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1 Chronicles 4:1 is evidently intended to be a superscription to the genealogical fragments which follow. Five names are mentioned as sons of Judah, of whom only Pharez was his son (1 Chronicles 2:4); the others are grandchildren or still more distant descendants. Nothing is said as to the genealogical relationship in which they stood to each other; that is supposed to be already known from the genealogies in 1 Chron 2. Hezron is the son of Pharez, and consequently grandson of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:8. Carmi, a descendant of Zerah, the brother of Pharez, see on 1 Chronicles 2:6-7. Hur is a son of Caleb, the son of Hezron, by Ephratah (see on 1 Chronicles 2:19 and 1 Chronicles 2:50); and Shobal is the son of Hur, who has just been mentioned (1 Chronicles 2:50). These five names do not denote here, any more than in 1 Chron 2, “families of the tribe of Judah” (Berth.), but signify persons who originated or were heads of families. The only conceivable ground for these five being called “sons of Judah,” is that the families registered in the following lists traced their origin to them, although in the enumeration which follows the genealogical connection of the various groups is not clearly brought out. The enumeration begins,
1 Chronicles 4:2, with the descendants of Shobal. As to Reaiah the son of Shobal, see 1 Chronicles 2:52. He begat Jahath, a name often occurring in Levite families, cf. 1 Chronicles 6:5, 1 Chronicles 6:28; 1 Chronicles 23:10., 1 Chronicles 24:22, 2 Chronicles 34:12; but of the descendant of David who bore this name nothing further is known. His sons Ahumai and Lahad founded the families of the Zorathites, i.e., the inhabitants of Zora, who also, according to 1 Chronicles 2:53, were descended from sons of Shobal. Our verse therefore gives more detailed information regarding the lineage of these families.
1 Chronicles 4:3 and 1 Chronicles 4:4 contain notices of the descendants of Hur. The first words of the third verse, “these, father of Etam, Jezreel,” have no meaning; but the last sentence of the second verse suggests that משׁפּחות should be supplied, when we read, “and these are the families of (from) Abi-Etam.” The lxx and Vulgate have עיטם בני אלה , which is also to be found in several codices, while other codices read בני אלה אבי עיטם . Both readings are probably only conjectures. Whether עיטם אבי is to be taken as the name of a person, or appellatively, father = lord of Etam, cannot be decided. עיטם is in 1 Chronicles 4:32, and probably also in Judges 15:8, Judges 15:11, the name of a town of the Simeonites; and in 2 Chronicles 11:6, the name of a little town in the highlands of Judah, south of Jerusalem. If עיטם be the name of a place, only the lest named can be here meant. The names Jezreel, Ishma, and Idbash denote persons as progenitors and head of families or branches of families. For יזרעאל as the name of a person, cf. Hosea 1:4. That these names should be those of persons is required by the succeeding remark, “and their sister Hazelel-poni.” The formation of this name, with the derivative termination i, seems to express a relationship of race; but the word may also be an adjective, and as such may be a proper name: cf. Ew. §273, e.
1 Chronicles 4:4
Penuel, in Genesis 32:31., Judges 8:8, name of a place in the East-Jordan land, as here, and in Judges 8:25 the name of a man. Gedor is, we may suppose, the town of that name in the mountains of Judah, which is still to be found in the ruin Jedur (see on Joshua 15:58). Penuel is here called father of Bedor, while in 1 Chronicles 4:18 one Jered is so called, whence we must conclude that the inhabitants of Gedor were descended from both. Ezer (Help) occurs in 1 Chronicles 7:21; 1 Chronicles 12:9; Nehemiah 3:19, of other men; father of Hushah, i.e., according to the analogy of Abi-Gedor, also the name of a place not elsewhere mentioned, where the hero Sibbecai had his birth, 1 Chronicles 11:29; 2 Samuel 23:27. Those thus named in 1 Chronicles 4:3 and 1 Chronicles 4:4 are sons of Hur, the first-born of Ephratah (1 Chronicles 2:19), the father of Bethlehem. The inhabitants of Bethlehem then, according to this, were descended from Hur through his son Salma, who is called in 1 Chronicles 2:51 father of Bethlehem. The circumstance, too, that in our 1 Chronicles 4:3, 1 Chronicles 4:4 other names of persons are enumerated as descendants of Hur than those given in 1 Chronicles 2:50-55 gives rise to no discrepancy, for there is no ground for the supposition that in 1 Chronicles 2:50-55 all the descendants of Hur have been mentioned.
Sons of Ashur, the father of Tekoa, who, according to 1 Chronicles 2:24, was a posthumous son of Hezron. Ashur had two wives, Helah and Naarah. Of the latter came four sons and as many families: Ahuzam, of whom nothing further is known; Hepher, also unknown, but to be distinguished from the Gileadite of the same name in 1 Chronicles 11:36 and Numbers 26:32. The conjecture that the name is connected wit the land of Hepher (1 Kings 4:10), the territory of a king conquered by Joshua (Joshua 12:17) (Berth.), is not very well supported. Temani (man of the south) may be simply the name of a person, but it is probably, like the following, the name of a family. Haahashtari, descended from Ahashtar, is quite unknown.
The first wife, Helah, bore three sons, Zereth, Jezoar, and Ethnan, who are not elsewhere met with. For the Kethibh יצחר there is in the Keri וצחר , the name of a son of Simeon (Genesis 46:10), and of a Hittite chief in the time of the patriarchs (Genesis 23:8), with whom the son of Helah has nothing to do.
