1 Chronicles 4
Benson Commentary
The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.
1 Chronicles 4:1. The sons of Judah — The posterity: for only Pharez was his immediate son. But they are all mentioned here only to show Shobal’s descent from Judah.

And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.
1 Chronicles 4:2-3. The families of the Zorathites — So denominated, not from a man, but a place named Zoreah, (1 Chronicles 2:53, and Joshua 15:33,) situated in the tribe of Judah. Here several families of that tribe settled; who were descended from Jahath, Ahumai, and Lahad, the sons and grandsons of Shobal. Of the father of Etam — Descended from the proprietor or chief man of a place, called Etam, which was in this tribe, 1 Chronicles 4:32.

And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:
And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem.
1 Chronicles 4:4. Penuel the father of Gedor — In 1 Chronicles 4:18, Jered is said to be the father, that is, the founder or lord of Gedor. It is probable they were both concerned in building or governing it. The sons of Hur — By some other wife than her by whom he had the children, mentioned 1 Chronicles 2:20. The father of Beth-lehem — In 1 Chronicles 2:51, Salma is said to be the father of Beth-lehem. But this may be understood as in the foregoing clause of this verse.

And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah.
And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.
And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.
And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
1 Chronicles 4:9. Jabez was more honourable, &c. — For courage and fervent piety. His mother called his name Jabez — That is, sorrowful; saying, Because I bare him with sorrow — She had hard labour when she was in travail with him. She records this, that it might be a memorandum to herself, to be thankful to God as long as she lived, for bringing her through that sorrow: and a memorandum to him, that she bore him into a vale of tears, in which he might expect few days and full of trouble. And the sorrow implied in his name might serve to put a seriousness upon his spirit.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
1 Chronicles 4:10. Jabez called on the God of Israel — The living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer: and in prayer he had an eye to him as the God of Israel, a God in covenant with his people, the God with whom Jacob wrestled and prevailed, and was thence called Israel. Saying, O that thou wouldest bless me indeed! — He did not say in what respect he desired God to bless him, but leaves that to God, giving him, as it were, a blank paper, that he might write what he pleased. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings, and those are blessed indeed, who are blessed with them. God’s blessings are real things, and produce real effects. We can but wish a blessing: he commands it. And enlarge my coast — Prosper my endeavours for the increase of what has fallen to my lot: drive out these Canaanites, whom thou hast commanded us to root out; and therefore I justly beg and expect thy blessing in the execution of thy command. That thy hand might be with me — The prayer of Moses for this tribe of Judah was, that his own hands might be sufficient for him; but Jabez expects not that, unless he have God’s hand with him, and the presence of his power. God’s hand with us to lead, protect, strengthen us, and to work all our works in and for us, is indeed a hand sufficient for us, yea, all-sufficient. And keep me from evil — The evil of sin, the evil of trouble; all the evil designs of my enemies, and all disastrous events. That it may not grieve me — That it may not oppress and overcome me. He uses this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief: as if he had said, Lord, let me not have that grief which my name implies, and which my sin deserves. God granted him that which he requested — Prospered him remarkably in his undertakings, in his worldly business, in his conflicts with the Canaanites, and his endeavours after knowledge, and holiness, and other spiritual blessings.

And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.
And Eshton begat Bethrapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Irnahash. These are the men of Rechah.
1 Chronicles 4:12-14. These are the men of Rechah — From these sprung the inhabitants of Rechah, a town not mentioned elsewhere. The sons of Kenaz — Who was the son, either of Chelub, (1 Chronicles 4:11,) or of his son Eshton, (1 Chronicles 4:12,) and the father of Jephunneh, and consequently Caleb’s grandfather, (1 Chronicles 4:15,) whence Caleb is called a Kenezite, Numbers 32:12. Hathath — Understand, and Meonothai, out of the beginning of the following verse, as in 1 Chronicles 4:7, where Coz must be supplied from the next verse. And similar ellipses we meet with elsewhere. Joab, the father of the valley — Of the inhabitants of the valley.

And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.
And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.
And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.
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.
And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.
1 Chronicles 4:18. Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took — That is, married. But it is not likely that he married the daughter of the king of Egypt, unless some natural daughter; but rather of some other person called by that name, who might either be an Israelite, or one brought by force out of Egypt by way of spoil.

