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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 4

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-43

3. Supplements to the Genealogy of the House of Judah (leading to the Genealogical Survey of the Twelve Tribes of Israel): 1 Chronicles 4:1-23

1 Chronicles 4:1.The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.

2And Reaiah son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai and Lahad: these are the families of the Zorathite.

3And these were1 of the father of Etam: Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazelelponi. 4And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah: these are the sons of Hur the first-born of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem.

5And Ashur the father of Tekoah had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 6And Naarah bare him Ahuzzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and the Ahashtari: these were the sons of Naarah. 7And the sons of Helah: Zereth, Izhar,2 and Ethnan.

8And Koz begat Anub and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum. 9And Jabez was honoured above his brethren; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, If thou wilt bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and thy hand be with me, and thou deal without evil, that it grieve me not! And God brought that which he had asked.

11And Celub the brother of Shuhah begat Mehir; he was the father of Eshton. 12And Eshton begat Beth-rapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of the city Nahash: these are the men of Rechah.

13And the sons of Kenaz: Othniel and Seraiah; and the sons of Othniel: Hathath. 14And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab father of the valley of the carpenters; for they were carpenters.

15And the sons of Caleb son of Jephunneh: Iru, Elah, and Naam; and the sons of Elah and Kenaz.

16And the sons of Jehalelel: Ziph and Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel.

17And the Song of Song of Solomon 3:0 of Ezrah: Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon; and she conceived [and bare]4 Miriam, and Schammai, and Ishbah father of Eshtemoa. 18And his wife, the Jewess, bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah: and these are the sons of Bithiah daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took.5

19And the sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham: the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa6 the Maachathite.

20And the sons of Shimon: Amnon and Rinnah, Benhanan and Tulon;7 and the sons of Ishi: Zoheth and Benzoheth.8

21The sons of Shelah son of Judah: Er the father of Lechah, and Ladah the father of Mareshah; and the families of the house of byssus work, of the house of Ashbea. 22And Jokim, and the men of Cozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who 23ruled over Moab, and Jashubi-lehem9: and these are ancient things. These are the potters and the dwellers in Netaim and Gederah; with the king, in his service, they dwelt there.


Preliminary Remark.—This section, unusually rich in obscurities and difficulties, is characterized on the one hand as a supplement to the pedigree of Judah already communicated, embracing numerous fragments of old genealogies; on the other hand, as a transition and introduction to the genealogical and chorographical survey of the twelve tribes except Judah, contained in 1 Chronicles 4:24-27. In common with the latter group of genealogies, it makes frequent reference to the places in the territory of each tribe, and inserts brief historical or archæological notices, which are of considerable value on account of the antiquity of the events recorded (1 Chronicles 4:9-10; 1 Chronicles 4:14; 1 Chronicles 4:21-23). We are reminded of the former notices of the families of Judah in 1 Chronicles 2:0, not only by the superscription connecting the introductory verse of this chapter, with its enumeration of some of the most eminent descendants of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:1), but also by the abundance of the details communicated concerning many more or less celebrated Jewish families (at all events a proof that the tribe of Judah passed with the author for the most important of all, and that the most special notices concerning it lay before him); as well as by the loose order of the several fragments, in which a similar neglect of the formation of longer lines of generations standing in direct succession to one another betrays itself, as in those supplementary reports concerning various descendants of Caleb at the close of 1 Chronicles 2:0, and perhaps in the closing verses of 1 Chronicles 3:0. Nowhere is this fragmentary character of the genealogical notes of our author so striking as in the present section, which presents no less than ten or twelve isolated fragments of lines or genealogical notices, having no visible connection with that which precedes or follows. The whole, in fact, looks almost like a gathering of genealogical pebbles, rolled together from various quarters, and consisting of older and younger parts, that are kept together only by their common connection with the tribe of Judah. That anything here communicated refers to the state of things after the exile, is assumed by Bertheau (p. 36), perhaps without sufficient ground. Yet it cannot be positively asserted that the author (who in 1 Chronicles 3:0 traced the house of David down to his own late times) here describes only ancient relations, and purposely has not overstepped the limits of the exile.

