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Deeper Commentary

1Ch 4:1 The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal-
Again, "sons of" is being used in a broad sense of 'descendants of', as Hezron was the son of Perez (1 Chron. 2:5), and Shobal was the son of Hur (1 Chron. 2:50).


1Ch 4:2 Reaiah the son of Shobal became the father of Jahath; and Jahath became the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites-
In 1 Chron. 2:53 the Zorathites appear to be people who lived in Zorah, rather than a descendant of a person called Zerah or Zorah.


1Ch 4:3 These were the sons of the father of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi-
Whenever a woman is specifically mentioned in these genealogies, it appears she is worthy of particular significance. But we my be reading here of names of places, remembering that the 'daughters of' a town are the villages surrounding it. Etham was a town in Judah (2 Chron. 11:6). People and their towns appear to be united at times, making the genealogies even more difficult to follow from our distance. 


1Ch 4:4 and Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the founder of Bethlehem-
Ephratah was a woman mentioned in 1 Chron. 2:19,24. She is credited for founding the town which was later known as Bethlehem (Mic. 5:1).


1Ch 4:5 Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah-
The note of polygamy is again an example of spiritual weakness being recorded in the genealogies.


1Ch 4:6 Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah-
"Naarah" is the usual word for 'young woman' or 'girl'. Perhaps Ashhur came to despise the older wife (see on :7) and married a youngster, whom he continued to call "the girl". His marriage doesn't sound very happy. Polygamy led to no pleasure for him in real terms.


1Ch 4:7 The sons of Helah were Zereth, Izhar and Ethnan-
"Helah" is the usual word translated "scum", and we wonder whether Ashhur called his wife this; for it would hardly have been her birth name. Again we have the theme of weak marriages. Ashhur didn't find any joy in his polygamy but rather came to bitterly despise one of his wives.


1Ch 4:8 Hakkoz became the father of Anub, Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum-
Hakkoz is introduced abruptly, as we find at times happens in the genealogies. But in the context, he must have had some connection with the tribe and inheritance of Judah, and the names mentioned must have been significant to the exiles or whoever was the primary audience of the genealogies.


1Ch 4:9 Jabez was more honourable than his brothers: and his mother named him Jabez saying, Because I bore him with sorrow-
The idea is "But his mother had named him Jabez", meaning 'he brings sorrow'. This is the classic case of the underdog rising up to honour through his faith in God. Hence Jabez prays that he would not bring sorrow (:10), but rather have God's hand with him to enlarge his border, to the joy of others and God's glory. We are all to some extent in some way born under a bad sign, some more visibly than others, i.e. we have many factors against us, bad cards dealt, it seems, by the hand of fortune. But these need not hold us back. That is the inspiration of the example of Jabez. We can rise above all that; see on :13.  


1Ch 4:10 Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that it not be to my sorrow! God granted him that which he requested-
See on :9. Jabez just appears on the scene in :9, not "the son of" anyone. His calling "on the God of Israel" may mean he was a Gentile, who through faith came to be associated with the tribe of Judah. Which is why he is mentioned at this point in the genealogy of Judah. He asked that he too would be blessed as a seed of Abraham, who were to be blessed and "multiplied" (s.w. "enlarge"). I noted on :9 that Jabez had the spiritual ambition to rise up above the ties that apparently bind. The land was divided up by God amongst the tribes. But he had the spiritual ambition to ask that his allotment be enlarged. And as we see from comparing the various descriptions of the land's boundaries, the allotments were indeed negotiable and were changed by God over time in accordance with Israel's spiritual ambition. The only other reference to Yahweh's hands being with man is in fulfilment of His promises (Ps. 89:21). This incident is an example of where occasionally there are implications of spiritual strength in the records, amidst many hints of spiritual weakness. The targum on :13 claims that Jabez is Othniel, the nephew of Caleb.

This gives an example of using previous Angelic promises and preparatory work in order to achieve an act of faith. Some of the children of Judah later requested that their border be enlarged, at the expense of driving out neighbouring Canaanite tribes. "Jabez called on the God of Israel (an Angelic term), saying, Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed (a reference back to the Angelic blessing of Abraham's seed with the promise of possession of the land?), and enlarge my coast, and that Thine hand (an Angelic phrase) 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. In passing, is this the basis of "deliver us from evil... (i e.) lead us not into (spiritual) temptation" in the Lord's prayer? In that case our sins are being likened to the tribes  which  Jabez  drove out in faith, and we should believe that our Angel has driven our sins out for us in prospect, so that we might inherit the promises.


