Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Dismissing the sons of Esau-Edom, the narrative proceeds with the sons of Israel, who are named in order, by way of introduction to their genealogies, which occupy 1 Chronicles 1-8.
The rest of 1 Chronicles 2 treats of [the leading tribe of Judah, and its sub-divisions, under the heads of Zerah and Perez (3-41), and Caleb (42-55); while 1 Chronicles 3, 4 complete the account of this tribe, so far as the fragmentary materials at the writer’s disposal permitted.
These are the sons of Israel; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun,(1, 2) The sons of Israel.—The list is apparently taken from Genesis 35:23-26, where the heading is, “Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.” The chronicler omits the mothers, and puts Dan before instead of after Joseph and Benjamin, as if to hint that Dan was considered Rachel’s elder son. (See Genesis 30:6.) In the list at Genesis 46:9-23, Gad and Asher follow Zebulun, and Dan follows Joseph and Benjamin. Of course accident may have caused the transposition of Dan with Joseph and Benjamin in our list, especially as it otherwise agrees with Genesis 35:3-4.
(3) The daughter of Shua the Canaanitess.—Shua was the father of Judah’s wife.
Er, the firstborn of Judah, was (became, proved) evil.—Word for word from Genesis 38:7. Suppressing other details relating to the sons of Judah, the chronicler copies this statement intact from Genesis, because it thoroughly harmonises with the moral he wishes to be drawn from the entire history of his people.
And Tamar his daughter in law bare him Pharez and Zerah. All the sons of Judah were five.(4) Tamar.—Wife of Er. The story of her incest with Judah, the fruit of which was the twins Pharez (Heb., Perez) and Zerah (called Zarah, Genesis 38:30; and Zara, Matthew 1:3), is told in Genesis 38:8-30.
The sons of Pharez; Hezron, and Hamul.(5) The sons of Pharez.—From Gen. xlvi 12, which also names the five sons of Judah. Numbers 26:21 mentions the clans (mishpahath) of the Hezronites and Hamulites, as registered in a census held by Moses.
And the sons of Zerah; Zimri, and Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara: five of them in all.(6-8) The sons of Zerah.—From this point our narrative ceases to depend entirely upon the data of Genesis.
(6) Zimri.—This name is probably a merely accidental variant of Zabdi. Both are genuine Hebrew names occurring elsewhere. But the fact that Zimri here, and Zabdi at Joshua 7:1, are both called sons of Zerah, seems to prove their identity; especially as m is often confused with b, and d with r.
Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara.—It is stated (1Kings 4:31) that Solomon was “wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol.” It will be seen that the first three names coincide with those of our text, and that Dara is only one letter different from Darda. Further, many MSS. of Chronicles, as well as the Svriac and Arabic versions and the Targum, actually have Darda. The Yatic. LXX. reads Darad. There is thus a virtual repetition of these four names in the passage of Kings, and it is difficult to suppose that the persons intended are not the same there and here. Ethan is called an Ezrahite in Kings, but Ezrah and Zerah are equivalent forms in Hebrew; and the Yatic. LXX. actually calls Ethan a Zarhite—i.e., a descendant of Zerah (Numbers 26:13). The designation of the four as “sons of Mahol” presents no difficulty. Mahol is a usual word for the sacred dance (Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4), and the four Zarhites are thus described as “sons of dancing”—that is, sacred musicians. It is likely, therefore, that these famous minstrels of Judah were adopted into the Levitical clans in which sacred music was the hereditary profession. (See Psalms 88, 89., titles.) Whether Ethan and Heman are the persons mentioned in 1Chronicles 6:33; 1Chronicles 6:44; 1Chronicles 15:17; 1Chronicles 15:19 as the recognised heads of two of the great guilds of temple musicians is not clear. The Levitical ancestry ascribed to them in 1 Chronicles 6 would not be opposed to this assumption, as adoption would involve it.
And the sons of Carmi; Achar, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed.(7) The sons of Carmi.—See Note on 1Chronicles 1:41.
Achar, the troubler of Israel.—See Joshua 7:1, where the man is called “Achan, son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah.” The family of Carmi, therefore, were Zarhites. Joshua 7:24 calls him “Achan, the son of Zerah,” an expression which shows, if other proof were wanting, that we must be cautious of interpreting such phrases literally in all instances.
