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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 2

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-2

The Lord changed Jacob’s name to Israel following his wrestling match with the angel before his meeting with Esau (Genesis 32:24-32). Thereafter his people were called Israel, though sometimes the Lord referred to them as Jacob because they were acting like the fleshly Jacob, rather than the spiritual Israel.

In this list the six sons of Leah are named first, in order of their birth. Though Reuben was the older he did not receive the birthright because he committed incest with Jacob’s concubine, Bilhah. Levi received the blessing of the priesthood, while the Messianic promises came through Judah.

Dan was the son of Rachel’s maid, Bilhah, the oldest and most prominent of the concubine sons. The others are named last, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. Nephtali was also the son of Bilhah, while the maid of Leah, Zilpah, was the mother of Gad and Asher.

Joseph and Benjamin were the sons of Rachel. As the older of her sons Jacob gave the birthright to Joseph, though all the other sons, ex­cept Benjamin, were older than him. Because of the double portion there were two tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manesseh. In later years these dominated the northern kingdom of Israel and persisted in idolatrous practices. Benjamin, however, situated close to the tribe of Judah, was the only tribe to remain with Judah after the division of the kingdom.

Verses 3-17

Tribe of Judah, Commentary on 1 Chronicles 2:3-17; 1 Chronicles 2:21-41; 1 Chronicles 4:1-23

Most of those listed in the genealogy of the tribe of Judah are not elsewhere distinguished in the Scriptures. However, there are interesting tidbits and spiritual lessons to be learned from careful examination of the genealogies. The list in chapter two begins by naming the five sons of Judah, while that in chapter 4 takes up with the descendants of one of those sons, Pharez, through whom the Messianic line descended.

Judah’s first wife was a woman of Canaan, whose son grew up wickedly and died quite young because of their evil deeds, except the youngest. The two older died without children, and when Judah failed to give the youngest to his daughter in law, Tamar, as required by the law of levirate marriage, she deceived and seduced him. The product of incest was the twin sons, Pharez and Zerah (Genesis, ch. 38).

While the account of chapter 2 deals with the sons of both Pharez and Zerah, that of chapter 4 deals with those of Pharez primarily. Among the descendants of Zerah is named "Achan, the troubler of Israel, who transgressed in the thing accursed." This is a reference to the sin of Achan in taking the things banned during the fall of Jericho (see Joshua -Chapter 7).

In the line of Pharez is found the name of Nahshon, who was prince of the tribe of Judah during the wilderness sojourn. It was his son, Salma (or Salmon) who married Rahab (Matthew 1:5), and their son was Boaz, the father of Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. All seven of Jesse’s sons are named, concluding with David, the young­est. His two daughters are also named, because of the prominence of their sons in the history of Israel. Zeruiah’s sons were Abishai, Joab, and Asahel; Abigail’s son was Amasa.

Hezron was one of the outstanding sons of Pharez and many of his descendants are named. 1 Chronicles 2:21 tells of a marriage by Hezron at age sixty to a woman of Manasseh and of their son, Segub, who became a notable person in the land of Gilead.

In the account of Hezron’s descendants - Chapter 4, appears the name of Jabez, verses 9-10. His direct connection to others in the genealogy is omitted, but a wonderful testimony is made concerning him. His mother named him Jabez (which means "he makes sorrowful") because she had sorrow in his birth. But Jabaz was unwilling to surrender to this pessimistic beginning, and the Scripture says he was more honorable than his brothers. He prayed that the Lord would bless him and enlarge his coast (his opportunities), that He would guide him and keep him from evil, so that he would not be grieved by it. God heard his prayer and granted it. This positive approach to Christian service should be the aim of all the saved.

It is interesting to note the stress placed on a man’s production of sons. The more he had, the more honorable he appears to be, and it was a tragedy to have none at all (see verses 30,32,34 - Chapter 2). One man was so desperate to produce a son he gave his daughter to his Egyptian slave and acquired a son in that way (1 Chronicles 2:34-35). There are also a number of prominent women named in the genealogies, most as wives of the great men. Hazelelponi (4:3) was mentioned as the sister of prominent brothers.

A man named Saraph (1 Chronicles 4:22-23) is mentioned as having the dominion in Moab in ancient times, evidently a reference to his successful venture against these people and perhaps rulership over them. These people later were potters and gardeners to the kings.

Verses 18-20

Caleb’s Descendants, Commentary on 1 Chronicles 2:18-20; 1 Chronicles 2:42-55

The Caleb whose genealogies are enumerated in these passages was of a prominent family of Judah. He is not to be confused with the famous companion of Joshua, who was one of the spies sent out by Moses to spy out Canaan, though both of them had a daughter named Achsa (cf. verse 49, Joshua 15:16-19; Judges 1:11-15). This Caleb was earlier than Caleb the son of Jephunneh He was the son of Hezron, who was the son of Pharez, and thus he was the grandson of Judah the son of Jacob.

One of Caleb’s sons was Hur, who held up Moses’ hands in the conflict with Amalek (Exodus 17:8-16). Some Jewish traditions say Hur was the husband of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron. Hur was also the grandfather of Bezaleel, the young man who was the chief artisan of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:2).

In the later verses of this passage are mentioned several of Caleb’s descendants who are said to be father of places, such as Hebron, Maon, Bethzur, Madmannah, Kirjath-jearim, Beth-lehem, etc. Though there may have been persons by these city names it seems more likely that these were chief elders in these various places, all of which were in the vicinity of the tribe of Judah.

Caleb was prolific, begetting sons from at least two named wives and two concubines. From verse 52 it becomes quite clear that families of people and places are meant. These must have been prominent families in early Israel. They became intermingled with the Kenites who were descended from Hobab, the brother of Zipporah, Moses’ wife. Rechab was one of the famous descendants of the Kenites (see Jeremiah ch. 35).

Some lessons: 1) God built the nation of Israel from the twelve sons of Jacob; 2) the family of Hezron, the son of Pharez, carried on the Messianic line, and produced many prominent persons in the course of Judaean history; 3) less than ideal circumstances in life may be overcome in the Lord; 4) the people of Israel appreciated the blessing of children (Psalms 127:3-5).

Verses 21-41

see note on: 1 Chronicles 2:3

Verse 42

see note on: 1 Chronicles 2:18

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 2". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-chronicles-2.html. 1985.
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