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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

1 Chronicles 1

Chapter 1. falls naturally into three sections. (1) The ten generations of the first age of humanity, with a table of races and countries, given in genealogical form according to ancient conceptions (1 Chronicles 1:1-23). (2) The ten generations after the Flood, from Shem to Abraham, the second age of man, with a list of the races claiming descent from Abraham (1 Chronicles 1:24-42). (3) A catalogue of the kings of Edom anterior to the Israelite monarchy and of the tribal chieftains of that country (1 Chronicles 1:43-54).

1 Chronicles 1:1-4 are an abstract of the fifth chapter of Genesis. (See the Notes there.) The arrangement of the names, in three triads and a quartette, is perhaps mnemonic. In our translation the Hebrew spelling is followed more closely here than in Genesis 5:0 Sheth, Enosh, Kenan, Jered, Henoch are nearer the original than Seth, Enos, Cainan, Jared, Enoch (the spelling of the LXX).

Verse 1

(1) Adam (man) is here treated as a proper name; in Genesis 5:1-5 it is an appellative.

The Chaldeans also had a tradition of ten antediluvian patriarchs or kings, beginning with Alorus and ending with Xisuthrus (Hasis-Adra), the hero of the Flood. They made the duration of this first period of human history 432,000 years. Remembering that Abraham, the Hebrew, was from “Ur (Uru, the city) of the Chaldees,” we can hardly suppose the two accounts to be independent of each other. The comparative simplicity and, above all, the decided monotheism of the Hebrew relation, give a high probability to the assumption that it represents a more original form of the tradition.

Sheth, Enosh.—Those who have imagined the present list to be a mere duplicate of that given in Genesis 4:17 sqq., and who explain the whole by the fatally easy process of resolving all these different names into a capricious repetition of one original solar figure, are obliged to admit a difficulty in connection with the names of Sheth and Enosh, which are acknowledged “not to belong to mythology at all” (Prof. Goldziher). Considering that most Hebrew names have a distinct and intentional significance, it is obviously a mere exercise of ingenuity to invest them with a mythological character. Meanwhile, such speculations cannot possibly be verified.

Verse 4

(4) Shem, Ham, and Japheth.—There is no doubt that Ham means black, or sunburnt, and Japheth (Heb., Yepheth) is probably the fair-skinned. Shem has been compared with an Assyrian word meaning brownish (sa’mu). Thus the three names appear to allude to differences of racial complexion.

1 Chronicles 1:5-23 are an abridgment of Genesis 10:0. The proper names represent, not persons, but peoples and countries. By adding them all together, the old Jewish interpreters made a total of seventy nations for the world. The list is a classified summary of the ethnical and geographical knowledge of Hebrew antiquity.

Verses 5-7

THE SONS OF JAPHETH THE FAIR—(1 Chronicles 1:5-7).

The Oriental theory of political and even social communities refers each to a common ancestor. The Israelites are known as “sons of Israel,” the Ammonites as “sons of Ammon” (Authorised version, “children”). In the same way, an Arab tribe is called. the “Bêni Hassan” (sons of Hassan), and Assurbanipal styles his subjects “sons of Asshur.” Sometimes a people is called “sons” of the land or city they inhabit; e.g., the Babylonians are styled “sons of Babel.” The “sons of Japheth” are probably the fair Caucasian race.

(5) Gomer.—The Cimmerians of the Greek writers; called Gi-mir-ra-a-a in Assyrian inscriptions. Their country was Cappadocia, called Gamir by the ancient Armenians. The Arabic version has “Turkey.”

Magog.Ezekiel 38:2-3; Ezekiel 38:6 speaks of Gog, king of Magog, and suzerain of Tubal, Meshech, Gomer and the house of Togarmah. With the name Gog compare Gâgu, king of Salii, mentioned in connection with Assurbanipal’s campaign against the Mannâ-a. Magog appears to be a general name for the peoples north of Assyria, i.e., in Armenia.