1 Chronicles 4:8-10 contain a fragment, the connection of which with the sons of Judah mentioned in 1 Chron 2 is not clear. Coz begat Anub, etc. The name קוץ occurs only here; elsewhere only הקּוץ is found, of a Levite, 1 Chronicles 24:10, cf. Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 3:4 - in the latter passage without any statement as to the tribe to which the sons of Hakkoz belonged. The names of the sons begotten by Coz, 1 Chronicles 4:8, do not occur elsewhere. The same is to be said of Jabez, of whom we know nothing beyond what is communicated in 1 Chronicles 4:9 and 1 Chronicles 4:10. The word יעבּץ denotes in 1 Chronicles 2:55 a town or village which is quite unknown to us; but whether our Jabez were father (lord) of this town cannot be determined. If there be any genealogical connection between the man Jabez and the locality of this name or its inhabitants (1 Chronicles 2:55), then the persons named in 1 Chronicles 4:8 would belong to the descendants of Shobal. For although the connection of Jabez with Coz and his sons is not clearly set forth, yet it may be conjectured from the statements as to Jabez being connected with the preceding by the words, “Jabez was more honoured than his brethren.” The older commentators have thence drawn the conclusion that Jabez was a son or brother of Coz. Bertheau also rightly remarks: “The statements that he was more honoured than his brethren (cf. Genesis 34:19), that his mother called him Jabez because she had borne him with sorrow; the use of the similarly sounding word עצב along with the name יעבּץ (cf. Genesis 4:25; Genesis 19:37., Genesis 29:32-33, Genesis 29:35; Genesis 30:6, Genesis 30:8, etc.); and the statement that Jabez vowed to the God of Israel (cf. Genesis 33:20) in a prayer (cf. Genesis 28:20), - all bring to our recollection similar statements of Genesis, and doubtless rest upon primeval tradition.” In the terms of the vow, עצבּי לבלתּי , “so that sorrow may not be to me,” there is a play upon the name Jabez. But of the vow itself only the conditions proposed by the maker of the vow are communicated: “If Thou wilt bless me, and enlarge my coast, and Thy hand shall be with me, and Thou wilt keep evil far off, not to bring sorrow to me,” - without the conclusion, Then I vow to do this or that (cf. Genesis 28:20.), but with the remark that God granted him that which he requested. The reason of this is probably that the vow had acquired importance sufficient to make it worthy of being handed down only from God's having so fulfilled his wish, that his life became a contradiction of his name; the son of sorrow having been free from pain in life, and having attained to greater happiness and reputation than his brothers.
The genealogy of the men of Rechah. - As to their connection with the larger families of Judah, nothing has been handed down to us. Chelub, another form of the name Caleb or Chelubai (see 1 Chronicles 2:9 and 1 Chronicles 2:18), is distinguished from the better known Caleb son of Hezron (1 Chronicles 2:18 and 1 Chronicles 2:42), and from the son of Jephunneh (1 Chronicles 4:15), by the additional clause, “the son of Shuah.” Shuah is not met with elsewhere, but is without reason identified with Hushah, 1 Chronicles 4:4, by the older commentators. Mehir the father of Eshton is likewise unknown. Eshton begat the house (the family) of Rapha, of whom also nothing further is said; for they can be connected neither with the Benjamite Rapha (1 Chronicles 8:2) nor with the children of Rapha (1 Chronicles 20:4, 1 Chronicles 20:6, 1 Chronicles 20:8). Paseah and Tehinnah are also unknown, for it is uncertain whether the sons of Paseah mentioned among the Nethinim, Ezra 2:49; Nehemiah 7:51, have any connection with our Paseah. Tehinnah is called “father of the city of Nahash.” The latter name is probably not properly the name of a town, but rather the name of a person Nahash, not unlikely the same as the father of Abigail (2 Samuel 17:25), the step-sister of David (cf. 1 Chronicles 2:16). The men (or people) of Rechah are unknown.
Descendants of Kenaz. - קנז is a descendant of Hezron the son of Pharez, as may be inferred from the fact that Caleb the son of Jephunneh, a descendant of Hezron's son Caleb, is called in Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:6 קנזּי , and consequently was also a descendant of Kenaz. Othniel and Seraiah, introduced here as קנז בּני , are not sons (in the narrower sense of the word), but more distant descendants of Kenaz; for Othniel and Caleb the son of Jephunneh were, according to Joshua 15:17 and Judges 1:13, brothers.
