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.
The sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.Ch. 1 Chronicles 6:1-15 (= 5:27–41 according to the Heb. division). The Descent of the High-priests from Levi. Their Line to the Captivity
Clearly the list of highpriests given in 1 Chronicles 6:4-14 is not exhaustive. (1) In the first place allowing 20 years for each generation mentioned we get a space of 440 years only from the Mosaic age to the Captivity. The real interval must have been not less (and was probably much more) than 700 years. (2) In the second place some priests (doubtless highpriests) mentioned in the course of history find no place here, e.g. Eli, Ahimelech (son of Ahitub), Abiathar (David’s fellow-exile), Azariah (the contemporary of the leper-king Uzziah), Urijah (the contemporary of king Ahaz), and Azariah (2 Chronicles 31:10). The object of the list seems to be simply to shew the legitimacy of the position of Jehozadak whose son Jeshua continued the succession after the Return.
1. The sons of Levi] So Genesis 46:11; Exodus 6:16.
And the sons of Kohath; Amram, Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.2. the sons of Kohath] So Exodus 6:18.
And the children of Amram; Aaron, and Moses, and Miriam. The sons also of Aaron; Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.3. Aaron and Moses] The same order in Exodus 6:20. Aaron was the elder (Exodus 7:7).
The sons also of Aaron] So Exodus 6:23.
Nadab and Abihu] These two elder sons perished childless; Leviticus 10:1-5.
Eleazar begat Phinehas, Phinehas begat Abishua,4. Phinehas] Numbers 25:7 ff; Numbers 31:6; Joshua 22:13 ff.
And Abishua begat Bukki, and Bukki begat Uzzi,
And Uzzi begat Zerahiah, and Zerahiah begat Meraioth,
Meraioth begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,
And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Ahimaaz,8. Ahitub begat Zadok] From 2 Samuel 8:17; 2 Samuel 15:29; 2 Samuel 20:25 it appears that there were two highpriests in David’s day; Zadok however is always mentioned before his colleague.
Ahimaaz] 2 Samuel 15:27; 2 Samuel 17:17-21; 2 Samuel 18:19 ff.
And Ahimaaz begat Azariah, and Azariah begat Johanan,9. Azariah] This Azariah rather than the Azariah of 1 Chronicles 6:10 would have been contemporary with Solomon, and therefore the notice attached to the name Azariah in 1 Chronicles 6:10 (he it is that executed the priest’s office in the house that Solomon built in Jerusalem) may really belong to 1 Chronicles 6:9. Cp. 1 Kings 4:2.
And Johanan begat Azariah, (he it is that executed the priest's office in the temple that Solomon built in Jerusalem:)
And Azariah begat Amariah, and Amariah begat Ahitub,11. Amariah] apparently the contemporary of Jehoshaphat mentioned in a Chr. 1 Chronicles 19:11.
And Ahitub begat Zadok, and Zadok begat Shallum,
And Shallum begat Hilkiah, and Hilkiah begat Azariah,13. Hilkiah] The highpriest who discovered the book of the Law in Josiah’s reign; 2 Kings 22:8; 2 Chronicles 34:14.
And Azariah begat Seraiah, and Seraiah begat Jehozadak,14. Seraiah] slain soon after the capture of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; 2 Kings 25:18-21; Jeremiah 52:24-27.
Jehozadak] Jozadak in Ezra 3:2; Ezra 5:2. His son Jeshua was the first highpriest after the exile.
And Jehozadak went into captivity, when the LORD carried away Judah and Jerusalem by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar.
The sons of Levi; Gershom, Kohath, and Merari.16–30 (= 1 Chronicles 6:1-15 according to the Heb. division). The three clans of the Levites. The Levitic Descent of Samuel the Prophet
16. Gershom] elsewhere Gershon. Gershom was the name of Moses’ son; Exodus 2:22.
And these be the names of the sons of Gershom; Libni, and Shimei.17. Libni and Shimei] Exodus 6:17; Libni is called Laadan (R.V. “Ladan”) in 1 Chronicles 23:7; 1 Chronicles 26:21.
And the sons of Kohath were, Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel.18. And the sons, etc.] This verse is a repetition of 1 Chronicles 6:2.
The sons of Merari; Mahli, and Mushi. And these are the families of the Levites according to their fathers.19. Mahli, and Mushi] 1 Chronicles 23:21; 1 Chronicles 24:26; Exodus 6:19.
