1 Chronicles 4:14
And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
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4:1-43 Genealogies. - In this chapter we have a further account of Judah, the most numerous and most famous of all the tribes; also an account of Simeon. The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great, is to seek to do God's will, and to pray earnestly. Here is the prayer he made. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. He does not express his promise, but leaves it to be understood; he was afraid to promise in his own strength, and resolved to devote himself entirely to God. Lord, if thou wilt bless me and keep me, do what thou wilt with me; I will be at thy command and disposal for ever. As the text reads it, this was the language of a most ardent and affectionate desire, Oh that thou wouldest bless me! Four things Jabez prayed for. 1. That God would bless him indeed. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God's blessings are real things, and produce real effects. 2. That He would enlarge his coast. That God would enlarge our hearts, and so enlarge our portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, ought to be our desire and prayer. 3. That God's hand might be with him. God's hand with us, to lead us, protect us, strengthen us, and to work all our works in us and for us, is a hand all-sufficient for us. 4. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.The words "and Meonothai" should he added to the end of 1 Chronicles 4:13; but they should be retained also at the commencement of 1 Chronicles 4:14. Or, see the marginal note. 14. Joab, the father of the valley of Carashim—literally, "the father of the inhabitants of the valley"—"the valley of craftsmen," as the word denotes. They dwelt together, according to a custom which, independently of any law, extensively prevails in Eastern countries for persons of the same trade to inhabit the same street or the same quarter, and to follow the same occupation from father to son, through many generations. Their occupation was probably that of carpenters, and the valley where they lived seems to have been in the neighborhood of Jerusalem (Ne 11:35). The father of the valley, i.e. of the inhabitants of the valley. And Meonothai,.... Another son of Othniel:

begat Ophrah; and Seraiah, the brother of Othniel, begat Joab; not David's general, but another of the same name, who lived long before him, see 1 Chronicles 2:54.

the father of the valley of Charashim: of the inhabitants of the valley, or the prince of them, called the valley of craftsmen, Nehemiah 11:35 the reason of which is here given:

for they were craftsmen; that dwelt in it, carpenters and smiths, both which the word signifies, men that wrought in stone, wood, and iron.

And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the {e} father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.

(e) The Lord of the valley where the artificers worked.

14. Meonothai] perhaps a son of Othniel.

the valley of Charashim] R.V. marg. the valley of craftsmen. It is mentioned Nehemiah 11:35 along with Lod (the Lydda of Acts 9:32) and therefore was probably near Lydda.1 Chronicles 4:8-10 contain a fragment, the connection of which with the sons of Judah mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2 is not clear. Coz begat Anub, etc. The name קוץ occurs only here; elsewhere only הקּוץ is found, of a Levite, 1 Chronicles 24:10, cf. Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 3:4 - in the latter passage without any statement as to the tribe to which the sons of Hakkoz belonged. The names of the sons begotten by Coz, 1 Chronicles 4:8, do not occur elsewhere. The same is to be said of Jabez, of whom we know nothing beyond what is communicated in 1 Chronicles 4:9 and 1 Chronicles 4:10. The word יעבּץ denotes in 1 Chronicles 2:55 a town or village which is quite unknown to us; but whether our Jabez were father (lord) of this town cannot be determined. If there be any genealogical connection between the man Jabez and the locality of this name or its inhabitants (1 Chronicles 2:55), then the persons named in 1 Chronicles 4:8 would belong to the descendants of Shobal. For although the connection of Jabez with Coz and his sons is not clearly set forth, yet it may be conjectured from the statements as to Jabez being connected with the preceding by the words, "Jabez was more honoured than his brethren." The older commentators have thence drawn the conclusion that Jabez was a son or brother of Coz. Bertheau also rightly remarks: "The statements that he was more honoured than his brethren (cf. Genesis 34:19), that his mother called him Jabez because she had borne him with sorrow; the use of the similarly sounding word עצב along with the name יעבּץ (cf. Genesis 4:25; Genesis 19:37., Genesis 29:32-33, Genesis 29:35; Genesis 30:6, Genesis 30:8, etc.); and the statement that Jabez vowed to the God of Israel (cf. Genesis 33:20) in a prayer (cf. Genesis 28:20), - all bring to our recollection similar statements of Genesis, and doubtless rest upon primeval tradition." In the terms of the vow, עצבּי לבלתּי, "so that sorrow may not be to me," there is a play upon the name Jabez. But of the vow itself only the conditions proposed by the maker of the vow are communicated: "If Thou wilt bless me, and enlarge my coast, and Thy hand shall be with me, and Thou wilt keep evil far off, not to bring sorrow to me," - without the conclusion, Then I vow to do this or that (cf. Genesis 28:20.), but with the remark that God granted him that which he requested. The reason of this is probably that the vow had acquired importance sufficient to make it worthy of being handed down only from God's having so fulfilled his wish, that his life became a contradiction of his name; the son of sorrow having been free from pain in life, and having attained to greater happiness and reputation than his brothers.
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