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The Posterity of Reuben
v. 1. Now, the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel, (for he was the first-born; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, in the matter of Bilha, his father's secondary wife, Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:4, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, Genesis 48:15-22; and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright;
v. 2. for Judah prevailed above his brethren, being made the bearer of the Messianic promise, Genesis 49:8-10, and of him came the chief ruler, the prince, or king, David, the reference at this point having Messianic significance; but the birthright, with its double portion, Deuteronomy 21:23, was Joseph's;)
v. 3. the sons, I say, Reuben, the first-born of Israel, who was placed after Judah for the reason just mentioned, were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
v. 4. The sons of Joel, the head of one line of Reubenites: Shemaiah, his son; Gog, his son; Shimei, his son;
v. 5. Micah, his son; Reaia, his son; Baal, his, son;
v. 6. Beerah, his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, carried away captive; he was prince of the Reubenites, not of the whole tribe, but a very influential man among their families.
v. 7. And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, entered in the registers of the tribe, were the chief, the first or head of the family, Jeiel, and Zechariah.
v. 8. And Bela, the son of Azaz, the son of Shema (or Shemaiah), the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, on the east side of Jordan, even unto Nebo, on the range of the same name, over against Jericho, and Baal-meon, farther to the east;
v. 9. and eastward he, the tribe of Reuben, inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates, where the wilderness begins which extends from the Euphrates to the eastern border of Perea, because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead, wherefore they were continually obliged to seek larger ranges for pasture.
v. 10. And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, the Bedouin descendants of Hagar, who fell by their hand; and they dwelt in their tents, more strongly in a nomadic or pastoral form of life than the other tribes, throughout all the east land of Gilead. The Reubenites, in consequence of God's punishment, never obtained a position of prominence in the nation, but remained isolated in the east country.
The Posterity of Gad and of Half-Manasseh.
v. 11. And the children of Gad dwelt over against them, just north of them, in the land of Bashan unto Salcah, in Central Gilead, southeast of the Sea of Galilee:
v. 12. Joel, the chief, and Shapham, the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan, all of these continuing the line of Gad after the settlement in the Land of Promise.
v. 13. And their brethren of the house of their fathers, by the families at whose head they stood, and which were named after them, were Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven. The pedigree of these brothers is now given through eight generations.
v. 14. These are the children of Abihail, the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz:
v. 15. Ahi, the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.
v. 16. And they dwelt in Gilead, in Bashan, in the middle and northern part of the district so called, including the country immediately east of the Sea of Galilee, and in her towns, and in all the suburbs, that is, the pastures, of Sharon, east of Jordan, upon their borders, literally, "their goings out," to the very end of the districts included in these geographical designations.
v. 17. All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham, king of Judah, about 758-742, and in the days of Jeroboam, king of Israel, about 824-783 B. C. These were the two registrations of the tribe noted in history, at which time the genealogical tables were revised.
v. 18. The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, the tribes which occupied the country east of Jordan, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, the ordinary equipment of a foot-soldier in those days, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war, this being their standing army.
v. 19. And they made war with the Hagarites, descendants of Hagar, at first identified with the Edomites, but later applied to a special tribe of Arabian Bedouins, with Jetur, and Nephesh, and Nodab, the name of the first tribe being preserved in Iturea, west of Lebanon.
v. 20. And they were helped against them, the Lord Himself taking their part, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them, probably in return for raids which had been made by the desert nomads; for they cried to God in the battle, and He was intreated of them, because they put their trust in Him, for these events took place while the tribes of the country east of Jordan were still faithful to the Lord.
v. 21. And they took away their cattle, as a bit of welcome plunder; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand, of captive and of slain. The great numbers give an idea of the wealth in the possession of these desert tribes.
v. 22. For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God, He it was that gave them success. And they dwelt in their steads, colonizing the district themselves, until the captivity.
v. 23. And the children of the half-tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land; they increased from Bashan, the greater part of which they occupied, unto Baal-hermon and Senir, east of Lebanon, and unto Mount Hermon, the high mountain in the southern part of the Anti-Lebanon range.
v. 24. And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valor, famous men, whose names were mentioned with respect everywhere, and heads of the house of their fathers, of the smaller division of the tribe known as the father-house.
v. 25. And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, all the Israelites living east of Jordan were unfaithful to Jehovah, and went a-whoring after the gods of the people of the land, in a form of spiritual adultery, whom God destroyed before them.
v. 26. And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul, king of Assyria, who began the oppression of Israel, 2 Kings 15:19, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser, king of Assyria, his son and successor, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, or the mountain, and to the river Gozan, in Upper Media, toward the Caspian Sea, unto this day. As in this case, so in others, the just punishment of the Lord always struck the malefactors.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 5". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent