1 Chronicles 4:17
And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bore Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) And the sons of Ezra.—Heb., son, but some MSS. have sons (see Note on 1Chronicles 3:19; 1Chronicles 3:21). Ezra means help = Ezer, 1Chronicles 4:4.

Jether occurred 1Chronicles 2:32, as a Jerahmeelite.

Epher recurs 1Chronicles 5:24, as a Manassite name.

Jalon and Mered occur nowhere else.

And she bare.—Literally, conceived. Who bare the three sons, whose names follow, is not clear from the preceding statement, which includes none but male appellations. The LXX. reads, “And Jether bare Maron (Miriam),” &c, and the Syriac and Arabic omit 1Chronicles 4:17-18. This confirms our suspicion that the text is faulty.

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.She bare Miriam - Rather, "she conceived." The mother is not mentioned, and it seems impossible to restore the original text with any certainty. 17, 18. she bare Miriam—It is difficult, as the verses stand at present, to see who is meant. The following readjustment of the text clears away the obscurity: "These are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took, and she bare Miriam, and his wife Jehudijah bare Jezreel," &c. Ezra; the son of Ashriel last named.

She bare; she, i.e. Bithiah, bare unto Mered, as may seem by comparing this with 1 Chronicles 4:18. And the sons of Ezra,.... Who was perhaps the son of Asareel, last mentioned:

Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon; only one of them, Mered, is after mentioned:

and she bare Miriam; which is not the name of a woman, but of a man, as Kimchi observes; and, according to him, his mother was the wife of Mered, which he gathers from the next verse; though she seems to be the wife of Ezra, who bare him other sons:

and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa; a prince of a city in the tribe of Judah, so called, Joshua 15:50.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. and Jalon: and she bare Miriam] As the text stands she has no antecedent. It has therefore been proposed to transfer from 1 Chronicles 4:18 the words And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took, and put them after Jalon. Bithiah then appears as the mother of Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah, and the difficulty of the absence of her sons’ names from 1 Chronicles 4:18 disappears. For father of Eshtemoa see 1 Chronicles 2:14 note, and for Eshtemoa see Joshua 21:14.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. The genealogy of the men of Rechah. - As to their connection with the larger families of Judah, nothing has been handed down to us. Chelub, another form of the name Caleb or Chelubai (see 1 Chronicles 2:9 and 1 Chronicles 2:18), is distinguished from the better known Caleb son of Hezron (1 Chronicles 2:18 and 1 Chronicles 2:42), and from the son of Jephunneh (1 Chronicles 4:15), by the additional clause, "the son of Shuah." Shuah is not met with elsewhere, but is without reason identified with Hushah, 1 Chronicles 4:4, by the older commentators. Mehir the father of Eshton is likewise unknown. Eshton begat the house (the family) of Rapha, of whom also nothing further is said; for they can be connected neither with the Benjamite Rapha (1 Chronicles 8:2) nor with the children of Rapha (1 Chronicles 20:4, 1 Chronicles 20:6, 1 Chronicles 20:8). Paseah and Tehinnah are also unknown, for it is uncertain whether the sons of Paseah mentioned among the Nethinim, Ezra 2:49; Nehemiah 7:51, have any connection with our Paseah. Tehinnah is called "father of the city of Nahash." The latter name is probably not properly the name of a town, but rather the name of a person Nahash, not unlikely the same as the father of Abigail (2 Samuel 17:25), the step-sister of David (cf. 1 Chronicles 2:16). The men (or people) of Rechah are unknown.
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