Madai.—The Medes. 2 Kings 17:6; Isaiah 13:17. Assyr., Ma-da-a-a.

Javan.—The Assyrian Yavnan, i.e., Cyprus, mentioned in the Behistun Inscription, as here, along with Media, Armenia, and Cappadocia. (Comp. Joel 3:6; Isaiah 66:19.)

Tubal and Meshech, the Tibareni and Moschi of classical writers; and the Muski and Tabali of Assyrian records.

Tiras has been compared with the Tyras or Dniester. Perhaps we may compare Tros and the Trojans.

(6) Ashchenaz.Jeremiah 51:27, near or in Armenia. Apparently the Asguzâa mentioned by Esarhaddon in the account of his campaign against the Cimmerians and Cilicians. The Arabic has Slavonia.

Riphath.—The reading of Genesis 10:3, some Heb. MSS., the LXX., and Vulg. The common Hebrew text (Van der Hooght’s) wrongly reads Diphath (Syriac, Diphar). Togarmah seems to be the Tulgarimmç on the border of Tabali, which Sennacherib reduced in his expedition against Cilicia (Smith, Sennach., p. 86).

(7) Elishah.—Usually identified with Hellas, or the Hellenes. Perhaps, however, Carthage is meant: comp. the name Elissa, as a by-name of Dido, Virg. Æn. iv. 335.

Tarshish.—Usually identified with the Phœnician colony of Tartessus, in Spain. (Comp. Psalms 72:10.)

Dodanim.—So many Heb. MSS., the Syriac, Vulg., and Genesis 10:3. The LXX. has “Rhodians,” which implies a reading, Rodanim, which we find in the common Hebrew text. Dodanim might be the Dardauians of the Troad, or the Dodoneans (Dodona, the seat of an ancient oracle, the fame of which might have reached Phœnician ears).

Thus far the list appears to deal with Asia Minor and adjacent lands; and Japheth, whose name is curiously like the Greek Iäpetus, seems to include the western races so far as known to the Hebrews.

Verses 8-16

THE SONS OF HAM, THE DARK-SKINNED OR SWARTHY (1 Chronicles 1:8-16).

(8) Cush.—The Greek Meroë, Assyrian Miluhha, or Kûsu, south of Egypt, in our Bibles often called Ethiopia (Isaiah 19:1). The Arabic gives Habesh, i.e., Ethiopia.

Mizraim.—The common Hebrew name of Egypt: strictly, “the two Miçrs”—i.e., Upper and Lower Egypt. But the name should rather be spelt Mizrim—the Egyptians; the form Mizraim being probably a mere fancy of the Jewish punctuators. The Assyrians wrote Muçum, Muçru, Muçur. The Inscription of Darius has Miçir. Maçôr was the name of the wall which protected Egypt on the north-east. Hence it gave its name to the whole of Lower Egypt.—Cush and Muçur are coupled together in the inscriptions of Esarhaddon and his son Assurbanipal.

Put.—Perhaps the Egyptian Punt, on the east coast of Africa. King Darius mentioned Pûta and Kûsu as subject to him (Behist, Inscr.). Comp. Nahum 3:9; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 30:5. The Arabic has Kibtu, i.e., Coptland.

Canaan.—There are many proofs of an early connection between Egypt and Canaan. The Philistines were colonists from the Delta (1 Chronicles 1:12), and Ramses II. (cir. 1350 or 1450 B.C. ) had wars and made alliance with the Hittites.

(9) Seba.—Capital of Meroë. The other names represent Arabian tribes and their districts.

Sheba.—The famous Sabaeans, whose language, the Himyaritic, has quite recently been deciphered from inscriptions.

(10) Cush begat Nimrod.—Micah (Micah 5:6) speaks of the “land of Nimrod” in connection with the “land of Asshur.” The land of Nimrod is plainly Babylonia; and some have supposed the primitive inhabitants of Babylonia—“the black-headed race” (zalmat qayqadi) as they styled themselves—to have been akin to the peoples of Muçur and Cush. At all events, Cush in this table of races appears as father of a series of mixed populations, ramifying from the north-west of the Persian Gulf in a southernly direction to the coast of Arabia. The Asiatic Cush represents that primitive Elamitic Sumerian race which occupied the north-west and north coast of the Persian Gulf; or rather that portion of it which attained to empire in Babylonia.