(Note: The words used in Judges 1:13, cf. Joshua 15:17, of the relationship of Othniel and Caleb, הקּטון כלב אחי בּן־קנז , may be, it is true, taken in different senses, either as signifying filius Kenasi fratris Caleb , according to which, not Othniel, but Kenaz, was a younger brother of Caleb; or in this way, filius Kenasi, frater Calebi minor , as we have interpreted them in the text, and also in the commentary on Joshua 15:17. This interpretation we still hold to be certainly the correct one, notwithstanding what Bachmann ( Buch der Richter, on 1 Chronicles 1:13) has brought forward against it and in favour of the other interpretation, and cannot see that his chief reasons are decisive. The assertion that we must predicate of Othniel, if he be a younger brother of Caleb, an unsuitably advanced age, is not convincing. Caleb was eighty-five years of age at the division of the land of Canaan (Joshua 14:10). Now if we suppose that his younger or youngest brother Othniel was from twenty-five to thirty years younger, as often happens, Othniel would be from sixty to sixty-one or fifty-five to fifty-six years of age at the conquest of Debir, - an age at which he might well win a wife as the reward of valour. Ten years later came the invasion of the land by Cushan Rishathaim, which lasted eight years, till Othniel had conquered Cushan R., and there were judges in Israel. This victory he would thus gain at the age of seventy-eight or seventy-three; and even if he filled the office of judge for forty years-which, however, Judges 3:11 does not state - he would have reached no greater age than 118 or 113 years, only three or eight years older than Joshua had been. If we consider what Caleb said of himself in his eighty-fifth year, Joshua 14:11, “ I am still strong as in the day that Moses sent me (i.e., forty years before); as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war, both to go out and to come in, ” we cannot think that Othniel, in the seventy-third or seventy-eighth years of his age, was too old to be a military leader. But the other reason: “ that Caleb is always called son of Jephunneh, Othniel always son of Kenaz, should cause us to hesitate before we take Othniel to be the proper brother of Caleb, ” loses all its weight when we find that Caleb also is called in Numbers 32:12 and Joshua 14:6 קנזי בּן־קנז , and it is seen that Caleb therefore, as well as Othniel, was a son of Kenaz. Now if the Kenazite Caleb the son of Jephunneh were a brother of Kenaz, the father of Othniel, we must suppose an older Kenaz, the grandfather or great-grandfather of Caleb, and a younger Kenaz, the father of Othniel. This supposition is certainly feasible, for, according to 1 Chronicles 4:15 of our chapter, a grandson of Caleb again was called Kenaz; but if it be probable is another question. For the answering of this question in the affirmative, Bachmann adduces that, according to 1 Chronicles 4:13, Othniel is undoubtedly the son of Kenaz in the proper sense of the word; but it might perhaps be difficult to prove, or even to render probable, this “ undoubtedly. ” In the superscriptions of the single genealogies of the Chronicle, more than elsewhere, בּני has in general a very wide signification. In 1 Chronicles 4:1 of our chapter, for instance, sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons of Judah are all grouped together as יהוּדה בּני . But besides this, the ranging of the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh (1 Chronicles 4:15) after the enumeration of the sons of Kenaz in 1 Chronicles 4:13 and 1 Chronicles 4:14, is clearly much more easily explicable if Caleb himself belonged to the קנז בּני mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:13, than if he was a brother of Kenaz. In the latter case we should expect, after the analogy of 1 Chronicles 2:42, to find an additional clause קנז אחי after בּן־יפנּה כּלב ; while if Caleb was a brother of Othniel, his descent from Kenaz, or the fact that he belonged to the קנז בּני , might be assumed to be known from Numbers 32:12.)
Kenaz, therefore, can neither have been the father of Othniel nor father of Caleb (in the proper sense of the word), but must at least have been the grandfather or great-grandfather of both. Othniel is the famous first judge of Israel, Judges 3:9. Of Seraiah nothing further is known, although the name is often met with of different persons.
The sons of Othniel are Hathath. The plural בּני , even when only one name follows, is met with elsewhere ( vide on 1 Chronicles 2:7); but the continuation is somewhat strange, “and Meonothai begat Ophrah,” for as Meonothai is not before mentioned, his connection with Othniel is not given. There is evidently a hiatus in the text, which may most easily be filled up by repeating וּמעונתי at the end of 1 Chronicles 4:13. According to this conjecture two sons of Othniel would be named, Hathath and Meonothai, and then the posterity of the latter is given. The name מעונתי (my dwellings) is not met with elsewhere. It is not at all probable that it is connected with the town Maon, and still less that it is so in any way with the Mehunim, Ezra 2:50. Ophrah is unknown, for of course we must not think of the towns called Ophrah, in the territory of Benjamin, Joshua 18:23, and in that of Manasseh, Judges 6:11, Judges 6:24. Seraiah, who is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:13, begat Joab the father (founder) of the valley of the craftsmen, “for they (i.e., the inhabitants of this valley, who were descended from Joab) were craftsmen.” The valley of the חרשׁים (craftsmen) is again mentioned in Nehemiah 11:35, whence we may conclude that it lay at no great distance from Jerusalem, in a northern direction.
Of Iru, Elah, and Naam, the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh (cf. on 1 Chronicles 4:13), nothing more is known. To connect Elah with the Edomite chief of that name (1 Chronicles 1:52) is arbitrary. Of Elah's sons only “and Kenaz” is mentioned; the ו copul. before קנז shows clearly that a name has been dropped out before it.
Descendants of various men, whose genealogical connection with the sons and grandsons of Judah, mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:1, is not given in the text as it has come to us.
1 Chronicles 4:16
Sons of Jehaleleel, a man not elsewhere mentioned. Ziph, Ziphah, etc., are met with only here. There is no strong reason for connecting the name זיף with the towns of that name, Joshua 15:24, Joshua 15:55.
