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Sons and families of Issachar. - 1 Chronicles 7:1. Instead of ולבני , we must certainly read בּני , as in 1 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Chronicles 7:30, or וּבני , as in 1 Chronicles 7:20; 1 Chronicles 5:11, and elsewhere. The לבני has come into the text only by the recollection of the copyist having dwelt on the so frequently recurring לבני in 1 Chronicles 6:42, 1 Chronicles 6:46-47, cf. 1 Chronicles 6:48, 1 Chronicles 6:56, 1 Chronicles 6:62, for it is not possible to take ל as the ל of introduction, because the names of the sons follow immediately. The names of the four sons are given as in Numbers 26:23., while in Genesis 46:13 the second is written פּוּה , and the third יוב ; vide on Gen. loc. cit.
1 Chronicles 7:2
The six sons of Tola are not elsewhere met with in the Old Testament. They were “heads of their fathers'-houses of Tola.” לתולע after אבותם לבית (with the suffix) is somewhat peculiar; the meaning can only be, “of their fathers'-houses which are descended from Tola.” It is also surprising, or rather not permissible, that לתולדותם should be connected with חיל גּבּורי לתולדותם belongs to the following: “(registered) according to their births, they numbered in the days of David 22,600.” The suffixes ם - do not refer to ראשׁים , but to the בּית־אבות , the fathers'-houses, the males in which amounted to 22,600 souls. As David caused the people to be numbered by Joab (2 Sam 24; 1 Chronicles 21:1), this statement probably rests on the results of that census.
1 Chronicles 7:3-5
From Uzzi, the first-born of Tola, are descended through Izrahiah five men, all heads of groups of related households (1 Chronicles 7:4); “and to them (i.e., besides these) according to their generations, according to their fathers'-houses, bands of the war host, 36,000 (men), for they (these chiefs) had many wives and sons.” From the fact that Izrahiah is introduced as grandson of Tola, Bertheau would infer that 1 Chronicles 7:3, 1 Chronicles 7:4 refer to times later than David. But this is an erroneous inference, for Tola's sons did not live in David's time at all, and consequently it is not necessary that his grandson should be assigned to a later time. The only assertion made is, that the descendants of Tola's sons had increased to the number mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:2 in the time of David. By that time the descendants of his grandson Izrahiah might have increased to the number given in 1 Chronicles 7:4. That the number, 36,000, of the descendants of the grandson Izrahiah was greater than the number of those descended from the sons of Tola (22,600), is explained in the clause, “for they had many wives and sons.” That the two numbers (in 1 Chronicles 7:2, 1 Chronicles 7:4) refer to the same time, i.e., to the days of David, is manifest from 1 Chronicles 7:5, “and their brethren of all the families of Issachar, valiant heroes; 87,000 their register, as regards everything,” i.e., the sum of those registered of all the families of Issachar. Whence we gather that in the 87,000 both the 22,600 (1 Chronicles 7:2) and the 36,000 (1 Chronicles 7:4) are included, and their brethren consequently must have amounted to 28,400 (22,600 + 36,000 + 28,400 = 87,000). In the time of Moses, Issachar numbered, according to Numbers 1:29, 54,400; and at a later time, according to Numbers 26:25, already numbered 64,300 men.