1. The Superscription: 1 Chronicles 4:1.—The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal. These five are called “sons” of Judah, as appears from 1 Chronicles 2:3 ff., only in a wider sense; for Perez only was an actual son of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:5); Hezron was his grandson; Carmi, as the probable grandson of Zerah (1 Chronicles 2:7), was his great-grandson; Hur the son of Caleb, son of Hezron, was his great-great-grandson (1 Chronicles 2:18-19); and Shobal son of Hur was his grandson’s great-grandson (1 Chronicles 2:50). The putting together of these five descendants is highly peculiar, and cannot be satisfactorily explained in its historical grounds. Several of the families founded by them certainly became chief families in the tribe of Judah, but not all; in particular, the prominence of Carmi between names so celebrated as Hezron and Hur is so truly strange, as to justify the suspicion that this name is not genuine, and to favour the hypothesis of Wellhausen (p. 20), that for בַּרְמִי is to be read כּלִבי, Celubai=Caleb (see 1 Chronicles 2:9). If this were the original reading, we should obtain a series of directly succeeding descendants of Judah (Comp. 1 Chronicles 2:3; 1Ch 2:9; 1 Chronicles 2:18 f., 1 Chronicles 2:50), and so far as our verse is a superscription for the following, it would merely indicate descendants of Hezron, who is also named in 1 Chronicles 2:0 as the ancestor of a widely-spread stock of Jewish families. This indication, however, would by no means correspond with the following verses. For only by uncertain conjecture do we think to find in 1 Chronicles 4:5-7 descendants of Hur, in 1 Chronicles 4:11-15 descendants of Caleb, in 1 Chronicles 4:16-23 other Hezronites of different lines (comp. on the respective passages). On the whole, the several groups of our section are strung together without much connection; and that they form no continuous line of descent (by which the line started in 1 Chronicles 4:1, if the proposed emendation be accepted, would be carried forward) is at all events clear and beyond a doubt. The matter, therefore, must rest with the remark of Bertheau: “Why in our passage precisely these five ‘sons’ of Judah are enumerated, while in Genesis 45:1 and 1 Chronicles 2:0 other names occur in a different order, is a question we should only be able to answer if we could state the point of time in the history and development of the tribe of Judah to which our series refers, and were in a position to trace further from other sources the relations of the families of Judah here exhibited. As matters stand, we must be contented with the genera”, remark, that the families designated by our five names were without doubt the prominent families in the time of the author of our series, and are therefore enumerated as sons of Judah. It is surprising, certainly, that in the following pedigree, 1 Chronicles 4:2-20, this arrangement almost entirely disappears, and that in 1 Chronicles 4:21-23 Shelah, sixth ‘son’ of Judah, is introduced by way of appendix.”

2. The Zorathites, a line of descent from Shobal: 1 Chronicles 4:2.—And Reaiah son of Shobal (the son who is probably latent under הָרֹאֶה, 1 Chronicles 2:52, on which see) begat Jahath.יַחַת is no further mentioned as a descendant of Judah through Shobal, but occurs often as a Levite name; comp. 1Ch 6:5; 1 Chronicles 6:28, 1 Chronicles 23:10 ff., 1 Chronicles 24:22, 2 Chronicles 34:12.—His sons also, Ahumai and Lahad, occur nowhere else. On the contrary, the closing notice, “these are the families of the Zorathite,” refers us to well-known ground, in so far as a descent of the inhabitants of Zorah from Shobal (the ancestor of Kiriath-jearim, the mother city of Zorah and Eshtaol) is manifest from 1 Chronicles 2:50-53. The present verse therefore stands plainly in the relation of a supplement to that passage.

