1 Chronicles 4:38
These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
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(38) These mentioned by their names.—Literally, these who have come (forward) with names, that is, have been adduced by name.

Were princes in their families.Ameers or chieftains in their clans.

And the house of their fathers increased.And their father-houses had spread greatly. Finding their territory too strait for them under these conditions, and probably also because of the encroachments of their powerful neighbours, the Judæans and Philistines, the Simeonite chieftains went forth at the head of their clans to seek new settlements.

And (so) they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley.—Gedor can hardly be the town of that name in the hill country of Judah (Joshua 15:58). The LXX. read Gerar (Γεραρα).

Even unto the east side of the valley.So far as to the east of the valley, that is, apparently, the valley of or near the unknown Gedor, or Gerar. The only considerable valley south-east of Judah is the Arabah, below the Dead Sea. That this locality is meant appears likely from the vicinity of Mount Seir and the Amalekites (1Chronicles 4:42).

To seek pasture for their flocks.—This statement is of interest as proving that even so late as the reign of Hezekiah, those Israelite clans which bordered on the desert were still nomades, like the Beidawis. (Comp. Genesis 13:5-12).

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.These mentioned by their names were princes - The registered chiefs of the cities in the first list 1 Chronicles 4:28-31, in the time of Hezekiah 1 Chronicles 4:41. 38, 39. increased greatly, and they went to the entrance of Gedor—Simeon having only a part of the land of Judah, they were forced to seek accommodation elsewhere; but their establishment in the new and fertile pastures of Gederah was soon broken up; for, being attacked by a band of nomad plunderers, they were driven from place to place till some of them effected by force a settlement on Mount Seir. These named 1 Chronicles 4:34-37.

The house of their fathers increased greatly which forced them to seek for new and larger habitations. These mentioned by their names were princes in their families,.... The principal men of them, heads of their fathers' houses:

and the house of their fathers increased greatly; by them, so that they were obliged to seek out for new habitations, as follows.

These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
Instead of the five cities, Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan, only four are mentioned in Joshua 19:7, viz., Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan; עתר is written instead of תּוכן, and עיטם is wanting. According to Movers, p. 73, and Berth. in his commentary on the passage, the list of these cities must have been at first as follows: רמּון עין (one city), עתר, תּוכן, and עשׁן; in Joshua תּוכן must have fallen out by mistake, in our text עתר has been erroneously exchanged for the better known city עיטם in the tribe of Judah, while by reckoning both עין and רמּון the number four has become five. These conjectures are shown to be groundless by the order of the names in our text. For had עתר been exchanged for עיטם, עיטם would not stand in the first place, at the head of the four or five cities, but would have occupied the place of עתר, which is connected with עשׁן in Joshua 19:7 and Joshua 15:43. Then again, the face that in Joshua 15:32 רמּון is separated from עין by the ו cop., and in Joshua 19:7 is reckoned by itself as one city as in our verse, is decisive against taking עין and רמּון together as one name. The want of the conjunction, moreover, between the two names here and in Joshua 19:7, and the uniting of the two words into one name, עין־תּון, Nehemiah 11:29, is explained by the supposition that the towns lay in the immediate neighbourhood of each other, so that they were at a later time united, or at least might be regarded as one city. Rimmon is perhaps the same as the ruin Rum er Rummanim, four hours to the north of Beersheba; and Ain is probably to be identified with a large half-ruined and very ancient well which lies at from thirty to thirty-five minutes distance, cf. on Joshua 15:32. Finally, the assertion that the name עיטם has come into our text by an ex change of the unknown עתר for the name of this better known city of Judah, is founded upon a double geographical error. It rests (1) upon the erroneous assumption that besides the Etam in the high lands of Judah to the south of Bethlehem, there was no other city of this name, and that the Etam mentioned in Judges 15:8, Judges 15:11 is identical with that in the high lands of Judah; and (2) on the mistaken idea that Ether was also situated in the high lands of Judah, whereas it was, according to Joshua 15:42, one of the cities of the Shephelah; and the Simeonites, moreover, had no cities in the high lands of Judah, but had their dwelling-places assigned to them in the Negeb and the Shephelah. The existence of a second Etam, besides that in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, is placed beyond doubt by Judges 15:8 and Judges 15:11; for mention is there made of an Etam in the plain of Judah, which is to be sought in the neighbourhood of Khuweilife, on the border of the Negeb and the mountainous district: cf. on Judges 15:8. It is this Etam which is spoken of in our verse, and it is rightly grouped with Ain and Rimmon, which were situated in the Negeb, while Tochen and Ashan were in the Shephelah. The statement of Joshua 19:7 and Joshua 15:42 leaves no doubt as to the fact that the תּוכן of our verse is only another name for עתר. Etam must therefore have come into the possession of the Simeonites after Joshua's time, but as to when, or under what circumstances, we have no information.
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