Sons and families of Benjamin. - In 1 Chronicles 7:6 only three sons of Benjamin-Bela, Becher, and Jediael - are mentioned; and in 1 Chronicles 7:7-11 their families are registered. Besides these, there are five sons of Benjamin spoken of in 1 Chronicles 8:1-2, - Bela the first, Ashbel the second, Aharah the third, Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth; while in 1 Chronicles 7:3-5 five other בּנים are enumerated, viz., אדּר גּרא (twice), נעמן שׁפוּפן , and חוּרם . If we compare here the statements of the Pentateuch as to the genealogy of Benjamin, we find in Genesis 46:21 the following sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi ( אחי ) and Rosh, Muppim and Huppim and Ard ( ארדּ ); and in Numbers 26:38-40 seven families, of which five are descended from his sons Bela, Ashbel, Ahiram, Shephupham, and Hupham ( חוּפם ); and two from his grandsons, the sons of Bela, Ard and Naaman. From this we learn, not only that of the בּנים mentioned in Genesis 46:21 at least two were grandsons, but also that the names אחי and מפּים (Gen.) are only other forms of אחירם and שׁפוּפם (Num.). It is, however, somewhat strange that among the families (in Num.) the names בּכר גּרא , and ראשׁ are wanting. The explanation which at once suggests itself, that their descendants were not numerous enough to form separate families, and that they on that account were received into the families of the other sons, though it may be accepted in the case of Gera and Rosh, of whom it is nowhere recorded that they had numerous descendants, cannot meet the case of Becher, for in 1 Chronicles 7:8, 1 Chronicles 7:9 of our chapter mention is made of nine sons of his, with a posterity of 20,200 men. The supposition that the name of Becher and his family has been dropped from the genealogical register of the families in Num 26, will not appear in the slightest degree probable, when we consider the accuracy of this register in other respects. The only remaining explanation therefore is, that the descendants of Becher were in reality not numerous enough to form a משׁפּחה by themselves, but had afterwards so increased that they numbered nine fathers'-houses, with a total of 20,200 valiant warriors. The numbers in our register point unquestionably to post-Mosaic times; for at the second numbering by Moses, all the families of Benjamin together numbered only 45,600 men (Numbers 26:41), while the three families mentioned in our verses number together 59,434 (22,034 + 20,200 + 17,200). The tribe of Benjamin, which moreover was entirely destroyed, with the exception of 600 men, in the war which it waged against the other tribes in the earlier part of the period of the judges (Judges 20:47), could not have increased to such an extent before the times of David and Solomon. The name of the third son of Benjamin, Jediael, occurs only here, and is considered by the older commentators to be another name of Ashbel (Genesis 46:21 and Numbers 26:38), which cannot indeed be accepted as a certainty, but is very probable.
1 Chronicles 7:7
The five heads of fathers'-houses called sons of Bela are not sons in the proper sense of the word, but more distant descendants, who, at the time when this register was made up, were heads of the five groups of related households of the race of Bela. חילים גּבּורי is synonymous with חיל גּבּורי , 1 Chronicles 7:9, and is a plural, formed as if from a nomen compositum , which arose after the frequent use of the words as they are bound together in the status constructus had obscured the consciousness of the relation between them.
1 Chronicles 7:8-9
Becher's descendants. Of these nine names there are two, ענתות and עלמת , which occur elsewhere as names of cities (cf. for עלמת in the form עלּמת , 1 Chronicles 6:45; and for ענתות , Joshua 21:18; Isaiah 10:30; Jeremiah 1:1). We may, without doubt, accept the supposition that in these cases the cities received their names from the heads of the families which inhabited them. In 1 Chronicles 7:9, אבותם בּית ראשׁי stands in apposition to, and is explanatory of, לתולדותם : “And their register, according to their generations,” viz., according to the generations, that is, the birth-lists, “of the heads of their fathers'-houses, is (amounts to) in valiant heroes 20,200 men.”
1 Chronicles 7:10-11
Among the descendants of Jediael we find Benjamin and Ehud, the first of whom is named after the patriarch; but the second is not the judge Ehud (Judges 3:15), who was indeed a Benjamite, but of the family of Gera. Chenaanah does not necessarily indicate a Canaanite family. Tharshish, which is elsewhere a precious stone, is here the name of a person; Ahishahar, that is, Brother of the Dawn, perhaps so named because sub auroram natur . - In 1 Chronicles 7:11 the expression is contracted, as often happens in formulae which frequently recur; and the meaning is, “All these are sons of Jediael (for as sons of Bilhan the son of Jediael, they are at the same time sons of the latter), (registered) according to the heads of their fathers'-houses, valiant heroes 17,200, going forth in the host to war.” האבות ראשׁי is contracted from בּית־אבות ראשׁי , vide on Exodus 6:25; and the ל before ראשׁי , which Bertheau from a misinterpretation wishes to remove, depends upon the התיחשׂם (1 Chronicles 7:9) to be supplied in thought.
