Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Chapters 2–8. The Genealogies of the Tribes of Israel
The Chronicler deals very unequally with the tribes in their genealogies; as the following table shews:
1 Chronicles 2:1 to 1 Chronicles 4:23. Judah (102 verses).
1 Chronicles 4:24-43. Simeon (20 verses).
1 Chronicles 5:1-26. Reuben, Gad, and Eastern Manasseh (26 verses).
1 Chronicles 6:1-81. Levi (81 verses).
1 Chronicles 7:1-40. Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Eastern Manasseh (again), Ephraim, and Asher (40 verses).
1 Chronicles 8:1-40. Benjamin, though already noticed in 1 Chronicles 7:6-11 (40 verses).
Zebulun and (perhaps) Dan (cp. 1 Chronicles 7:12, note) are omitted.
It may easily be seen that the tribes in which the Chronicler is really interested are the three southern tribes, Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, together with the priestly tribe, Levi.
The order in which the tribes are mentioned is at first geographical, Judah and Simeon the southern tribes first, then the eastern tribes Reuben, Gad, Manasseh; the rest follow in no fixed order.
These are the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun,Ch. 1 Chronicles 2:1-2. The Sons of Israel (Cp. Genesis 35:22 b–26).
Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
The sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah: which three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD; and he slew him.3–17. The Descent of the Sons of Jesse from Judah
4. Pharez] R.V. Perez.
And Tamar his daughter in law bare him Pharez and Zerah. All the sons of Judah were five.
The sons of Pharez; Hezron, and Hamul.5. The sons of Pharez] So Genesis 46:12.
And the sons of Zerah; Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all.6. the sons of Zerah] This genealogy appears only in Chron.
Zimri] LXX (B) Ζαμβρεί (β being merely euphonic) here and also Joshua 7:1 where Heb. has “Zabdi.” LXX. is probably right in identifying the two. Either form might arise from the other by easy textual corruption.
Ethan … Dara] Read, Darda with Vulg., Targ., Pesh. The same four names in the same order occur 1 Kings 4:31 as the names of wise men whom Solomon surpassed in wisdom. They are there called sons of “Mahol” who may have been either a nearer or remoter ancestor than Zerah. Ethan however is there called the Ezrahite (= probably “son of Zerah”). [Psalms 88, 89 bear respectively the names “Heman the Ezrahite,” “Ethan the Ezrahite,” but these (it seems) were Levites (1 Chronicles 15:17; 1 Chronicles 15:19).]
And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.7. the sons of Carmi] Carmi is probably to be taken as the son of Zimri (= Zabdi, Joshua 7:1). Targ. however has “Carmi who is Zimri.” See note on Zimri 1 Chronicles 2:6.
Achar] This form of the name (instead of “Achan” Joshua 7:1) is used by the Chronicler to bring out better the play on the Heb. word for “troubler.” The Heb. runs, “Achar ocher Israel.”
And the sons of Ethan; Azariah.
The sons also of Hezron, that were born unto him; Jerahmeel, and Ram, and Chelubai.9. Jerahmeel] For his descendants see 1 Chronicles 2:25-41. The descendants of his younger brother Ram are given first because they include David and his family.
Chelubai] Another form of “Caleb”; see 1 Chronicles 2:42.
And Ram begat Amminadab; and Amminadab begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah;10. Ram] The descent of David from Judah is given also Ruth 4:18-22 and Matthew 1:3-6.
Nahshon, prince, etc.] See Numbers 1:4; Numbers 1:7; Numbers 2:3.
And Nahshon begat Salma, and Salma begat Boaz,
And Boaz begat Obed, and Obed begat Jesse,
And Jesse begat his firstborn Eliab, and Abinadab the second, and Shimma the third,13. Shimma] R.V. Shimea, as in 1 Chronicles 20:7. His name is written “Shammah” in 1 Samuel 16:9. In 2 Samuel 21:21 “Shimei” (R.V.).
Nethaneel the fourth, Raddai the fifth,14. Nethaneel] R.V. Nethanel. It is the same name as Nathanael (John 1:45). The fourth, fifth and sixth of David’s brothers are not elsewhere named.
Ozem the sixth, David the seventh:15. David the seventh] Jesse had eight sons (1 Samuel 17:12; cp. 1 Samuel 16:10-11). Here one seems deliberately passed over, perhaps because he had no children. (The Elihu “one of David’s brethren” of 1 Chronicles 27:18 is probably to be identified with Eliab and not to be regarded as an eighth brother.)
Whose sisters were Zeruiah, and Abigail. And the sons of Zeruiah; Abishai, and Joab, and Asahel, three.16. sons of Zeruiah] Joab and his brothers are always thus named after their mother; probably their father died while they were young, or we may have a relic here of the ancient method of tracing kinship through the mother.
