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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

1 Chronicles 4

Verses 1-23

1 Chronicles 2:3

Author’s Note: Verses 1 through 23 were studied in connection with chapter 2, which see.

Verses 24-43

Tribe of Simeon, Verses 24-43

The ultimate destiny of the tribe of Simeon is one of the enigmas of the Scriptures. Originally they seem to have been kind of forgotten in the division of the land after the conquest of Canaan. While the other tribes were apportioned lots from the vanquished territory Simeon was given cities within the allotment of Judah (Joshua 19:1-9). The cities and villages assigned to them were in the far southern area around Beer­sheba, the most notable of the places they received.

They were never a strong tribe, seeming to be dominated by Judah among whom they dwelled (see Judges 1:3). They were one of the largest tribes at the first numbering in the wilderness, but had dwindled to become the smallest, for some unknown reason, by the time of the second census (cf. Numbers 1:23; Numbers 26:14). In all the history of Israel there are mentioned no prominent persons of this tribe. Although their failure to multiply greatly is noted in verse 27, the persons named in the genealogy are called "princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly" (verse 38). This is evidently a comparative statement with regard to the families other than those of the princes.

One of the greatest enigmas. concerning Simeon is what happened to the tribe after the division of the kingdom. The northern kingdom is also referred to as the kingdom of the ten tribes, which would necessitate the inclusion of Simeon, since Benjamin remained with Judah in the southern kingdom. Some commentators believe Simeon was so scattered by that time as to have lost its tribal identity, which would be in keeping with the prediction of Jacob that the tribe, along with Levi, would be scattered in Israel (Genesis 49:7).

There is an indication that they were indeed scattered widely in the historical footnotes of verses 39-43. The "entrance of Gedor" is an evident reference to the frontier of a southern area, the definite location of which is unknown. It was a land of valleys and green pastures, formerly inhabited by a Hamitic people. Some of the Simeonites came there during the reign of Hezekiah, destroyed the inhabitants and possessed their land. Five hundred men of this tribe also migrated into the land of Mount Seir, where the Amalekite remnant from the war with King Saul (1 Samuel 15:1 ff) then dwelled. They destroyed these and were still living there at the time of the writing of the Chronicles.

Some lessons: 1) Even most persons of great prestige and position are forgotten with time; 2) God kept His promise to preserve the sons of David to the time of Christ’s birth; 3) God’s word does not intend to satisfy one’s curiosity about some events and persons related therein.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-chronicles-4.html. 1985.