1 Chronicles 7:12 is unintelligible to us. The first half, “And Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir,” would seem, if we may judge from the ו cop., to enumerate some other descendants of Benjamin. And besides, (1) the names וחפּים מפּים occur in Genesis 46:21 among those of the sons of Benjamin, and in Numbers 26:39, among the families of Benjamin, one called שׁוּפמי from שׁפוּפם , and another חוּפמי from חוּפם , are introduced; we must consequently hold מפּים to be an error for שׁפם or שׁוּפם . And (2) the name עיר is most probably identical with עירי in 1 Chronicles 7:7. The peculiar forms of those names, viz., וחפּם שׁפם , seem to have arisen from an improper comparison of them with וּלשׁפּים לחפּים in 1 Chronicles 7:15, in which the fact was overlooked that the Huppim and Shuppim of 1 Chronicles 7:15 belong to the Manassites. Here, therefore, two other families descended from the Benjamite Ir or Iri would seem to be mentioned, which may easily be reconciled with the purpose (1 Chronicles 7:6) to mention none of the Benjamites but the descendants of Bela, Becher, and Jediael. The further statement, “Hushim, sons of Aher,” is utterly enigmatical. The name חשׁים is found in Genesis 46:23 as that of Dan's only son, who, however, is called in Numbers 26:42 שׁוּחם , and who founded the family of the Shuhami. But as the names חוּשׁים and חשׁים are again met with in 1 Chronicles 8:8, 1 Chronicles 8:11 among the Benjamites, there is no need to imagine any connection between our חשּׁם and that family.
The word אהר , alius , is not indeed found elsewhere as a nomen proprium, but may notwithstanding be so here; when we might, notwithstanding the want of the conjunction w, take the Hushim sons of Aher to be another Benjamite family. In that case, certainly, the tribe of Dan would be omitted from our chapter; but we must not allow that to lead us into arbitrary hypotheses, as not only Dan but also Zebulun is omitted.
(Note: Bertheau ' s judgment in the matter is different. Starting from the facts that חשׁים (Genesis 46:27) is called a son of Dan, and that further, in the enumeration of the tribes in Gen 46 and Num 26, Dan follows after Benjamin; that in Gen 46 Dan stands between Benjamin and Naphtali, and that in our chapter, in 1 Chronicles 7:13, the sons of Naphtali follow immediately; and that the closing words of this verse, “ sons of Bilhah, ” can, according to Genesis 46:25, refer only to Dan and Naphtali, and consequently presuppose that Dan or his descendants have been mentioned in our passage, - he thinks there can be no doubt that originally Danites were mentioned in our verse, and that חשׁם was introduced as the son of Dan. Moreover, from the word אהר , “ the other, ” he draws the further inference that it may have been, according to its meaning, the covert designation of a man whose proper name fear, or dislike of some sort, prevented men from using, and was probably a designation of the tribe of Dan, which set up its own worship, and so separated itself from the congregation of Israel; cf. Judg. 17f. The name is avoided, he says, in our chapter, in 1 Chronicles 6:61 and 1 Chronicles 6:69, and is named only in 1 Chronicles 2:2 among the twelve tribes of Israel, and in 1 Chronicles 12:35. The conjecture, therefore, is forced upon us, that אהר בּן חשּׁם , “ Hushim the son of the other, ” viz., of the other son of Bilhah, whose name he wished to pass over in silence, stands for חשּׁם דן וּבני . The name Aher, then, had so completely concealed the tribe of Dan, that later readers did not mark the new commencement, notwithstanding the want of the conjunction, and had no scruple in adding the well-known names of the Benjamites, שׁפם and חפם , to the similarly-sounding חשׁם , though probably at first only in the margin. This hypothesis has no solid foundation. The supposed dislike to mention the name of Dan rests upon an erroneous imagination, as is manifest from the thrice repeated mention of that name, not merely in 1 Chronicles 2:2 and 1 Chronicles 12:35, but also in 1 Chronicles 27:22. The omission of the tribe of Dan in 1 Chronicles 6:61, 1 Chronicles 6:69, is only the result of a corruption of the text in these passages; for in 1 Chronicles 6:61 the words, “ Ephraim and of the tribe of Dan, ” and after 1 Chronicles 6:69 a whole verse, have been dropped out in the copying. In neither of these verses