The name Nimrod appears to be identical with Merodach, the Accadian Amar-utu, or Amar-utuki, Assyrian Maruduk. Merodach was the tutelar deity of Babylon, as Asshur was of Assyria; and many Babylonian sovereigns bore his name. (Comp. Merodach-baladan, Isaiah 39:1.)

He began to be.He was the first to become. Tradition made Nimrod the first founder of a great Oriental empire. The statement about his four cities (Genesis 10:10), the first of which was Babel (Babylon), is omitted here.

Mighty.—Literally, a hero, warrior (gibbôr); a title of Merodach.

(11, 12) The names in these verses are all in the masculine plural, and obviously designate nations. Mizraim, the two Egypts, is said to have begotten the chief races inhabiting those regions—a common Oriental metaphor. The Ludim are the Ludu, or Rudu, of the hieroglyphs (Prof. Sayce thinks, the Lydian mercenaries of the Egyptian sovereigns); the Anamim are perhaps the men of An (On, Genesis 41:50), Lehabim, the Lybians. The Naphtuhim seem to get their name from Noph, i.e., Memphis, and the god Ptah. Perhaps, however, the name is to be recognised in the town Napata.

(12) Pathrusim.—The men of the south (Egyptian, pe-ta-res, “the southland”), or Upper Egypt.

Casluhim . . . Caphthorim.—The men of Kaftûra, or the Delta. (See Amos 9:7 : “Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Mizraim? and the Philistines from Caphtor?” and comp. Deuteronomy 2:23.) The Caluhim may have been a leading division of the Caphthorim.

Verses 13-16

THE CITY ZIDON AND THE TEN RACES OF CANAAN (1 Chronicles 1:13-16).

(13) Canaan begat Zidon his firstborn.—Or, in modern phrase, Zidon is the oldest city of Canaan. It is usually mentioned along with Tyre, the ruling city in later times. Sennacherib speaks of the flight of Lulî, “king of Zidon,” from Tyre. Esarhaddon mentions Baal of Tyre as a tributary. Of the eleven “sons of Canaan all but three or four have been identified in the cuneiform inscriptions of Assyria.

And Heth—that is, the Hittite race, called Heta by the Egyptians, and Hatti by the Assyrians. (See 1 Chronicles 1:8, Note.) The Hittites were once the dominant race of Syria and Palestine. Carchemish, on the Euphrates, and Kadesh, as well as Hamath, appear to have been Hittite cities. Their kings had commercial relations with Solomon (1 Kings 10:29). Inscriptions, in a kind of mixed hieroglyph, have been found at Hamath and Carchemish, but they still await decipherment.

(14) The Jebusite.—The men of Jebus, or Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 11:4).

Amorite.—The hill-men of the trans-Jordan.

Girgashite.—Perhaps of Gergesa (Matthew 8:28).

(15) Hivite.—On the slopes of Lebanon (Joshua 11:3), “under Hermon,” but also in Gibeon and Shechem (Joshua 9:7; Genesis 34:2). Delitzsch suggests that the name is connected with Hamath (Assyrian, Hammath as Hawath).

Arkite, and the Sinite.—Tribes living to the west of northern Lebanon. A fragment of the annals of Tiglath-pileser mentions along with Simyra the towns of Arqâ and Sianu “on the sea-coast” (B C, 739). Jose-phus mentions a town Arka, which is otherwise known as the birthplace of the emperor Alexander Severus (Ruins: Tell’Araci).

(16) Arvadite.—Arvad, or Aradus, now Ruâd, an island off Phoenicia. Assurnâçirpal (B.C. 885) calls it “Arvada in the mid-sea.” Its king submitted to Sennacherib.

