job, and that his seat was in the royal city of Dinahab (Ge 36:32; 1Ch 1:43), identified with O'Daeb, a well-known town in the center of Al Dahna, a great northern desert in the direction of Chaldea and the Euphrates [Forster].

The sons of Seir; one of another nation, prince of the Horims; whose genealogy is here described, because of that affinity which was contracted between his and Esau’s posterity; and those who were not united and incorporated with them were destroyed by them. See Deu 2:12.

And the sons of Seir,.... This man and his posterity were not of the race of Esau, but are mentioned because they were a family into which Esau, and a son of his, married, and whose possessions he and his obtained. The account from hence, to the end of 1 Chronicles 1:42 is the same with Genesis 36:20, with some little variation of names. And the sons of {l} Seir; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, and Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan.

(l) He is also called Seir the Horite, who inhabited mount Seir, Ge 36:20.

38–42. The Genealogy of the Horite Inhabitants of Seir (Cp. Genesis 36:20-27)

38. The sons of Seir] Chron. omits the further description given in Gen. “the Horite, the inhabitants of the land,” words which shew clearly that these “sons of Seir” were not descendants of Esau, but aboriginal inhabitants of the land.

Verses 38-42. - F. LIST OF DESCENDANTS OF SEIR. These verses contain the names of seven sons of Seir and one daughter, and of grandsons through every one of the seven sons, viz. two through Lotan the first, five through Shobal the second, two through Zibeon the third, one through Anah the fourth, four through Dishon the fifth, three through Ezar the sixth, and two through Dishan the seventh, - twenty-six names in all, or, including the one daughter, who is introduced as Lotan's sister, twenty-seven. The first question which arises is, who Seir was, now first mentioned here. He is called in Genesis 36:20 "Seir the Horite," and the only previous mention of the name Seir in that chapter is in ver. 8, "Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom;" while we read in Genesis 14:6, "The Horites in mount Self;" in Genesis 32:3, "To the land of Seir, the country of Edom." For anything we know of the person Self, then, we are confined to these two notices - that in Genesis 36:20 and the one in our text. The name signifies "rough;" and whether Seir. the person, took the name from Seir, the place (a mountain district, reaching from the Dead Sea to the Elanitic Gulf), or vice versa, it would seem plain that the proper name belonged to the head of the tribe, which had become located there, and was, of course, not in the line of Abraham. This tribe, called Horites - Hori being the name of Seir's eldest grandson - or Troglodytes, acquired their name from hollowing out dwellings in the rocks, as at Petra. They were visited evidently by Esau: he married at least one of his wives from them; and his descendants, the Edomites, in due time dispossessed and superseded them (Deuteronomy 2:12). No doubt some were left behind, and contentedly submitted to the Edomites and became mingled with them. These considerations put together account for the introduction here of the names of Seir and his twenty-seven descendants, while the particulars of their genealogy, so far as here given, would lie easily to hand. The sons of Seir are called in Genesis also "dukes" (אַלּוּפֵי), a word answered to by the later "sheikhs;" and they are called "dukes of the Horites," or "the dukes of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Self." The twenty-six or twenty-seven names under notice agree in the Authorized Version entirely with those in Genesis 36:20-27, except that for Homam, Allan, Shephi, Amram, and Jakan here, we have Hemam, Alvan, Shepho, Hemdan, and Akau there. Also in the Hebrew the texts agree in the two places as regards these names, with the same exceptions. But in the Septuagint the names differ much more in the two places. Thus for Ωσὰρ, Δισάν (or Λισάν),Ἀλὼν Ταιβὴλ Σωφὶ Ωνάν, Αιθ Σωνὰν Δαισὼν Ἐμερὼν Ἀσεβὼν, Ἰεθρὰμ, and Ακάν here, we have Ἀσὰρ, Ῥισὼν Γωλὰμ Γαιβὴλ Σωφὰρ Ωμὰρ Ἀίε, Ἀνά Δησὼν Ἀμαδὰ Ἀσβὰν Ἰθρὰν, and Ἱουκάμ there. When the name of Anah is reached in Genesis, it is added, "This was that Anah that found the mules [אֶת־הַיַּבִים, more probably 'hot springs,' as the finder of which Anah is supposed to have been called Beeri] in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon, his father." And again, when Dishon is mentioned as the son of Anah, there is added, "And Aholi-bamah the daughter of Anah." Note is made of her name, no doubt, for the same kind of reason as Timna is mentioned above. Aholibamah (i.q. "Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite," Genesis 26:34) enjoys notice inasmuch as she became the wife of Esau; and Timna, as she became the concubine of Esau's son Eliphaz, and thereby the mother of Amalek. 1 Chronicles 1:38When Esau with his descendants had settled in Mount Seir, they subdued by degrees the aboriginal inhabitants of the land, and became fused with them into one people. For this reason, in Genesis 36:20-30 the tribal princes of the Seirite inhabitants of the land are noticed; and in our chapter also, 1 Chronicles 1:38, the names of these seven שׂעיר בּני, and in 1 Chronicles 1:39-42 of their sons (eighteen men and one woman, Timna), are enumerated, where only Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, also mentioned in Genesis 36:25, is omitted. The names correspond, except in a few unimportant points, which have been already discussed in the Commentary on Genesis. The inhabitants of Mount Seir consisted, then, after the immigration of Esau and his descendants, of twenty tribes under a like number of phylarchs, thirteen of whom were Edomite, of the family of Esau, and seven Seirite, who are called in the Chronicle שׂעיר בּני, and in Genesis חרי, Troglodytes, inhabitants of the land, that is, aborigines.

