1 Chronicles 4
Matthew Poole's Commentary
The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.
1 CHRONICLES Chapter 4

The posterity of Judah by Caleb the son of Hur, 1 Chronicles 4:1-4. By Ashur, 1 Chronicles 4:5-8. By Jabez: his prayer, 1 Chronicles 4:9-20. The posterity of Shelah, 1 Chronicles 4:21-23. The posterity and cities of Simeon: their conquest of Gedor; and of the Amalekites in Mount Seir, 1 Chronicles 4:24-43.

The sons of Judah, i.e. the posterity; for only Pharez was his immediate son. But they are all mentioned here only to show Shobal’s descent from Judah, of whom he intended to speak more particularly.

And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.
Reaiah; called Haroeh, 1 Chronicles 2:52; of whom see there.

The families of the Zorathites; of whom see on 1 Chronicles 2:53.

And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:
Etam is the name either of a man, or of a place; of which see below, 1 Chronicles 4:32 2 Chronicles 11:6; whose inhabitants descended from him. The name of his father is not here expressed.

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.
Either they are other sons besides those mentioned 1Ch 2, or there is some variation in their names, which is most frequent among the Hebrews, as hath been oft proved.

The father of Beth-lehem: this title is here given to the father, and 1 Chronicles 2:51, to Salma, his son, who had it either with or after his father. See Poole "1 Chronicles 2:51", See Poole "1 Chronicles 2:52".

And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And the sons of Helah were, Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.
Understand here,

and Coz, out of the beginning of the following verse. The like ellipses we have in the end of 2 Chronicles 4:13, and of 2 Chronicles 7:18.

And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
Jabez; one of the fathers of the families of Aharhel last mentioned.

More honourable than his brethren, for courage, and especially for true and fervent piety, expressed in the following petition.

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.
Jabez called on the God of Israel, when he was undertaking some great and dangerous service.

Oh that thou wouldst bless me indeed. I trust not to my own or people’s valour, but only to thy blessing and help.

Enlarge my coast; drive out these wicked and cursed 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 thine hand might be with me, to protect and strengthen me against my adversaries.

That thou wouldst keep me from evil, or work with (for so the Hebrew prefix mem is sometimes used, as Song of Solomon 1:2 3:9 Isaiah 5:7,8), i.e. so-restrain and govern it.

That it may not grieve me; that it may not oppress and overcome me, which will be very grievous to me. The consequent put for the antecedent; and more is understood than is expressed. He useth this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief: q.d. Lord, let me not have that grief which my name implies, and which my sin deserves.

And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Eshton begat Bethrapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Irnahash. These are the men of Rechah.
From these are sprung the present inhabitants of Rechah, a town not elsewhere mentioned.

And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.
Kenaz; 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 1 Chronicles 4:14. See Poole "1 Chronicles 4:7".

And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
The father of the valley, i.e. of the inhabitants of the valley.

And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.
Another Kenaz, differing from that Kenaz 1 Chronicles 4:13. Or his name might be Uknaz.

And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.
Jehaleleel; the son of Kenaz, or Uknaz, last mentioned.

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.
Ezra; the son of Ashriel last named.

She bare; she, i.e. Bithiah, bare unto Mered, as may seem by comparing this with 1 Chronicles 4:18.

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.
His wife; either Ezra’s wife, or rather, another wife of Mered. Jehudijah; or, the Jewess; so called to distinguish her from his Egyptian wife here following.

These are the sons, to wit, Miriam, and the rest following, 1 Chronicles 4:17.

The daughter of Pharaoh; either

1. Of Pharaoh king of Egypt for Mered might be a person of great estate and quality; or this might be only Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter. Or,

2. Of some other Egyptian or Israelite called by that name; which might easily happen upon divers occasions.

And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.
Hodiah, his third wife.

And the sons of Shimon were, Amnon, and Rinnah, Benhanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were, Zoheth, and Benzoheth.
Shimon; another son of the father of Keilah, mentioned 1 Chronicles 4:19.

Ishi; son of Tilon last mentioned.