Zemarite.—The people of Simyra, on the coast of Phoenicia, south-east of Arvad. Simyra (Assyrian, Cimirra) was a fortified town commanding the road from the coast to the upper valley of the Orontes (Ruins: Sumra).

Hamathite.—The people of Hamath (Hamah) on the Orontes, a Hittite state which made alliance with David (circ. 1040 B.C. ).

On a review of 1 Chronicles 1:8-16 we see that the “sons of Ham” include Ethiopia, Egypt, and the neighbouring shores of Arabia, and perhaps the founders of Babylon (1 Chronicles 1:8-10). The tribes of Egypt and Canaan are enumerated in 1 Chronicles 1:11-16.

Verses 17-23

THE SONS OF SHEM, OR THE SEMITES (1 Chronicles 1:17-23).

(17) Blam.—The Elamtum of the Assyrian inscription, the classic Susiana, a mountainous land eastward of Babylonia, to which it was subject in the days of Abraham (Genesis 14:0). The names Assurû, Elamû, Kassû, and Accadû occur together in an old Assyrian list of nations. Êlama, from which the Assyrian and Hebrew names are derived, is Accadian. The native designation was Ansan. The Sargonide kings of Assyria had frequent wars with Elam.

Asshur.—Assyria proper, i.e., a district on the Tigris, about twenty-five miles long, between the thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh parallels of latitude. Asshur was the name of its older capital and tutelar god. The Semitic Assyrians appear to have been settled at Asshur as early as the nineteenth century B.C. They were emigrants from Babylonia (Genesis 10:11). The original name was A-usar, “water-meadow.”

Arphaxad apparently means Babylonia, or, at least, includes it. Babylonian monarchs styled themselves “King of the Four Quarters” (of heaven); and Arphaxaa may perhaps mean land of the four quarters or sides, and be derived from the Assyrian arba-kisâdi “four sides” (Friedrich Delitzsch). More probably it is Arph-chesed, “boundary of Chaldea.”

Lud, usually identified with the Lydians (Assyrian Luddi), perhaps their original home in Armenia. The name has also been compared with Rutennu, the Egyptian name of the Syrians (I and r being confused in Egyptian). But comp. Ezekiel 27:10; Ezekiel 30:5.

Aram.—The high land—that is, eastern and western Syria, extending from the Tigris to the Great Sea. The name is constantly used for the Arameans, or Syrians.

Uz.—An Arab tribe, called Hâsu by Esarhaddon, who reduced them. Perhaps, however, Uz (Heb., Ûç), is the Assyrian Uçça, a district on the Orontes, mentioned by Shalmaneser II. (B.C. 860-825). Job lived in the “land of Uz.” The remaining names appear to be also those of Arab tribes, who must have lived northward in the direction of Aram; these are called sons of Aram in Genesis 10:0

Hul is the Assyrian Hûlî’a, which formed a part of the mountain land of Kasiar or Mash (Inscription of Assurnâçirpal, B.C. 885-860). For Meshech Genesis 10:0 has Mash, which is compared with Mount Masius, near Nisibin. (So the Syriac and some Heb. MSS.)

(18) Eber.—The land on the other side (Gr., ἡ πέραν) Peræa. Here the land beyond the Euphrates is meant, from which “Abraham, the Hebrew” (i.e., Eberite), migrated.

(19) Two sons.—This indicates the ancient consciousness that the Hebrew and Arabian peoples were akin.

The earth was divided.—Or, divided itself. (Comp. Deuteronomy 32:7-9.) The words probably refer to a split in the population of Mesopotamia.

(20) Joktan begat Almodad.—The Joktanite tribes lived along the coast of Hadhramaut (Hazarmaveth) and Yemen, in southern Arabia. The tribes of Yemen call their ancestor Qahtân (= Joktan). The names in 1 Chronicles 1:20-21, are all explicable from Arabic sources.