can there by any idea of omitting the name Dan because of a dislike to mention it, for in 1 Chronicles 6:61 the name Ephraim is lacking, and in 1 Chronicles 6:69 the names of two cities are also omitted, where even Berth. cannot suppose any “ dislike. ” When Berth. quotes Judges 18:30 in favour of his concealment hypothesis, where under the Keri מנשׁה the name משׁה is supposed to be concealed, he has forgotten that the opinion that in this passage משׁה has been altered into מנשׁה from a foolish dislike, is one of the rabbinic caprices, which we cannot attribute as a matter of course to the authors of the biblical writings. With this groundless suspicion falls of itself the attempt which he bases upon it “ to solve the enigma of our verse. ” If the words in question do really contain a remark concerning the family of Dan, we must suppose, with Ewald ( Gesch. i. S. 242), that the text has become corrupt, several words having been dropped out. Yet the בּלהה בּני at the end of 1 Chronicles 7:13 is not sufficient to warrant such a supposition. Had the register originally contained not only the sons of Naphtali, but also the sons of Dan, so that בלהה בני would have to be referred to both, the conj. ו could not have been omitted before נפתּלי בּני . The want of this conjunction is, however, in conformity with the whole plan of our register, in which all the tribes follow, one after the other, without a conjunction; cf. 1 Chronicles 7:6, 1 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Chronicles 7:30. ו is found only before אפרים בּני , 1 Chronicles 7:20, because Ephraim and Manasseh are closely connected, both continuing to form the one tribe of Joseph. We must accordingly hold נף בני , 1 Chronicles 7:13, without ו cop., to have been the original reading, when the conjecture that בלהה בני includes also the sons of Dan is at once disposed of.)
The sons of Naphtali. - Only the sons of Naphtali are named, the families descended from them being passed over. The names correspond to those in Genesis 46:24 and Numbers 26:48., except that there the first is יחצאל , and the last שׁלּם instead of שׁלּוּם .
Families of the half-tribe of Manasseh. - The families of Manasseh which dwelt in Gilead and Bashan have already been mentioned in 1 Chronicles 5:23, 1 Chronicles 5:14. Our verses deal with the families of this tribe which received their inheritance in Canaan, on this side Jordan. These were, according to Numbers 26:30, Numbers 26:34, and Joshua 17:2, six families, of which, however, only two are here spoken of - Ashriel, 1 Chronicles 7:14, and Shemidah, 1 Chronicles 7:19; or perhaps three, if Abiezer, 1 Chronicles 7:18, be the same person as Jeezer (Numbers 26:30), who is called Abiezer in Joshua 17:2. The statements of 1 Chronicles 7:14, 1 Chronicles 7:15 are very obscure. At the head of the register of the Manassites stands Ashriel, who, according to Numbers 26:31, belonged to the sons of Gilead the son of Manasseh and the grandson of Joseph (cf. Genesis 50:23), and founded one of the six families of the cis-Jordanic Manassites. But the words which follow are obscure; the words are וגו ילרה אשׁר , “whom his Aramaic concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead.” But since Ashriel, according to this, was the great-grandson of Manasseh, while Machir was his son, the relative clause can refer only to Manasseh, to whom his concubine bore Machir. Movers and Berth. would therefore erase אשׂריאל , as a gloss arising out of a doubling of the following יל אשר . By this expedient the difficultly as to the connection of the relative clause is certainly got rid of, but the obscurities of the following verse (1 Chronicles 7:15) are not thereby removed. The analogy of the other registers in our chapter requires, rather, that immediately after מנשּׁה בּני there should stand the name of a descendant, - a fact which speaks strongly in favour of the authenticity of אשׂריאל . It is therefore a much more probable suggestion, that after the name אשׂריאל , some additional clause, such as בּן־מנשּׁה , has been dropped, or regarded as superfluous by a copyist, and so omitted. To such an omitted מנשׁה בן , the relative sentence, which gives more details as to the descent of Ashriel, would be attacked in a simple and natural manner, since it was known from Numbers 26:30. that Ashriel was descended from Manasseh through Gilead.