1 Chronicles 4:17-19
Ezra, whose four sons are enumerated, is likewise unknown. The singular בּן is peculiar, but has analogies in 1 Chronicles 3:19, 1 Chronicles 3:21, and 1 Chronicles 3:23. Of the names of his sons, Jether and Epher again occur, the former in 1 Chronicles 2:53, and the latter in 1 Chronicles 1:33 and 1 Chronicles 5:24, but in other families. Jalon, on the contrary, is found only here. The children of two wives of Mered are enumerated in 1 Chronicles 4:17 and 1 Chronicles 4:18, but in a fashion which is quite unintelligible, and shows clear traces of a corruption in the text. For (1) the name of a woman as subject of ותּהר , “and she conceived (bare),” is wanting; and (2) in 1 Chronicles 4:18 the names of two women occur, Jehudijah and Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh. But the sons of Jehudijah are first given, and there follows thereupon the formula, “and these are the sons of Bithiah,” without any mention of the names of these sons. This manifest confusion Bertheau has sought to remove by a happy transposition of the words. He suggests that the words, “and these are the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered had taken,” should be placed immediately after וילון . “By this means we obtain (1) the missing subject of ותּהר ; (2) the definite statement that Mered had two wives, with whom he begat sons; and (3) an arrangement by which the sons are enumerated after the names of their respective mothers.” After this transposition the 1 Chronicles 4:17 would read thus: “And the sons of Ezra are Jether, Mered, ... and Jalon; and these are the sons of Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took; and she conceived (and bare) Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah, the father of Eshtemoa (1 Chronicles 4:18), and his wife Jehudijah bore Jered the father of Gedor, etc.” This conjecture commends itself by its simplicity, and by the clearness which it brings into the words. From them we then learn that two families, who dwelt in a number of the cities of Judah, were descended from Mered the son of Ezra by his two wives. We certainly know no more details concerning them, as neither Mered not his children are met with elsewhere. From the circumstance, however, that the one wife was a daughter of Pharaoh, we may conclude that Mered lived before the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The name Miriam, which Moses' sister bore, is here a man's name. The names introduced by אבי are the names of towns. Ishbah is father (lord) of the town Eshtemoa, in the mountains of Judah, now Semua, a village to the south of Hebron, with considerable ruins dating from ancient times (cf. on Joshua 15:50). היהוּדיּה means properly “the Jewess,” as distinguished from the Egyptian woman, Pharaoh's daughter. Gedor is a town in the high lands of Judah (cf. on 1 Chronicles 4:4). Socho, in the low land of Judah, now Shuweikeh, in Wady Sumt (cf. on Joshua 15:35). Zanoah is the name of a town in the high lands of Judah, Joshua 15:56 (which has not yet been discovered), and of a town in the low land, now Zanua, not far from Zoreah, in an easterly direction (cf. on Joshua 15:34). Perhaps the latter is here meant . In 1 Chronicles 4:19, “the sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham, are the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.” The stat. contr. אשׁת before הודיּה shows that Hodiah is a man's name. Levites of this name are mentioned in Nehemiah 8:7; Nehemiah 9:5; Nehemiah 10:11. The relationship of Hodiah and Naham to the persons formerly named is not given. קעילה is a locality in the low land of Judah not yet discovered (see on Joshua 15:44). The origin of the Epithet הגּרמי we do not know. Before אשׁתּמע אבי with ו copul. is probably to be repeated; and the Maachathite, the chief of a part of the inhabitants of Eshtemoa, is perhaps a descendant of Caleb by Maachah (1 Chronicles 2:48).
1 Chronicles 4:20
Of Shimon and his four sons, also, nothing is known. בּן־חנן is one name. Ishi is often met with, e.g., 1 Chronicles 4:42 and 1 Chronicles 2:31, but nowhere in connection with Zoheth (not further noticed). The names of the sons are wanting after בּן־זוחת .
Descendants of Shelah, the third son of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:3, and Genesis 38:5. - All the families of Judah enumerated in vv. 2-20 are connected together by the conjunction ו , and so are grouped as descendants of the sons and grandsons of Judah named in 1 Chronicles 4:1. The conjunction is omitted, however, before שׁלה בּני , as also before יהוּדה בּני in 1 Chronicles 4:3, to show that the descendants of Shelah form a second line of descendants of Judah, co-ordinate with the sons of Judah enumerated in vv. 1-19, concerning whom only a little obscure but not unimportant information has been preserved. Those mentioned as sons are Er (which also was the name of the first-born of Judah, 1 Chronicles 2:3.), father of Lecah, and Laadan, the father of Mareshah. The latter name denotes, beyond question, a town which still exists as the ruin Marash in the Shephelah, Joshua 15:44 (see on 1 Chronicles 2:42), and consequently Lecah ( לכה ) also is the name of a locality not elsewhere mentioned. The further descendants of Shelah were, “the families of the Byssus-work of the house of Ashbea,” i.e., the families of Ashbea, a man of whom nothing further is known. Of these families some were connected with a famous weaving-house or linen (Byssus) manufactory, probably in Egypt; and then further, in 1 Chronicles 4:22, “Jokim, and the man of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, which ruled over Moab, and Jashubi-lehem.” Kimchi conjectured that כּזבה was the place called כזיב in Genesis 38:5 = אכזיב , Joshua 15:44, in the low land, where Shelah was born. לחם ישׁבי is a strange name, “which the punctuators would hardly have pronounced in the way they have done if it had not come down to them by tradition” (Berth.). The other names denote heads of families or branches of families, the branches and families being included in them.
(Note: Jerome has given a curious translation of 1 Chronicles 4:22, “ et qui stare fecit solem, virique mendacii et securus et incendens, qui principes fuerunt in Moab et qui reversi sunt in Lahem: haec autem verba vetera, ” - according to the Jewish Midrash, in which למואב בּעלוּ אשׁר was connected with the narrative in the book of Ruth. For יוקים , qui stare fecit solem, is supposed to be Elimelech, and the viri mendacii Mahlon and Chilion, so well known from the book of Ruth, who went with their father into the land of Moab and married Moabitesses.)
Nothing is told us of them beyond what is found in our verses, according to which the four first named ruled over Moab during a period in the primeval time; fir, as the historian himself remarks, “these things are old.”