(22) Ebal.Genesis 10:28. Obal, where, however, the LXX. read Εὐάλ (Ebal). The different spelling is due to the common confusion in MSS. of the Hebrew letters w and y. Both Ebal and Abimael are unknown.

(23) Ophir.—Abhîra, at the mouth of the Indus.

Jobab.—Probably a tribe of Arabia Deserta. (Comp. the Arabic yabâb, a desert.)

All these were the sons of Joktan.Genesis 10:30 adds a definition of their territory: “Their dwelling was from Mesha” (Maisânu, at the head of the Persian Gulf), “until thou comest to Sephar” (probably Zafâru or Isfor, in South Arabia) “and the mountains of the east” (i.e., Nejd, a range parallel to the Red Sea).

From the whole section we learn that the Elamites, Assyrians, Chaldees, Arameans, Hebrews, and Arabs, were regarded as belonging to the great Semitic family. In regard to Elam, modern philologers have questioned the correctness of this view. It is, however, quite possible that at the time when the original of this table of nations was composed, some Semitic tribes were known to have effected a settlement in Elam, just as kindred tribes occupied Babylonia and Assyria.

The fourteen sons of Japheth and the thirty sons of Ham, and the twenty-six sons of Shem, make a total of seventy eponyms of nations. The number seventy is probably not accidental. Comp. the seventy elders (Numbers 11:16); the seventy members of the Sanhedrin; and even the seventy disciples of Christ (Luke 10:1). The seventy nations of the world are often mentioned in the Talmud. Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Tyre, and the peoples that had commerce with her (Ezekiel 27:0), is a valuable illustration of the table.

Verses 24-27

TEN GENERATIONS FROM SHEM TO ABRAHAM; AN ABSTRACT OF Genesis 11:10-26, OMITTING ALL HISTORIC NOTICES (1 Chronicles 1:24-27).

Between Arphaxad aud Shelah the LXX., at Genesis 11:12, insert Καίναν = Heb. Kênan (1 Chronicles 1:2, above). The name is not contained in our present Hebrew text of Genesis. Kenan may have been dropped originally, in order to make Abraham the tenth from Shem, as Noah is tenth from Adam. The artificial symmetry of these ancient lists is evidently designed. Comp. the thrice fourteen generations in the genealogy of our Lord (Matthew 1:0).

1 Chronicles 1:28-42 enumerate a second series of seventy tribes or peoples, derived from Abraham through the three representative names of Ishmael, Keturah, and Isaac; just as the seventy peoples of the former series are derived from Noah through Shem, Ham, and Japheth. And as, in the former list, the sons of Japheth and Ham were treated of before the Semitic stocks, so, in the present instance, the sons of Ishmael and Keturah precede Isaac, and of Isaac’s sons Esau precedes Israel (35, seq.); because the writer wishes to lead up to Israel as the climax of his presentation.

Verse 29

(29) These are their generations.—Or, their genealogy or register of births. Before a personal name the term Tôldôth denotes the “births,” i.e., the posterity of the man, and the history of him and his descendants. Before the name of a thing Tôldôth signifies origin, beginnings (Genesis 2:4). The Hebrew expression sçfer tôldôth answers to the βίβλος γενέσως of Matthew 1:1. The twelve sons or tribes of Ishmael (1 Chronicles 1:29-31) are given first, in an extract from Genesis 25:13-16.

Nebaioth.—The Nabateans of Arabia Petræa, and Kedar, the Cedrei of classical writers, are named together, Isaiah 60:7. (Assyrian Naba’âta and Kidrâ’a reduced by Assurbanipal.)

Adbeel.—Both here and in Genesis the LXX. read Nabdeel. But Adbéêl is the Assyrian Idiba’îl or Idibi’îl a tribe south-west of the Dead Sea, towards Egypt; mentioned along with Massa and Tema, as paying tribute to Tiglath-pileser II.

Verse 30

(30) Dumah.Isaiah 21:11, as a name of Edom. There is still a locality bearing this name, “Duma the Rocky,” on the borders of the Syrian desert and Arabia.