1 Chronicles 7:15-17
1 Chronicles 7:15 is literally, “And Machir took a wife to Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of his sister was Maachah, and the name of the second Zelophehad.” According to 1 Chronicles 7:16, on the contrary, Maachah is the wife of Machir, and we should consequently expect to find in 1 Chronicles 7:15 only the simple statement, “And Machir took a wife whose name was Maachah.” From the words מעכה אחתו מעכה sdrow eh ולשׁפים לחפים no meaning which harmonizes with the context can be obtained. Since ל אשּׁה לקח signifies “to take a wife for one” (cf. Judges 14:2), we can only suppose that by the names Huppim and Shuppim Machir's sons are meant, to whom he, as their father, gave wives. But we cannot suppose that the sons of Machir are referred to, for the birth of the sons is first mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:16. But we have found the names חפם and שׁפם spoken of as descendants of Benjamin; and Bertheau consequently conjectures that these names have been brought thence into our verse by some gloss, and that the beginning of our verse originally stood thus: המלכת אחתו ושׁם מעכם ושׁמה אשׁה לקח ומכיר לקח אשׁה ושׁם , “And Machir took a wife whose name is Maachah, and the name of his sister if Hammoleketh” (the last according to 1 Chronicles 7:18). By this means we certainly bring some meaning into the words; but we cannot venture to maintain that this conjecture corresponds to the original text, but rather incline to doubt it. For, in the first place, the following words, “And the name of the second (is) Zelophehad,” do not suit the proposed reading. Berth. must here alter השּׁני into אהיו (the name of his brother). But even after this alteration, the mention of the brother of Machir is not suitable to the context; and moreover Zelophehad was not a true brother, but only a nephew of Machir, the son of his brother Hepher; cf. Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1. And besides this, according to the concluding formula, “These are the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh” (1 Chronicles 7:17), we should expect to find in 1 Chronicles 7:15, 1 Chronicles 7:16, not merely sons or descendants of Machir, but rather descendants of Gilead. We therefore hold the statement of 1 Chronicles 7:15, “And the name of the second if Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had (only) daughters,” to be correct and beyond criticism, and the first part of 1 Chronicles 7:15 to be corrupt and defective; and conjecture that a son of Gilead's was mentioned in it, to whose name the words, “And the name of the second,” etc., belonged. This son who was mentioned in the text, which has been handed down to us only in a defective state, was probably the Ashriel mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:14, a son of Gilead, whose descent from Machir was given more in detail in the corrupt and consequently meaningless first half of 1 Chronicles 7:15. In 1 Chronicles 7:15, 1 Chronicles 7:17, other descendants of Machir by his wife Maachah are enumerated, which favours the probable conjecture that the wife whom Machir took, according to 1 Chronicles 7:15, was different from Maachah, that Machir had two wives, and that in 1 Chronicles 7:15 originally the sons of the first were enumerated, and in 1 Chronicles 7:16, 1 Chronicles 7:17, the sons of the second. Peresh and Shelesh are mentioned only here. בּנין , “his sons” (that is, the sons of the last-named, Shelesh), were Ulam and Rakem, names which are also met with only here. The name בּדן is found in our Masoretic text, 1 Samuel 12:11, as the name of a judge, but probably בּרק should be read instead.
1 Chronicles 7:18
A third branch of the descendants of Gilead were descended from Machir's sister Hammoleketh, a name which the Vulgate has taken in an appellative sense. Of her sons, Ishod, i.e., “man of splendour,” is not elsewhere mentioned. The name Abiezer occurs, Joshua 17:2, as that of the head of one of the families of Manasseh. In Numbers 26:30, however, he is called Jeezer, which is probably the original reading, and consequently our Abiezer is different from that in Joshua 17:2. Another circumstance which speaks strongly against the identification of the two men is, that the family descended from Jeezer holds the first place among the families of Manasseh, which is not at all consonant with the position of the son of Machir's sister here mentioned. Of the family of Abiezer came the judge Gideon, Judges 11:15. A daughter of Zelophehad is called Mahlah in Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1, but she is not the person here mentioned.
1 Chronicles 7:19
The sons of Shemida, the founder of the fourth family of the Manassites, Numbers 26:32. His four sons are nowhere else referred to, for שׁכם , the founder of a family of the Manassites (Numbers 26:31 and Joshua 17:2), is to be distinguished from the Shechem of our verse; nor is there any greater reason to identify Likhi with Helek, Numbers 26:30 (Berth.), than there is for connecting אניעם with נעם , the daughter of Zelophehad, Numbers 26:33; Joshua 17:3.