Of Gershom; Libni his son, Jahath his son, Zimmah his son,
Joah his son, Iddo his son, Zerah his son, Jeaterai his son.
The sons of Kohath; Amminadab his son, Korah his son, Assir his son,22. Kohath; Amminadab … Korah] In 1 Chronicles 6:37-38 the descent is traced as in Numbers 16:1, Kohath, Izhar, Korah. Korah was the leader of the Levitic uprising against Moses.
Elkanah his son, and Ebiasaph his son, and Assir his son,
Tahath his son, Uriel his son, Uzziah his son, and Shaul his son.
And the sons of Elkanah; Amasai, and Ahimoth.
As for Elkanah: the sons of Elkanah; Zophai his son, and Nahath his son,26. Zophai his son, etc.] We have here one of the three genealogies of Samuel the prophet. Each list seems to have suffered in transcription; the three are given here for comparison.
1 Chronicles 6:26-28 1 Chronicles 6:33-35 1 Samuel 1:1; 1 Samuel 8:2.
[ ] and Abiah
Joel and Abijah
28. The firstborn Vashni, and Abiah] Render (from an emendation of the Heb. text) the firstborn Joel and the second Abijah (as 1 Samuel 8:2).
Eliab his son, Jeroham his son, Elkanah his son.
And the sons of Samuel; the firstborn Vashni, and Abiah.
The sons of Merari; Mahli, Libni his son, Shimei his son, Uzza his son,
Shimea his son, Haggiah his son, Asaiah his son.
And these are they whom David set over the service of song in the house of the LORD, after that the ark had rest.31, 32 (= 16, 17 according to the Heb. division). David’s Singers
31. the ark had rest] i.e. was brought into the city of David for a permanent resting-place.
And they ministered before the dwelling place of the tabernacle of the congregation with singing, until Solomon had built the house of the LORD in Jerusalem: and then they waited on their office according to their order.32. the dwelling-place of the tabernacle of the congregation] R.V. the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. Cp. R.V. Preface, p. vi.
And these are they that waited with their children. Of the sons of the Kohathites: Heman a singer, the son of Joel, the son of Shemuel,33–38 (= 18–23 according to the Heb. division). The descent of Heman, David’s singer, through Kohath from Levi
33. a singer] R.V. the singer.
Shemuel] R.V. Samuel, the well-known prophet being the person meant. Samuel is a form derived from the LXX. through the Latin Vulgate; but Shemuel is a more correct transliteration of the Hebrew name. Cp. 1 Chronicles 6:26-28, notes.
The son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,
The son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai,
The son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah,
The son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,37, 38. the son of Korah, the son of Izhar] Cp. 1 Chronicles 6:22, note.
The son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel.
And his brother Asaph, who stood on his right hand, even Asaph the son of Berachiah, the son of Shimea,39–43 (= 24–28 according to the Heb. division). The descent of Asaph, David’s singer, through Gershom from Levi
39. his brother] i.e. his kinsman.
The son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchiah,
The son of Ethni, the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah,
The son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah, the son of Shimei,
The son of Jahath, the son of Gershom, the son of Levi.43. Gershom] Cp. 1 Chronicles 6:16, note.
And their brethren the sons of Merari stood on the left hand: Ethan the son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluch,
The son of Hashabiah, the son of Amaziah, the son of Hilkiah,
The son of Amzi, the son of Bani, the son of Shamer,
The son of Mahli, the son of Mushi, the son of Merari, the son of Levi.44–47 (= 29–32 according to the Heb. division). The Descent of Ethan, David’s singer, through Merari from Levi
47. Mahli, the son of Mushi] Cp. 1 Chronicles 23:23; 1 Chronicles 24:30. Mushi had a son Mahli, named after his brother; 1 Chronicles 6:19.
Their brethren also the Levites were appointed unto all manner of service of the tabernacle of the house of God.48, 49 (= 33, 34 according to the Heb. division). The distinction between Levites and Aaronites
48. Their brethren also the Levites] R.V. And their brethren the Levites, i.e. and the other Levites.
appointed] Heb. given, in allusion to Numbers 3:9; Numbers 18:6.
unto all manner of service] R.V. for all the service.
But Aaron and his sons offered upon the altar of the burnt offering, and on the altar of incense, and were appointed for all the work of the place most holy, and to make an atonement for Israel, according to all that Moses the servant of God had commanded.49. the altar of the burnt offering] Exodus 27:1-8.
the altar of incense] Exodus 30:1-10.
to make an atonement] R.V. to make atonement; Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16.