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,
Having treated of the posterity of Judah by Pharez, and by Zerah, he now comes to his progeny by

Shelah, of whom see Ge 38.

And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.
Who had the dominion in Moab; which they ruled in the name and for the use and service of the kings of Judah, to whom Moab was subject from David’s time. Or, who had possessions in Moab; or, who married wives in Moab. These are ancient things: the sense is either,

1. These persons and things were in ancient times, and therefore it is not strange if now they be so little known. But that might have been with equal truth said of divers other parts of this account. Or rather,

2. But those blessed times and things are long since past and gone. Our ancestors then had the dominion over the heathen, but their degenerate posterity are now slaves to them in Chaldea, Persia, &c., where they are employed as potters or gardeners, or in other servile works.

These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.
These were the potters; or rather, these are; for he seems to oppose their present servitude to their former glory and to show their low and mean spirits, that had rather tarry among the heathen to do their drudgery, than return to Jerusalem to serve God and enjoy their freedom.

There they dwelt, or tarried or now dwell, when their brethren are returned.

With the king of Babylon or Persia; esteeming it a greater honour and happiness to serve that earthly monarch in the meanest employments, than to serve the King of kings in his temple, and in his most noble and heavenly work.

The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:
The sons of Simeon: 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 Ge 46, both in the number and names of the persons, which is not strange, considering how customary it was amongst the Hebrews for one person to have two or three names given to him upon several occasions. And for Ohad, Genesis 46:10, he may be omitted here, because he left no posterity or family after him, as the rest did.

Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.
Shallum his son, i.e. son of Saul last mentioned.

And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.
No text from Poole on this verse.

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.
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 26:14; which is to be ascribed to God’s curse upon them delivered by the mouth of holy Jacob, Ge 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,
These and the following cities are mentioned Joshua 19:2, &c., with no great alterations.

And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.

1. Of David’s posterity, i.e. as long as the kingdom of Judah lasted, or until the captivity of Babylon. But this seems not to be true, for Simeon was gone into captivity with the rest of the ten tribes long before that time. Or rather,

2. Of David himself. And this may seem to be added, because some 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:
No text from Poole on this verse.

And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah,
These and the rest here following are particularly mentioned for their valiant and successful achievements, related 1 Chronicles 4:39, &c.

And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,
No text from Poole on this verse.

And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;
No text from Poole on this verse.

These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.
These named 1 Chronicles 4:34-37.

The house of their fathers increased greatly which forced them to seek for new and larger habitations.

And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.
To the entrance of Gedor, to that country that belongs to Gedor, or borders upon it; either that Gedor, Joshua 15:58, or that called Gederah, Joshua 15:36.

Unto the east side of the valley; of which See Poole "1 Samuel 17:2,52".

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.
They of Ham, i.e. the posterity of that cursed Ham; either the Arabians; or the Canaanites or Philistines, who descended from Ham, Genesis 10:6. And accordingly these words contain a reason, either,

1. To prove that the land was good; because the Arabians, who, being wholly given to pasturage, used to find out the choicest grounds, had formerly pitched their tents there. Or,

2. 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 and command to expel.

Had dwelt there of old, i.e. had possessed it of old and hitherto. Or, dwelt there before, i.e. before they came and cast them out of their possessions.

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.
In the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; but a little before their captivity, which was in the sixth year of Hezekiah, 2Ki 17. So their joy in their new, and pleasant, and fruitful possessions lasted but for a very little while.

Smote their tents, i.e. the people dwelling in tents; for so it seems these still did for the conveniency of pasturage.

Destroyed them utterly unto this day, i.e. so as 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.
Some went to Mount Seir; probably about the same time.

And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.
The rest of the Amalekites; not destroyed by Saul, or David, or his successors.

Unto this day; either,

1. Until the captivity of the ten tribes. But that happening so speedily after this time, this expression may seem to be very improper and insignificant here. Or rather,

2. Until the Babylonish captivity, or the time next after it, when these books were written. For although the main body of that tribe 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.

Matthew Poole's Commentary

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