Achar . . . troubler of Israel.—There is a play on the man’s name in the Hebrew, which is, “Achar ’ocher Yisrael.” So in Joshua 7:25 Joshua asks, “Why hast thou troubled us?” (‘achartânu), and in 1Chronicles 2:26 the place of Achar’s doom is called “the valley of Achor” (trouble). Probably Achan is an old error for Achar.
And the sons of Ethan; Azariah.(8) The sons of Ethan.—Nothing is known of this Ethanite Azariah. It seems plain that the writer wished to name only the historically famous members of the Zarhite branch of Judah—in 1Chronicles 2:6, the four proverbial sages; in 1Chronicles 2:7, Achar who brought woe upon Israel by taking of the devoted spoils of Jericho.
The sons also of Hezron, that were born unto him; Jerahmeel, and Ram, and Chelubai.(9-41) The Hezronites, who were sons of Pharez (1Chronicles 2:5), and their three lines of descent, Jerahmeel, Ram, and Chelubai.
Chelubai.—Strictly, the Chelubite or Calebite, a gentilic term formed from Caleb (1Chronicles 2:18). This seems to show that we are concerned here not so much with individual sons of Hezron as with families or clans of Hezronites.
And Ram begat Amminadab; and Amminadab begat Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah;I.—(10-17) The descent of David from Amminadab, of the house of Ram. The royal line naturally takes precedence of the other two. Ruth 4:18-22 gives this line from Pharez to David. (Compare the genealogies of Christ, Matthew 1 and Luke 3) Nahshon is called chief of Judah in Num. ii 3 (comp. 1Chronicles 1:7; 1Chronicles 7:12), at the time of the Exodus.
Seven sons are here named. 1Samuel 17:12-13 states that Jesse had eight sons; and from 1Samuel 16:6-10 (Heb.) it appears that he had that number. In both passages, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimma (Heb., Shim‘â, here and at 1Chronicles 20:7) occur, the last under the form Shammah. He is called Shimei (2Samuel 21:21); but Shimeah == Shim’ah (2Samuel 13:3; 2Samuel 13:32); and this appears to have been his real name.
(14, 15) Nethaneel . . . Raddai . . . Ozem.—Not named elsewhere in the Scriptures. The son of Jesse, omitted in our present Heb. text, is called Elihu in the Syriac version, which makes him seventh and David the eighth. The name Elihu occurs in 1Chronicles 27:18 for Eliab.
(16) Whose sisters were Zeruiah, and Abigail.—Literally, And their sisters, &c. If the reading in 2Samuel 17:25 be correct, these two women were daughters of Nahash, who must therefore have been a wife of Jesse. Abigail (there called Abigal) was mother of the warrior Amasa, who became Absalom’s general (2Samuel 19:13), and was afterwards assassinated by Joab (2Samuel 20:10).
Abishai.—Abshai, here and elsewhere in the chronicle.
Joab, the famous commander-in-chief of David’s forces (see 1Chronicles 11:6-8); and for Joab and Abishai, who, like Asahel, was one of David’s heroes (1Chronicles 11:20; 1Chronicles 11:26), comp. 1Chronicles 18:12; 1Chronicles 18:15; 1Chronicles 19:10 seq., 1Chronicles 21:2 et seq., 1Chronicles 27:24. David’s champions were thus his immediate kin, just as Abner was to Saul.
(17) Jether the Ishmeelite.—Incorrectly called “Ithra an Israelite” in 2Samuel 17:25. The later abhorrence of alien marriages seems to have been unknown in the age of David. The name of Zeruiah’s husband is unknown.
II.—The Calebite stock (1Chronicles 2:18-24).
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) And Caleb the son of Hezron begat children of Azubah his wife.—The Heb. text, as it stands, does not say this. The primâ facie rendering is, “And Caleb son of Hezron begat Azubah a woman, and Jerioth: and these (are) her sons; Jesher, and Shobab, and Ardon.” But 1Chronicles 2:19 continues: “And Azubah died, and Caleb took to himself (as wife) Ephrath,” which of course suggests that Azubah was not daughter but a former wife of Caleb. 1Chronicles 2:18 has also been translated, “And Caleb son of Hezron caused Azubah a wife and Jerioth to bear children.” (Comp. Isaiah 66:9.) It seems best to read, “his wife, daughter of Jerioth (’ishtô -bath.Ierioth), instead of the text (ishshah ve’eth Ierioth); and to render: And Caleb son of Hezron begat sons with Azubah daughter of Jerioth” (eth, the particle before Azubah, is ambiguous, and might be either the mere sign of the accusative, or the prep. “with,” cum, μετὰ). The Syriac partly supports this version, for it reads: “And Caleb begat of Azubah, his wife, Jerioth,” making Jerioth Azubah’s daughter. The LXX. has, “And Caleb took Azubah a wife and Jerioth,” which only shows that the corruption of the text is ancient.