And these are the sons of Aaron; Eleazar his son, Phinehas his son, Abishua his son,50–53 (= 35–38 according to the Heb. division). The Line of Aaron to Ahimaaz
This is a fragment, slightly changed in wording, of the genealogy given in 1 Chronicles 6:4-14. It goes as far as the reign of David, or perhaps that of Solomon.
Bukki his son, Uzzi his son, Zerahiah his son,
Meraioth his son, Amariah his son, Ahitub his son,
Zadok his son, Ahimaaz his son.
Now these are their dwelling places throughout their castles in their coasts, of the sons of Aaron, of the families of the Kohathites: for theirs was the lot.54–60 (= Joshua 21:10-19). The [thirteen] cities of the Aaronites
54. throughout their castles] R.V. according to their encampments. The Heb. word is used of the circular encampments of nomads.
their coasts] R.V. their borders.
the lot] R.V. the first lot (cp. Joshua 21:4; Joshua 21:10).
54–81 (= 39–66 according to the Heb. division). The forty-eight Levitic cities
This section has been adopted with some rearrangement from the parallel passage in Joshua. In Joshua the number of cities taken from each group of tribes and given to its respective division of the Levites is first stated, no city being named; and next the names of the cities are given under each division of the Levites and under the name of the tribe from which the cities were taken. In Chron. the cities given to the Aaronites are first mentioned by name and reckoned to be thirteen In number (1 Chronicles 6:55-60); next the cities given to each remaining division of the Levites are reckoned shortly by number only (1 Chronicles 6:61-63); lastly, these cities are separately reckoned at length by name only (1 Chronicles 6:66-81). This rearrangement is not happy; perhaps the Chronicler originally intended to give the Aaronite cities only by name as well as number, and so 1 Chronicles 6:66-81 (containing the names of the non-Aaronite cities) may be a supplement to the original text. Notice that no names of cities taken from Simeon are given; cp. 1 Chronicles 6:65; Joshua 21:9.
(Critical Note on 54–81.)
The text of the passage has suffered in transcription. In 1 Chronicles 6:55-60 eleven names are given, but thirteen are reckoned (1 Chronicles 6:60), the explanation being that the names Juttah and Gibeon (Joshua 21:16-17) have fallen out. In 1 Chronicles 6:61, after or before Manasseh the names of Ephraim and Dan have fallen out (cp. 1 Chronicles 6:66 and Joshua 21:5); Manasseh contributed only two out of the ten cities. Before 1 Chronicles 6:69 we must restore from Joshua 21:23 the words, And out of the tribe of Dan, Eltekeh with her suburbs, Gibbethon with her suburbs. In 1 Chronicles 6:77 or immediately before 1 Chronicles 6:78 two names of cities of Zebulun have fallen out; cp. 1 Chronicles 6:63 (“twelve cities”) with 1 Chronicles 6:77-81 (ten cities only are named).
And they gave them Hebron in the land of Judah, and the suburbs thereof round about it.55. suburbs] cp. 1 Chronicles 13:2, note.
But the fields of the city, and the villages thereof, they gave to Caleb the son of Jephunneh.56. to Caleb] Joshua 21:12; Jdg 1:20.
And to the sons of Aaron they gave the cities of Judah, namely, Hebron, the city of refuge, and Libnah with her suburbs, and Jattir, and Eshtemoa, with their suburbs,57. the cities of Judah, namely, Hebron, the city of refuge] Render (with a slight correction of the Hebrew) the city of refuge, Hebron (cp. Joshua 21:13), Hebron being the only city of refuge here mentioned (Joshua 20:7).
Libnah] Joshua 10:29; 2 Kings 8:22; 2 Kings 19:8. It was in the S.W. of Judah.
Eshtemoa] the modern es-Semu‘a, three and a half hours S. of Hebron.
And Hilen with her suburbs, Debir with her suburbs,58. Hilen] In Joshua 21:15 Holon.
Debir] called Kiriath-sepher (Jdg 1:11) and Kiriath-sannah (Joshua 15:49). It was in the hill-country of Judah.
And Ashan with her suburbs, and Bethshemesh with her suburbs:59. Ashan] Joshua 21:16, Ain.
with her suburbs] Joshua 21:16 adds, And Juttah with her suburbs. Cp. the Critical Note at the head of this section.