3. A Line of Descent from Hur: 1 Chronicles 4:3-4.—And these were of the father of Etam. So is it to be amended instead of the unmeaning “and these were Abi Etam” of the Masoretic text, or with the Sept. and Vulg.: “And these were the children of Etam.” עֵיטָם, whether it be an element of a personal name אֲבִי עֵיטָם, or itself denote an old patriarch or family, points at all events to the inhabitants of an old Jewish mountain city not far from Bethlehem and Tekoa (2 Chronicles 11:6), which occurs in the history of Samson (Judges 15:8). Jezreel also, the first-named son of Etam, occurs Joshua 15:56 as a mountain city of Judah; comp. the nom. gentil. “the Jezreelitess” referring to this city, and applied to Ahinoam the wife of David, 1 Chronicles 3:1. On the contrary, Ishma, Idbash, and their sister Hazelelponi are mentioned only here. Whether the name of the last is the name of a family or of an individual (comp. Ew. § 273e) remains doubtful.

1 Chronicles 4:4. And Penuel the father of Gedor. Penuel (פְּנוּאֵל) is here the name of a patriarch of Jewish descent, but in 1 Chronicles 8:25 of a Benjamite. With the city Penuel or Peniel, east of the Jordan and south of Jabbok (Genesis 32:31 f., Judges 8:8; Judges 8:17, 1 Kings 12:25), the name here has no connection. On the contrary, that of his son Gedor occurs also as a name of a town in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:58; comp. 1 Chronicles 4:39; 1 Chronicles 13:7), and this town, preserved as a ruin in the present Jedur (Robins. ii. 592), is to be referred to the son of Penuel as its father or founder. We meet, indeed, in 1 Chronicles 4:18 with a certain Jered as “father of Gedor,” whence we may conclude that the posterity of both formed the population of this Gedor.—And Ezer the father of Hushah.עֵזֶר occurs elsewhere as a man’s name (1 Chronicles 7:21, 1 Chronicles 12:9), but not in the genealogies of the house of Judah. The site of the town Hushah founded by this Ezer is unknown; but the nom. gentil.חוּשָׁתִי occurs several times, namely, in the Davidic hero Sibbechai, 1 Chronicles 11:28; 1Ch 20:4, 2 Samuel 23:27.—These are the sons of Hur the firstborn of Ephrathath, the father of Bethlehem. Comp. 1 Chronicles 2:19, and on Hur’s relation to Bethlehem 1 Chronicles 2:51, where more precisely than here Salma the son of Hur is called “father of Bethlehem.” “The circumstance, moreover, that in our verses (3 and 4) other names and persons are enumerated as descendants of Hur than in 1 Chronicles 2:50-55, betokens no difference; for there is no ground for the assumption that in the latter passage all his descendants are given” (Keil). Our passage is thus, like 1 Chronicles 4:2, supplementary to 1 Chronicles 2:50-55, so far as it repeats and confirms some of the names and affinities there mentioned, and adds other new ones.

4. Ashur the father of Tekoa and his descendants: 1 Chronicles 4:5-7. According to 1 Chronicles 2:24, this Ashur was a posthumous son of Caleb [?Hezron] by Abiah. That he was properly a son of Caleb, and no other than Hur (אַשְׁחוּר = חוּר, that is, אִישׁ חוּר, Ew. § 273b), is a hypothesis of Wellhausen, grounded on several rather forced emendations of the text (p. 14 sq.; comp. above on the p.)

1 Chronicles 4:6. And Naarah bare him Ahuzzam, a son mentioned nowhere else. Why Naarah’s sons are enumerated first, while Helah was named 1 Chronicles 4:5 as the first, and Naarah the second, wife of Ashur, remains uncertain. Hepher the second son of Naarah is at all events different from the Gileadite of this name mentioned 1 Chronicles 11:36 and Numbers 26:32 f., but might possibly be the patriarch or founder of the district Hepher, 1 Kings 4:10, in the south of Judah, not far from Tappuah, where a Canaanitish king resided in early times (Joshua 2:17 ).—Temeni (תֵּימְני) or Temani (Southern), the third son, will designate a neighbouring family of the tribe of Judah. Ahashtari, that is, the family of those from Ahashtar, is wholly unknown.

