1 Chronicles 5:2
For Judah prevailed above his brothers, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)
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(2) For Judah prevailed above his brethren.—Literally, was mighty among his brethren. Comp. Jacob’s blessing (Genesis 49:8-10): “Judah, thou—thy brethren shall praise thee, Thy hand shall be on the neck of thy foes, Thy father’s sons shall bow before thee. Sceptre shall not depart from Judah, Nor doom-staff from between his feet,” &c. (See also Judges 1:1-2, where Judah is divinely commissioned to lead the attack upon the Canaanites.) At the census of Moses, Judah greatly outnumbered any other single tribe (Numbers 1:27).

And of him came the chief ruler.—“And from him (one was to become) prince.” Literally, and for a princeout of him. (Comp. Micah 5:1.) LXX., εἰς ἡγούμενον ἐξ αὐτοῦ. David is meant, as in 1Samuel 13:14. We may also remember the word of the apostolic writer: “It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah” (Hebrews 7:4). The prophecy concerning the royal dignity of Judah is only thus exhausted of its meaning.

But the birthright was Joseph’s, who actually received the “double portion” in the two tribal domains of Ephraim and Manasseh.

1 Chronicles 5:2. For Judah — Not the person, (for in person Joseph prevailed,) but the tribe of Judah. Prevailed — Excelled the other tribes, especially in the following privilege. And of him — Rather, For of him, as the Hebrew ו, vau, is often used: this being a reason of the foregoing assertion, or declaration, showing wherein he did prevail. Came the chief ruler — The government was, by God’s promise and appointment, to be seated chiefly and most durably in that tribe, first in David and his successors, and then in the Messiah, who sprang out of Judah, (Hebrews 7:14,) which was a far greater privilege than the birthright. But, or although, the birthright was Joseph’s — So this prevents or removes an objection to Judah’s precedency taken from the birthright.5:1-26 Genealogies. - This chapter gives some account of the two tribes and a half seated on the east side of Jordan. They were made captives by the king of Assyria, because they had forsaken the Lord. Only two things are here recorded concerning these tribes. 1. They all shared in a victory. Happy is that people who live in harmony together, who assist each other against the common enemies of their souls, trusting in the Lord, and calling upon him. 2. They shared in captivity. They would have the best land, not considering that it lay most exposed. The desire of earthly objects draws to a distance from God's ordinances, and prepares men for destruction.His birthright was given ... - In particular, the right of the first-born to a double inheritance Deuteronomy 21:17 was conferred on Joseph, both by the expressed will of Jacob Genesis 48:22 and in the actual partition of Canaan Joshua 16-17. But though the birthright, as respecting its material privileges, passed to Joseph, its other rights, those of dignity and pre-eminence, fell to Judah; of whom came the chief ruler, an allusion especially to David, though it may reach further, and include a glance at the Messiah, the true "Ruler" of Israel Micah 5:2. CHAPTER 5

1Ch 5:1-10. The Line of Reuben.

1. Now the sons of Reuben—In proceeding to give this genealogy, the sacred historian states, in a parenthesis (1Ch 5:1, 2), the reason why it was not placed first, as Reuben was the oldest son of Jacob. The birthright, which by a foul crime he had forfeited, implied not only dominion, but a double portion (De 21:17); and both of these were transferred to Joseph, whose two sons having been adopted as the children of Jacob (Ge 48:5), received each an allotted portion, as forming two distinct tribes in Israel. Joseph then was entitled to the precedency; and yet, as his posterity was not mentioned first, the sacred historian judged it necessary to explain that "the genealogy was not to be reckoned after the birthright," but with a reference to a superior honor and privilege that had been conferred on Judah—not the man, but the tribe, whereby it was invested with the pre-eminence over all the other tribes, and out of it was to spring David with his royal lineage, and especially the great Messiah (Heb 7:14). These were the two reasons why, in the order of enumeration, the genealogy of Judah is introduced before that of Reuben.

Judah; not the person, (for so Joseph prevailed,) but the tribe of Judah.

Prevailed above his brethren; excelled the other tribes in number and power, and especially in the following privilege.

And of him, or for of him, as the Hebrew vau is oft used; this being a reason of the foregoing assertion, or a declaration wherein he did prevail.

Came the chief ruler; the government was by God’s promise and appointment to be seated chiefly and most durably in that tribe, first in David and his successors, and then in the Messiah, who sprang out of Judah, Hebrews 7:14, which was a far greater privilege than the birthright. Or, as to the ruler, (i.e. as to the point of dominion,) he was more than he, or preferred before him, i.e. before Joseph, who is named in the very next clause, the pronoun being referred unto the following noun, which is frequent among the Hebrews, as Psalm 87:1 105:19.

