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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 4

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-23

1. The family of Judah 4:1-23

Jacob prophesied that his fourth son, Judah, would become the leader of the Israelites. Through him God would provide the greatest promised blessing to come (Genesis 49:8-12). The Davidic dynasty was one branch of Jacob’s descendants, so the writer had special interest in Judah.

"Many unrelated fragments have been brought together here in the interests of completeness." [Note: Williamson, p. 58.]

Jabez’s prayer (1 Chronicles 4:10) shows that prayer and a prayer-answering God can overcome the threat of evil. [Note: For an excellent exposition of this verse, see D. Edmond Hiebert, Working With God: Scriptural Studies in Intercession, pp. 68-76. See also David L. Cooper, "The Prayer of Jabez," Biblical Research Monthly 9:1 (January 1944):3-4. On 1 Chronicles 4:12, see C. H. Knights, "The Text of 1 Chronicles IV 12: A Reappraisal," Vetus Testamentum 37:3 (July 1987):375-77.] This writer believed in the efficacy of prayer, and he emphasized prayer much in his narrative.

"As a Judahite and ancestor of David, it seems quite likely that Jabez was a type of David and that his fervent appeal was made in anticipation of God’s selection and blessing of the yet unborn house of David." [Note: Merrill, "A Theology . . .," p. 185.]

Verses 1-40

B. The House of Israel chs. 4-7

The writer’s next concern was to trace the line of people to whom and through whom God promised to bring blessing and salvation. That nation was Israel, the descendants of Jacob. The writer viewed Israel as consisting of 12 tribes, not just the tribes represented by the returnees from Babylonian exile. The nation as a whole would have a future. [Note: See Howard, pp. 253-56, for a discussion of the Chronicler’s concern to demonstrate the unity of all the Israelites throughout 1 and 2 Chronicles.]

Verses 24-43

2. The family of Simeon 4:24-43

The writer may have listed Simeon’s descendants next because the Simeonites shared the tribal territory God gave to Judah. The Judahites absorbed many of them through intermarriage shortly after settlement in the land.

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/1-chronicles-4.html. 2012.
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