1 Chronicles 4:7. And the sons of Helah: Zereth, Izhar, and Ethnan. These names occur only here. The צֹחר of the Keri, instead of the Kethibיִצְחַר, occurs as the name of a son of Simeon, Genesis 46:10, and of a Canaanitish king, Genesis 23:8 ; but these names have obviously nothing to do with the son of Ashur and Helah.

5. Koz and his descendants, among whom is Jabez: 1 Chronicles 4:8-10. This section wants all genealogical connection with the families already mentioned.—And Koz begat Anub. A Koz (with the art. הַקּוֹץ occurs afterwards, 1 Chronicles 24:10, as a Levite, and also in Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 3:4, in which latter passage, moreover, the Levitical descent is not expressed, so that possibly a Jew descended from this Koz might be meant. In what relation our Koz stands to those before named, whether he belonged to the sons of Ashur (as Glassius, Tremell., Piscator, Starke, etc., think), is quite uncertain. The name of his son עָנוּב appears, moreover, to he identical with that of the town עֲנָב, Joshua 11:21; Joshua 15:50 (a place not far from Debir in the south of Judah); for the Sept. (cod. Alex.) renders it by ’Ανώβ. If this identification be correct, עָנוּב, “the grape,” would be the product of קוֹץ, a “thorn,” and the present genealogical notice thus present an allegorical sense, reminding us of the fable of Jotham (Judges 9:0), and of Matthew 7:16 (comp. Hiller, Hierophyt. i. p. 464).—Zobebah and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum. These are quite unknown.

1 Chronicles 4:9. And Jabez was honoured above his brethren. Jabez here is probably the name of another descendant of Koz; for the וַֽיְהִי connects the notice of him closely with that which precedes. The town Jabez, the inhabitants of which are mentioned 1 Chronicles 2:55, may perhaps have been founded by him; from which might be surmised a connection of himself and of those named, 1 Chronicles 4:8, with Shobal the son of Hur (1 Chronicles 2:50). But all this is very uncertain.—I bare him with sorrow. This maternal utterance, discovering the fundamental meaning of the name יַעְבֵּץ = “son of sorrow” (comp. the root עָצַב, the second and third radicals of which are here transposed), reminds us of similar exclamations of mothers in the patriarchal age as Genesis 4:25; Genesis 19:37 f., Genesis 29:32-35, Genesis 33:20. In like manner, the statement that Jabez was “honoured above his brethren,” reminds us of Genesis 34:19 (Hamor the son of Shechem). And by the vow of this Jabez to the “God of Israel” (comp. Genesis 28:20; Genesis 33:20) recorded in 1 Chronicles 4:10, as well as by the new explanation of the name, which is contained in the terms of this vow (a second reference of יַעְבֵּץ to the root עצב, but with a new turn, לְבִלְתִּי עָצְבִּי, “that thou grieve me not”), we are carried back to the scenes of Genesis (comp. Genesis 17:17 ff; Genesis 18:12; Genesis 21:6; Genesis 26:8, etc.), so that we have here an undoubted primeval historical record. Even the rhetorical clothing of the vow, a mere antecedent clause, with אִם wanting a consequent, but with clear emphasizing of the עָצְבִּי coming in at the end as the point of the whole, reminds us of the ancient style of the Pentateuch; comp. Genesis 28:20 ff.; Numbers 21:2, etc.—And God brought that which he had asked. This statement, occupying the place of consequent to the aposiopesis אִס־בָּרֵךְ תְּבָֽרְכֵנִי, serves to explain the above notice that Jabez was honoured above his brethren, and exhibit him as the lord of a wide domain, and the possessor of the divine blessing. Observe, moreover, the name אֱלֹהִים used here (as in 1 Chronicles 5:20; 1 Chronicles 5:25-26) instead of יְהוָֹה, which occurs elsewhere in these genealogical sections (for example, 1 Chronicles 2:3, 1Chr 5:41, etc.).