The families of Ephraim. - 1 Chronicles 7:20. Among the Ephraimites, the descendants of Shuthelah, the founder of one of the chief families of this tribe, Numbers 26:35, are traced down through six generations to a later Shuthelah. The names ואלעד ועזר which follow בּנו שׁוּתלח , “And his son Shuthelah,” after which בּנו is wanting, are not to be considered descendants of the second Shuthelah, but are heads of a family co-ordinate with that of Shuthelah, or of two fathers'-houses intimately connected with each other. These names are to be taken as a continuation of the list of the sons of Ephraim, which commenced with שׁוּתלח . The suffix in והרגוּם refers to both these names: “The men of Gath, that were born in the land, smote Ezer and Elead.” These “men born in the land” Ewald and Bertheau take to be the Avvites, the aboriginal inhabitants of that district of country, who had been extirpated by the Philistines emigrating from Caphtor (Deuteronomy 2:23). But there is no sufficient ground for this supposition; for no proof can be brought forward that the Avvaeans (Avvites) had ever spread so far as Gath; and the Philistines had taken possession of the south-west part of Canaan as early as the time of Abraham, and consequently long before Ephraim's birth. “The men of Gath who were born in the land” are rather the Canaanite or Philistine inhabitants of Gath, as distinguished from the Israelites, who had settled in Canaan only under Joshua. “For they (Ezer and Elead) had come down to take away their cattle” (to plunder). The older commentators assign this event to the time that Israel dwelt in Egypt (Ewald, Gesch. i. S. 490), or even to the pre-Egyptian time. But Bertheau has, in opposition to this, justly remarked that the narratives of Genesis know nothing of a stay of the progenitors of the tribe of Ephraim in the land of Palestine before the migration of Israel into Egypt, for Ephraim was born in Egypt (Genesis 46:20). It would be more feasible to refer it to the time of the sojourn of the Israelites in Egypt, as it is not impossible that the Israelites may have undertaken predatory expeditions against Canaan from Goshen; but even this supposition is not at all probable. Certainly, if in 1 Chronicles 7:23-27 it were said, as Ewald thinks, that Ephraim, after the mourning over the sons thus slain, became by his wife the father of three other sons, from the last named of whom Joshua was descended in the seventh generation, we should be compelled to refer the expedition to the pre-Egyptian period. But the opinion that Rephah and Resheph, 1 Chronicles 7:25, were begotten only after that misfortune has no foundation. Moreover, the statement that Ephraim, after he was comforted for the loss of his slain sons, went in unto his wife and begat a son, to whom he gave the name Beriah, because he was born in misfortune in his house, does not at all presuppose that the patriarch Ephraim was still alive when Ezer and Elead were slain. Were that the case, the necessary result would of course be, that this event could only be referred to the time when the Israelites dwelt in Egypt. In opposition to this, Bertheau's remark that the event in that case would be per se enigmatical, as we would rightly have great hesitation in accepting the supposition of a war, or rather a plundering expedition to seize upon cattle carried out by the Ephraimites whilst they dwelt in Egypt, against the inhabitants of the Philistine city of Gath, is certainly not all decisive, for we know far too little about those times to be able to judge of the possibility or probability of such an expedition.
The decision to which we must come as to this obscure matter depends, in the first place, on how the words וגו ירדוּ כּי are to be understood; whether we are to translate “for they had gone,” or “when they had gone down to fetch their cattle,” i.e., to plunder. If we take the כּי par partic. ration., for, because, we can only take the sons of Ephraim, Ezer and Elead, for the subject of ירדוּ , and we must understand the words to mean that they had gone down to carry off the cattle of the Gathites. In that case, the event would fall in the time when the Ephraimites dwelt in Canaan, and went down from Mount Ephraim into the low-lying Gath, for a march out of Egypt into Canaan is irreconcilable with the verb ירד . If, on the contrary, we translate ירדוּ כּי “when they had gone down,” we might then gather from the words that men of Gath went down to Goshen, there to drive away the cattle of the Ephraimites, in which case the Gathites may have slain the sons of Ephraim when they were feeding their cattle and defending them against the robbers. Many of the old commentators have so understood the words; but we cannot hold this to be the correct interpretation, for it deprives the words “those born in the land,” which stand in apposition to גת אנשׁי , of all meaning, since there can be absolutely no thought of men of Gath born in Egypt. We therefore take the words to mean, that the sons of Ephraim who are named in our verse attempted to drive away the cattle of the Gathites, and were by them slain in the attempt. But how can the statement that Ephraim after