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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 3

Ellicott's Commentary for English ReadersEllicott's Commentary



1 Chronicles 3:0. resumes the genealogy of the Hezronite house of Ram, suspended at 1 Chronicles 2:17. (1) The nine sons of David (1 Chronicles 3:1-9). (2) The Davidic dynasty from Solomon to Zedekiah (1 Chronicles 3:10-16). (3) The line of Jechoniah-Jehoiachin, continued apparently to the ninth generation (1 Chronicles 3:17-24).

Verse 1

(1) Amnon.—For his story see 2 Samuel 13:0

Of Ahinoam.—Literally, to Ahin. (1 Samuel 25:43).

The second Daniel of Abigail the Carmelitess.—Better, A second, Daniel, to Abigail, &c. Sam. adds, “wife of Nabal the Carmelite.” (See 1 Samuel 25:0 for her story.)

Verses 1-4

I.—The sons of David.—This section is parallel to 2 Samuel 3:2-5 (comp. 1 Chronicles 3:1-4) and 2 Samuel 5:14-16 (1 Chronicles 3:5-9), with which comp. 1 Chronicles 14:3-7.

(1-4) The six sons born in Hebron. The sons and mothers agree with those of the parallel passage in Sam., with the one exception of the second son, who is here called Daniel, but in Samuel, Chileab. The LXX. (2 Samuel 3:3) has Δαλουια, which may represent Heb. Delaiah (Iah hath freed), though in our 1 Chronicles 3:24 that name is spelt Δαλααια, or Δαλαια. In the present passage the Vatican LXX. has Δαμνιήλ, the Alex. Δαλουνια. Perhaps Daniel is a corruption of Delaiah, as this name recurs in the line of David. Chileab may have had a second name (comp. Uzziah-Azariah, Mattaniah-Zedekiah), especially as Chileab appears to be a nickname, meaning “dog.” (Comp. the Latin Canidius, Caninius, as a family name.)

Verse 2

(2) Absalom.—David’s favourite and rebellious son (2 Samuel 15-19). The common Heb. text has “to Absalom;” but a number of MSS. and all the old versions read Absalom. Rabbi D. Kimchi gives the characteristic explanation that L-ABSHALOM alludes to LO-ABSHALOM, “not Absalom”—that is, not a “father of peace,” but a rebel.

Maachah . . . Geshur.—See 1 Chronicles 2:23.

Adonijah the son of Haggith.—Who would have succeeded his father, and was put to death by Solomon (1 Kings 1:0, 1 Kings 2:19-25).

Verse 3

(3) Eglah (heifer) his wife.—Eglah is not marked out as principal wife of David. The expression “his wife” is added simply to balance the clause, to make up for the absence of details respecting her connexions, such as are given in the case of some of the other wives. Jewish expositors have groundlessly identified Eglah with Michal, daughter of Saul (1 Samuel 18:20).

Verse 4

(4) These six were born unto him in Hebron.—Literally, Six were born. 2 Samuel 3:5 : “These were born.”

And there he reigned seven years.—This notice of the time David reigned first in Hebron, the Judean capital, and then in Jerusalem over all Israel, is not read in the parallel section of Samuel; but see 2 Samuel 2:11; 2 Samuel 5:5 for the same statements.

Verses 5-8

(5-8) The thirteen sons born in Jerusalem. See 2 Samuel 5:14-16, and 1 Chronicles 14:4-7, where this list is repeated with some variations (1 Chronicles 3:5). The four sons of Bath-sheba, called here Bath-shua, a weakened form, if not a copyist’s error. By a similar change the Elishama of 1 Chronicles 3:6 appears in Samuel as Elishua.

Shimea (“report”) was a son of Jesse (1 Chronicles 2:13). Perhaps, therefore, Shammua (“famous”) is correct here, as in Samuel.

Ammiel and Eliam are transposed forms of the same name, meaning “El is a tribesman” (‘am=gens, el = deus). (Comp. Ahaziah and Jehoahaz, Nethaniah and Jehonathan, and many similar transpositions.) So in Gr. Theodoros and Dorotheos, Philotheos and Theophilos exist side by side.

Verse 6

(6) Ibhar.—“He” (i.e., God) “chooseth.”

Elishama.—Spelt Elishua in both of the parallel passsages. (See Note on 1 Chronicles 3:5.) The recurrence of Elishama (“God heareth”) in 1 Chronicles 3:8 is no argument against the name here.