If we glance over the whole posterity of Abraham as they are enumerated in 1 Chronicles 1:28-42, we see that it embraces (a) his sons Ishmael and Isaac, and Isaac's sons Israel and Esau (together 4 persons); (b) the sons of Ishmael, or the tribes descended from Ishmael (12 names); (c) the sons and grandsons of Keturah (13 persons or chiefs); (d) the thirteen phylarchs descended from Esau; (e) the seven Seirite phylarchs, and eighteen grandsons and a granddaughter of Seir (26 persons). We have thus in all the names of sixty-eight persons, and to them we must add Keturah, and Timna the concubine of Eliphaz, before we get seventy persons. But these seventy must not by any means be reckoned as seventy tribes, which is the result Bertheau arrives at by means of strange calculations and errors in numbers.

(Note: That the Chronicle gives no countenance to this view appears from Bertheau's calculation of the 70 tribes: from Ishmael, 12; from Keturah, 13; from Isaac, 2; from Esau, 5 sons and 7 grandchildren of Eliphaz (Timna, 1 Chronicles 1:36, being included in the number), and 4 grandsons by Reuel - 16 in all; from Seir 7 sons, and from these 20 other descendants, 27 in all, which makes the sum of 70. But the biblical text mentions only 19 other descendants of Seir, so that only 26 persons came from Seir, and the sum is therefore 12 + 13 + 2 + 16 + 26 equals 69. But we must also object to other points in Bertheau's reckoning: (1) the arbitrary change of Timna into a grandchild of Esau; (2) the arbitrary reckoning of Esau and Israel ( equals Jacob) without Ishmael. Was Esau, apart from his sons, the originator of a people? Had the author of the Chronicle cherished the purpose attributed to him by Bertheau, of bringing the lists of names handed down by tradition to the round or significant number 70, he would certainly in 1 Chronicles 1:33 not have omitted the three peoples descended from Dedan (Genesis 25:3), as he might by these names have completed the number 70 without further trouble.)

Upon this conclusion he founds his hypothesis, that as the three branches of the family of Noah are divided into seventy peoples (which, as we have seen before is not the case), so also the three branches of the family of Abraham are divided into seventy tribes; and in this again he finds a remarkable indication "that even in the time of the chronicler, men sought by means of numbers to bring order and consistency into the lists of names handed down by tradition from the ancient times."

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