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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 5

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2704. B.C. 1300.

The genealogies of Reuben, 1 Chronicles 5:1-10 . Of Gad, 1 Chronicles 5:11-17 . Of the half-tribe of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 5:23 , 1 Chronicles 5:24 . Joined together they conquer the Hagarites, 1 Chronicles 5:18-22 . They are led captive by the king of Assyria, 1 Chronicles 5:25 , 1 Chronicles 5:26 .

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 5:1. The son of Israel This is added emphatically, because the sons of Joseph, Manasseh, and Ephraim were treated as if they had been the immediate sons of Jacob. The genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright This is the second reason which showeth both why Reuben’s genealogy was not first mentioned, and if another tribe was to be ranked before it, why that was Judah, and not Joseph, because the order of their genealogy was not to be ruled by the birthright, but by a higher privilege, which was given to Judah.

Verse 2

1 Chronicles 5:2. For Judah Not the person, (for in person Joseph prevailed,) but the tribe of Judah. Prevailed Excelled the other tribes, especially in the following privilege. And of him Rather, For of him, as the Hebrew ו , vau, is often used: this being a reason of the foregoing assertion, or declaration, showing wherein he did prevail. Came the chief ruler The government was, by God’s promise and appointment, to be seated chiefly and most durably in that tribe, first in David and his successors, and then in the Messiah, who sprang out of Judah, (Hebrews 7:14,) which was a far greater privilege than the birthright. But, or although, the birthright was Joseph’s So this prevents or removes an objection to Judah’s precedency taken from the birthright.

Verses 7-8

1 Chronicles 5:7-8. And his brethren The other sons of Reuben, and their posterity. Were the chief Hebrew, the head: each was the head of his family. Who dwelt in Aroer, even, &c. Namely, the Reubenites, all those here before mentioned, as appears, both by the following verses, which relate to the whole tribe, and by the agreement of this description of their inheritance with that Joshua 13:15-16.

Verse 9

1 Chronicles 5:9. And eastward he inhabited That is, the tribe of Reuben. Unto the entering in of the wilderness, &c. From Jordan and the wilderness, beyond it unto Euphrates. Or, of the wilderness, which lies toward, or reacheth to the river Euphrates Namely, the great wilderness of Kedemoth, (Deuteronomy 2:26,) which was extended far and wide toward Euphrates: for that was the eastern border of Reuben’s possession, and not Euphrates, to which their habitation never reached. Because their cattle were multiplied Which forced them to enlarge their habitation as far as they could toward Euphrates.

Verse 10

1 Chronicles 5:10. In the days of Saul they made war The Gadites and Manassites joining with them in the war, 1 Chronicles 5:18-19. With the Hagarites The Ishmaelites who dwelt in Arabia Deserta. They dwelt in their tents The Israelites took possession of their lands, and tents or houses, which lay eastward from the land of Gilead. Thus God fulfilled his promise to his people: he cast out the enemy from before them by little and little, and gave them their land as they had occasion for it.

Verse 12

1 Chronicles 5:12. Joel the chief The prince of the tribe, or, at least, of the family, when they were numbered, namely, in the days of Jotham, 1 Chronicles 5:17. In Bashan That is, either who dwelt in the city of Bashan, or who abode in Bashan to defend the city and country, when their brethren went out to war against the Hagarenes, 1 Chronicles 5:19.

Verses 14-15

1 Chronicles 5:14-15. These are the children of Abihail These seven last named. Ahi, chief of the house of their fathers Ahi was the head or chief of the houses or families of those seven named 1 Chronicles 5:13.

Verse 16

1 Chronicles 5:16. They dwelt in Gilead That is, the children or tribe of Gad inhabited a part of Gilead, the Reubenites and Manassites dwelling in other parts of it, Deuteronomy 3:12. In Bashan In the land of Bashan, as is said, 1 Chronicles 5:11. And in her towns In some of her cities and towns. In all the suburbs of Sharon Not that Sharon in Canaan, but that to the east of Jordan, namely, in the fields and pasture-grounds of it. Upon their borders The borders of Gilead and Bashan. For Gilead, properly so called, or the greatest part of it, belonged to the Reubenites, and the greatest part of Bashan to the Manassites; and the Gadites, whose habitation was between these two tribes, had those parts of both these countries which lay toward their borders.

Verse 17

1 Chronicles 5:17. In the days of Jotham king of Judah Who, reigning long, partly in his father’s days, and partly by himself, and being at leisure from wars and troubles, thought this a fit season to examine the state of his people. And in the days of Jeroboam Probably Jeroboam the second, of whom see 2 Kings 13:13-14. This does not imply that Jotham and Jeroboam reigned at the same time; but only that in their several reigns this account was taken.

Verses 18-20

1 Chronicles 5:18-20. The sons of Reuben, &c. These three tribes, or at least so many of them as made a great army, joined their forces together, consisting of their best soldiers, to invade the country of the Hagarites. They were helped against them Against the Hagarites, who, it seems, fought stoutly; but God assisted the Israelites, enduing them with extraordinary courage and success, in consequence of their crying to him, and putting their trust in him, in his power, mercy, and faithfulness to his promise.

Verse 21

1 Chronicles 5:21. Of their camels fifty thousand For camels were very numerous in Arabia, being used in war and for burdens, &c., and being very patient of thirst, and therefore most fit for those hot and dry countries. Of men a hundred thousand Whom they took prisoners, and either used as slaves, or sold them for such.

Verse 22

1 Chronicles 5:22. For there fell down many slain Besides those taken captive, a great number were slain in the battle. Because the war was of God Undertaken in his fear, and carried on in a dependance on him. Then we may expect to prosper in any enterprise, and then only, when we take God along with us. And they dwelt in their steads Most or all of those valiant men who were engaged in this war, who were forty-four thousand seven hundred and sixty, (1 Chronicles 5:18,) settled themselves in the country which they had conquered, and remained there until the captivity, of which see 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Kings 17:6.

Verse 23

1 Chronicles 5:23. The half-tribe of Manasseh Having spoken of the Reubenites, (1 Chronicles 5:3-10,) and next of the Gadites, (1 Chronicles 5:11, &c.,) he now comes to the Manassites. Dwelt in the land In the same country with the Reubenites and Gadites, on the other side of Jordan, namely, in the northern part of that land.

Verse 25

1 Chronicles 5:25. They transgressed against the God of their fathers Had they kept close to God and their duty, they would have continued to enjoy both their ancient lot and their new conquests; but lying upon the borders, and conversing with the neighbouring nations, they learned their idolatrous usages, and transmitted the infection to the other tribes: and for this God had a controversy with them.

Verse 26

1 Chronicles 5:26 . The God of Israel Who had been a husband to Israel, and whose jealousy burned like fire, when Israel went a whoring after other gods. Stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, &c. That is, so governed his counsels and affections, that he brought his forces against this people rather than others. God served his own purposes by the designs of those ambitious monarchs, employed them first to chastise those revolters, and when that did not reduce them, wholly to root them out. These tribes were first placed, and they were first displaced. They would have the best land, not considering that it lay most exposed. They who are governed more by sense than by reason or faith in their inclinations and choices, may expect to fare accordingly.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 5". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-chronicles-5.html. 1857.
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