Eliphelet (“God is deliverance”) also occurs twice, and David may have chosen to give names so expressive of his own peculiar faith and trust to the sons of different wives. (See Psalms 18:2; Psalms 18:6.) This Eliphelet (called Elphalet—Heb., Elpèlet, 1 Chronicles 14:5; a by-form, as Abram is of Abiram, or Absalom of Abishalom, or Abshai of Abishai) is omitted in Samuel. So also is Nogah (brightness, i.e., of the Divine Presence, Psalms 18:13—a hymn which is certainly David’s). (Comp. Japhia, “the Shining One.”) Nepheg means “shoot, scion.”

Verse 8

(8) Eliada.—(“God knoweth”) The Beeliada (“Lord knoweth”) of 1 Chronicles 14:7 is probably more ancient, though Samuel also has Eliada. God was of old called Baal as well as El; and the former title was only discarded because it tended to foster a confusion between the degrading cultus of the Canaanite Baals, and the true religion of Israel. So it came to pass in later times that men were unwilling to write or speak the very name of Baal, and in names compounded therewith they substituted either El or Iah as here; or the word bosheth (shame) as in Ishbosheth instead of Eshbaal, Jerubbesheth instead of Jerubbaal.

Verse 9

(9) Sons of the concubines.—David’s concubines (pilagshim, πλλακαί) are mentioned several times in Samuel (e.g., 2 Samuel 12:11), but their sons here only. However repugnant to modern ideas, it was and is part of the state of an Oriental potentate to possess a harem of many wives.

And Tamar (was) their sister.—Not the only one, but the sister whose unhappy fate had made her famous (2 Samuel 13:0).

A comparison of the above lists of David’s sons with the parallels in Sam. makes it improbable that they were drawn from that source; for (1) the Hebrew text of the chronicle appears, in this instance, to be quite as original as that of Samuel; (2) Some of the names differ, without our being able to pronounce in favour of one or the other text; (3) The form of the lists is different, especially that of the second. The chronicler alone gives the number of the four and nine sons, assigning the former to “Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel,” and arranging the latter in three triads. 1 Chronicles 3:9 also is wanting in Samuel.

Verse 10

II.—The kings of the house of David, as otherwise known from the books of Kings (1 Chronicles 3:10-16).

(10) Rehoboam.—So LXX. Ροβοαμ. Heb., Rĕhab-‘âm (“the Kinsman,” i.e., God hath enlarged).

Abia.—LXX., Αβια; Heb., Abîyâh (Iah is father), of which Abijam (Abîyâm) is a mimmated form.


Jehoshaphat.Iahweh judgeth.

Verse 11

(11) Joram—Jehorain. Iahweh is high.

Ahaziah.Iah holdeth (Luke 1:54, ἀντελάβετ, “he hath holpen”).

Joash.—(?) Iahweh is a hero. Cf. Ashbel = “man of Bel,” and Exodus 15:3.

Verse 12

(12) Amaziah.Iah is strong.

Azariah.Iah helpeth.

Jotham.Iahweh is perfect.

Verse 13

(13) Ahaz.—Abbreviation of Jehoahaz, which = Ahaziah.

Hezekiah.—Heb., Hizkiyâhû, “my strength is Iahu.”

Manasseh (?) Perhaps of Egyptian origin.

Verse 14

(14) Amon.—Probably the Egyptian sun-god Amen or Amun.

Josiah.Iah comforteth.

In this line of fifteen successive monarchs, the usurper Athaliah is omitted between Ahaziah and Joash (1 Chronicles 3:11).

Verse 15

(15) And the sons of Josiah.—The regular succession by primogeniture ceases with Josiah.

The firstborn Johanan (Iahweh bestowed) never ascended the throne of his fathers. He may have died early. He is not to be identified with Jehoahaz, who was two years younger than Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Kings 23:36), and therefore could not have been the firstborn of Josiah.

The second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum.—The order of succession to the throne after Josiah was this:—First, Shallum (= Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 23:30; comp. Jeremiah 22:11); then Jehoiakim (= Eliakim, 2 Kings 23:34; Jeremiah 22:18); then Jeconiah, son of Jehoiakini (= Jehoiachin, Jeremiah 22:24); and, lastly, Zedekiah (= Mattaniah, 2 Kings 24:17),

The third Zedekiah.—Zedekiah was much younger than Shallum. Shallum was twenty-three when he came to the throne, which he occupied eleven years. Zedekiah succeeded him at the age of twenty-one (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Kings 24:18). The order of 1 Chronicles 3:15 is not wholly determined by seniority any more than by the actual succession. If age were considered, the order would be Jehoiakim, Shallum, Zedekiah; if the actual succession, it would be, Shallum, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah. The order of the text may have been influenced by the two considerations—(1) That Jehoiakim and Zedekiah each enjoyed a reign of eleven years, while Shallum reigned only three months; (2) That Shallum and Zedekiah were full brothers, both being sons of Hamutal, whereas Jehoiakim was born of another of Josiah’s wives, viz., Zebudah.

