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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 7

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four.

Jashub - or Job (Genesis 46:13).

Verse 2

And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father's house, to wit, of Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six hundred.

Whose number was, in the days of David. Although a census was taken in the reign of David by order of that monarch, it is not certain that the sacred historian had it in his eye, since we find here the tribe of Benjamin enumerated, which was not taken in David's time: and there are other points of dissimilarity.

Verse 3

And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.

Five: all of them chief men. Four only are mentioned; so that, as they are stated to be five, in this number the father, Izrahiah, must be considered as included, otherwise one of the names must have dropped out of the text. They were each at the head of a numerous and influential division of their tribe.

Verse 4

And with them, by their generations, after the house of their fathers, were bands of soldiers for war, six and thirty thousand men: for they had many wives and sons.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 5

And their brethren among all the families of Issachar were valiant men of might, reckoned in all by their genealogies fourscore and seven thousand.

Fourscore and seven thousand - exclusive of the 58,600 men which the Tola branch had produced (1 Chronicles 7:24), so that in the days of David the tribe would have contained a population of 45,600. This large increase was owing to the practice of polygamy, as well as the fruitfulness of the women. A plurality of wives, though tolerated among the Hebrews, was confined chiefly to the great and wealthy; but it seems to have been generally esteemed a privilege by the tribe of Issachar, "for they had many wives and sons."

Verse 6

The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.

The sons of Benjamin - ten are reckoned, Genesis 46:21, but only five, 1 Chronicles 8:1; Numbers 26:38. Perhaps five of them were distinguished as chiefs of illustrious families, but two having fallen in the bloody wars waged against Benjamin (Judges 20:46), there remained only three branches of this tribe, and these only are enumerated; and Becher became incorporated, by marriage with an Ephraimite heiress, with the tribe Ephraim (see the notes at 1 Chronicles 7:20-21: cf. Numbers 26:35). Jediael - or Asbel (Genesis 46:21).

Verse 7

And the sons of Bela; Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five; heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour; and were reckoned by their genealogies twenty and two thousand and thirty and four.

The sons of Bela - each of them was chief or leader of the family to which he belonged. In an earlier period seven great families of Benjamin are mentioned (Numbers 26:38). Five of them being headed by these five sons of Benjamin, and two descended from Bela, Here five families of Bela are specified, whence we are led to conclude that time or the ravages of war had greatly changed the condition of Benjamin, or that the five families of Bela were subordinate to the other great divisions that sprang directly from the five sons of the patriarch.

Verse 8

And the sons of Becher; Zemira, and Joash, and Eliezer, and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abiah, and Anathoth, and Alameth. All these are the sons of Becher.

The sons of Becher. Although Becher himself was adopted into Ephraim, his sons continued Benjamites, and are here mentioned in the genealogy of that tribe (1 Chronicles 6:60; Joshua 21:18). Some of these might be only grandsons of Becher.

Abiah - Aphiah (1 Samuel 9:1) was Saul's ancestor.

Verses 9-11

And the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations, heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour, was twenty thousand and two hundred.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 12

Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir, and Hushim, the sons of Aher.

Shuppim also, and Huppim. They are called, Genesis 46:21, Muppim and Huppim, and, Numbers 26:39. Hupham, or Huram, 1 Chronicles 8:5, and Shephuphan, 1 Chronicles 8:5: they were the children of Ir, or Iri. (1 Chronicles 7:7).

And Hushim the sons (son) of Aher. Aher signifies 'another,' and some eminent critics, taking Aher as a common noun, render the passage thus-`and Hushim, another son.' Lord A. Hervey considers Aher a variation of Ehi (Genesis 46:21) and Ahiram (Numbers 26:38). Shuppim, Muppim, and Hushim are plural words, and therefore denote, not individuals, but the heads of their respective families; and as they were not comprised in the above enumeration (1 Chronicles 7:7; 1 Chronicles 7:9), they are inserted here in the form of an appendix. Some render the passage 'Hushim, the son of another,' i:e., tribe or family. The name occurs among the sons of Dan (Genesis 46:23); and it is presumption in favor of this being the true rendering, that after having recorded the genealogy of Naphtali (1 Chronicles 7:13), the sacred historian adds, 'the sons of Bilhah, the handmaid, who was the mother of Dan and Naphtali.' We naturally expect, therefore, that these two will be noticed together, but Dan is not mentioned at all, if not in this passage.

