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Deeper Commentary

1Ch 2:1 These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun-
This list is not by order of birth, but is split up according to the mothers. It begins with the six sons of the first wife Leah; then the older son of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah; the two sons of the favourite wife Rachel; the other son of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah; and finally the two sons of Zilpah, handmaid of Leah.

1Ch 2:2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher-
We note the inclusion of Dan in the list when he is later excluded in such lists. At this point, the genealogy is a statement of fact rather than theological interpretation.

1Ch 2:3 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan and Shelah; which three were born to him of Shua’s daughter the Canaanitess. Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of Yahweh; and He killed him-
More detail will be given to the children of Judah, because these genealogies were written up for the exiles of Judah in Babylon. And the descendants of Judah are given first. But lest there be any idea that Judah was somehow spiritually superior, the genealogy starts with a clear recollection that Judah was far from a spiritual man. 

1Ch 2:4 Tamar his daughter-in-law bore him Perez and Zerah. All the sons of Judah were five-
Gen. 38:29 gives the background: "It happened, as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out, and she said, Why have you made a breach for yourself? Therefore his name was called Perez". The theme of the second born being the chosen one continues. It was accepted that Perez was the one in the line of the Messianic seed and that this pregnancy was of God (Ruth 4:12), even though he was not technically the firstborn. "Made a breach" is literally 'to spread abroad', and is the word used in the promises of how the Messianic seed was to break forth or spread abroad (Gen. 28:14).

1Ch 2:5 The sons of Perez: Hezron, and Hamul-
"Hamul" means 'The one who was spared', which rather suggests he too had sinned like Er and Onan, but was spared by grace. Again, we hardly get a very positive spiritual impression of Jacob's family. They were saved by grace.

1Ch 2:6 The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Dara; five of them in all-
Calcol and the other names mentioned in 1 Kings 4:31 as wise men are all mentioned in 1 Chron. 2:6 as sons of Zerah, men of Judah. The idea of 1 Kings 4:30,31 is that Solomon's wisdom exceeded that of famous Gentile wise men, and also of the wise men of Judah. "Ethan the Ezrahite" of 1 Kings 4:31 and Ps. 89:31 is this Ethan; "Ezrahite" is "Zarhite", or descendant of Zerah.   

1Ch 2:7 The sons of Carmi: Achar the troubler of Israel, who committed a trespass in the devoted thing-
This is alluded to in Prov. 15:27: "He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house". The initial reference would be to Achan who loved and coveted wealth and thereby troubled Israel and his own house (s.w. 1 Chron. 2:7).

1Ch 2:8 The son of Ethan: Azariah-
The wise spiritual man (see on :6) had but one son , "Yah has helped". Perhaps that was enough for him, or maybe this is the one son who was faithful.

1Ch 2:9 The sons also of Hezron, who were born to him: Jerahmeel, Ram and Chelubai-
The descendants of the younger brother Ram are given first because they include David. "Chelubai" is “Caleb” (:42).

1Ch 2:10 Ram became the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, prince of the children of Judah-
Amminadab, the generous kinsman like Boaz (see on Ruth 4:19), had a descendant called Nahshon, meaning 'snake'. The abrupt juxtaposition is so that we understand that spirituality is not at all inherited genetically. It is a case of consciously choosing to follow good examples.

1Ch 2:11 and Nahshon became the father of Salma, and Salma became the father of Boaz-
Mt. 1:5 says that Salmon ["Salma"] had Boaz by Rahab. Yet Rahab lived some time earlier. I therefore suggest that Salmon was the ancestor of Boaz [not the literal father], through the child he had from Rahab. This is mentioned to highlight the fact that Boaz was descended from Rahab, and therefore was generous to the strangers and saw nothing wrong with a Moabitess marrying into the congregation of Yahweh.