And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.
And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth.
The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
1 Chronicles 4:21. The sons of Shelah — Having spoken of the posterity of Judah by Pharez, and by Zarah, he now comes to his progeny by Shelah. The families of them, that wrought fine linen — From him came all those families that were famous for weaving and working in fine linen; wherewith their kings and priests were clothed.

And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.
1 Chronicles 4:22-23. Who had the dominion in Moab — Which they ruled in the name and for the use of the kings of Judah, to whom Moab was subject from David’s time. Ancient things — The sense is, those blessed times are long since past. Our ancestors had the dominion over the heathen, but their degenerate posterity are slaves in Chaldea, where they are employed as potters or gardeners, or in other servile works These were — Or, rather, these are the potters, &c. — For he seems to oppose their present servitude to their former glory, and to show how low and mean they were in spirit, in that they would rather tarry among the heathen to do their drudgery than return to Jerusalem to serve God, and enjoy their freedom. There they dwelt — Or, rather, now dwell, when their brethren are returned: for Ezra seems to have written this, after leave was given by Cyrus for the return of the Jews. With the king for his work — The king of Persia, esteeming it a greater honour and happiness to serve that earthly monarch in the meanest employments, than the King of kings in his temple, and in his most noble and heavenly work.

These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.
The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:
1 Chronicles 4:24. The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, &c. — These are here joined with Judah, because their possession was taken out of Judah’s portion, Joshua 19:1. This account seems to differ from that in Genesis 46:10, both in the number and names of the persons; which is not strange, considering how customary it was among the Hebrews for one person to have two or three names given to him upon different occasions. And for Ohad, he may be omitted here, because he left no posterity after him as the rest did.

Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.
And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.
And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.
1 Chronicles 4:27. Neither did their family multiply like the children of Judah — The tribe of Simeon did not increase proportionably to the tribe of Judah in which they dwelt, as appears by those two catalogues, Numbers 1:22; Numbers 26:14; which is to be ascribed to God’s curse upon them, delivered by the month of holy Jacob, (Genesis 49.,) and signified by Moses’s neglect of them, when he blessed all the other tribes.

And they dwelt at Beersheba, and Moladah, and Hazarshual,
And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,
And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,
And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.
1 Chronicles 4:31. These were their cities — Several of these cities, though given to Simeon by Joshua, yet, through the sloth or cowardice of that tribe, were not taken from the Philistines until David’s time, who took some of them, and, the Simeonites having justly forfeited their right to them by their neglect, gave them to his own tribe. For it is evident concerning Ziklag, one of them, that it was in the Philistines’ hands in David’s time, and by them given to him, and by him annexed to the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 27:6.

And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:
And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.
And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah,
And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,
And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,
And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;
These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.
And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.
1 Chronicles 4:40. They found fat pasture, &c. — Those who thus dwelt (as we do) in a fruitful country, and whose land is wide, and quiet, and peaceable, have reason to own themselves indebted to that God, who appoints the bounds o four habitation. Of Ham — The Canaanites, who descended from Ham. And, accordingly, these words contain a reason why they went and possessed this place, because it was not in the hands of their brethren of Judah, but in the possession of that people which they had authority to expel.

And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because there was pasture there for their flocks.
1 Chronicles 4:41. These came in the days of Hezekiah — But a little before their captivity, which was in the sixth year of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 17. So their joy in their new, pleasant, and fruitful possessions, lasted but for a very little while. And smote their tents — The people dwelling in tents; in which, it seems, they continued to dwell for the convenience of pasturage. And destroyed them unto this day — So as that they could never after recover themselves.

And some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi.
And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.
1 Chronicles 4:43. They smote the rest of the Amalekites — Not destroyed by Saul, or David, or his successors. That dwelt there unto this day — Until the Babylonish captivity, or the time next after it, when these books were written. For, although the main body of the tribe of Simeon, dwelling in Canaan, were carried into captivity, yet this small remnant of them, having removed their dwellings, and being planted In mount Seir, which lay southward from Judah, might possibly be continued and preserved in those parts, when their brethren were gone into captivity.

Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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