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Bible Commentaries

Gaebelein's Annotated Bible

1 Chronicles 4

Verses 1-23

CHAPTER 4:1-23 Additional Genealogies of Judah

1. The sons of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:1-8 )

2. Jabez more honorable (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 )

3. Further descendants of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:11-20 )

4. Descendants of Shelah (1 Chronicles 4:21-23 )

Hur and Shobal, mentioned in the first verse, were the sons of Caleb the son of Hezron. The families of the Zorathites sprang from Reaiah, the son of Shobal. Jabez is especially mentioned. Jabez means “He causes pain.” “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.” The occasion when this prayer-vow was uttered is not given; probably it was made in connection with the expulsion of the Canaanites from the land and the acquisition of their territory. It was a simple prayer of childlike faith. For blessing, for increase, for companionship and for preservation Jabez cast himself upon the God of Israel, and He granted him his request. Blessing came to Jabez’s soul; his coast was enlarged; the hand of the Lord was with him and kept him from evil. God never disappoints faith.

Then we have mentioned in this chapter the craftsmen; Geharashim (verse 14) means “valley of the craftsmen”; the workers in fine linen (verse 21); and those who were potters (verse 23).

Verses 24-43

3. Simeon, Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh

CHAPTERS 4:24-5:26

1. The sons of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:24-43 )

2. The sons of Reuben (1 Chronicles 5:1-10 )

3. The children of Gad and half Manasseh (1 Chronicles 5:11-26 )

The account of the Simeonites is interesting. Some of their families had increased so much that they had no pasture for their flocks. Some went then to Gedor and found fat pasture and quietness. Others went to Mount Seir, and five hundred of them smote the Amalekites.

Reuben was the firstborn, and the Chronicles state briefly why Reuben was not mentioned first in these genealogies. His birthright was given to the sons of Joseph. Judah, however, had the preeminence, “of him came the prince.” This refers to David and to Him who came from him after the flesh, Messiah the Prince. The Syriac version makes this paraphrase, “of Judah is the King, the Messiah.” In verse 6 Tiglath-pileser is mentioned. (Not Tiglath-pilneser; it is an erroneous spelling.) He carried away Beerah, the Prince of the Reubenites.

The Hagarites, mentioned in verse 10, were no doubt the descendants of Hagar through Ishmael. They were nomads, who wandered over the desert lands of the trans-Jordan territory. The tribe of Gad occupied the lands north of Reuben and eastward from the Jordan to the desert. The genealogies of the chiefs mentioned here were compiled during the reign of Jotham of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel (verse 17). Another war with the Hagarites is recorded in verses 18-22. (Some take that this is the same war mentioned in verse 10.) Here prayer is mentioned again. “They cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him.” The Lord delights to record those who trust in Him.

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Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/1-chronicles-4.html. 1913-1922.