1Ch 2:12 and Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse-
I noted on Ruth how the nameless relative of Ruth refused to redeem her lest he mar the inheritance for his sons. But that petty materialist remains anonymous, as will countless millions of others like him; whereas Boaz, who was prepared for love's sake to further divide his inheritance, goes down in perpetuity as the ancestor of David and the Lord Jesus.

1Ch 2:13 and Jesse became the father of his firstborn Eliab, Abinadab the second, Shimea the third-
His sons generally have spiritual names, surely reflective of his faith. This contrasts with the genealogy and names of the background family of Saul in 1 Chron. 8,9.

1Ch 2:14 Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth-
Raddai may be the Rei of 1 Kings 1:8, one of David's warriors.

1Ch 2:15 Ozem the sixth, David the seventh-
In 1 Chron. 2:15, David is placed seventh of seven sons, but elsewhere eighth of eight (1 Sam. 14:10,11; 17:12). Perhaps the eighth son was the Elihu of 1 Chron. 27:18. Or perhaps one of the sons died without children, and is therefore not included in 1 Chron. 2:15.

1Ch 2:16 and their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. The sons of Zeruiah: Abishai, Joab and Asahel, three-
David several times laments the hardness of heart to be seen in "the sons of Zeruiah". I assumed that Zeruiah was a man- until considering 1 Chron. 2:16, which says that Zeruiah was a sister of David. Joab was his nephew or cousin. The fact that the hardness of those three men seems to be associated with their mother would lead us to conclude that David's sister Zeruiah was an extremely hard woman. Her name "wounded" means that she may have been a hurt person who was therefore hard to everyone else. Inevitably there must have been strands of hardness in David too (consider his treatment of Uriah, his intended massacre of Nabal's encampment, torturing the Ammonites etc.); and yet more often than not, we get the impression that David was a real softy. His experience of life made him progressively more soft, whilst his sister and nephews went the other way. Truly could he comment towards the end of it all: "Your gentleness has made me great". We need to soberly consider the fact that we are either getting harder, or softer. There is no in between status. The softness and gentleness of the Lord Jesus, the great antitype of David, mixed as it was with that firmness of resolve and purpose (remember how He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem!) is surely something to really appreciate about Him, something to rise up to, to be truly inspired by.

1Ch 2:17 Abigail bore Amasa; and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite-
David's sister therefore had a relationship with a non Israelite. Again we see the theme of spiritual weakness in these genealogies. See on :18.

1Ch 2:18 Caleb the son of Hezron fathered children by Azubah his wife, and by Jerioth; and these were her sons: Jesher, Shobab and Ardon-
Heb. "took Azubah the wife of Jerioth"; as on :17,21 we have the theme of marital and sexual weakness in the family of Israel, and David in particular at this point. Hezron the grandson of Judah was one of those who went down into Egypt with Jacob (Gen. 46:12,26). Yet Caleb son of Jephuneh was 40 when the people left Egypt (Josh 14:7). So the Caleb in view is not the son of Jephuneh who spied out the land. 

1Ch 2:19 Azubah died, and Caleb took to him Ephrath, who bore him Hur-
Ephrath was the early name of David's home town of Bethlehem, named after a woman (cp. Mic. 5:1).

1Ch 2:20 Hur became the father of Uri, and Uri became the father of Bezalel-
This is the Bezaleel who helped make the tabernacle (Ex. 31:2). If Caleb of :19 is indeed the famous Caleb (but see on 1 Chron. 2:18), he was only 40 when he first spied out the land (Josh. 14:7), and Bezaleel was his grandson and made the tabernacle that same year. In this case Bezaleel was little more than a child. This would be typical of how God works through the weak and those considered inappropriate by men. He gave His Spirit to the young Bezaleel, who may have been only 12 years old, and through him built His dwelling place. We can be sure there would have been many older and experienced builders, who had worked for the Egyptian building projects, who would have been far more qualified in secular terms.