And when Azubah was dead, Caleb took unto him Ephrath, which bare him Hur.(19) Ephrath.—In 1Chronicles 2:50 Ephratah; so also 4:4. The town of Bethlehem was so called (Micah 5:1).
And Hur begat Uri, and Uri begat Bezaleel.(20) Hur begat Uri . . . Bezaleel.—See Exodus 31:2, which states that: “ Bezaleel, son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah,” was divinely qualified for building the Tent of Meeting. Bezaleel is no doubt a person, but Hur is probably a Calebite clan, established at “Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem” (Genesis 35:19).
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.(21-24) This short section, concerning other Hezronites than those of the house of Caleb, is a parenthesis relating to a Hezronite element in Manassite Gilead.
(21) And afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir.—This appears to mean, after the birth of the three sons mentioned in 1Chronicles 2:9.
Machir.—The firstborn of Manasseh (Genesis 1:23), to whom Moses gave the land of Gilead (Numbers 32:40; Deuteronomy 3:15). This explains the term “father of Gilead.” The great clan of Machir was the ruling clan in Gilead. Comp. Numbers 26:28, which mentions the clan of the Machirites, and adds that “Machir begat Gilead,” which perhaps means to say that the Israelite settlers in Gilead were of the clan Machir.
Whom he married when he was threescore.—It is possible to see here a metaphorical statement of the fact that a branch of Hezronites amalgamated with the Machirites of Gilead. The “daughter of Machir” would then mean the clan so named. Comp. the expressions, “daughter of Zion” (Isaiah 37:22), “daughter of Judah” (Lamentations 1:15), “daughter of Babylon” (Isaiah 47:1).
And Segub begat Jair, who had three and twenty cities in the land of Gilead.(22) And Segub begat Jair . . .—The Havothjair (tent-villages of Jair) are several times mentioned in the Pentateuch. In the passage Numbers 32:39-42 it is related—(1) That the Manassite clan of the sons of Machir took Gilead from the Amorites; (2) That Moses then formally assigned Giiead “to Machir son of Manasseh,” and the clan accordingly settled there; (3) That Jair son of Manasseh had taken their (i.e., the Amorite) tent-villages, and called them Havoth-jair. Comp. Deuteronomy 3:14-15 : “Jair son of Manasseh had taken all the region of Argob unto the bounds of the Geshurite and the Maacnathite; and he called them (that is, Bashan) after his own name, Havoth-jair, unto this day. And to Machir I gave Gilead.”
1Chronicles 2:21-23 show a connection between Jair and the two tribes of Judah and Manasseh thus:—
Hezron married the daughter of Machir, chief of Gilead
Jair is of course the name of a group of kindred families or clans, settled in the twenty-three cities.
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 . . . of Gilead.—Rather, And Geshur and Aram took the Havoth-jair from them—Kenath and her daughters, sixty cities: all these (were) sons of Machir, chief of Gilead.
Geshur, and Aram.—That is, the Aramean state of Geshur, north-west of Bashan, near Hermon and the Jordan, which was an independent kingdom in the age of David (2Samuel 3:3). The Geshurites “took the tent-villages of Jair from them”—i.e., from the sons of Jair, or the Jairites, at what date is unknown. Comp. Deuteronomy 3:14-15, above cited.
With Kenath.—The Hebrew particle before “Kenath” may be either the sign of the object of the verb, or the preposition “with.” In the latter case, the statement of the verse will be that the twenty-three villages of Jair, together with the (thirty-seven) places called Kenath and her daughters, amounting in all to sixty towns, were taken by the Geshurites. See Numbers 32:41-42, where it is said that Jair occupied the Havoth-jair, and “Nobah went and took Kenath and her daughters, and called it Nobah after his own name.” Kenath is the modern Kanwat, on the western slope of Jebel Hauran.