“These are the potters and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gedera.” It is doubtful whether המּה refers to all the descendants of Shelah, or only to those named in 1 Chronicles 4:22. Bertheau holds the latter to be the more probable reference; “for as those named in 1 Chronicles 4:21 have already been denominated Byssus-workers, it appears fitting that those in 1 Chronicles 4:22 should be regarded as the potters, etc.” But all those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:22 are by no means called Byssus-weavers, but only the families of Ashbea. What the descendants of Er and Laadan were is not said. The המּה may consequently very probably refer to all the sons of Shelah enumerated in 1 Chronicles 4:21 and 1 Chronicles 4:22, with the exception of the families designated Byssus-weavers, who are, of course, understood to be excepted. נטעים signifies “plantings;” but since גּדרה is probably the name of a city Gedera in the lowlands of Judah (cf. Joshua 15:36; and for the situation, see on 1 Chronicles 12:4), Netaim also will most likely denote a village where there were royal plantations, and about which these descendants of Shelah were employed, as the words “with the king in his business to dwell there” expressly state. המּלך is not an individual king of Judah, for we know not merely “of King Uzziah that he had country lands, 2 Chronicles 26:10” (Berth.); but we learn from 1 Chronicles 27:25-31 that David also possessed great estates and country lands, which were managed by regularly appointed officers.
We may therefore with certainty assume that all the kings of Judah had domains on which not only agriculture and the rearing of cattle, but also trades, were carried on.
(Note: From the arrangement of the names in vv. 2-20, in which Bertheau finds just twelve families grouped together, he concludes, S. 44f., that the division of the tribe of Judah into these twelve families did actually exist at some time or other, and had been established by a new reckoning of the families which the heads of the community found themselves compelled to make after deep and wide alterations had taken place in the circumstances of the tribe. He then attempts to determine this time more accurately by the character of the names. For since only a very few names in these verses are known to us from the historical books, from Genesis to 2 Kings, and the few thus known refer to the original divisions of the tribe, which may have maintained themselves till post-exilic times, while, on the contrary, a great number of the other names recur in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah; and since localities which in the earliest period after the exile were important for the new community are frequently met with in our verses, while such as were constantly being mentioned in prae-exilic times are nowhere to be found, - Bertheau supposes that a division of the tribe of Judah is here spoken of, which actually existed at some time in the period between Zerubbabel and Ezra. This hypothesis has, however, no solid foundation. The assumption even that the names in vv. 2-20 belong to just twelve families is very questionable; for this number can only be arrived at by separating the descendants of Caleb, 1 Chronicles 4:15, from the descendants of Kenaz, 1 Chronicles 4:13 and 1 Chronicles 4:14, of whom Caleb himself was one, and reckoning them separately. But the circumstance that in this reckoning only the names in 1 Chronicles 4:12-20 are taken into consideration, which no notice is taken of the descendants of Shelah the son of Judah, enumerated in 1 Chronicles 4:21-23, is much more important . Bertheau considers this verse to be merely a supplementary addition, but without reason, as we have pointed out on 1 Chronicles 4:21. For if the descendants of Shelah form a second line of families descended from Judah, co-ordinate with the descendants of Pharez and Zerah, the tribe of Judah could not, either before or after the exile, have been divided into the twelve families supposed by Bertheau; for we have no reason to suppose, on behalf of this hypothesis, that all the descendants of Shelah had died out towards the end of the exile, and that from the time of Zerubbabel only families descended from Pharez and Zerah existed. But besides this, the hypothesis is decisively excluded by the fact that in the enumeration, vv. 2-20, no trace can be discovered of a division of the tribe of Judah into twelve families; for not only are the families mentioned not ranger according to the order of the sons and grandsons of Judah mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:1, but also the connection of many families with Judah is not even hinted at. An enumeration of families which rested upon a division either made or already existing at any particular time, would be very differently planned and ordered. But if we must hold the supposition of a division of the tribe of Judah into twelve families to be unsubstantiated, since it appears irreconcilable with the present state of these genealogies, we must also believe the opinion that this division actually existed at any time between Zerubbabel and Ezra to be erroneous, and to rest upon no tenable grounds. The relation of the names met with in these verses to the names in the books from Genesis to 2 Kings on the one hand, and to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah on the other, is not really that which Bertheau represents it to be. If we turn our attention in the first place to the names of places, we find that, except a few quite unknown villages or towns, the localities mentioned in vv. 2-20 occur also in the book of Joshua, and many of them even here and there throughout Genesis, in the book of Judges, and in the books of Samuel and Kings. In these latter they are somewhat more rarely met with, but only because they played no great part in history. The fact of a disproportionate number of these towns occurring also in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is connected with the peculiar character of the contents of these books, containing as they do a number of registers of the families of Judah which had returned out of exile. Then if we consider the names of persons in vv. 2-20, we find that not a few of them occur in the historical narratives of the books of Samuel and Kings. Others certainly are found only in the family registers of the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, while others again are peculiar to our verses. This phenomenon also is completely accounted for by the contents of the various historical books of the Old Testament. For example, had Nehemiah not received into his book the registers of all the families who had returned from Babylon, and who took part in the building of the walls of Jerusalem, no more names would be met with in his book than are found in the books of Samuel and Kings. Bertheau attempts to find support for his hypothesis in the way in which the names are enumerated, and their loose connection with each other, inasmuch as the disconnected statements abruptly and intermittently following one another, which to us bring enigma after enigma, must have been intended for readers who could bring a key to the understanding of the whole from an accurate knowledge of the relations which are here only hinted at; but the strength of this argument depends upon the assumption that complete family registers were at the command of the author of the Chronicle, from which he excerpted unconnected and obscure fragments, without any regard to order. But such an assumption cannot be justified. The character of that which is communicated would rather lead us to believe that only fragments were in the hands of the chronicler, which he has given to us as he found them. We must therefore pronounce this attempt at an explanation of the contents and form of vv. 2-20 to be an utter failure.)