1Ch 2:21 Afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he took as wife when he was sixty years old; and she bore him Segub-
As on :17,18 we have the theme of marital and sexual weakness in the family of Israel, and David in particular at this point. From 1 Chron. 7:14 we learn that Machir was Manasseh’s oldest son by a Syrian, Gentile woman. It was the Divine intention that marriage should be within the tribes of Israel so as to keep the inheritance which God intended. But here we have Manasseh and Judah intermarrying.

1Ch 2:22 Segub became the father of Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead-
This is the judge of Jud. 10:3,4. Some claim that the Bible doesn't recognize genealogy through women, and find some problem in the Lord Jesus being descended from Abraham and David through a woman. But there are Biblical examples of genealogy being reckoned through a woman. We have one here. Jair's father was of the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 2:22); yet in Num. 32:41 he is described as "the son of Manasseh", showing that his mother must have been of the tribe of Manasseh. His descent was reckoned for some reason through his mother rather than his father.

1Ch 2:23 Geshur and Aram took the towns of Jair from them, with Kenath, and its villages, even sixty cities. All these were the sons of Machir the father of Gilead-
Heb. “the tent-villages of Jair"; "cities" is used not quite how the word is in modern English. The record of the loss of inheritance to Gentiles is again an example of spiritual weakness being recorded in the genealogies.

1Ch 2:24 After that Hezron was dead in Caleb Ephrathah, then Abijah Hezron’s wife bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa-
The sense of the Hebrew may be as in LXX “And after Hezron was dead Caleb went in to Ephrath [:19] his father Hezron’s wife and she bare him...”. Again, we are seeing the record of spiritual weakness, especially in the area of sexual relationships. Hur was Ephratah's firstborn (1 Chron. 4:4), so Ashhur would have been Hur's younger brother.

1Ch 2:25 The sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron were Ram the firstborn, Bunah, Oren, Ozem and Ahijah-
"Ozen and Ahijah" could be as LXX "Ozem his brother. Jerahmeel settled in the south of Judah (1 Chron. 27:10; 30:29).

1Ch 2:26 Jerahmeel had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam-
Again we note the record of weakness in the area of sexual relationships. The point is that out of all this background weakness there arose the people of Judah and David the man after God's own heart. We cannot blame bad background for our lack of spirituality.

1Ch 2:27 The sons of Ram the firstborn of Jerahmeel were Maaz, Jamin and Eker-
Eker" is s.w. Lev. 25:47, and may mean 'a transplanted person', as if this was an adopted Gentile son. All the genealogies, not least those of the Lord Jesus, make the point that there was much Gentile blood in "Israel"; they were identified as God's people by faith and culture, and not on ethnic grounds. 

1Ch 2:28 The sons of Onam were Shammai and Jada. The sons of Shammai: Nadab and Abishur-
"The sons of Shammai" is not in all the manuscripts, in which case Nadab and Abishur are two other sons of Onam.

1Ch 2:29 The name of the wife of Abishur was Abihail; and she bore him Ahban and Molid-
This unusual mention of the wife's name would imply special recognition of her. The Bible is remarkably respectful and inclusive of women when compared to contemporary writings.

1Ch 2:30 The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim; but Seled died without children-
To die without children was seen as a curse for unfaithfulness, so maybe this is yet another hint at the weakness of the Jewish fathers.

1Ch 2:31 The sons of Appaim: Ishi. The sons of Ishi: Sheshan. The sons of Sheshan: Ahlai-
In :34 we read that Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. Perhaps Ahlai had died by the point of summary given in :34. Or maybe "Ahlai" was a woman's name, and "sons" means 'descendants' rather than males [there are other examples of this].

1Ch 2:32 The sons of Jada the brother of Shammai: Jether and Jonathan; and Jether died without children-
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 2:33 The sons of Jonathan: Peleth and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel-
"Peleth", 'the one who fled', would suggest spiritual weakness; for it was only an Israel who had broken covenant who would flee before their enemies.

1Ch 2:34 Now Sheshan had no sons, but daughters-
See on :31.

Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Jarha-
Occasionally there are implications of spiritual strength in the records (e.g. 1 Chron. 4:10). And more than this; several times the apparent weaknesses of men are covered over by God's imputed righteousness, and because God saw the ultimate end. Thus Boaz's marriage to a Gentile is not recorded; simply "Boaz begat Obed" (1 Chron. 2:12), whereas others' marriage out of the faith is recorded in the same chapter (1 Chron. 2:3,34). In harmony with this theme of imputed righteousness, there is no mention of Dan in these genealogies of the tribes of Israel- because the serpent was his symbol? (Dan is likewise omitted in Rev. 7:4).

1Ch 2:35 Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant as wife; and she bore him Attai-
Sheshan was so desperate for a line of descendants that he gave his daughter to a Gentile to marry. Yet again, an indication of spiritual weakness. 

1Ch 2:36 Attai became the father of Nathan, and Nathan became the father of Zabad-
Possibly the Zabad who was one of the mighty men of David (1 Chron. 11:41).

1Ch 2:37 Zabad became the father of Ephlal, Ephlal became the father of Obed-
Zabad is in the 14th generation from the patriarch Judah, and this would make him roughly of the same generation as David. 

1Ch 2:38 Obed became the father of Jehu, Jehu became the father of Azariah-
"Obed", 'the servant', may mean that he was treated as a family servant because he was the youngest son, or that he was the son of a servant woman- again, an indication of spiritual weakness. And yet he had a son whom he named "Jehovah is he!" ('Jehu'). 

1Ch 2:39 Azariah became the father of Helez, Helez became the father of Eleasah-
We note in this line that the names are generally spiritual or include the 'Yah' prefix or suffix.

1Ch 2:40 Eleasah became the father of Sismai, Sismai became the father of Shallum-
It is hard to know with these Hebrew names whether they were really given at birth, or whether the person's subsequent character and life experience became the name by which they were known. The Hebrew concept of a 'name' would suggest the latter, and even in English, people were known by the name of 'shepherd' or 'smith' or 'joiner' because that was what they did in their lives. But see on :41,43.

1Ch 2:41 Shallum became the father of Jekamiah and Jekamiah became the father of Elishama-
Names like 'Yah will rise' ['Jekamiah'] and 'God of hearing' ['Elishama'] suggest these were names given at birth, in hope and thankfulness on the part of the parents; whereas other names apparently arose in reflection of the person's character and life experience. See on :40.

1Ch 2:42 The sons of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel were Mesha his firstborn, who was the father of Ziph. The son of Mareshah was Hebron-
The question is whether this is the same Caleb of the time of Joshua, who appears in view in :49 as the father of Achsah. But it could be a different Caleb, who also had a daughter called Achsah, in imitation of the earlier Caleb. I would think not, if this is the Caleb son of Hezron of :18. Hezron the grandson of Judah was one of those who went down into Egypt with Jacob (Gen. 46:12,26). Yet Caleb son of Jephuneh was 40 when the people left Egypt (Josh 14:7). So the Caleb in view is not the son of Jephuneh who spied out the land.  .

1Ch 2:43 The sons of Hebron: Korah, Tappuah, Rekem and Shema-
"Korah" means 'bald', and would support the suggestion made on :40 that some names reflect character and life experience, rather than the birth name given by the parents.

1Ch 2:44 Shema became the father of Raham, the father of Jorkeam; and Rekem became the father of Shammai-
Who would name a child "destructive" ['Shammai'] at birth? I suggest as on :40 that many of these names reflect character and life experience, rather than the birth name given by the parents. And this is the basis upon which we shall be given a unique name in the Kingdom age, only appreciated by us and the Father and Son.

1Ch 2:45 The son of Shammai was Maon; and Maon was the father of Beth Zur-
"Maon", 'residence', and Beth Zur ['house on a rock'] have homes as a common theme. We see the concerns of the family reflected in the choice of names over the generations.