It is difficult to reconcile all the different statements about the Havoth-jair. Judges 10:3-4, for example, speaks of Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty -two years, and “had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts,” and, moreover, possessed “thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair unto this day.” Joshua 13:30 seems to make the Havoth-jair sixty towns. Comp. 1Kings 4:13; also 1Chronicles 2:21, where Hezron is sixty when he marries the Gileadite daughter of Machir.
Of course the number of places included in the “camps of Jair” may have varied at different epochs.
All these belonged to the sons of Machir.—Or, all these were sons of Machir—i.e., the clans and families that came of the union of Hezron with the daughter of ‘Machir. (See Note on 1Chronicles 2:21; and Joshua 19:34.)
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 . . .—Or, “And after the death of Hezron in Caleb-ephratah—and the wife of Hezron was Abiah—and she bare him Ashur . . .” The text is evidently corrupt. The best suggestion is based on the reading of the LXX.: καὶ μετὰ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν Εσερων ἦλθεν Χαλεβ εἰς Εφραθα; “And after Hezron’s death Caleb went to Ephrath.” Some very slight changes in the Hebrew, affecting only three letters of the entire sentence, will give the sense, “And after Hezron’s death Caleb went in to Ephrath, the wife of his father Hezron (1Chronicles 2:19); and she bare him Ash-hur, father (founder, or chief) of Tekoa.” (Comp. Genesis 35:22.)
Ashur (Heb., Ash-hur) means “man of Hur”—that is, the chief of the clan of the Hurites, settled at Ephrath or Bethlehem (1Chronicles 2:19). Comp. Ashbel “man of Bel.” (Ash is the elder form of Ish “man”; as appears from the Phenician inscriptions.)
That “Caleb” in this verse means the house of Caleb is evident if we consider that the genealogy makes him great grandson of Judah, whereas the individual Caleb son of Jephunneh took part in the conquest of Canaan, more than four centuries after Judah went down to Egypt.
And the sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron were, Ram the firstborn, and Bunah, and Oren, and Ozem, and Ahijah.(25) Ram the firstborn.—Not the same as the Ram, brother of Jerahmeel, of 1Chronicles 2:9. (See Note at end of section.)
And Ahijah.—This is probably a mistake, as the conjunction is wanting in the Hebrew. The LXX. has, “his brother” the Hebrew for which might easily be misread Ahijah. So the Syriac and Arabic read, “and Ozem their sister.” But the statement of 1Chronicles 2:26, “Jerahmeel had also another wife,” &c., makes it likely that the first wife was mentioned here; and, therefore, it is conjectured that Ahijah—usually a man’s name—is the former wife; and that the right reading is “from Ahijah,” which requires merely the restoration of the prefix m (me-Ahiyah), which has fallen out, as in other instances, after the m of Ozem immediately preceding.
Jerahmeel had also another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam.(26) Atarah.—The word means corona, here and in 1Chronicles 2:54; probably, the ring-fence or fortifications round a city. So στέφανος was used in Greek (Pindar, Olymp. viii. 42, of the wall of Troy). The plural Ataroth occurs as the name of a town in Numbers 32:3; Joshua 16:5.
The mother of Onam.—See 1Chronicles 2:28-34 for the ramifications of this clan.
And the sons of Nadab; Seled, and Appaim: but Seled died without children.(30) Seled died without children.—That is, the clan Seled did not multiply, and subdivide into new groups. (Comp. 1Chronicles 2:32.)
And the sons of Appaim; Ishi. And the sons of Ishi; Sheshan. And the children of Sheshan; Ahlai.(31) The children of Sheshan; Ahlai.—See Note on 1Chronicles 1:41, “Dishon.” Ahlai is the name of a clan, not of an individual. Others would explain such phrases by assuming that “sons of so-and-so” is a conventional expression, used even where only one person has to be registered; or that the chronicler has in such cases abbreviated the contents of his source, by omitting all the names but one. Both assumptions are antiquated.
And the sons of Jonathan; Peleth, and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel.(33) These were the sons of Jerahmeel.—Subscription of the list contained in 1Chronicles 2:25-33. It is noteworthy that the total of the names from Judah to Zaza again amounts to about seventy. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 1; see also Genesis 46:27.)