Beth-shemesh] Joshua 15:10; 1 Samuel 6:9; 2 Kings 14:11; 2 Kings 14:13 (= 2 Chronicles 25:21; 2 Chronicles 25:23). A town in the S.W. of Judah, now ‘Ain Shems, situated at the point at which the hill-country of Judah begins, as one goes by the railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem (Bädeker, p. 13).
And out of the tribe of Benjamin; Geba with her suburbs, and Alemeth with her suburbs, and Anathoth with her suburbs. All their cities throughout their families were thirteen cities.60. of Benjamin, Geba] In Joshua 21:17 Gibeon and her suburbs is inserted before Geba. Cp. the Critical Note at the head of this section.
Alemeth] In Joshua 21:18, Almon.
thirteen cities] Cp. the Critical Note at the head of this section.
And unto the sons of Kohath, which were left of the family of that tribe, were cities given out of the half tribe, namely, out of the half tribe of Manasseh, by lot, ten cities.61–65 (cp. Joshua 21:26; Joshua 21:33; Joshua 21:40). Distribution of thirty-five other cities to the rest of the Levites
61. the sons of Kohath which were left] R.V. the rest of the sons of Kohath, i.e. the Kohathites who were not sons of Aaron (1 Chronicles 6:54).
of the family, etc.] R.V. were given by lot, out of the family of the tribe, out of the half tribe, the half of Manasseh, ten cities. The text is faulty; cp. the Critical Note on 1 Chronicles 6:54-81.
And to the sons of Gershom throughout their families out of the tribe of Issachar, and out of the tribe of Asher, and out of the tribe of Naphtali, and out of the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan, thirteen cities.62. the tribe of Manasseh in Bashan] i.e. the half tribe of Manasseh beyond Jordan.
Unto the sons of Merari were given by lot, throughout their families, out of the tribe of Reuben, and out of the tribe of Gad, and out of the tribe of Zebulun, twelve cities.63. twelve cities] The total number of Levitic cities (1 Chronicles 6:60 thirteen, 1 Chronicles 6:61 ten, 1 Chronicles 6:62 thirteen, 1 Chronicles 6:63 twelve) was forty-eight (so Joshua 21:41), of which the Kohathites, as the largest division (cp. 1 Chronicles 15:5, note), received twenty-three or nearly half.
And the children of Israel gave to the Levites these cities with their suburbs.
And they gave by lot out of the tribe of the children of Judah, and out of the tribe of the children of Simeon, and out of the tribe of the children of Benjamin, these cities, which are called by their names.65. by lot] as a means of gaining Divine sanction for the assignment of cities.
which are coiled by their names] R.V. which are mentioned by name, i.e. above and below.
And the residue of the families of the sons of Kohath had cities of their coasts out of the tribe of Ephraim.66–70 (= Joshua 21:20-25). The [ten] cities of the non-Aaronite Kohathites
66. the residue of the families] R.V. some of the families.
of their coasts] R.V. of their borders.
And they gave unto them, of the cities of refuge, Shechem in mount Ephraim with her suburbs; they gave also Gezer with her suburbs,67. gave … of the cities of refuge, Shechem] Render (with a slight correction of the Hebrew) gave … the city of refuge, Shechem. Cp. 1 Chronicles 6:57, note.
Shechem] Genesis 12:6; Genesis 33:18; Joshua 24:1; Jdg 9:1; 1 Kings 12:1. Shechem is the modern Nabulus, situated almost in the middle of Palestine.
Gezer] Joshua 16:3; Jdg 1:29; 1 Kings 9:16. It is the modern Tell-Jezer about 18 miles N.W. of Jerusalem. Cp. Bädeker, p. 13.
And Jokmeam with her suburbs, and Bethhoron with her suburbs,68. Jokmeam] In Joshua 21:22 Kibzaim. The two words resemble one another more closely in Hebrew, and are to be taken as various readings of the same name. Nothing is known of a Kibzaim in Ephraim. A Jokmeam is mentioned 1 Kings 4:12.
Beth-horon] Joshua 10:10-11; Joshua 16:3; Joshua 16:5; 1Ma 3:24. There were two cities, a lower and an upper Beth-horon, to which at the present day a lower and an upper Beitur, an hour’s journey apart, correspond. Bädeker, p. 18.
And Aijalon with her suburbs, and Gathrimmon with her suburbs:69. And Aijalon] Aijalon and Gath-rimmon were in Dan; cp. Joshua 21:23-24, and see the Critical Note on 1 Chronicles 6:54-81.