The families of Simeon. - Of the six sons of Simeon, Genesis 46:10 and Exodus 6:15, only the five are here named who, according to Numbers 26:12-14, founded the families of this tribe. The third son, Ohad, is omitted even in Numbers 26:12 in the list of the families of Simeon, at the numbering of the people in the fortieth year of the journey through the wilderness, clearly only because the posterity of Ohad had either died out, or had so dwindled away that it could form no independent family. The names of the five sons agree with the names in Numbers 26:12-14, except in the case of Jarib, who in Numbers 26:12, which coincides here with Genesis 46:10 and Exodus 6:15, is called Jachin; יריב , consequently, must be looked upon as a transcriber's error for יכין . Nemuel and Zerah ( זרח , the rising of the sun) are called in Genesis and Exodus Jemuel (a different form of the same name) and Zohar ( צחר , i.e., candor ), another name of similar meaning, which, at first used only as a by-name, afterwards supplanted the original name.
1 Chronicles 4:25-26
“Shallum (was) his son;” without doubt the son of the last named Shaul, who in Genesis and Exodus is called the son of a Canaanitish woman, and is thereby distinguished from the other sons. His family is traced down, in 1 Chronicles 4:25, 1 Chronicles 4:26, through six generations to one Shimei. But this list is divided into two groups by the words “and the sons of Mishma,” inserted at the beginning of 1 Chronicles 4:26, but the reasons for the division are unknown. The plural, sons of Mishma, refers to Hammuel and his descendants Zacchur and Shimei. Perhaps these two together form, with the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:25, a single larger family.
1 Chronicles 4:27
Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters, by whom he became the father of a numerous race. “His brothers,” i.e., the other Simeonites, on the contrary, had not many sons. Hence it happens that they made not their whole race, i.e., the whole race of the Simeonites, numerous unto the sons of Judah, i.e., that the Simeonites were not so numerous as the descendants of Judah. This account is corroborated by the statement made at the numberings of the people under Moses; see on Num 1-4 (1:2, S. 192).
The ancient dwelling-places of the Simeonites, which they received within the tribal domain of Judah at the division of the land by Joshua; cf. Joshua 19:1. - There are in all eighteen cities, divided into two groups, numbering thirteen and five respectively, as in Joshua 19:2-6, where these same cities are enumerated in the same order. The only difference is, that in Joshua thirteen cities are reckoned in the first group and four in the second, although the first group contains fourteen names. Between Beersheba and Moladah there stands there a שׁבע which is not found in our list, and which might be considered to be a repetition of the second part of בּאר־שׁבע , if it were not that in the list of the cities, Joshua 15:26, the name שׁמע before Moladah corresponds to it. The other differences between the two passages arise partly from different forms of the same name being used, - as, for example, בּלהה for בּלה (Josh.), תּולד for אלתּולד בּתוּאל for בּתוּל ; and partly from different names being used of the same city, - e.g., בּית־בּראי (1 Chronicles 4:31) instead of בּית־לבאות , “the house of lions” (Josh.), שׁערים instead of שׁרוּחן (Josh.). All these cities lie in the south land of Judah, and have therefore been named in Joshua 15:26-32 among the cities of that district. As to Beersheba, now Bir es Seba, see on Genesis 21:31; and for Moladah, which is to be identified with the ruin el Milh to the south of Hebron, on the road to Ailah, see on Joshua 15:26. Bilhah (in Joshua 15:29, בּעלה ), Ezem, Tolad, and Bethuel (for which in Joshua 15:31 כּסיל is found), have not yet been discovered; cf. on Joshua 15:29 and Joshua 15:30. Hormah, formerly Sephat, is now the ruin Sepata, on the western slope of the Rakhma table-land, 2 1/2 hours south of Khalasa (Elusa); cf. on Joshua 12:14. Ziklag is most probably to be sought in the ancient village Aschludsch or Kasludsch, to the east of Sepata; cf. on Joshua 15:31. Beth-marcaboth, i.e., “carriage-house,” and Hazar-susim (or Susa), i.e., horse-village, both evidently by-names, are called in Joshua 15:31 Madmannah and Sansannah. Their position has not yet been discovered. Beth-Birei, or Beth-lebaoth, is also as yet undiscovered; cf. on Joshua 15:32. Shaaraim, called in Joshua 15:32 Shilhim, is supposed to be the same as Tell Sheriah, between Gaza and Beersheba; cf. Van de Velde, Reise, ii. S. 154. The enumeration of these thirteen cities concludes in 1 Chronicles 4:31 with the strange subscription, “These (were) their cities until the reign of David, and their villages.” וחצריהם , which, according to the Masoretic division of the verses, stands at the beginning of 1 Chronicles 4:32, should certainly be taken with 1 Chronicles 4:31; for the places mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:32 are expressly called cities, and in Joshua 19:6, cities and their villages, הצריהם , are spoken of. This subscription can hardly “only be intended to remind us, that of the first-mentioned cities, one (viz., Ziklag, 1 Samuel 27:6), or several, in the time of David, no longer belonged to the tribe of Simeon;” nor can it only be meant to state that “till the time of David the cities named were in possession of the tribe of Simeon, though they did not all continue to be possessed by this tribe at a later time” (Berth.). Ziklag had been, even before the reign of David, taken away from the Simeonites by the Philistines, and had become the property of King Achish, who in the reign of Saul presented it to David, and through him it became the property of the kings of Judah (1 Samuel 27:6). The subscription can only mean that till the reign of David these cities rightfully belonged to the Simeonites, but that during and after David's reign this rightful possession of the Simeonites was trenched upon; and of this curtailing of their rights, the transfer of the city of Ziklag to the kings of Judah gives one historically attested proof. This, however, might not have been the only instance of the sort; it may have brought with it other alterations in the possessions of the Simeonites as to which we have no information. The remark of R. Salomo and Kimchi, that the men of Judah, when they had attained to greater power under David's rule, drove the Simeonites out of their domains, and compelled them to seek out other dwelling-places, is easily seen to be an inference drawn from the notices in Joshua 19:33-43 of emigrations of the Simeonites into other districts; but it may not be quite incorrect, as these emigrations under Hezekiah presuppose a pressure upon or diminution of their territory. We would indeed expect this remark to occur after Joshua 19:33, but it may have been placed between the first and second groups of cities, for the reason that the alterations in the dwelling-places of the Simeonites which took place in the time of David affected merely the first group, while the cities named in Joshua 19:32., with their villages, remained at a later time even the untouched possession of the Simeonites.