Now Sheshan had no sons, but daughters. And Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Jarha.(34) Now Sheshan had no sons, but daughters.—Comp. 1Chronicles 2:31 above, “And the children of Sheshan; Ahlai.” Those who insist upon a literal understanding of these lists reconcile the two statements by making Ahlai a daughter; others suppose that the chronicler has preserved for us in the present section fragments of at least two independent accounts.
And Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant to wife; and she bare him Attai.(35-41) The line of Sheshan-Jarha is pursued for thirteen generations of direct descent, but nothing is known of any of its members from any other source. Elishama, the last name (1Chronicles 2:41), is the twenty-fourth generation specified from Judah. The list thus extends over a period of at least 720 years; and if we reckon from the Exodus (circ. 1330 B.C.), we get B.C. 610 as an approximate date for Elishama. Now an Elishama was living about that time, who is mentioned (Jeremiah 36:12) as one of the princes of Jehoiakim, king of Judah; Jeremiah 41:1 perhaps mentions the same person again, calling him “of the seed of the kingdom.” It is at least a coincidence that several of the names recur in the house of David: Nathan (1Chronicles 2:36) in 1Chronicles 3:5; Obed, as David’s grandfather in 1Chronicles 2:12; Azariah, as a byname of King Uzziah, in 1Chronicles 3:12; Shallum, as a son of Josiah, in 1Chronicles 3:15; Jekamiah, as a brother of Salathiel (Shealtiel), in 1Chronicles 3:18; and Elishama, as a son of David, in 1Chronicles 3:8—a coincidence of six out of thirteen names. The passage Deut. Xxiii. 7, 8 rules that in the third generation persons of Egyptian blood are to be treated as full Israelites. This whole section proves that an Egyptian element was recognised in Judah. (Compare Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4.) Even the name Jarha has an Egyptian cast (comp. larō, the Memphitic name of the Nile, with the Vulg. spelling of the word Jeraa); perhaps it is Iar-aa, great river, (i.e., the Nile).
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.(42-55) These verses revert to the Calebite stocks. Interpreted as merely bearing upon the extraction of individuals about whom, for the most part, nothing whatever is known beyond what these brief notices reveal, the section presents great difficulties. The key to it appears to be the assumption that it is an ancient record of the relations between certain great branches of the tribe of Judah, and their various settlements; in other words, these lists are tribal and topographical, rather than genealogical.
(42) Mesha.—The name of a king of Moab (2Kings 3:4), whose monument of victory, the famous Moabite stone, was found in 1868 at Dibou. Here the name is probably that of a principal Calebite clan, settled at Ziph, near Hebron (Joshua 15:54-55; 1Samuel 23:14).
Father of Ziph.—Comp. 1Chronicles 2:21, “father of Gilead,” and 24.
And the sons of Mareshah the father of Hebron.—The statement of the verse is, “the sons of Mareshah were sons of Caleb,” that is, the Mareshathites, or people of Mareshah (Joshua 15:44), a town in the Shephelah, were a Calebite clan. This branch of Caleb is called “father of Hebron,” because it had the chief part in colonising that old Canaanite city.
(43) Korah.—Elsewhere the name of a subdivision of the Kohathite Levites; in 1Chronicles 1:35 it was a tribe of Edomites. In this place, therefore, it may be a clan of Hebronites.
(44) Jorkoam.—Occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament. The LXX. (Alex.) has Ἰεκλάν, Jeklan. Probably, therefore, the correct reading is Jokdeam. (For the change of Hebrew d to Greek l see 1Kings 5:11, where Hebrew Darda is represented by Δαραλά.) Jokdeam was a town in the hill-country of Judah (Joshua 15:56). The chief or clan Raham is here called its father or founder.
Rekem.—The LXX. (Alex.) again has Jeklan (Jokdeam), which is as likely to be right as Rekem.
Shammai.—See 1Chronicles 2:28.
(45) Maon . . . Beth-zur.—Towns in the hill-country of Judah (Joshua 15:55; Joshua 15:58). Maon, now Main, south of Hebron. Beth-zur (2Chronicles 11:7), now Beit-sûr. In Judges 10:12 Midianites, not Maonites, is the better reading.