Verse 13

The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.

Shallum - or Shillem (Genesis 46:24). Sons of Bilhah. Since Dan and Naphtali were her sons, Hushim, as well as those enumerated in 1 Chronicles 7:13, were her grandsons.

Verse 14

The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:

The sons of Manasseh - or descendants: for Ashriel was a grandson, and Zelophehad was a generation further removed in descent (Numbers 26:33). The text, as it stands, is so confused and complicated that it is exceedingly difficult to trace the genealogical thread, and a great variety conjectures have been made with a view to clear away the obscurity. The passage should probably be rendered thus-`The sons of Manasseh were Ashriel, whom his Syrian concubine bare to him, and Machir, the father of Gilead, whom his wife bare to him. Machir took for, a wife Maachah, sister to Huppim and Shuppim.'

Verses 15-19

And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maachah;) and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 20

And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,

The sons of Ephraim. Numerous and great difficulties encumber this passage. Some writers, indeed, supposing that the family of Ephraim, from his connection with Joseph, would, during the sojourn in Egypt, enjoy great advantages for preserving their genealogy entire, consider it as given here in full; and consequently that, as the names must be ranged in regular succession from father to son, the pedigree from Ephraim to Joshua is marked by 18 descents. But this register, so far from being clear and intelligible, is in its present state exceedingly confused, and the obscurity in which, from its dislocated character it is involved, is increased by several names which are repeated in the same or slightly altered forms, being found to represent one person. Shuthelah, as the oldest son of Ephraim, is first mentioned, and his family is traced through a series of seven individuals to a second Shuthelah, the addition of the words "his son" indicating that the persons named followed in direct descent (see the notes at Numbers 26:35, where the family of Suthalhites is mentioned). Ezer and Elead, not bearing the mark of filial relationship to Shuthelah, rank along with him as the sons of Ephraim. But the record, instead of proceeding, as might be expected, to enumerate their respective families, details the affecting incident of their early death in battle.

Verse 21

And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle.

Whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew - i:e., born in the eastern part of the Delta, or Lower Egypt; perhaps the extensive district of Goshen itself, where a multitude of Philistine nomads ranged, as being an outlying pastoral region under the jurisdiction of Egypt, but not an integral part of that country (Genesis 46:34); or like the Cherethim, these men of Gath were mercenaries in Egyptian service, and had a portion of land allotted them. This interesting little episode gives us a glimpse of the state of Hebrew society in Egypt; because the occurrence narrated seems to have taken place before the Israelites left that country; and it shows that, looking back to Palestine as their proper home, some of them without waiting the appointed time, attempted prematurely, by dint of their own achievements, to take forcible possession of the promised land (cf. 1 Chronicles 4:22; Psalms 78:9).

The patriarch Ephraim was then alive, though he must have arrived at a very advanced age; and the Hebrew people, at all events those of them who were his descendants, still retained their pastoral character. It was in perfect consistency with the ideas and habits of Oriental shepherds that they should have made a raid on the neighbouring tribe of the Philistines, for the purpose of plundering their flocks; because nothing is more common among them than hostile incursions on the inhabitants of towns, or on other nomad tribes with whom they have no league of amity. But a different view of the incident is brought out, if, instead of "because," we render the Hebrew particle 'when' they came down to take their cattle; because the tenor of the context leads rather to the conclusion that "the men of Gath" were the aggressors, who, making a sudden foray on the Ephraimite flocks, killed the shepherds, including several of the sons of Ephraim. The calamity spread a deep gloom around the tent of their aged father, and was the occasion of his receiving visits of condolence from his distant relatives in the other tribes, according to the custom of the East, which is remarkably exemplified in the history of Job (Job 2:11; cf. John 11:19).

Verse 22

And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him.

Ephraim their father mourned many days. The mourning lasted 30 days. The first these were days of weeping, the next seven were days of lamentation, and the reminder were passed in receiving numerous visits of sympathy from friends and acquaintances.

Verse 23

And when he went in to his wife, she conceived, and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house.

When he went in to his wife. The historian here returns to the genealogy of Ephraim.