1Ch 2:46 Ephah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Haran, Moza and Gazez; and Haran became the father of Gazez-
These records seem to stress the weakness and occasional strength of these children of God. This is one of the major lessons from Chronicles. Every now and then, the list of names is interrupted by a piece of information which indicates God's awareness of their spirituality. For example, the fact some men had more than one wife or a wife from a nation other than Israel is often recorded (1 Chron. 1:32; 2:3,26,35,48; 4:18; 5:1; 7:14; 8:8). The way these interruptions occur in the lists of names stands out. This is surely to indicate two things: that many faithful men (e.g. Abraham and Caleb, 1 Chron. 1:32; 2:46) made mistakes in this area of life, and secondly that all down the centuries God has not forgotten that they married out of the faith, or that they allowed the pressures of their surrounding world to influence them to break away from the ideal one man: one woman standard of Eden. These two facts provide us with both warning and comfort, in that although God is sensitive to failure, He is still able to justify men, to count them as if they are righteous for the sake of their covenant relationship with Him, even though (e.g.) their married life was not completely in order. Some of the names given to children seem to hint at a weakness in the parents. One wonders why Caleb called his illegitimate son "Haran", after the city which Abraham left behind in order to attain God's promises. .

1Ch 2:47 The sons of Jahdai: Regem, Jothan, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah and Shaaph-
"Jahdai" is about the closest Hebrew term for 'Judaism', literally a fullness of the things of Judah. We presume this person was one of the offspring of Caleb's various relationships with concubines. 

1Ch 2:48 Maacah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah-
"Maacah" means 'depressed', and gives weight to the suggestion discussed on :40 and elsewhere that Hebrew names were often a reflection of character and life experience, rather than the birth name given by the parents.

1Ch 2:49 She bore also Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbena, and the father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah-
This makes us think that this is the same Caleb of the time of Joshua, but it could be a different Caleb, who also had a daughter called Achsah, in imitation of the earlier Caleb. See on :18; although this may be a different Caleb.

1Ch 2:50 These were the sons of Caleb, the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah: Shobal the father of Kiriath Jearim-
The definition of "Caleb" is make complicated here because there appear to be men of the same name (see on :18), and one of them sought to imitate the earlier Caleb of Joshua's time (:49). 

1Ch 2:51 Salma the father of Bethlehem, Hareph the father of Beth Gader-
"Father" here may refer not to having literal children, but to being the founder of towns such as Bethlehem. This is made explicit in :52.

1Ch 2:52 Shobal the founder of Kiriath Jearim was the ancestor of the people Haroeh and half of the people of Menuhoth-
The text is difficult. It could be "Who provided for half the resting-places", as if Shobal set up the resting stations for the caravans which passed through the territory of Judah. Cp. similar details (cp. 1 Chron. 4:21-23). Seraiah was called 'Prince of the resting-places' (Jer. 51:59 Heb.). This may have been of interest to the exiles who may have stopped at these places on their journey into exile.

1Ch 2:53 The families of Kiriath Jearim: The Ithrites, Puthites, Shumathites and the Mishraites; of them came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites-
The faithful Ithrites (2 Sam. 23:38) were from Kirjath Jearim (1 Chron. 2:53), perhaps converted to a more spiritual outlook by the long presence of the ark amongst them (1 Sam. 7:2).

1Ch 2:54 The sons of Salma: Bethlehem and the Netophathites, Atroth Beth Joab, and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites-
Being a 'father' and having 'sons' here may refer not to having literal children, but to being the founder of towns such as Bethlehem. This is made explicit in :52. See there for another reading of the text "half of...". 

1Ch 2:55 The families of scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, the Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came of Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab
Jabez was a man from Judah (1 Chron. 4:9). The previous verses have been talking of the towns and settlements founded by men of Judah, so perhaps the idea is that he established a place for the scribes in his home area. The Rechabites were well known at the time of the exile (Jer. 35:2), and here we learn of their origin; as Gentiles from Hammath, Kenites, who came to live with the scribes in a place set up for them by Jabez. And they remained more faithful to the law than Israel did.