this unfortunate event begat another son, Beriah, be reconciled with such a supposition, since the patriarch Ephraim was dead long before the Israelites came forth out of Egypt. Bertheau understands the begetting figuratively, of the whole of the tribe of Ephraim, or of a small Ephraimite family, which at first was not numbered with the others, into the number of the famous families of this tribe. But this straining of the words by an allegorical interpretation is not worthy of serious refutation, since it is manifestly only a makeshift to get rid of the difficulty. The words, “And Ephraim went in unto his wife, and she conceived and bare a son,” are not to be interpreted allegorically, but must be taken in their proper sense; and the solution of the enigma will be found in the name Ephraim. If this be taken to denote the actual son of Joseph, then the event is incomprehensible; but just as a descendant of Shuthelah in the sixth generation was also called Shuthelah, so also might a descendant of the patriarch Ephraim, living at a much later time, have received the name of the progenitor of the tribe; and if we accept this supposition, the event, with all its issues, is easily explained. If Ezer and Elead went down from Mount Ephraim to Gath, they were not actual sons of Ephraim, but merely later descendants; and their father, who mourned for their death, was not Ephraim the son of Joseph, who was born in Egypt, but an Ephraimite who lived after the Israelites had taken possession of the land of Canaan, and who bore Ephraim's name. He may have mourned for the death of his sons, and after he had been comforted for their loss, may have gone in unto his wife, and have begotten a son with her, to whom he gave the name Beriah, “because it was in misfortune in his house,” i.e., because this son was born when misfortune was in his house.
“And his daughter Sherah,” the daughter of the above-mentioned Ephraim, “built Beth-horon the nether and the upper,” the present Beit-Ur-Fok and Tachta (see on Joshua 10:10), “and Uzzen-sherah,” a place not elsewhere referred to, which she probably founded, and which was called after her. The building of the two Beth-horons is merely an enlarging and fortifying of these towns. Sherah was probably an heiress, who had received these places as her inheritance, and caused them to be enlarged by her family. In 1 Chronicles 7:25-27 the ancestors of Joshua the son of Nun, who brought Israel into the land of Canaan, are enumerated. As the word בּנו is wanting after רשׁף , we must hold Rephah and Resheph to be brothers, but we are not informed from which of the four Ephraimite stocks enumerated in Numbers 26:35. they were descended. “Telah his son,” Bertheau holds to be a son of Rephah. The name Tahan occurs in Numbers 26:35 as that of the founder of one of the families of Ephraim; but he can hardly be identical with our Tahan, who was probably a son of that Tahan from whom an Ephraimite family descended. If this conjecture be correct, Joshua would be of the family of Tahan.
Elishama the son of Ammihud was a contemporary of Moses, Numbers 1:10, and prince of the tribe of Ephraim, Numbers 7:48; Numbers 10:22. נון (Non) is so pronounced only in this place; in the Pentateuch and in the book of Joshua it is נוּן (Nun).
In 1 Chronicles 7:28 and 1 Chronicles 7:29 the possessions and dwelling-places of the tribe of Ephraim (and as we learn from the superscription, 1 Chronicles 7:29), also those of West Jordan Manasseh, are given, but in a very general way; only the chief places on the four sides being mentioned. Bethel, now Beitin, on the frontier of the tribal domains of Benjamin and Ephraim (Joshua 16:2; Joshua 18:13), and assigned to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22), is here mentioned as an Ephraimite city on the southern frontier of the Ephraimite territory, as it belonged to the kingdom of the ten tribes; whence we gather that this register was prepared after that kingdom had come into existence. As to its position, see on Joshua 7:2. Her daughters are the smaller villages which belonged to Bethel. Naaran, without doubt the same place which is called in Joshua 16:7 נערתה (with ה loc.), is the eastern frontier city lying to the north-east of Jericho; see on Joshua 16:7. “And westward Gezer,” according to Joshua 16:3, lying between Beth-horon and the sea (see on Joshua 10:33), is the frontier city on the south-west; and Shechem and Avvah ( עוּה ), with their daughters, are places which mark the boundary on the north-west. As to שׁכם , Shechem, the present Nabulus, see on Joshua 17:7. Instead of עוּה , most of the editions of the Bible agree with lxx and Vulg. and Chald. in having עזּה , but not the Philistine Gaza: it is only an error of the transcribers and printers, as all the more accurate MSS and the better printed copies have עוה ; see De Rossi, Variae Lectt. ad h. l. The locality עוּה or עיּה is certainly met with nowhere else, but, if we may judge by Joshua 16:6 and Joshua 17:17, is to be sought not far from Shechem in a north-western direction, perhaps on the site of the there mentioned Michmethah, the position of which has, however, not yet been ascertained.