But the birthright; or,

although, as vau is oft used; so this prevents or removes an objection against Judah’s precedency taken from his birthright. For Judah prevailed above his brethren,.... That is, the tribe of Judah prevailed above the rest in number, in valour, and courage, and in dignity; wherefore the genealogy is not reckoned according to birthright, but dignity and dominion; hence this genealogical account began with Judah:

because of him came the chief ruler; David and the kings of Judah, his successors; and above all, from him the Prince Messiah was to spring, and did, according to Genesis 49:10 so both the Syriac and Arabic versions read,"out of Judah should go forth the King Messiah:"

but the birthright was Joseph's or "though" (p) it was; yet Judah having the dominion and dignity, that tribe is first genealogized.

(p) Licet, ibid. (Tigurine version)

For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came {b} the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)

(b) That is, he was the chiefest of all the tribes according to Jacob's prophecy, Ge 49:8, and because Christ would come from him.

2. Judah prevailed above his brethren] Cp. Genesis 49:8 (Jacob to Judah) “Thy father’s children shall bow down before thee.”

the chief ruler] R.V. the prince. The Heb. word is nâgîd, translated “captain” (1 Samuel 13:14, A.V.) and “ruler” (2 Samuel 7:8, A.V.). The prophets seem to prefer this word to melech, “king” as the title of the head of the Israelite state. The immediate reference is to David (Saul being virtually ignored by the Chronicler), but (since David is a typical character) a further reference in the words is possible. The Peshitta (a Judaeo-Christian work) translates, From him shall come forth (acc. to another reading, hath come forth) King Messiah.The princes named "went westward from Gedor to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks." גדר מבוא does not mean the entrance of Gedor (Mich., Berth., and others); but is, as the corresponding מזרח, "rising" of the sun, i.e., east, requires, a designation of the west, and is abridged from השּׁמשׁ מבוא, as in statements with reference to places מזרח is used instead of השּׁמשׁ מזרח. The locality itself, however, is to us at present unknown. So much is clear, that by Gedor, the Gedor mentioned in Joshua 15:58, situated in the high lands of Judah, north of Hebron, cannot be intended, for in that district there is no open valley stretching out on either hand; and the Simeonites, moreover, could not have carried on a war of conquest in the territory of the tribe of Judah in the reign of Hezekiah. But where this Gedor is to be sought cannot be more accurately determined; for הגּיא is certainly not "the valley in which the Dead Sea lies, and the southern continuation of that valley," as Ewald and Berth. think: that valley has, in the Old Testament, always the name הערבה. From the use of the article, "the valley," no further conclusion can be drawn, than that a definite valley in the neighbourhood of Gedor is meant.

(Note: The lxx have rendered גדר by Γεράρ, whence Ewald and Bertheau conclude that גדר is a transcriber's error for גרר. But a slip of the pen which would make the Gerar so famed in the history of the patriarchs into Gedor is priori not very probable; and the defective writing גדר, while Gedor in the high lands is written גּדור, cannot be adduced, as Bertheau thinks, in support of the hypothesis, since Gedor even in 1 Chronicles 4:18 is written defectively. It is decisive against Gerar, that the dwelling-places of the Simeonites demonstrably did not extend till towards sunset (westward) from Gerar, for the cities assigned to them all lie to the east of Gerar.)

Even the further statements in 1 Chronicles 4:30, with regard to the district, that they found there fat and good pasture, and that the land extended on both sides (i.e., was wide), and at rest and secure, because formerly the Hamites dwelt there, and the statement of 1 Chronicles 4:41, that the Simeonites found the Meunim there, and smote them, give us no firm foothold for the ascertainment of the district referred to. The whole Negeb of Judah has been as yet too little travelled over and explored by modern travellers, to allow of our forming any probable conjecture as to Gedor and the wide valley stretching out on both sides. The description of the Hamite inhabitants, וּשׁלוה שׁקטת, reminds us of the inhabitants of the ancient Laish (Judges 18:7, Judges 18:27). Those צם מן are people from Ham, i.e., Hamites, and they may have been Egyptians, Cushites, or even Canaanites (1 Chronicles 1:8). This only is certain, that they were a peaceful shepherd people, who dwelt in tents, and were therefore nomads. לפנים, "formerly," before the Simeonites took possession of the land.

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