6. The Men of Rechah: 1 Chronicles 4:11-12.—And Celub the brother of Shuhah begat Mehir. This Celub (בְּלוֹּב) bears indeed the same name as the famous hero Caleb or Celubai (1 Chronicles 2:9), but is distinguished by the addition “the brother of Shuhah” from his more illustrious namesake, and cannot possibly have passed with our genealogist for the same person (as Wellhausen, p. 20, thinks). The choice of the form כְּלוּב, which stands to כָּלֵב as עָנוּב, 1 Chronicles 4:8, to עָנָב, while the famous Caleb the son of Jephunneh, 1 Chronicles 4:15, is designated by his usual name, shows that in the view of the writer the owners of the two names are to be kept apart. It is doubtful whether שׁוּחָה be a man’s or a woman’s name; its identification with חוּשָׁה, 1 Chronicles 4:4, is not admitted (against Starke and other old writers). Mehir the son, and Eshton the grandson, of Celub occur nowhere else.

1 Chronicles 4:12. And Eshton begat Bethrapha, that is, perhaps, the house or family of Rapha, who is otherwise unknown; for neither the Benjamite Rapha (1 Chronicles 8:2) nor the offspring of Rapha (1 Chronicles 20:4-8) can apply here. And the two following descendants of Eshton remain at least uncertain. Paseah might possibly be the ancestor of the “sons of Paseah” introduced among the Nethinim (Ezra 2:49; Nehemiah 7:51); Tehinnah occurs not elsewhere, though perhaps the city Nahash, of which he is the father or founder, may be connected with Nahash the father of Abigail, the step-sister of David (see 1 Chronicles 2:16; 2 Samuel 17:25).—These are the men of Rechah, the inhabitants perhaps of the town Rechah, a place not elsewhere named.

7. The Descendants of Kenaz: 1 Chronicles 4:13-14.—And the sons of Kenaz: Othniel and Seraiah. That Kenaz (קְנַז), the “father” of Othniel the judge (Judges 1:13 ff; Judges 3:9), sprang from Hezron the grandson of Judah, appears to follow from this, that Caleb the son of Jephunneh is several times designated a Kenizzite (קְנִזִּי) and, so placed in a certain genealogical relation to Kenaz. It is to be observed, indeed, that Kenaz, if really father or grandfather, and not a more remote ancestor of Othniel, would have been younger than Caleb or a contemporary of nearly the same age. Caleb and Othniel are usually called “brothers,” on account of their common relation to Kenaz (Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13); and, indeed, in the latter place Othniel is called the “younger brother” of Caleb (we must therefore translate, with Bachmann, the son of Kenaz, younger brother of Caleb, with which, however, Joshua 15:17 would conflict; see Keil, p. 63). Hence appears the possibility that both the companion of Joshua, Caleb the son of Jephunneh (who was eighty-five years old at the conquest of Canaan, Joshua 14:10 f.), and Othniel the judge, at least a generation younger (the conqueror of Cushan-rishathaim), stood in a common relation to an otherwise unknown patriarch Kenaz. Of what nature this relation was, whether it was that Caleb, by means of his father Jephunneh, was a grandson of Kenaz (as appears to have been the case, Numbers 32:12), and that Othniel, either through Jephunneh or some other, was likewise his grandson, or perhaps great-grandson, must remain uncertain. Possibly Kenaz is merely the name of a race external to Israel, belonging in fact to Edom, Genesis 36:11, 1Ch 1:36; 1 Chronicles 1:53, to which Caleb became somehow related in the march through the wilderness, and from which also Othniel was descended. Knobel (on Genesis 36:11, p. 281) conceives the relationship thus: “The ‘Kenizzite’ is perhaps a surname of Caleb, originating from some Kenizzites having passed into his family during the journey of Moses. After Jephunneh’s death, one of them appears to have married Caleb’s mother, and had by her Othniel. His name being afterwards for gotten, he was designated by the name of his tribe.”—Seraiah, Othniel’s brother, occurs only here; we meet with a later Jew of this name, who returned with Zerubbabel, Ezra 2:2.—And the sons of Othniel: Hathath. On the phrase וּבְנֵי before only one name, see 1 Chronicles 2:7. Yet the plural might here possibly refer also to Meonothai as brother of Hathath (1 Chronicles 4:14), if a וּמְעוֹנֹתָיhad fallen out at the end of our verse, or if the genealogist had presupposed that Meonothai was brother to Hathath, and therefore hastened at once to the statement of his descendants. Othniel’s sons occur nowhere else. The name Meonothai might also be connected with the town Maon (Joshua 15:55), or with the Meunim (Ezra 2:50; Nehemiah 7:52).

