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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1 Chronicles 4

1 Chronicles 4:1-23 contain fragmentary genealogies of the descendants of Judah, which the compiler appends, as a kind of supplement to the previous lists. They are, perhaps, the records of single Jewish families, which had been preserved through all the years of exile, and were gathered up by our author and inserted with his other tables without any attempt at artificial arrangement or explanation.

The account of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 is profoundly interesting and instructive. His connexion with the “families of Aharhel” in the previous verse is uncertain, and his founding the scribe-city called by his name in 1 Chronicles 2:55, is only a rabbinical conjecture, like the identifying him with Othniel, the son of Kenaz. We have here but the fragmentary chronicle of a saintly personage of the ancient time. His name commemorates the sorrow or pains of his mother at his birth, but he was more honourable than his brethren, more famous, more devoted to the God of Israel, perhaps more wealthy and powerful. He is specially honoured and distinguished for his comprehensive prayer. In the midst, perhaps, of surrounding idolatry, he called on the God of Israel. His prayer has four petitions: 1.)

Bless me In his own person, heart, and life, he would have the special benediction of Jehovah. Literally, his words are, O that blessing thou wouldst bless me! This blessing he would realize in answer to the petitions which follow. 2.)

Enlarge my coast Increase my territorial possessions. Perhaps from being a child of sorrow he had been despised by his brethren, and limited in his possessions; and so he looks, not to man, but to God, to extend his borders. 3.)

Thine hand… with me God’s hand is seen and felt in providential interpositions. Thus Jehovah strengthens, encourages, assists. Jabez would have the God of Israel work with him and in his behalf. 4.)

Keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me The Lord’s prayer ends with this same petition, though expressed in slightly different terms. Matthew 6:13; Luke 11:4. Sin and evil are always sure to grieve.

Verse 14

14. The father of the valley of Charashim That is, father of those who dwelt there, and founder, so to speak, of the institution which gave the place its name. The inhabitants of this valley were craftsmen, and were descended from Joab, the son of Seraiah; so the business of engraving and working in wood and metals was the institution of the place. The location of this valley is unknown, but Nehemiah 11:35, and the Talmud, would seem to place it in the vicinity of Lod, or Lydda.

Verse 21

21. The house of them that wrought fine linen These descendants of Ashbea were noted for working in linen, or byssus, as the sons of Joab were famed artificers. The writer records the fact as a fragment of ancient tradition, and mentions in the next verse, its if to explain why nothing more is said or known about the matter, that “these are ancient things,” old fragments of tradition, whose more minute details are lost.

Verse 23

23. Dwelt among plants and hedges These words should be rendered as proper names, inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah.

They dwelt with the king for his work They occupied the royal lands and laboured in manual service for the king. In the excavations made at the southeast angle of the Haram enclosure, remains of ancient pottery were found, bearing in Phenician letters the words, To King Zepha; King Shat. On one piece was a part of the word “Melek,” king. On the other pieces the letters had become obliterated.

Verse 39

39. They went to… Gedor So the Simeonites, like the Danites, ( Judges xviii,) enlarged their possessions by conquest. Whether this Gedor is the same as that in the mountains of Judah, (Joshua 15:58,) which Dr. Robinson identifies with Jedur north of Hebron, is uncertain. Ewald proposes to amend by reading, with the Septuagint, Gerar, the city where Abraham and Isaac dwelt. Genesis 20:1; Genesis 26:1. But wherever the place, the Simeonites found there the rich pastures they desired, and did not hesitate to destroy the tents of the peaceful occupants, and to take forcible possession of their fields, as the Danites did in the case of the inhabitants of Laish.

Verse 41

41. The habitations that were found there Rather, the Meunim, or Meunites, who were found there. These seem to have been an Arabian tribe of nomads from the vicinity of Mount Seir. Compare 2 Chronicles 26:7.

Verse 43

43. The Amalekites that were escaped Supposed to be those who escaped the sword of Saul and David. 1Sa 14:48 ; 2 Samuel 8:12.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/1-chronicles-4.html. 1874-1909.