Hadad.—The right reading here and in Genesis.

Tema.Taimâ’u, in the north of the Arabian desert. The LXX. confuses it with Teman. (Assyr. Têmâl’a).

Verse 31

(31) Jetur.—The Itureans beyond Jordan (Luke 3:1). The other names are obscure.

Verse 32

(32) The sons of Keturah.—An extract from Genesis 25:1-4.

Medan is very likely a mere repetition of Midian, due to a mistake of some ancient copyist. Genesis 25:3 adds, “And the sons of Dedan were Asshuriin, and Letushim, and Leummim;” which is, perhaps, an interpolation, as the three names are of a different form from the others in the section; and the chronicler would hardly have omitted them had he found them in his text.

Midian.—The most important of these tribes. The Midianites dwelt, or rather wandered, in the peninsula of Sinai.

Sheba, and Dedan.—See 1 Chronicles 1:9, where these names appear as sons of Cush. The names may have been common to different tribes settled in different regions. Sheba (Assyr. Saba’â’a) Massa, Tema, and Adbeel, are described by Tiglath-pileser as lying “on the border of the sunset lands”

Verse 33

(33) The five clans or tribes of Midian. These, with the seven names of 1 Chronicles 1:31, make a total of twelve tribes for Keturah.

Ephah.—Called Hâ’âpâ, or Hayâpa by Tiglath-pileser.

Verse 34

(34) Abraham begat Isaac.—From Genesis 25:19.

Esau and Israel.—Esau is named first, not as the elder, but because the tribes of Esau are to be first enumerated. (Comp. Note above on 1 Chronicles 1:28-42.)

Israel.—The more honourable appellation (Genesis 32:28) almost wholly supplanted Jacob as the name of the chosen people, except in poetry and prophecy. Some moderns have seen in such double names as Jacob-Israel, Esau-Edom, a trace of an ancient fusion or amalgamation of distinct races.

Verses 35-37

(35-37) The sons of Esau.—Comp. Genesis 36:9-13. In 1 Chronicles 1:36 the name of Timna occurs under the general heading, “Sons of Eliphaz.” According to Genesis 36:12, Timna was a secondary wife of Eliphaz, and mother of Amalek. Strange as this difference may at first sight appear, it is in fact absolutely unimportant. The writer’s intention being simply to enumerate the principal branches of the sons of Eliphaz, the statement of the special relations between the different clans might be omitted here, as fairly and naturally as the relations between Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth are left unnoticed in 1 Chronicles 1:4. Comp. also 1 Chronicles 1:17, where Uz, Hul, &c, are apparently co-ordinated with Aram, although Genesis 10:23 expressly calls them “sons of Aram.” The Vatican MS. of the LXX. has our text; the Alexandrine MS. follows that of Genesis 36:12. It is at least curious that if Timna-Amalek be excluded from account, the sons of Esau are twelve in number. The fact is obscured in the compressed statement of the chronicler; but it becomes evident by reference to Genesis 36:11-14, where five sons are reckoned to Eliphaz (1 Chronicles 1:11), four to Reuel (1 Chronicles 1:13), and three to Esau’s wife Aholibamah (1 Chronicles 1:14), viz.: Jeush, Jaalam, and Korah. Although 1 Chronicles 1:12 of that passage reckons Amalek with the sons of Adah, mother of Eliphaz, it distinctly separates Timna-Amalek from the sons of Eliphaz. It would seem that Amalek was known to be but remotely connected with the pure Edomite stocks. For the or-fanisation of a people in twelve tribes, &c., comp. Ewald, Hist, of Israel, 1:362, and his Antiq. of Israel, § 280. However, Genesis 36:15-19 enumerates Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, Gatam, and Amalek, sons of Eliphaz; Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, Mizzah, sons of Reuel; and Jeush, Jaalam, Korah, sons of Aholibamah; as chiliarchs (allûfîm—LXX., φύλαρχοι) or chieftains of Esau-Edom.