And out of the half tribe of Manasseh; Aner with her suburbs, and Bileam with her suburbs, for the family of the remnant of the sons of Kohath.70. the half tribe of Manasseh] the western half tribe; the eastern is mentioned 1 Chronicles 6:71.
Aner] Read Taanach, as in 1 Chronicles 7:29; Joshua 21:25, R.V.); Jdg 5:19.
Bileam] called Ibleam, Jdg 1:27; 2 Kings 9:27. In Joshua 21:25, Gath-rimmon.
Unto the sons of Gershom were given out of the family of the half tribe of Manasseh, Golan in Bashan with her suburbs, and Ashtaroth with her suburbs:71–76 (= Joshua 21:27-32). The thirteen cities of the sons of Gershom
71. Golan] a city of refuge, Joshua 21:27. The name of this city is still preserved in Jolan (Jaulan), the name of a district E. of Jordan extending from Hermon to the Jarmuk.
Ashtaroth] mentioned in Joshua 9:10 as the capital of Og, king of Bashan.
And out of the tribe of Issachar; Kedesh with her suburbs, Daberath with her suburbs,72. Kedesh] Read Kishion with Joshua 21:28 (so ibid. Joshua 19:20).
Daberath] the modern Dabûriyeh at the foot of Mount Tabor. Cp. Bädeker, p. 248.
And Ramoth with her suburbs, and Anem with her suburbs:73. Ramoth] Jarmuth in Joshua 21:29.
Anem] Read En-gannim with Joshua 21:29. Probably the modern large village of Jenîn on the edge of the plain of Esdrelon. Cp. Bädeker, p. 227.
And out of the tribe of Asher; Mashal with her suburbs, and Abdon with her suburbs,74. Mashal] Mishal, Joshua 21:30 (cp. Joshua 19:26, R.V.).
And Hukok with her suburbs, and Rehob with her suburbs:75. Hukok] Read Helkath with Joshua 21:31 (cp. Joshua 19:25).
And out of the tribe of Naphtali; Kedesh in Galilee with her suburbs, and Hammon with her suburbs, and Kirjathaim with her suburbs.76. Kedesh in Galilee] called Kedesh-naphtali in Jdg 4:6; it is the modern Kedes, situated on a lofty plateau overlooking the waters of Ḥûleh (Merom). It was a city of refuge, Joshua 21:32.
Hammon … Kirjathaim] In Joshua 21:32, Hammoth-dor … Kartan.
Unto the rest of the children of Merari were given out of the tribe of Zebulun, Rimmon with her suburbs, Tabor with her suburbs:77–81 (= Joshua 21:34-39). The [twelve] cities of the sons of Merari
77. Rimmon … Tabor] Against these two names there are four in Joshua 21:34-35; Jokneam, Kartah, Dimnah and Nahalal. As regards the number of the cities the text of Joshua is certainly right. See Critical Note on 1 Chronicles 6:54-81.
Tabor] No city, but only a mountain named Tabor is known to us, as having certainly existed in Old Testament times. A city however named Tabor existed on the Mountain as early as 218 b.c., and it may have been as old as the times of the Chronicler. Mount Tabor was in Zebulun. Cp. Bädeker, p. 248.
And on the other side Jordan by Jericho, on the east side of Jordan, were given them out of the tribe of Reuben, Bezer in the wilderness with her suburbs, and Jahzah with her suburbs,78. by Jericho] The crossing-place of the Jordan nearest to Reuben was at Jericho. For the phrase Jordan by Jericho cp. Joshua 16:1.
in the wilderness] further defined by the addition in the table-land (Deuteronomy 4:43, R.V. mg.). Bezer was among the high pasture lands of Reuben. It was a city of refuge.
Jahzah] also called Jahaz. Cp. Jdg 11:20; Isaiah 15:4.
Kedemoth also with her suburbs, and Mephaath with her suburbs:
And out of the tribe of Gad; Ramoth in Gilead with her suburbs, and Mahanaim with her suburbs,80. Ramoth in Gilead] a city of refuge, Joshua 21:38. See 1 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 9:1.
Mahanaim] Genesis 32:2.
And Heshbon with her suburbs, and Jazer with her suburbs.81. Heshbon] Numbers 21:25-26; Isaiah 15:4.
Jazer] Numbers 21:32 (R.V.); Isaiah 16:8.