She conceived and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah [ Bªriy`aah (H1283)] - signifying a gift or donation. Accordingly, Michaelis ('Supplement,' 224) renders the clause, 'and he (Ephraim) called his name Beriah, because a gift was sent unto his house' - i:e., this son, born to him in his old age, contrary to the course of nature, was regarded as sent by the special favour of God. [Gesenius proposes bªraa`aah (H7451), evil, as being from raa`aah (H7462), with Beth (b) pleonastic, and translates as in our version, 'because evil (calamity) was unto his house.' The Septuagint has: hoti en kakois egeneto en oikoo mou, 'because evil (calamity) was unto his house.' The Septuagint has: hoti en kakois egeneto en oikoo mou, because he was born amid evils in my house.]

Verse 24

(And his daughter was Sherah, who built Beth-horon the nether, and the upper, and Uzzensherah.)

And his daughter was Sherah, who built Beth-horon the nether, and the upper, and Uzzen-sherah It is doubtful whether Sherah was the daughter of Ephraim or Beriah; most probably of the former, then consequently the sister of the latter. The names of women are never mentioned in these genealogical lists unless they were distinguished in some way; and Sherah is represented as the foundress of three cities, two of which were certainly existing at the time of the Israelite invasion of Canaan (Joshua 10:10-11); but how, or in what circumstances, she obtained a settlement and power in that country is unknown.

Verse 25

And Rephah was his son, also Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahan his son,

And Rephah was his son, also Resheph. Here the historian traces the family of Beriah-Rephah being his oldest son, and Resheph, not being accompanied by that addition, must be considered as the brother of Rephah, whose posterity is now described until the register terminates in Joshua. Such is the natural and apparent view of this genealogy. But more minute examination both of the names contained in the register, and of the historical incident interwoven with it, will reveal singularities and difficulties which do not appear on the surface.

(1) As to the names: Shuthelah (1 Chronicles 7:20-21) and Telah (1 Chronicles 7:25) refer to one person (cf. Numbers 26:35); Bered (1 Chronicles 7:20) and Zabad (1 Chronicles 7:21) are different designations of Becher (Numbers 26:35); Tahath, which occurs twice (1 Chronicles 7:20), and Tahan (1 Chronicles 7:25), are applicable to Tahan (Numbers 26:35); and Eladah (1 Chronicles 7:20), Elead (1 Chronicles 7:21), Laadan (1 Chronicles 7:26), or Edan, as one Hebrew manuscript has it, represent one and the same individual, who is Eran, or, as in the Samaritan text, Septuagint, Syriac, and some Hebrew MSS., "Edan" (Numbers 26:36). Omitting the repetitions, then, this record enumerates (1 Chronicles 7:20) four sons of Ephraim-namely, Shuthelah, Bered or Becher, Tahath or Tahan, and Eladah or Eran, son of Shuthelah, exactly as in Numbers 26:35.

(2) As to the character of the story of the slaughter of Ephraim's sons embodied in this record, a great variety of different and even opposite explanations have been given of it. It has been suggested that Ezer (1 Chronicles 7:21) is not a proper name at all, but the verb `aazar (H5826), to help; so that, removing the waw (w) at the beginning of wª'el`aad, and putting it to the end of the verb 'aazªruw, they helped, there is brought out the meaning - i:e., 'Shuthelah, Bered or Becher, and Tahath went to help Elead (Laadan or Eran) against the men of Gath, by whom they were all, or several of them, killed.' Having related this parenthetical episode, the genealogy of Ephraim is proceeded with, apparently in another line-that of Beriah-which, as being the ancestry of Joshua, is fully traced. But this view has also been controverted; because while the general opinion is that 1 Chronicles 7:25-27 contain the pedigree of Joshua from Beriah, some maintain that this passage is a resumption of the interrupted record of Shuthelah's progeny; and others, who connect this 25th verse with the preceding, hold that "Rephah was his son," should be rendered 'Rephah built,' etc. [ bªnow (H1121)], "his son" being taken as some part of the verb [ baanah (H1129)] to build.