Verse 16

(16) Jeconiah (Iah establish !)= Jehoiachin (Iahweh establisheth) = Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24; Jeremiah 22:28—an abbreviation of Jeconiah), was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:15), and Zedekiah his father’s brother, became king in his stead. Hence the supposition that “Zedekiah his son” means “Zedekiah his successor” on the throne. (Comp. margin.) But (1) the phrase “his son” has its natural sense throughout the preceding list; and (2) there really is nothing against the apparent statement of the text that Jeconiah the king had a son named Zedekiah, after his great-uncle. As, like Johanan (1 Chronicles 3:15), he did not come to the throne, this younger Zedekiah is not mentioned elsewhere. (See 1 Chronicles 3:17, Note.)

Verse 17

III.—The posterity of Jeconiah after the exile (1 Chronicles 3:17-24). This section is peculiar to the chronicle.

(17) Assir.—This word means prisoner, captive; literally, bondman. It so occurs in Isaiah 10:2; Isaiah 24:22. Accordingly the verse may be rendered, “And the sons of Jeconiah when captive—Shealtiel (was) his son.” This translation (1) accords with the Masoretic punctuation, which connects the term assir with Jeconiah; and (2) accounts for the double reference to the offspring of Jeconiah, first in 1 Chronicles 3:16, “Zedekiah his son,” and then again here. Zedekiah is thus separated from the sons born to Jeconiah in captivity. The strongest apparent objection against such a rendering is that the expression “the sons of Jeconiah the captive” would require the definite article to be prefixed to the word assir. No doubt it would; but then “the sons of Jeconiah the captive” is not what the chronicler intended to say. He has said what he meant—viz., “the sons of Jeconiah when in captivity” or “as a captive.” The Talmudic treatise, Sanhedrin, gives “Assir his son;” but another, the Sedw Olam, does not mention Assir, who is likewise wanting in the genealogy of our Lord (Matthew 1:12; see the Notes there).

Salathiel.—The form in the LXX., Σαλαθιήλ; and Matthew 1:12, Heb., Shealti-el (“request of God”): Haggai 1:12, Shalti-el.

Verse 18

(18) Malchiram also, and Pedaiah.—According to our present Hebrew text these six persons, arranged as two trios, are sons of Jeconiah, and brothers of Shealtiel.

Shenazar—Heb., Shen’azzar; LXX., Σανεσάρ—is a compound Babylonian name, like Belteshazzar (Daniel 1:7), of which the last part means “protect,” and the first is, perhaps, “Sin” (comp. Σαναχάριβος), the moon-god. Such a name as “Sin protect” may well have been given to this Jewish prince at the court of Babylon, just as Daniel and his three companions received idolatrous designations of the same sort from Nebuchadnezzar. This fact seems to support our rendering of the word Assir (1 Chronicles 3:17).

Hoshama.—A contraction of Jehoshama (Iahweh hath heard), like Coniah for Jeconiah.

Verse 19

(19) And the sons of Pedaiah were, Zerubbabel, and Shimei.—Zerubbabel, the famous prince who, with Joshua the high priest, led the first colony of restored exiles from Babylon to Canaan, under the edict of Cyrus (B.C. cir. 536). Zerubbabel (LXX., Σοροβάβελ), means born at Babel. His father is appropriately named Pedaiah (Iah hath redeemed). Zerubbabel is called son of Shealtiel (Haggai 1:1, &c.; Ezra 3:2; Ezra 5:2—part of the chronicle it should be remembered; Matthew 1:12). Hence some expositors, ancient and modern, have assumed that the six persons named in 1 Chronicles 3:18, including Pedaiah, the father of Zerubbabel, were sons, not brothers of Salathiel (Shealtiel). In this way they bring Zerubbabel into the direct line of descent from Shealtiel. But our Hebrew text, though peculiar, can hardly mean this. It makes Zerubbabel the son of Pedaiah, and nephew of Shealtiel. If Zerubbabel, for reasons unknown, became adopted son and heir of Shealtiel, his uncle, the seemingly discordant statements of the different passages before us are all reconciled; while that of our text is the more exact.

