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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

1 Chronicles 4

Verse 1

The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.

The sons of Judah - i:e., the descendants, for with the exception of Pharez, none of those here noticed were his immediate sons. Indeed, the others are mentioned solely to introduce the name of Shobal, whose genealogy the historian intended to trace (1 Chronicles 2:52).

Verse 2

And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 3

And these were of the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi:

The name of their sister was Hazelelponi, [ ha-Tsªlelpowniy (H6753)] - the Hazeleponite.

Verse 4

And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Bethlehem.

Penuel the father of Gedor - founder or chief man of Gedor, now Jedur, in the hill-country of Judah, rather more than 12 miles from Jerusalem (Robinson's 'Biblical Researches,' 2:, p. 338).

And Ezer the father of Hushah - a city of Judah (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 27:11) [Septuagint, Oosan].

These are the sons of Hur, the first-born of Ephratah the father of Beth-lehem. It is difficult to determine the connection of Hur with this place, because in 1 Chronicles 2:50 Salma is said to be "the father of Beth-lehem." Hur was the oldest son of Ephratah, the older Caleb's second wife (1 Chronicles 2:19), so that Hur, as the legal heir of his father Caleb, had the best title to the name of "father of Beth-lehem," and Salma, who had property in that place, must have owed his connection with it either to intermarrying into the family, or to his being, perhaps, a younger brother.

Verses 5-8

And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 9

And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.

Jabez, [as if for Ya`beets (H3258), he causes pain; Septuagint, Igabees] - was, as many think, the son of Coz, or Kenaz, and is here eulogized for his sincere and fervent piety, as well, perhaps as for some public and patriotic works which he performed. The Jewish writers affirm that he was an eminent doctor in the law, whose reputation drew so many scribes around him that a town was called by his name (1 Chronicles 2:55); and to the piety of his character his passage bears ample testimony. The memory of the critical circumstances which marked has birth was perpetuated in his name (cf. Genesis 35:15); and yet, in the development of his high talents, or distinguished worth in after-life, his mother must have found a satisfaction and delight that amply compensated for all her early trials. The prayer of his which is here recorded, and which, like Jacob's, is in the form of a vow (Genesis 28:20), seems to have been uttered when he was entering on an important or critical service, for the successful execution of which he placed confidence neither on his own nor his people's prowess but looked anxiously for the aid and blessing of God,

Verse 10

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.

Thou wouldest keep me from evil, [ `aasiytaa (H6213) mªraa`ah (H7451)] - thou wouldest do so as abstain; i:e., thou wouldest abstain from evil. Others, says Gesenius, render less well 'thou wouldest do me from evil - i:e., keep me from harm.' The enterprise was in all probability the expulsion of the Canaanites from the territory he occupied; and as this was a war of extermination, which God himself had commanded, His blessing could be the more reasonably asked and expected in preserving them from all the evils to which the undertaking might expose him. In the words "that it may not grieve me," and which might be more literally, rendered, 'that I may have no more sorrow,' there is an allusion to the meaning of his name, Jabez, signifying grief; and the import of this petition is, let me not experience the grief which my name implies, and which my sins may well produce.

God granted him that which he requested. Whatever was the kind of undertaking which roused his anxieties, Jabez enjoyed a remakable degree of prosperity, and God, in his instance, proved that He was not only the hearer, but the answerer of prayer.

Verses 11-12

And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which was the father of Eshton.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 13

And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.

The sons of Kenaz - the grandfather of Caleb, who from that relationship is called a Kenezite (Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:4).

Verse 14

And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.

Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim, [ Chªraashiym (H2798), artificial works] - the father of the valley of works of art, or the valley of craftsmen, as the word denotes. They dwelt together, according to a custom which, independently of any law, extensively prevails in Eastern countries for persons of the same trade to inhabit the same street or the same quarter, and to follow the same occupation from father to son through many generations. Their occupation was probably that of carpenters, and the valley where they lived seems to have been in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:35).

Verses 15-16

And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 17

And the sons of Ezra were, Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.

She bare Miriam. It is difficult, as the verses stand at present, to see who is meant. The following re-adjustment of the text clears away the obscurity: 'These are the sons of Bithiah [ Bityaah (H1332), daughter, i:e., worshipper, of Yahweh; Septuagint, Betthia], the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took, and she hare Miriam, etc., and his wife Jehudijah bare Jezreel,' etc.

Verse 18

And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.