With regard to 1 Chronicles 7:24, difficulties have also been raised respecting it. [Uzzensherah, 'Uzeen-She'ªraah (H242), ear or corner of Sherah, seems to have been a name bestowed by the foundress, rather than given in honour of a remote ancestress; and, as Lord Hervey remarks ('Genealogies,' p. 364), 'in spite of the difference of the spelling of She'ªraah (H7609) and Cerah (H8556), it is not improbable that Timnath-serah (Joshua 19:50) was also called from her, unless, indeed, it be actually the same place as Uzzensherah. The identity of Sherah with Serah is rendered yet more probable by the occurrence of Serach (H8294), 1 Chronicles 7:30, combining the two spellings. If this supposition, that Sherab was the daughter or sister of Joshua, and that he gave her a portion out of his own inheritance (Joshua 19:49-50), be well-founded, we must then suppose that the 24th verse has gotten out of its proper place, and a probable cause for this, according to a well-known law of transcribers' errors, may be found in the fact that the 23d verse ends with the word beeyt (H1004), which is almost identical with batow.] This course supposes that the transaction relating to Sherah did not take place until after the conquest of Canaan; and indeed Bertheau ('Commentary,' in loco) refers the whole genealogical record to that period, taking the references to Ephraim and his sons, not as applying to them as individuals, but to the heads of the branch-families or clans. In support of this view he appeals to Judges 21:6. According to this interpretation, the slaughter of the Ephraimites occurred sometime after the Israelite settlement in their tribal possessions, and Beriah had some share in it, by apparently hastening to the relief of his brethren and the expulsion of the Gittites.

Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:22-23) denotes, not the patriarch, the son of Joseph, but the chief of the tribe, probably Joshua-Serah, his daughter, whose family built the towns mentioned. Lord Hervey, in summing up the arguments for and against this view, says ('Genealogies,' p. 365), 'Here is a passage which, as it now stands, is full of absurdities. It makes Ephraim alive and beget a son in the days of the eighth generation from himself. It obscures and makes unintelligible a most interesting narrative of the unfortunate fate of the sons of Ephraim during their father's lifetime, which is nowhere else recorded, but which explains the circumstance of there being so few families of the Ephraimites in the days of Moses (Numbers 26:35; Numbers 26:37); it is in utter disagreement with the duplicate genealogy of Numbers; and it makes one of the most important characters of the Old Testament, Joshua, the son of Nun, live either 300 or 120 years after his true time. But immediately the passage is restored to even a partial soundness, all these contradictions vanish, and we find consistent genealogies, rational chronology, intelligible and valuable history in their room. Putting together the inseparable difficulties in understanding the passage of the literal Ephraim and his literal sons and daughter, with the fact of the settlement of the Ephraimites in the mountainous district where Beth-horon, Gezer, Timnath-serah, etc., lay, which were exactly suited for a descent upon the plains of the Philistine country, where the men of Gath fed their cattle, and with the further facts, that the Ephraimites encountered a successful opposition from the Canaanites in Gezer (Joshua 16:10; Judges 1:29), and that they apparently called in later the Benjamites to help them in driving away the men of Gath (1 Chronicles 8:13), it seems best to understand the narrative as of the times after the entrance into Canaan.'

Verses 26-29

Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 30

The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and Serah their sister.

The sons of Ashes. This list is identical with the genealogy of Asher contained in Genesis 46:17; Numbers 26:44-45.

Verse 31

And the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel, who is the father of Birzavith.

Malchiel ... father of Birzavith - i:e., founder of Birzavith (well of olives). Its site is unknown.

Verses 32-39

And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister.

No JFB commentary on these verses.

Verse 40

All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father's house, choice and mighty men of valour, chief of the princes. And the number throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle was twenty and six thousand men.

All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father's house, choice and mighty men of valour. They were an active, courageous, and enterprising tribe; and when the census was taken at Sinai, it was numerically stronger than Ephraim, Manasseh, or Benjamin (Numbers 1:32-41). But the natural richness of its allotted possession fostered a love of ease and luxury, and consequently led to habits of inertness which were severely censured (Judges 5:17-18), and it gradually sank into insignificance, until its name was omitted from the list of tribes that furnished the princes or chief rulers (1 Chronicles 27:16-22). It is observable that the tribes of Dan and Zebulun are omitted in the genealogies recorded in this chapter.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/1-chronicles-7.html. 1871-8.
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