1Ch 4:11 Chelub the brother of Shuhah became the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton-
This could be the Shuhah of 1 Chron. 2:3; Gen. 38:2.


1Ch 4:12 Eshton became the father of Beth Rapha, Paseah and Tehinnah the father of Ir Nahash. These are the men of Recah-
I have mentioned earlier that people and places appear confused in the genealogies. This appears confusing to modern readers, but the Hebrew audience would have understood the connection between a person and his living place; hence a town had 'daughters', an idiom referring to inhabitants or surrounding villages. And this verse seems an example of this. 'Beth Rapha', house of the giant, seems a typical example.


1Ch 4:13 The sons of Kenaz: Othniel, and Seraiah. The son of Othniel: Hathath-
This may be mentioned at this point because it could be that Jabez of :10 was the original name of Othniel, but he changed his name to Othniel, "force of God", because he had seen God acting with such force in response to his own desire to rise above all the things implied in his birth name.  


1Ch 4:14 Meonothai became the father of Ophrah: and Seraiah became the father of Joab the father of Ge Harashim; for they were craftsmen-
AV "the father of the valley of Charashim" suggests that as discussed on :12, we are reading of towns and geographical areas which came to be the names of people. The same thing is reflected in the Anglo Saxon surnames which are also place names, "London", "Essex", "Wales" etc.


1Ch 4:15 The sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh: Iru, Elah and Naam; and the son of Elah: Kenaz-
Othniel is called the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother (Jud. 1:13). This would be possible once we understand the wide elasticity of the Hebrew terms "son of" and "brother".

1Ch 4:16 The sons of Jehallelel: Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel-
Ziph was a town in southern Judah (1 Sam. 23:15,19). The reference may therefore be to where the sons of Jehallelel came to settle.

1Ch 4:17 The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon; and she bore Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa-
It is unclear who the "she" refers to, and it may be possible to connect this sentence with the Bithia of :18. Eshtemoa may refer to the town in Judah of that name; see on :12.


1Ch 4:18 His wife the Jewess bore Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soco and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. These are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took-

See on :17. "His wife" would refer to Mered, and Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh is called "the Jewess" because she married Mered from Judah, and was totally accepted as a Jewess, having totally identified with Judah and the hope of Israel. The obvious daughter of Pharaoh whom we think of was the one who saved Moses. Perhaps she, like Moses, resigned from the wealth of Pharaoh and went to live with the Hebrew slaves, and married Mered, a man of Judah. And she renamed herself to Bithiah, "daughter of Yah"- rather than daughter of Pharaoh. She had a daughter called Miriam (:17), which is corroborating evidence for the idea that she was the princess who saved Moses and from the Nile and spoke with Miriam, sister of Moses, at the time. This was one of the most amazing conversions of all Biblical history; but we would never know it, were it not for the Chronicles genealogies. But "Mered" means 'rebel', the word used of Israel's rebellions against Yahweh in the wilderness. It could be that for all her outstanding devotion to Yahweh, the man she married was not worthy of her, and died in rebellion against Yahweh in the wilderness. She will be one we look forward to meeting in the Kingdom. 


1Ch 4:19 The sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham, were the fathers of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite-
Keilah and Eshtemoa were both towns in Judah, and there may be a geographical reference here as discussed on :12.


1Ch 4:20 The sons of Shimon: Amnon, Rinnah, Ben Hanan and Tilon. The sons of Ishi: Zoheth and Ben Zoheth-
We see how the son of Zoheth ["Ben Zoheth"] was counted as a son of Ishi, although he was his grandson. Again we see the elasticity of the phrase "son of" in Hebrew.

1Ch 4:21 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah: Er the father of Lecah, Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of those who worked fine linen, of the house of Ashbea-
Er was slain by Yahweh for gross wickedness (1 Chron. 2:3). It seems his brother Shelah called his own son Er in memory of his slain brother, perhaps suggesting his disagreement with Yahweh's judgment. Lecah and Mareshah are place names (see on :12).