And Ephah, Caleb's concubine, bare Haran, and Moza, and Gazez: and Haran begat Gazez.II.—1Chronicles 2:46-49 : The sons of Ephah and Maachah, two concubines of Caleb.
(46) Ephah, Caleb’s concubine . . .—These sons of concubines appear to represent mixed populations or tribal groups considered to be of less pure descent than the chief houses of Caleb. The same title of inferiority might cover a relation of dependence, something like that of the clients of the great Roman houses. The name Ephah occurred in 1Chronicles 1:33 as a tribe of the Midianites. It is likely, therefore, that we have before us a record of the admixture of a Midianite element with the southern Judeans.
Haran.—Abraham’s brother (Genesis 11:26); a place in Mesopotamia where Abraham settled (Genesis 11:31). It is the Assyrian harranu (high-road). The Midianites claimed descent from Abraham (1Chronicles 1:33), this name therefore might well be borne by a semi-Midianite clan.
Moza.—Occurs in Joshua 18:26 as a town in Benjamin.
Haran begat Gazez.—Comp. 1Chronicles 2:24, Note. Gazez was probably a branch of the clan Haran. The LXX. (Vat.) omits the clause.
(47) The sons of Jahdai.—Heb., Yohdai, or Yehdai. The connection of these tribal groups with the foregoing is not clear; but from 1Chronicles 2:46 it appears that they were Calebites with a foreign admixture. It is curious to find the Midianite name Ephah recurring among them.
(48) Maachah, Caleb’s concubine, bare . . .—The Heb. is peculiar, “Caleb’s concubine Maachah—he bare Sheber,” &c. There is another reading, “she bare.” Maachah was a well-known Syrian state (Deuteronomy 3:14). (Comp. 2Samuel 3:3; 1Chronicles 11:43; 1Chronicles 19:6-7; and 2Kings 25:23.) These Calebites, it would seem, were of partly Aramean origin. The masculine verb “he bare” is intelligible if Maachah means not a woman, but a race. (Comp. 1Chronicles 19:15, “Aram hath fled” = the Syrians have fled; 16, “Aram saw,” &c.)
Machbenah, an unknown place in Judah, and Gibeah in the hill-country (Joshua 15:57) were settlements of the mixed Calebites called Sheva.
The daughter of Caleb was Achsa.—In Joshua 15:13-19 the father of Achsah is called Caleb son of Jephunneh. This Caleb son of Jephunneh is associated with Joshua in the Pentateuch (Numbers 12:6; Numbers 12:8), and took a prominent part in the conquest of Canaan.
Already in these curious lists we have met with special memorials of remarkable members of clans (comp. 1Chronicles 2:6-7; 1Chronicles 2:20), and we may see in the brief clause “and Achsah, daughter of Caleb” a similar notice that this famous person was a Calebite.
These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah; Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim,III.—1Chronicles 2:50-55 : A third register of Calebite clans and settlements.
(50) The sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah.—See 1Chronicles 2:19-20 and Notes. The statement “These were the sons of Caleb” should be connected with 1Chronicles 2:49, as a subscription or concluding remark to the list, 1Chronicles 2:42-49. (Comp. 1Chronicles 2:33.) A fresh start is then made with “the sons (so the LXX.) of Hur, firstborn of Ephratah,” reverting to the Caleb of 1Chronicles 2:19 seq., just as 1Chronicles 2:34 returns to Jerahmeel in the Sheshanite branch.
Shobal the father of Kirjath-jearim.—Shobal is named at 1Chronicles 4:1 as a chief clan or sub-tribe of Judah, along with Hur.
(51) Salma the father of Beth-lehem.—See 1Chronicles 2:11, where Salma may be the feather-house (clan) of which Boaz was a member. The present Salma, however, is a Calebite, whereas the Salma of 1Chronicles 2:11 is a Ramite.
(52) Haroeh, and half of the Manahethites.—Haroeh is probably a relic of Jehoraah (LXX., Ἀραά) =Reaiah (see 1chron iv 2) and perhaps hatsi-hammenuhoth should be altered to hatsi-hammanahti (see 1Chronicles 2:54), which would give the sense of the Authorised Version. As the Hebrew stands, the Vulg. is a literal rendering of it: qui videbat dimidium requietionum (!). The Manahathites were the people of Manahath (1Chronicles 8:6). a town near the frontier of Dan and Judah (1Chronicles 2:54).