Instead of the five cities, Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan, only four are mentioned in Joshua 19:7, viz., Ain, Rimmon, Ether, and Ashan; עתר is written instead of תּוכן , and עיטם is wanting. According to Movers, p. 73, and Berth. in his commentary on the passage, the list of these cities must have been at first as follows: רמּון עין (one city), עתר תּוכן , and עשׁן ; in Joshua תּוכן must have fallen out by mistake, in our text עתר has been erroneously exchanged for the better known city עיטם in the tribe of Judah, while by reckoning both עין and רמּון the number four has become five. These conjectures are shown to be groundless by the order of the names in our text. For had עתר been exchanged for עיטם עיטם would not stand in the first place, at the head of the four or five cities, but would have occupied the place of עתר , which is connected with עשׁן in Joshua 19:7 and Joshua 15:43. Then again, the face that in Joshua 15:32 רמּון is separated from עין by the ו cop., and in Joshua 19:7 is reckoned by itself as one city as in our verse, is decisive against taking עין and רמּון together as one name. The want of the conjunction, moreover, between the two names here and in Joshua 19:7, and the uniting of the two words into one name, עין־תּון , Nehemiah 11:29, is explained by the supposition that the towns lay in the immediate neighbourhood of each other, so that they were at a later time united, or at least might be regarded as one city. Rimmon is perhaps the same as the ruin Rum er Rummanim, four hours to the north of Beersheba; and Ain is probably to be identified with a large half-ruined and very ancient well which lies at from thirty to thirty-five minutes distance, cf. on Joshua 15:32. Finally, the assertion that the name עיטם has come into our text by an ex change of the unknown עתר for the name of this better known city of Judah, is founded upon a double geographical error. It rests (1) upon the erroneous assumption that besides the Etam in the high lands of Judah to the south of Bethlehem, there was no other city of this name, and that the Etam mentioned in Judges 15:8, Judges 15:11 is identical with that in the high lands of Judah; and (2) on the mistaken idea that Ether was also situated in the high lands of Judah, whereas it was, according to Joshua 15:42, one of the cities of the Shephelah; and the Simeonites, moreover, had no cities in the high lands of Judah, but had their dwelling-places assigned to them in the Negeb and the Shephelah. The existence of a second Etam, besides that in the neighbourhood of Bethlehem, is placed beyond doubt by Judges 15:8 and Judges 15:11; for mention is there made of an Etam in the plain of Judah, which is to be sought in the neighbourhood of Khuweilife, on the border of the Negeb and the mountainous district: cf. on Judges 15:8. It is this Etam which is spoken of in our verse, and it is rightly grouped with Ain and Rimmon, which were situated in the Negeb, while Tochen and Ashan were in the Shephelah. The statement of Joshua 19:7 and Joshua 15:42 leaves no doubt as to the fact that the תּוכן of our verse is only another name for עתר . Etam must therefore have come into the possession of the Simeonites after Joshua's time, but as to when, or under what circumstances, we have no information.
Concerning the villages belonging to these cities, cf. on Joshua 19:8, where for בּעל we have the more accurate בּאר בּעלת , and Ramah of the south. The position of these places has not yet been certainly ascertained. “These are their dwelling-places, and their family register was to them;” i.e., although they were only a small tribe and dwelt in the midst of Judah, they yet had their own family register (Berth.). התיחשׂ infin. is used substantively, “the entering in the family register.”
Emigrations of Simeonite families into other districts. - 1 Chronicles 4:34-41 record an expedition of the Simeonites, in the time of Hezekiah, undertaken for purposes of conquest. In 1 Chronicles 4:34-36, thirteen princes of the tribe of Simeon are enumerated who undertook this expedition. The families of some of them are traced through several generations, but in no case are they traced down so far as to show their connection with the families named in 1 Chronicles 4:24-26.
“These mentioned by their names were princes in their families; whose fathers'-houses had increased to a multitude. And they went,” etc. בשׁמות הבּאים , properly “those who have come with their names,” i.e., those who have been mentioned by name; for בּוא with בּ = to come with, is to bring something in, to introduce: cf. Psalms 71:16. This formula is synonymous with בשׁמות הכּתוּבים , 1 Chronicles 4:41; but we cannot consider it, as J. H. Mich., Berth., and others do, identical in meaning with בשׁמות נקּבוּ אשׁר , 1 Chronicles 12:31; Numbers 1:17, etc. The predicate to אלּה is נשׂיאים , and הבּאים is a relative sentence, more accurately defining the subject אלּה . Princes in their families are not heads of families, but heads of fathers'-houses, into which the families had divided themselves. בּית־אבות is not construed with the plural, as being collective (Berth.), but as the plural of the word בּית־אב : cf. Ew. §270, c.
