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Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 8

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-28

Tribe of Benjamin, Comments on 1 Chronicles 7:6-12 AND 1 Chronicles 8:1-28

The lineage of Benjamin in the chapter 7 passage lists three of the chief sons of Benjamin, while that of chapter 8 extends it to five. Like other of the tribes Benjamin was specially noted for its valorous men. This is especially stressed in 1 Chronicles 7:6-12, and is in accord with everything the Bible has to say about the prowess of this bold tribe. His cunning is anticipated when Jacob compares him to a wolf (Genesis 49:27), and is often demonstrated in battle thereafter. Some scholar has suggested that these traits were turned to spiritual good in Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle (cf. Philippians 3:1-9).

Ehud, the second judge of Israel, was a cunning Benjamite (see Judges 3:12 ff). And Ehud is found listed in both listings under study (1 Chronicles 7:10; 1 Chronicles 8:6-7). The Judge appears to be the Ehud of 1 Chronicles 8:6-7, though some commentators think not. However, he was the son of Gera, and Gera is in the genealogy of the preceding verse 5. The King James Version is not very clear on verses 6-7, but the proper understanding of the passage appears to be that the family of Ehud lived in Geba, one of the chief cities of Benjamin. However, the family was forced out, for some unknown reason, by the three persons of verse 7. They may have been captives. They were carried to Manahath, a place some have located in the vicinity of Bethlehem, in the tribe of Judah. It was there Ehud’s children were born.

Whether Shaharaim, in verses 8ff is a part of Ehud’s ;amily is likewise not clear. He lived in the pagan country of Moab for a time and there produced sons who became quite prominent. Their descendants built Ono in a plain north of Jerusalem, possibly the valley of the craftsmen (Nehemiah 11:35). They also inhabited the valley of Aijalon and drove out the inhabitants of Gath at one time.

During the early period of the judges the tribe of Benjamin was almost exterminated (Judges - Chapters 19-21), which may account for some of the dispersions mentioned with reference to Ehud and Shaharaim.

The city of Jerusalem was located just inside the tribe of Benjamin, on the border with Judah. In the times of the judges it was subjected by Judah, but the Jebusites continued to dominate it to the time of David. He overcame it and made it the capital city of Israel. However, it remained in the possession of Benjamin, as indicated by the list of prominent persons in 1 Chronicles 8:14-28, said to have been heads of the fathers, chief men, living in Jerusalem.

Verses 29-40

Saul’s Family, Comments on 1 Chronicles 8:29-40 AND 1 Chronicles 9:35-44

The two passages now under study are almost identical, axcept for verses 39-40, of chapter eight. They are a special enumeration of Benjamite descendants which includes the lineage of Saul, the first king of Israel (particularly verses 1 Chronicles 8:33-39; 1 Chronicles 9:39-44). Their purpose seems to have been to show the tribal progenitors of the first king, with his descendants down to the composition of the Chronicles. It is significant that David swore to Saul and Jonathan that he would not cut off their posterity when he became king (1 Samuel 20:12-17; 1 Samuel 24:17-22), and this shows that he had kept his word.

Saul’s four sons are named; Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal. Malchi-shua is called Ishui in other places, while Esh-baal is better known as Ish-bosheth. Esh-baal is the only son of Saul to survive the Battle of Mt Gilboa with the Philistines. For some unknown reason he was not in the battle. Abner, Saul’s captain of the host, took him and made him king in opposition to David. He was murdered in his bed by two of his servants (see 2 Samuel 2:8 through 4:12).

1 Chronicles 8:39-40 gives the lineage of Eshek and Ulam, two notable men of Benjamin, about whom nothing further is known. They were also probably descended from Saul and prominent in the late kingdom period.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 8". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/1-chronicles-8.html. 1985.
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