(53) This verse is really a continuation of the last, and a comma would be better than a full stop after the word Manahathites. The “families” (clans or groups of families, mishpehôth) dwelling in the canton of Kirjath-jearim, viz., the Ithrites, Puhites (Heb., Puthites), &c, were also sons of Shobâl. Two of David’s heroes, Ira and Gareb (1Chronicles 11:40), were Ithrites. The three other clans are nowhere else mentioned.
Of them came the Zareathites, and the Eshtaulites.—Rather, from these went forth the Zorathites, &c. The men of Zorah and Eshtaôl were subdivisions of the clans of Kirjath-jearim. Zorah (Judges 13:2), a Danite town, the home of Samson, now Sura. Eshtaôl, also a Danite town, near Zorah (Judges 16:31; Judges 18:11-12), the present Um-Eshteiyeh. Both were on the western border of Judah, a few miles west of Kirjath-jearim.
(54) The sons of Salma; Beth-lehem.—In 1Chronicles 2:51 Salma is called “father of Bethlehem,” and according to 1Chronicles 2:50, Salma is a son of Hur and a grandson of Ephratah, i.e., Beth-lehem (see 1Chronicles 2:19, Note). The recognition of the ethnographical and geographical significance of these expressions at once removes all difficulty. Salma was the principal clan established in Bethlehem-Ephratah; branches of which were settled at Netophah, a neighbouring township (1Chronicles 9:16; 2Samuel 23:28-29), important after the return (Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26).
Ataroth, the house of Joab.—Rather, Atroth-beth-Joab (comp. Abel-beth-Maachah); an unknown town, whose name means “ramparts of the house of Joab,” i.e., “Joab’s castle,” perhaps a strong city where Joab’s family was settled. (See 1Chronicles 2:26.)
Half of the Manahethites were sons of Salma, the other half sons of Shobal (1Chronicles 2:52).
The Zorites.—A by-form of Zorathites (1Chronicles 2:53). The word really belongs to the next verse, as the sons of Salma are arranged in pairs.
(55) The families (mishpehôth=clans) of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez.—Among the clans calling themselves sons of Salma were three groups of Sopherim (Authorised version, “scribes”) settled at Jabez (Heb., Ia‘bêç), a town of northern Judah, near to Zorah. (See 1Chronicles 4:9, Note.) The three clans were known as those of Tir‘ah, Shimeah, and Suchah. The Vulg. treats these names as appellatives, and renders canentes atque resonantes et in tabernaculis commorantes, that is, “singing and resounding, and dwelling in tents.” This translation is assumed to be due to Jerome’s Rabbinical teachers, and is justified by reference to the words terû‘āh, “trumpet-blare;” shim‘āh, “report;” or the Aramaic Shema‘tâ “legal tradition” and sûkāh (= sukkah), “a booth.” Hence the conclusion has been drawn that the Sopherim of Jabez were, in fact, ministers of religion, discharging functions precisely like those of the Levites. So Wellhausen, who refers to Jeremiah 35:19, and the title of Psalms 70 in the LXX., and to one or two late fragmentary notices of the Rechabites. On the face of it the supposition is unlikely; nor does it derive any real support from the Kenite origin of these Sopherim, for it is a mere fancy that the house of Jethro, the Kenite priest of Midian, became temple-ministers in Israel. Besides, the etymologies of the names are hardly cogent; and if we try to extract history from etymology here, we might as well do so in the case of the clans of Kirjath-jearim (1Chronicles 2:53), and make the Ithrites a guild of ropers (yether, “cord, bowstring”), the Puthites hinge-makers (pôthôth—1Kings 1:50—“hinges”), and the Shumathithes garlic-eaters (shûm, “garlic,” Numbers 11:5). The Vulg. often makes the blunder of translating proper names. (See 1Chronicles 2:52; 1Chronicles 2:54).
These are the Kenites that came of Hemath (Heb., Hammath), the father of the house of (Beth-) Rechab.—The three clans of Sopherim were originally Kenites, and traced their descent from Hammath, the traditional founder of the Rechabite stock. When, or under what circumstances these Rechabite Kenites amalgamated with the Calebite clan of Salma is unknown; but comp. Judges 1:11-16.