And Abigail bare Amasa: and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmeelite.17. Jether] 2 Samuel 17:25, “Ithra,” a small difference of spelling in the Heb.
the Ishmeelite] 2 Samuel 17:25, “the Israelite,” a reading yielding no satisfactory sense.
And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife, and of Jerioth: her sons are these; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon.18. begat children of Azubah his wife and of Jerioth] So R.V., but the Heb. seems to be corrupt. Probably we should read, took Azubah the wife of Jerioth. LXX. gives no help.
18–20. The Genealogy of Bezaleel
It is quite in accordance with the mind of the Chronicler to single out the artificer of the Tabernacle (“Tent of Meeting”) and tell his family history (cp. Exodus 31:2 ff.).
And when Azubah was dead, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur.
And Hur begat Uri, and Uri begat Bezaleel.
And afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was threescore years old; and she bare him Segub.
And Segub begat Jair, who had three and twenty cities in the land of Gilead.21–24. Other Descendants of Hezron
22. Jair] He was one of the Judges (Jdg 10:3-4 where thirty cities, not twenty-three, are assigned him).
the land of Gilead] This name is sometimes restricted to that part of the land E. of Jordan which lies S. of the Yarmuk; see Camb. Companion, Map 2. Here, as often, it is applied to all the land E. of Jordan occupied by Israel.
And he took Geshur, and Aram, with the towns of Jair, from them, with Kenath, and the towns thereof, even threescore cities. All these belonged to the sons of Machir the father of Gilead.23. And he took Geshur, and Aram, with the towns] R.V. And Geshur and Aram took the towns. Geshur was a (probably Aramaean) kingdom E. of Jordan on the N.E. border of Manasseh. Aram, commonly translated “Syria” or “the Syrians” probably here signifies the kingdom of which Damascus was the capital. The conquest of Manassite territory by the Aramaeans (“Syrians”) here described probably took place before the days of Ahab, for in his reign they were already established as far south as Ramoth-gilead (1 Kings 22:3).
the towns of Jair] R.V. marg., Havvoth Jair. Cp. Deuteronomy 3:14; Jdg 10:4. The name perhaps means “the tent-villages of Jair,” (Arab. ḥǐvâ = “a collection of tents near together”).
And after that Hezron was dead in Calebephratah, then Abiah Hezron's wife bare him Ashur the father of Tekoa.24. And after that Hezron was dead in Caleb-ephratah (R.V. ephrathah)]
The text of this passage is probably corrupt, for (1) “Caleb-ephrathah” is a very strange combination to signify the name of a place, (2) Vulg. LXX. have a verb (ingressus est, ἦλθεν) instead of the preposition, “in”. A few small changes in the Heb. would yield the sense, “And after Hezron was dead Caleb went in to Ephrath (1 Chronicles 2:19) his father Hezron’s wife and she bare him” etc.
Ashur] R.V. Ashhur. Hur (1 Chronicles 2:19) the father of Bethlehem is described as the “firstborn of Ephrathah,” so that Ashhur would be a younger brother (1 Chronicles 4:4).
the father of Tekoa] i.e. the founder of the town or the eponymous ancestor of its inhabitants. Cp. 1 Chronicles 4:4; 1 Chronicles 4:14; 1 Chronicles 4:21 etc. For Tekoa see 2 Chronicles 20:20, note.
And the sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron were, Ram the firstborn, and Bunah, and Oren, and Ozem, and Ahijah.25–41. The Genealogy of the Jerahmeelites
25. the sons of Jerahmeel] Their settlements were in the S. of Judah; cp. 1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29.
Ozem, and Ahijah] By a slight change in the Heb. we get Ozem his brother (so LXX.); cp. 1 Chronicles 26:20 for a similar confusion of reading.
Jerahmeel had also another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam.
And the sons of Ram the firstborn of Jerahmeel were, Maaz, and Jamin, and Eker.
And the sons of Onam were, Shammai, and Jada. And the sons of Shammai; Nadab, and Abishur.
And the name of the wife of Abishur was Abihail, and she bare him Ahban, and Molid.
And the sons of Nadab; Seled, and Appaim: but Seled died without children.
And the sons of Appaim; Ishi. And the sons of Ishi; Sheshan. And the children of Sheshan; Ahlai.31. the children of Sheshan; Ahlai] Ahlai is perhaps a gentilic name, not the name of an individual. Cp. 1 Chronicles 2:34.
And the sons of Jada the brother of Shammai; Jether, and Jonathan: and Jether died without children.
And the sons of Jonathan; Peleth, and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel.
Now Sheshan had no sons, but daughters. And Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Jarha.
And Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant to wife; and she bare him Attai.35. Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha] This was equivalent to making his servant his heir, an action not unknown in the East. Thus Abraham at first (Genesis 15:2-3) regarded Eliezer his steward as his heir. Cp. note on 1 Chronicles 2:31.
And Attai begat Nathan, and Nathan begat Zabad,
And Zabad begat Ephlal, and Ephlal begat Obed,
And Obed begat Jehu, and Jehu begat Azariah,
And Azariah begat Helez, and Helez begat Eleasah,
And Eleasah begat Sisamai, and Sisamai begat Shallum,
And Shallum begat Jekamiah, and Jekamiah begat Elishama.
Now the sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel were, Mesha his firstborn, which was the father of Ziph; and the sons of Mareshah the father of Hebron.42–49. The Descendants of Caleb
42. Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel] Called Chelubai (1 Chronicles 2:9) and Caleb the son of Hezron (1 Chronicles 2:18). There is nothing to shew what relationship existed between this Caleb and Caleb son of Jephunneh (1 Chronicles 4:15 and Numbers 13:6). Perhaps they are to be identified; cp. 1 Chronicles 2:49, note. Both are assigned to the tribe of Judah.
Several of the names, viz. Ziph (Joshua 15:24 or 55), Mareshah (2 Chronicles 11:8), Hebron, Tappuah (Joshua 15:34), Maon (Joshua 15:55), and Beth-zur (Joshua 15:58) are names of towns in the S. or S.W. of Judah, and consequently may represent here the respective populations of those towns, and not individual descendants of Caleb.
Mesha] The Moabite king whose deeds are recorded on the Moabite stone bore this name. It means Victory, enlargement. LXX. reads Mareshah (Μαρεισά) as in the latter part of the verse.
And the sons of Hebron; Korah, and Tappuah, and Rekem, and Shema.
And Shema begat Raham, the father of Jorkoam: and Rekem begat Shammai.
And the son of Shammai was Maon: and Maon was the father of Bethzur.45. Maon] Nabal who was a Calebite lived at the town of Maon (1 Samuel 25:2-3). It is improbable that Maon was ever used as the name of a person; cp. Buchanan Gray, Hebrew Proper Names, pp. 127, 8. See note on 1 Chronicles 2:42.
And Ephah, Caleb's concubine, bare Haran, and Moza, and Gazez: and Haran begat Gazez.
And the sons of Jahdai; Regem, and Jotham, and Geshan, and Pelet, and Ephah, and Shaaph.
Maachah, Caleb's concubine, bare Sheber, and Tirhanah.
She bare also Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbenah, and the father of Gibea: and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah.49. the daughter of Caleb was Achsah] The Caleb of Jdg 1:12 (who according to Joshua 15:13-19 was Caleb son of Jephunneh) also had a daughter Achsah.
These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah; Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim,50. These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur] Read with LXX., These were the sons of Caleb. The sons of Hur (Cp. R.V.). Hur was the son of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:19).
Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Bethgader.
And Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim had sons; Haroeh, and half of the Manahethites.52. Haroeh and half of the Manahethites] R.V. Haroeh, half of the Menuhoth. If the text be sound, render, Who provided for half the resting-places, the description applying to Shobal, whose work apparently was to supervise some of the halting-stations of the caravans which passed through the territory of Judah. Cp. similar details in 1 Chronicles 4:21-23. Seraiah (Jeremiah 51:59), who accompanied king Zedekiah to Babylon, bore the title of Prince of the resting-places, doubtless because he was entrusted with the duty of selecting the halting-places on the king’s journey. Some however would read Reaiah as in 1 Chronicles 4:2, and would find the name of another son concealed in the phrase half of the Manahethites (Menuhoth); cp. 1 Chronicles 2:54, where however the Heb. word is different.
And the families of Kirjathjearim; the Ithrites, and the Puhites, and the Shumathites, and the Mishraites; of them came the Zareathites, and the Eshtaulites.53. Puhites] R.V. rightly Puthites.
Zareathites] R.V. Zorathites as in 1 Chronicles 4:2, where the same family is mentioned again.
The sons of Salma; Bethlehem, and the Netophathites, Ataroth, the house of Joab, and half of the Manahethites, the Zorites.54. Ataroth, the house of Joab] R.V. Atroth-beth-Joab.
And the families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab.55. at Jabez] Jabez occurs as the name of a man of the tribe of Judah in 1 Chronicles 4:9.
the Kenites that came] Render, the Kenites who came in, i.e. attached themselves to Israel.
of Hemath] Render, who were of Hammath.
the house of Rechab] The Rechabites (2 Kings 10:15; Jeremiah 35:2 ff.) are here traced to a non-Israelite source. On the incorporation of non-Israelites into Israel see Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, ii. 508 a.