And the sons of Zerubbabel.—The Hebrew received text has “and the son.” This is not to be altered, although some MSS. have the plural. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 3:21; 1 Chronicles 3:23.) This use of the singular is characteristic of the present genealogical fragment (see 1 Chronicles 3:17-18), “And the sons of Jeconiah captive—Salathiel his son, and Malchiram,” &c.

Meshullam, and Hananiah, and Shelomith their sister.—This seems to mean that the three were the offspring of one wife.

Verse 20

(20) These five sons form a second group of Zerubbabel’s children, probably by another wife. The v of union seems to have fallen out before the last name, Jushab-hesed.

The names of the last kings (Shallum, recompense; Zedekiah, Iah is righteousness) were parables of the judgment that should come to pass in Judah. (Comp. Isaiah 10:22 : “A consumption is doomed, overflowing with righteousness.”) Those of the kindred and sons of Zerubbabel indicate the religious hopefulness of his people at the dawn of the restoration. His father is Pedaiah (Iah redeemeth) (see Isaiah 51:11); his son Meshullam (devoted to God) recalls Isaiah 42:19, where the pious remnant of Israel is so designated. The name Ohel, “tent,” is probably an abbreviation of Oholiah, or Oholiab, and refers to the sacred dwelling of Jehovah, which was for ages a tent. (See Isaiah 33:20; Ezekiel 37:27.)

Jushab-hesed (mercy will be restored) is a prophecy of faith in Him who in wrath remembereth mercy (Habakkuk 3:2).

Verse 21

(21) And the sons of Hananiah; Pelatiah, and Jesaiah.—Heb., son; but some MSS. and all the versions read sons. Pelatiah means Iah is deliverance. Jesaiah is the same name as Isaiah, meaning Iah is salvation.

The sons of Rephaiah.—The ancient versions represent here an important various reading. The LXX. have rendered the whole verse thus: “And sons of Anania; Phalettia, and Jesias his son, Raphal his son, Orna his son, Abdia his son (Sechenias his son.)” The Syriac reads: “Sons of Hananiah: Pelatiah and Ushaiah. Arphaia his son, Arnun his son, Ubia his son—viz., Ushaia’s; and his son, viz., Shechaniah’s Shemaiah,” &c. The difference between “sons” and “his son” in Hebrew writing is simply that between y and w. (See Note on 1 Chronicles 1:0)

This various reading presents a form of genealogy like that which prevails in 1 Chronicles 3:10-16, and occurs also in 1 Chronicles 3:17, at the beginning of the present section. But it is probable that this reading is really an ancient correction of the Hebrew text, which, as it stands, appears to leave undefined the relation between Hananiah and the four families mentioned in this verse. The truth, however, would seem to be that the expression “the sons of Hananiah” includes not only Pelatiah and Jesaiah, but also the four families named after Rephaiah, Arnan, Obadiah, and Shechaniah (comp. 1 Chronicles 2:42, and Note). The four founders of these families were perhaps brothers of Pelatiah and Jesaiah, though not necessarily so; for these families may have been subdivisions of those of Pelatiah and Jesaiah.

Rephaiah.Iah healeth (Isaiah 30:26; Exodus 15:26). See Note on 1 Chronicles 3:20.

Verse 22

(22) The sons of Shechaniah; Shemaiah.—See Note on 1 Chronicles 1:41.

Hattush.—Probably the Hattush “of the sons of David, of the sons of Shechaniah,” mentioned by Ezra as one of those who went up with him from Babylon in the second return, 457 B.C. (Ezra 8:2-3). If we have rightly understood 1 Chronicles 3:21, Hattush is of the fourth generation after Zerubbabel (Hananiah, Shechaniah, Shemaiah, Hattush), and so might well have been a youthful companion of Ezra.

Six.—As the text gives only five names, one must have been omitted by an oversight.

Verse 23

(23) Elioenaiunto Iah (are) mine eyes, Psalms 123:1-2—is an expansion of the same idea. (Comp. also Psalms 25:15.) An Elioenai went up with Ezra (Ezra 8:4).

Verse 24

(24) The sons of Elioenai . . . Hodaiah.—These sons of Elioenai are the sixth generation from Zerubbabel (536-515 B.C. ), that is to say, they were living about 345 B.C. , under Artaxerxes Ochus. If the reading of the LXX. in 1 Chronicles 3:21 be correct, their date is four generations later, or about 225 B.C. The result is to bring down the date of the chronicle a century lower than the best critics approve. (See Introduction.)

Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 3". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/1-chronicles-3.html. 1905.
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