1 Chronicles 7:29
According to Joshua 17:11, the Manassites had received the four cities here named, lying within the territory of Issachar and Asher. This is attested also by על־ידי בני מ , to the hands, i.e., in possession of the sons of Manasseh. As to its position, see Joshua 17:11. These cities formed the boundaries on the extreme north, of the dwellings “of the sons of Joseph,” i.e., of the two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.
The sons and several families of Asher. - 1 Chronicles 7:30. The names of the four sons of Asher and that of their sister coincide with the statement of Genesis 46:17; but in Numbers 26:44-47, on the contrary, the name Ishuai does not occur among the families of Asher.
1 Chronicles 7:31-34
The sons of Beriah, Heber and Malchiel, are also to be found in Genesis 46:17 and Numbers 26:45 as the heads of two families; but the further statement, “he (i.e., Malchiel) the father of Birzavith,” is found only here. How ברזות , the Kethibh, is to be pronounced, cannot be with certainty determined. Gesen. in Thes. p. 239 makes it בּרזות , and considers the word to be the name of a woman; Bertheau, on the contrary conjectures that it is a compound of בר בּאר and זית , “well of the olive-tree,” and so the name of a place. In 1 Chronicles 7:32-34 the descendants of Heber are enumerated in three generations, which are mentioned nowhere else. In 1 Chronicles 7:32 we have four sons and one daughter. The name יפלט is not to be connected with יפלטי , Joshua 16:3, “because a family of Asher is not to be sought for in the neighbourhood there referred to” (Berth.). In 1 Chronicles 7:33 we have four sons of Japhlet, and in 1 Chronicles 7:34 the sons of his brother Shemer. It is somewhat remarkable that שׁומר , 1 Chronicles 7:32, is called here שׁמר אחי is not an appellative, but a proper name, as the ו before the following name shows; cf. another Ahi in 1 Chronicles 5:15. For יחבּה we should read וחבּה .
1 Chronicles 7:35-39
Descendants of Helem-in 1 Chronicles 7:35 sons, in 1 Chronicles 7:36-38 grandsons.
As Helem is called אהיו , “his brother” (i.e., the brother of the Shemer mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:34), הלם would seem to be the third son of Heber, who is called in 1 Chronicles 7:32 חותם . If so, one of the two names must have resulted from an error in transcription; but it is now impossible to determine which is the original and correct form of the name. Eleven names are introduced as those of the sons of Zophah (1 Chronicles 7:36, 1 Chronicles 7:37); and in 1 Chronicles 7:38 we have, besides, three sons of Jether ( יתר ), who is called in 1 Chronicles 7:38 יתרן . In 1 Chronicles 7:39 there follow three names, those of the sons of Ulla; on which Bertheau rightly remarks, the whole character of our enumeration would lead us to conjecture that עלּא had already occurred among the preceding names, although we find neither this name nor any similar one, with which it might be identified, in the preceding list.
1 Chronicles 7:40
1 Chronicles 7:40 contains a comprehensive concluding statement as to the descendants of Asher: “All these (those just mentioned by name) were heads of fathers'-houses, chosen valiant heroes ( חילים , as in 1 Chronicles 7:5), chief of the princes,” Vulg. duces ducum , i.e., probably leaders of the larger divisions of the army, under whom were other נשׂיאים . “And their genealogical register is for service of the host in war,” i.e., was prepared with reference to the men capable of bearing arms, and had not, like other registers, reference to the number of inhabitants of the various localities; cf. 1 Chronicles 9:22. It amounted to 26,000 men. According to Numbers 1:41, Asher numbered 41,500, and according to Numbers 26:47, 53,000 men. But we must observe that the number given in our verse is only that of the men capable of bearing arms belonging to one of the greater families of Asher, the family of Heber, of which alone a register had been preserved till the time of the chronicler.
The Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary is a derivative of a public domain electronic edition.
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 7". Keil & Delitzsch Old Testament Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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