1Ch 4:22 and Jokim, the men of Cozeba, Joash and Saraph, who had dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. The records are ancient-
"Had dominion" can also mean 'married'. Perhaps this is another record of marriage to Gentiles, reflecting the continual and widespread spiritual weakness of God's people. "Jashubilehem" could be translated "who returned to Bethlehem", and this creates a parallel with the family of Naomi; they too married in Moab but returned to Bethlehem. The idea would then be that situations repeat in and between human lives, that we might learn from spiritual history and the hand of God in human history.


1Ch 4:23 These were the potters, and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah where they lived and worked for the king-
The reference may be to those who worked in preparation of things for the temple in Solomon's time (1 Kings 7:46).

1Ch 4:24 The sons of Simeon: Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah and Shaul-
"The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, Jamin... and Shaul"; but Gen. 46:10 shows that Shaul was Simeon's son by a wrong, casual relationship. Yet this is not recorded in Chronicles, even though so many other weaknesses are. Surely this is to demonstrate how if God imputes righteousness for a repented of sin, there really is no record of this kept by Him. This and other such lessons from Chronicles only come from digging under the surface.

1Ch 4:25 Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son-
The record in Num. 26 implies these were the sons through Shaul. But Shaul was the one born from a wrong, casual relationship with a Gentile (Gen. 46:10). But it was through this that Simeon's line is considered as continuing. Again we see God's working through human weakness, and the fact that Israel were not at all ethnically pure.


1Ch 4:26 The sons of Mishma: Hammuel his son, Zaccur his son, Shimei his son-
"Zaccur" is the word for "remember" often used in the restoration narratives (Neh. 1:8 etc.). Remember that these genealogies were rewritten for the exiles. 


1Ch 4:27 Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers didn’t have many children, neither did all their family multiply like the children of Judah-
Israel's sinfulness seems to be emphasized in 'interruptions' in the flowing list of names. Thus it is sometimes stressed that a man did not have many children (e.g. 1 Chron. 2:4,6,16,32,34; 4:27), as if to indicate that God's blessing was not with him (there seems an undoubted connection in Old Testament times between blessing and number of sons). 


1Ch 4:28 They lived at Beersheba, Moladah and Hazarshual-
Beersheba was in Judah, but had been given to Simeon as a shared inheritance (Josh. 19:1,2).


1Ch 4:29 and at Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad-
These are the same 13 cities with five accompanying "cities" / villages (:32) as in Josh. 19:1-9. 

1Ch 4:30 Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag-
These towns were all associated with David, and he sent presents of the Amalekite spoil to them (1 Sam. 30:26-31). It seems he wanted them under the control of Judah not Simeon.


1Ch 4:31 Beth Marcaboth and Hazar Susim, Beth Biri and at Shaaraim. These were their cities to the reign of David-
The implication could be that David tended towards a policy of 'Judah for the men of Judah', and the agreement that Simeonites could live in Judah was then not honoured. This was to come to full term in the tragic division of the kingdom in the next generation.


1Ch 4:32 Their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen and Ashan, five cities-
The parable of the pounds describes the reward of the faithful in terms of being given ten or five cities (Lk. 19:17). This idea of dividing up groups of cities was surely meant to send the mind back to the way Israel in their wilderness years were each promised their own individual cities and villages, which they later inherited. The idea of inheriting "ten cities" occurs in Josh. 15:57; 21:5,26; 1 Chron. 6:61 (all of which are in the context of the priests receiving their cities), and " five cities" in 1 Chron. 4:32. As each Israelite was promised some personal inheritance in the land, rather than some blanket reward which the while nation received, so we too have a personal reward prepared. The language of inheritance (e.g. 1 Pet. 1:4) and preparation of reward (Mt. 25:34; Jn. 14:1) in the NT is alluding to this OT background of the land being prepared by the Angels for Israel to inherit (Ex. 15:17 Heb.; 23:20; Ps. 68:9,10 Heb.) . We must be careful not to think that our promised inheritance is only eternal life; it is something being personally prepared for each of us. The language of preparation seems inappropriate if our reward is only eternal life.