Verses 35-42

(35-42) The tribes of Esau and Seir, extracted from Genesis 36:0

Verses 38-42

(38-42) The sons of Seir (from Genesis 36:20-30).—There is no apparent link between this series and the preceding. Comparison of Genesis 36:20 shows that Seir represents the indigenous inhabitants of Edom (“the inhabitants of the land,” comp. Joshua 7:9) before its conquest by the sons of Esau. In time a fusion of the two races would result, the tribes of each being governed by their own chieftains, as is indicated by Genesis 36:20-21, where the seven sons of Seir (1 Chronicles 1:38) are called “chiliarchs of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom.” Deuteronomy 2:22 implies not the actual extermination of the Horites (Troglodytes or Cave-dwellers) by their Semitic invaders, the sons of Esau, but only their entire subjugation. The differences of spelling noticed in the margin are unimportant as regards the names Zephi (1 Chronicles 1:36), Homam (1 Chronicles 1:39), and Alian and Shephi (1 Chronicles 1:40); the note on Ebal-Obal (1 Chronicles 1:22) explains them. The written w and y in Hebrew are so similar as to be perpetually confounded with each other by careless copyists. The same fact accounts for the missing conjunction and in 1 Chronicles 1:42, which is expressed in Hebrew by simply prefixing the letter w to a word. The w in this case having been misread, and transcribed as y, the name Jakan (Yaqan) resulted. The Aqan (not Achan) of Genesis 36:2 is correct. (So some MSS., the LXX., and Arabic.) Amram, in 1 Chronicles 1:41, is a mistake of the Authorised version. The Hebrew has Hamran, which differs only by one consonant from the Hemdan of Genesis 36:26; a difference due to the common confusion of the Hebrew letters d and r, already exemplified in 1 Chronicles 1:6-7 (Riphath—Diphath, Dodanim—Rodanim). Many MSS. and the Arabic read Hemdan here.

Verse 39

(39) And Timna was Lotan’s sister.—This appears to mean that the tribe settled in the town of Timna was akin to the sons of Lotan, but not a subdivision of that tribe. Towns are feminine in Hebrew, and are sometimes called mothers (2 Samuel 20:19), sometimes daughters.

Verse 41

(41) The sons of Anah; Dishon.Genesis 36:25 adds, “and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah.” (Comp. 1 Chronicles 1:52, “the chiliarch of Aholibamah.”) Dishon, like Ammon or Israel, being the collective name of a number of tribes or clans, there is nothing strange in the expression, “The sons of Anah; Dishon.”

Verse 43

(43) Before any king reigned over the children of Israel.—Comp. Numbers 20:14-21, the message of Moses to the king of Edom, asking for a free passage for Israel through his domains. As the older people, and as having been earlier established in its permanent home, Edom was naturally a stage beyond Israel in political development. Unhappily brief as it is, this notice is very appropriately inserted here in an introduction to the history of the kings of the house of David.

Bela the son of Beor.—Curiously like “Balaam the son of Beor,” Numbers 22:5. In Hebrew, Bela and Balaam are essentially similar words, the terminal m of the latter being possibly a mere formative. (Perhaps, however, Balaam—Heb. Bil’am = “Bel is a kinsman”) comp. Eliam. The prophet whose strange story is read in Numbers 22-24 may, like Isaiah, have been of royal extraction.

Dinhabah.Doom-giving, that is, the place where the king gave judgment (1 Samuel 8:5).

Verses 43-54

(43-54) The ancient kings and chiliarchs of Edom, a transcript of Genesis 36:31-43, with only such differences as are incidental to transcribing.

Verses 44-45

(44, 45) Bozrah.—“Portress” (the Byrsa of Carthage); was one of the capitals of Edom, perhaps identical with Mibzar (fortress, 1 Chronicles 1:53). Eusebius mentions Mabsara as a large town in Gebalene. It is now represented by the ruins of Al-Bussireh in Jebal. See Amos 1:12, “I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah;” and Isaiah 34:6.