The princes named “went westward from Gedor to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.” גדר מבוא does not mean the entrance of Gedor (Mich., Berth., and others); but is, as the corresponding מזרח , “rising” of the sun, i.e., east, requires, a designation of the west, and is abridged from השּׁמשׁ מבוא , as in statements with reference to places מזרח is used instead of השּׁמשׁ מזרח . The locality itself, however, is to us at present unknown. So much is clear, that by Gedor, the Gedor mentioned in Joshua 15:58, situated in the high lands of Judah, north of Hebron, cannot be intended, for in that district there is no open valley stretching out on either hand; and the Simeonites, moreover, could not have carried on a war of conquest in the territory of the tribe of Judah in the reign of Hezekiah. But where this Gedor is to be sought cannot be more accurately determined; for הגּיא is certainly not “the valley in which the Dead Sea lies, and the southern continuation of that valley,” as Ewald and Berth. think: that valley has, in the Old Testament, always the name הערבה . From the use of the article, “the valley,” no further conclusion can be drawn, than that a definite valley in the neighbourhood of Gedor is meant.
(Note: The lxx have rendered גדר by Γεράρ , whence Ewald and Bertheau conclude that גדר is a transcriber ' s error for גרר . But a slip of the pen which would make the Gerar so famed in the history of the patriarchs into Gedor is à priori not very probable; and the defective writing גדר , while Gedor in the high lands is written גּדור , cannot be adduced, as Bertheau thinks, in support of the hypothesis, since Gedor even in 1 Chronicles 4:18 is written defectively. It is decisive against Gerar, that the dwelling-places of the Simeonites demonstrably did not extend till towards sunset (westward) from Gerar, for the cities assigned to them all lie to the east of Gerar.)
Even the further statements in 1 Chronicles 4:30, with regard to the district, that they found there fat and good pasture, and that the land extended on both sides (i.e., was wide), and at rest and secure, because formerly the Hamites dwelt there, and the statement of 1 Chronicles 4:41, that the Simeonites found the Meunim there, and smote them, give us no firm foothold for the ascertainment of the district referred to. The whole Negeb of Judah has been as yet too little travelled over and explored by modern travellers, to allow of our forming any probable conjecture as to Gedor and the wide valley stretching out on both sides. The description of the Hamite inhabitants, וּשׁלוה שׁקטת , reminds us of the inhabitants of the ancient Laish (Judges 18:7, Judges 18:27). Those צם מן are people from Ham, i.e., Hamites, and they may have been Egyptians, Cushites, or even Canaanites (1 Chronicles 1:8). This only is certain, that they were a peaceful shepherd people, who dwelt in tents, and were therefore nomads. לפנים , “formerly,” before the Simeonites took possession of the land.
The above-mentioned Simeonite princes, with their people, fell upon the peaceful little people of the Hamites in the days of Hezekiah, and smote, i.e., destroyed, their tents, and also the Meunites whom they found there. The Meunites were strangers in this place, and were probably connected with the city Maan in the neighbourhood of Petra, to the east of Wady Musa (cf. on 2 Chronicles 20:1 and 2 Chronicles 26:7), who dwelt in tents as nomads, with the Hamites in their richly pastured valley. ויּחרימם , and they destroyed them utterly, as the Vulgate rightly renders it, et deleverunt; and J. H. Mich., ad internecionem usque eos exciderunt . The word החרים , to smite with the curse, having gradually lost its original religious signification, came to be used in a wider sense, to denote complete extirpation, because all accursed persons were slain. Undoubted examples are 2 Chronicles 20:23; 2 Chronicles 32:14; 2 Kings 19:11; Isaiah 37:11; and it is to be so understood here also.
(Note: Bertheau ignores this secondary use of the word, and has drawn from יחרימם the extremely wide inference, that the Simeonites, impelled by holy enthusiasm, arising from the wondrous deliverance of Judah from the attack of the Assyrian power, and the elevation of feeling which it produced in the community, and filled with the thought awakened by the discourses of the great prophets, that the time had come to extend Israel ' s rule, and to bring the conquered peoples under the curse, just as was done in the time of Joshua, had undertaken this war of annexation. But there is unfortunately not a single trace of this enthusiastic thought in the narrative of our verse, for it knows no other motive for the whole undertaking than the purely earthly need to seek and find new pasture lands.)
“Until this day,” i.e., till the composition of the historical work used by the author of the Chronicle, i.e., till the time before the exile.
A part of the Simeonites undertook a second war of conquest against Mount Seir. Led by four chiefs of the sons of Shimei (cf. 1 Chronicles 4:27), 500 men marched thither, smote the remainder of the Amalekites who had escaped, and they dwell there to this day (as in 1 Chronicles 4:41). מהם is more accurately defined by שׁ מבּני , and is therefore to be referred to the Simeonites in general, and not to that part of them only mentioned in 1 Chronicles 4:33 (Berth.). From the circumstance that the leaders were sons of Shimei, we may conclude that the whole troop belonged to this family. The escaped of Amalek are those who had escaped destruction in the victories of Saul and David over this hereditary enemy of Israel (1 Samuel 14:48; 1 Samuel 15:7; 2 Samuel 8:12). A remnant of them had been driven into the mountain land of Idumea, where they were smitten, i.e., extirpated, by the Simeonites. It is not said at what time this was done, but it occurred most probably in the second half of Hezekiah's reign.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26