1Ch 4:33 and all their villages that were around the same cities, to Baal. These were their habitations, and they have their genealogy-
Baal is Baalath Beer (Josh. 19:8). Ezra 2:62 records Judah being ‘reckoned by genealogies’, using the same Hebrew word which is the hallmark of 1 Chron. (4:33; 5:1,7,17; 7:5,7,9,40; 9:1,22). And in this context, Is. 40:26 compares God’s ‘bringing out’ of Judah from Babylon with His ‘bringing out’ the stars by their individual names, all wonderfully known to Him. Ps. 87:6 had prophesied something similar about the restoration of Zion’s fortunes: “The LORD shall count, when He writes up the people, that this man was born there”. The Kingdom of God was to be the restoration of Israel’s Kingdom- but they had to actually get on and restore it rather than wait for it to come. This is another reason for understanding Ezekiel’s temple as being broadly of the same dimensions as that of Solomon. 


1Ch 4:34 Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah the son of Amaziah-
We now have a list of 13 leaders of Simeon who went looking for new territory. These 13 may have been the leaders of the Simeonite communities in the 13 towns in Judah just listed, where the Simeonites had been allowed to live. But it seems they were effectively expelled from those towns by Judah, although they were allowed to live there according to Josh. 19:1-9. And so they went looking for new territory.


1Ch 4:35 Joel, Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel-
The names of these Simeonite leaders are nearly all spiritual and include the name of Yahweh. It would have been wrong to exclude them from the inheritance in Judah which they had been specifically allowed (:34).


1Ch 4:36 and Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah-
Jeshohaiah ("Yah will empty") and Jesimiel ("Yah will place") could be seen as names expressing faith that God would provide for these displaced Simeonites, and place them in a new inheritance. These men and their faith is being held up to the exiles as their pattern. For in essence they were in a similar situation.


1Ch 4:37 Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah-
We wonder why this one of the 13 Simeonite leaders has his genealogy traced back five generations, unlike the others mentioned.


1Ch 4:38 these mentioned by name were princes in their families; and their fathers’ houses increased greatly-
They therefore needed more land, and as discussed on :34, they were effectively pushed out of the special allotment given them within the tribe of Judah. So there was a desperate need to find land.


1Ch 4:39 They went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks-
A territory called "Gedor" which matches the description in :40 is hard to locate. So we may consider LXX "Gerar". This was then under Philistine control but was taken from them in Asa's time (2 Chron. 14:14). However this doesn't seem to fit the description of the land as "peaceable" in :40, and :41 says they took this land in Hezekiah's time.


1Ch 4:40 They found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, quiet and peaceable; for those who lived there before were of Ham-
Perhaps the Simeonites' determination to find and enjoy their inheritance was presented as inspirational to the exiles, who likewise were promised a land of "fat pasture" at the restoration- if they too believed and acted in faith (s.w. Ez. 34:14). Likewise a quiet and peaceable land was promised at the restoration (s.w. Jer. 30:10; Zech. 1:11).


1Ch 4:41 These written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and attacked their tents, and the Meunim who were found there, and destroyed them utterly to this day, and lived in their place; because there was pasture there for their flocks-
This could suggest that these genealogies were initially written up in the time of Hezekiah, perhaps explaining his regret that he was to die with no descendant; although they were rewritten at the time of the exiles. The motivation however was not to drive out the pagans from Yahweh's land, but because there was pasture there for their flocks. The question of why we wish to inherit the Kingdom must be capable of a genuine, spiritual answer; rather than a materialistic and fleshly one.


1Ch 4:42 Some of them, even of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to Mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi-
Because of their lack of land and removal from the inheritance within Judah they were promised in Josh. 19:1-9, they had to find and make the effort to inherit some new land. They are thereby an example to the exiles, for whom these genealogies were rewritten [under Divine inspiration]. These captains all have God's Name within their names, perhaps meant to imply that they did what they did in faith.


1Ch 4:43 They struck the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day
-
Saul was empowered to smite the Amalakites but he didn't completely do this (s.w. 1 Sam. 15:3,7). As often happens, God then passed on the job to another, firstly David (2 Sam. 1:1), and now to these sons of Simeon. We can see His hand working in similar ways today. This seems to be the idea of Esther 4:14. If she had not saved her people, then God would have pursued another plan to the same end.