Jehudijah, [ ha-Yªhudiyaah (H3057); Septuagint, Idouia] - the Jewess, to distinguish her from his other wife, who was an Egyptian. This passage records a very interesting fact, the marriage of an Egyptian princess to a descendant of Caleb. The marriage must have taken place in the wilderness. The barriers of a different national language and national religion kept the Hebrews separate from the Egyptians; but they did not wholly prevent intimacies, and even occasional intermarriages between private individuals of the two nations. Before such unions, however, could be sanctioned, the Egyptian party must have renounced idolatry, and this daughter of Pharaoh, as appears from her name, had become a convert to the worship of the God of Israel.

Verses 19-20

And the sons of his wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 21

The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,

Laadah, the father . . . of the house of them that wrought fine linen. Here again is another incidental evidence that in very early times certain trades were followed by particular families among the Hebrews, apparently in hereditary succession. Their knowledge of the art of linen manufacture had been most probably acquired in Egypt, where the duty of bringing up families to the occupation of their forefathers was a compulsory obligation; whereas in Israel, as in many parts of Asia to this day, it was optional, though common.

Verse 22

And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.

Had the dominion in Moab, [ baa`aluw (H1166) lª-Mow'aab (H4124), had possessions in Moab].

And these are ancient things. This is a literal translation; but it seems a strange rendering, and besides, conveys a meaning that has no bearing on the record. The following interpretation is given in the Septuagint: 'Sojourned in Moab, but returned to Beth-lehem and Adaberim-athekim. These and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gedera were potters, employed by the king (of Moab) in his own work.' Gedera, or Gederoth, and Netaim belonged to the tribe of Judah, and lay on the southeast border of the Philistines' territory (Joshua 15:36; 2 Chronicles 28:18).

Verse 23

These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work. And those that dwelt among plants and hedges, [ wªyoshªbeey (H3427) nªTaa`iym (H5196) uw-gªdeeraah (H1449), and those that were among plants and an enclosure - i:e., were gardeners].

Verse 24

The sons of Simeon were, Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul:

The sons of Simeon. They are classed along with those of Judah, as their possession was partly taken out of the extensive territory of the latter (Joshua 19:1). The difference in several particulars of the genealogy given here from that given in other passages is occasioned by some of the persons mentioned having more than one name.

Verses 25-26

Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 27

And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.

His brethren had not many children - (see the notes at Numbers 1:22; Numbers 26:14.)

Verse 28

And they dwelt at Beersheba, and Moladah, and Hazar-shual, And they dwelt at Beer-sheba ... - (see the notes at Joshua 19:1-51.)

Verses 29-30

And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 31

And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazar-susim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.

And at Beth-birei, [ Beeyt-Bir'iy (H1011); supposed by Wilton ('Negeb,' p. 216) to have been originally (beeyt) haa'ªriy, or (beeyt) haa'ªriym, house of the lions = Beth-lebaoth, the dwelling of lionesses (Joshua 19:6)].

These were their cities unto the reign of David. In consequence of the sloth or cowardice of the Simeonites, some of the cities within their allotted territory were only nominally theirs, but were never taken from the Philistines until David's time, when, the Simeonites having forfeited all claim to them, he assigned them to his own tribe of Judah (1 Samuel 27:6).

Verse 32

And their villages were, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:

Their villages were Etam - or Ether (Joshua 19:7).

Tochen. There is no trace of this place in the parallel list of Joshua. [The Septuagint has Thokka in this passage, and Thalcha in Joshua.]

Verses 33-37

And all their villages that were round about the same cities, unto Baal. These were their habitations, and their genealogy.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 38

These mentioned by their names were princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.

Increased greatly.

Verse 39

And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.

And they went to the entrance of Gedor, [probably not Gªdor (H1446), but Gªraar (H1642), Gerar; Septuagint, Gerara]. Simeon having only a part of the land of Judah, they were forced to seek accommodation elsewhere; but their establishment in the new and fertile pastures of Gerar soon proved inadequate, and a new colony of them effected by force a settlement on mount Seir.

Verses 40-42

And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 43

And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.

Dwelt there unto this day. Many writers, among whom are the commentators Patrick and Poole, consider these last words to mean that the Simeonite settlers on mount Seir escaped the captivity of the other Israelites, and were still in undisturbed possession of mount Seir when the books of Chronicles were compiled after the restoration. 'There is nothing, therefore, improbable,' says Wilton ('Negeb.' p. 66), 'in the opinion that the Fellahin of Wady Musa are really descended from that little band of Simeonite adventurers, and that thus the prediction of the prophet Obadiah is even now receiving a primary fulfillment.'

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-chronicles-4.html. 1871-8.