Verse 46

(46) Hadad.—The name of a Syrian deity, a form of the sun-god. (Comp. the royal titles, Ben-hadad and Hadadezer, 1 Chronicles 18:3, and the Note on 2 Kings 5:18.) Hadad is the same as Dadi, a Syrian title of Rimmon. Perhaps the classical Attis is equivalent to Dadis. The cry of the vintagers (hçdâd) seems to show that Hadad, like Bacchus, was regarded as the giver of the grapes (Isaiah 16:9-10).

Which smote Midian.—A glimpse of the restless feuds which prevailed from time immemorial between these tribes and peoples of kindred origin. Like the judges of Israel, the kings of Edom seem to have been raised to their position owing to special emergencies.

The field of Moab.—That is, the open country.

Avith.—Like Dinhabah, and Pai, and Masretah, unknown beyond this passage. In the Hebrew of Chron. it is spelt, Ayuth; in Genesis 36:0 Awith. The letters w and y have been transposed in our text.

Verse 47

(47) Masrekah means place of Sorek vines.

Verse 48

(48) Shaul.Saul, the name of the first king of Israel.

Rehoboth by the river.—Probably the same as Rehoboth Ir in Genesis 10:11, i.e., the suburbs of Nineveh. The river is Euphrates.

Verse 49

(49) Baal-hanan.Baal bestowed. (Comp. “Johanan,” Iahweh bestowed; and “Hananiah,” and “Hannibal.”) This name and that of Hadad indicate the polytheism of ancient Edom.

Verse 50

(50) Baal-hanan.—Some MSS. have “ben Achbor,” as in Genesis 36:39; so in 1 Chronicles 1:51. “Alvah,” of Genesis, is more correct than our “Aliah.” The Hebrew margin reads “Alvah” (Alwah).

Pai.—Many MSS. have “Pau,” the reading of Gen., which is right. Hadar (Genesis 36:39), on the other hand, is probably a mistake for Hadad.

Mehetabel.El benefiteth. Perhaps Mehetabel was an Israelite, as no other queen of Edom is mentioned. But her name is Aramean.

Verse 51

(51) Hadad died also.—Rather, And Hadad died, and there were (or arose) chiliarchs of Edom, the chiliarch of Timnah, the chiliarch of Aliah, &c. This appears to state that Hadad was the last king of Edom, and that after his death the country was governed by the heads of the various clans or tribes, without any central authority. In Genesis 36:40, the sentence, “And Hadad died,” is wanting, and the transition from the kings to the chiliarchs is thus effected: “And these are the names of the chiliarchs of Esau, after their clans, after their places, by their names: the chiliarch of Timnah,” &c. The chiliarchs (‘allûphîm, from ‘eleph, a thousand) were the heads of the thousands or clans (mishpehôth) of Edom (Genesis 36:40). (See Note on 1 Chronicles 14:1.) The names in these verses are not personal, but tribal and local, as the conclusion of the account in Genesis 36:43 indicates: “These are the chiliarchs of Edom, after their seats, in the land of their domain.” Comp. the names of the sons of Esau and Seir (1 Chronicles 1:35-42). This makes it clear that Timnah and Aholibamah were towns. The king of Edom is often mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. (See Numbers 20:14; Amos 2:1-8 th cent. B.C. ; 2 Kings 3:9 - 9th cent.) According to Ewald (Hist. p. 46), the chieftains of Edom follow the list of kings, “as if David had already vanquished the last king of Edom, and put it under” merely tribal government, in subordination to himself. “The Hadad who fled very young to Egypt at David’s conquest (1 Kings 11:14-22) may have been grandson of Hadad, the last king.”

Verse 54

(54) These are the dukes (chiliarchs) of Edom.—Eleven names only are given, whereas there were twelve (or thirteen) chiliarchs of Edom (Genesis 36:15-19; see Note on 1 Chronicles 1:35-37). A name may have fallen out of the ancient text from which the chronicler derived the list.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/1-chronicles-1.html. 1905.