Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third,
Verses 1, 2. - These verses give five sons to Benjamin. Of the non-appearance of Becher here (1 Chronicles 7:6) and the appearance of Ashbel in his place, also of the non-appearance here of Jediael (1 Chronicles 7:6) and the appearance of Aharah (i.q. Ahiram, Numbers 26:38) in his place, notice has been taken on 1 Chronicles 7:6-12. Of the two additions to the sons of Benjamin here, viz. Nohah and Rapha, nothing is known elsewhere; yet it may be possible to count five families from Numbers 26:38, 39.
Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.
And the sons of Bela were, Addar, and Gera, and Abihud,
Vers. 3-5 - Nine sons are here assigned to Bela. Genesis (Genesis 44:41) only finds us clearly three of them, and these in very different order, viz. Gera, Naaman, and Arel; and Numbers (Numbers 26:39, 40) finds us only three, viz. Ard, Naaman, and Shupham. Yet our Huram may correspond with Hupham, and then the four pairs of names - Shephuphan and Huram, Shupham and Hupham, Shuppim and Huppim, and Muppim and Huppim - may be interpreted as designating one and the same couple of persons. The recurrence of the name Gera in ver. 5, so close upon the same name in ver. 3, would of course be more remarkable, and point inevitably to the disordered state of the text, if it were necessary to suppose that these nine persons were really brothers, as well as called sons of Bela.
And Abishua, and Naaman, and Ahoah,
And Gera, and Shephuphan, and Huram.
And these are the sons of Ehud: these are the heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Geba, and they removed them to Manahath:
Verses 6, 7. - Ehud. We are brought to a halt again by the sudden introduction of this name. Even if it stand for Abihud (ver. 3) or for Ahoah (ver. 4), why is it changed in so short an interval? It is impossible to establish order in these verses except by most gratuitous conjecture. But it may be supposed that the verses say that Ehud's people once belonged to Manahath, that the heads of them removed them to Geba (Joshua 18:24), and that he himself (query, Ehud? but commonly read Gera) removed them, and also Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera (which look very much like the Naaman, Ahoah, and Gera of vers. 4, 5); and finally that after the removing "he" had two fresh sons, Uzza and Ahihud.
And Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera, he removed them, and begat Uzza, and Ahihud.
And Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab, after he had sent them away; Hushim and Baara were his wives.
Verse 8. - Shaharaim. It has been proposed, in the utter obscurity here, to add this name as a third to Uzza and Ahihud. This may be a way out, but if so, instead of repeating "and Shaharaim," it might be more natural to keep the former enigmatic nominative and object to begat, whether Ehud or Gera. There can be little doubt that a copyist's error has given us them (אֹתָם) in place of אֶת, in the latter part of this verse, before the names of the wives. The sentence then would translate, "after his sending away [whether by divorce or not] Hushim and Baara his wives."
And he begat of Hodesh his wife, Jobab, and Zibia, and Mesha, and Malcham,
Verses 9-11. - These verses give seven unknown sons of Ehud, Gera, or Shaharaim, as the case may be, by the wife Hodesh, whom one would have been glad to identify with Baara, and two unknown sons of the wife Hushim.
And Jeuz, and Shachia, and Mirma. These were his sons, heads of the fathers.
And of Hushim he begat Abitub, and Elpaal.
The sons of Elpaal; Eber, and Misham, and Shamed, who built Ono, and Lod, with the towns thereof:
Verses 12-28. - One of the sons of this last-named wife, Hushim, was named Elpaal. From ver. 12 to ver. 28 we have a numerous list of his descendants, evidently in different degrees of relationship, but with the thread picked up apparently several times, in the persons of the first-mentioned "sons," viz. the five, Eber, Misham, Shamed, Beriah, Shema (see vers. 16, 18, 21, 25, 27). Verse 12. - Ono and Lod. These places are not mentioned in Joshua as originally assigned to Benjamin. They were obtained or "built" afterwards. They are first mentioned in this passage, afterwards in Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 6:2; Nehemiah 7:37; Nehemiah 11:36. Led is, with little doubt, the Lydda of Acts 9:32.
Beriah also, and Shema, who were heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove away the inhabitants of Gath:
Verse 13. - Aijalon. A similar kind of history belongs to this place. It was assigned to Dan (Joshua 19:40-48). Unsubdued by them (Judges 1:34-36), the Ephraimites possessed it awhile (1 Chronicles 6:47-49), until it came to be more like the common property or care of Benjamin and Judah, situated as it was on their boundary line (1 Samuel 14:31; 2 Chronicles 11:10; 2 Chronicles 28:18).
And Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth,
And Zebadiah, and Arad, and Ader,
And Michael, and Ispah, and Joha, the sons of Beriah;
And Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hezeki, and Heber,
Ishmerai also, and Jezliah, and Jobab, the sons of Elpaal;
And Jakim, and Zichri, and Zabdi,
And Elienai, and Zilthai, and Eliel,
And Adaiah, and Beraiah, and Shimrath, the sons of Shimhi;
And Ishpan, and Heber, and Eliel,
And Abdon, and Zichri, and Hanan,
And Hananiah, and Elam, and Antothijah,
And Iphedeiah, and Penuel, the sons of Shashak;
And Shamsherai, and Shehariah, and Athaliah,
And Jaresiah, and Eliah, and Zichri, the sons of Jeroham.
These were heads of the fathers, by their generations, chief men. These dwelt in Jerusalem.
And at Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon; whose wife's name was Maachah:
Verses 29-40. - These verses are occupied with the immediate ancestors and posterity of Saul. And apparently the same account, minus some of its deficiencies, is repeated in the next chapter, vers. 35-44. The two may be taken together here, and the latter will help the interpretation of the former. Verse 29. - The father - i.e, the chief - of Gibeon. (For Gibeon, see Joshua 9:3, 7-18; Joshua 10:2; Joshua 11:19; Nehemiah 7:25; Nehemiah 3:7.) The father of Gibeon (1 Chronicles 9:35) was Jehiel (יְעִיאֵל; Chethiv spells with vau; not יְחִיאֵל, 1 Chronicles 15:24). Of Jehiel by this name we do not elsewhere read. And even if it were on other grounds possible to identify the person with the Abiel of 1 Samuel 9:1 and 1 Sam 14:51, it is not possible to identify the names. Compare the similar remarkable omission of the name of the "father of Gibea" (1 Chronicles 2:49), an omission to be filled very possibly by this same name Jehiel.
And his firstborn son Abdon, and Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Nadab,
Verses 30, 31. - These verses contain the names of eight sons of Jehiel instead of the ten of 1 Chronicles 9:36, 37. Both of the missing names, however (viz. Ner after Baal, and Mikloth after Zacher), are introduced in verses immediately succeeding, where their sons are spoken cf. One name, Zacher, also is spelt as Zechariah in 1 Chronicles 9:37. Both these passages agree in representing Net as the grandfather of Saul. Not so the two passages in Samuel (1 Samuel 9:1; 1 Samuel 14:51), the first of which writes Abiel in the place of the grandfather instead of great-grandfather, which, however, need occasion little difficulty; and the second of which would certainly allow Ner to be grandfather to Saul, but seems to call him uncle. Even then, if we accept what the passage allows, it is somewhat remarkable that in the next verse Ner should be signalized as father of Abner rather than of Kish - a difficulty, however, much less considerable if we accept the suggestion (see 'Speaker's Commentary,' in loc.) to translate ver. 51 thus, by the substitution of the word "sons" for "son:" "And Kish the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner, were sons of Abiel." It must be remembered at the same time that this is not equivalent to saying that they were necessarily brothers, but only descendants of the chief of the family, of the Demarch or Phylarch under mention in the genealogy.
And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zacher.
And Mikloth begat Shimeah. And these also dwelt with their brethren in Jerusalem, over against them.
And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat Saul, and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
Verses 33, 34. - The number of Saul's children was certainly nine. In addition to the four (1 Samuel 31:2) mentioned here, there was Ishui, probably standing second (1 Samuel 14:49), and there were two daughters, Merab and Michal (1 Samuel 14:49), and there were two sons by Rizpah (2 Samuel 21:8), named Armoui and Mephi-bosheth. Esh-baal; the same with Ishbo-sheth (2 Samuel 2:8; 2 Samuel 3:7-14; 2 Samuel 4:4-12). Merib-baal; the same with Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:12). Micah is, therefore, the great-grandson of Saul.
And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah.
And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and Ahaz.
Verse 35. - Tarea; spelt Tahrea in ver. 41 of next chapter. Ahaz, the last of the four names contained in this verse, is supplied in italics, Authorized Version, next chapter, ver. 41.
And Ahaz begat Jehoadah; and Jehoadah begat Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza,
Verse 36. - Jehoadah. The parallel passage in next chapter (ver. 42) has Jarah; but some manuscripts have Jahdah (יַעְדָּה), which comes very near our Jehoadah (יִהועַדָּה). Zimri. It is possible that this Zimri may rightly be identified with the usurper Zimri of 1 Kings 16:9-20.
And Moza begat Binea: Rapha was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son:
Verse 37. - Rapha. This name appears as Rephaiah in next chapter (ver. 43).
And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel.
Verses 38-40. - The genealogy runs on from Micah to Ulam with nothing special to remark upon. Ulam is twelfth from Saul, while his "sons and sons' sons" (ver. 40) are spoken cf. The time of Hezekiah must be reached, therefore, who was thirteenth from David. The table of next chapter stops with the name Azel (1 Chronicles 9:44), and wears the appearance of having just missed the last two verses of this chapter.
And the sons of Eshek his brother were, Ulam his firstborn, Jehush the second, and Eliphelet the third.
Verse 39. - The name Ulam is found also among the descendants of Gilead, grandson of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 7:17).
And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sons' sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.