1 Chronicles 4:14. And Meonothai begat Ophrah. We can scarcely think of Ophrah as the Benjamite town of this name (Joshua 18:23; 1 Samuel 13:17), or even of the home of Gideon in the tribe of Manasseh (Judges 6:11).—And Seraiah begat Joab father of the valley of the carpenters. This occurs here as a place founded by Joab son of Seraiah (1 Chronicles 4:13), called the “Valley of the carpenters or the craftsmen” (חֲרָשִׁים), and in Nehemiah 11:35; and, indeed, as a place not far from Jerusalem, on the north side. Whether it had received its name after the exile, and whether Joab, the founder of the colony, is to pass for one of those Joabs in Zerubbabel’s time who are mentioned Ezra 2:6, Nehemiah 7:11 (to which hypothesis Berth. seems inclined), must remain doubtful.

8. The Descendants of Caleb the Son of Jephunneh: 1 Chronicles 4:15.—That this Jephunnite Caleb is probably the same with him whose genealogy is given 1 Chronicles 2:46-49 (and therefore with the Caleb of Num., Josh., and. Judg.), and different from the Hezronite Celubai or Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:9, 1 Chronicles 2:18, 1 Chronicles 2:42 ff., 1 Chronicles 2:50 ff., perhaps his ancestor [rather descendant]), has been fully shown on 1 Chronicles 2:49.—Iru, Elah, and Naam. These three sons of Caleb occur nowhere else; for the second, Elah, must have been combined with the Edomite prince of the same name mentioned 1 Chronicles 1:52, as Kenaz might be identical with the Kenaz named there, 1 Chronicles 4:53. This Calebite Kenaz cannot be the same as the father of Othniel (1 Chronicles 4:13); rather as grandson or great-grandson, he bore the same name as his ancestor. Why “the sons of Elah” are set down between this Kenaz and Naam in the series of the sons of Caleb we can no longer explain. It is inadmissible, at all events, to translate, with a number of older expositors (including Starke): “and the sons of Elah were (also) Kenaz,” as if ו before קְנַז could be anything but the copula. As the words run, Kenaz is appended to the aforementioned descendants of Caleb, of whom the sons of Elah take the fourth place, as the fifth and last; only if a name were fallen out before וּקְנַז (as Keil supposes), could Kenaz be regarded as belonging to the sons of Elah.

9. Jehalelel’s Sons: 1 Chronicles 4:16.—Ziph and Ziphah, Tiriah and Asarel. Only the first of these is known, and, indeed, as the supposed father of one of those towns in Judah which are named in Joshua 15:24; Joshua 15:55. Even of Jehalelel we know nothing more. A quite arbitrary hypothesis of some older scholars makes out of him rather a woman, the supposed second wife of Kenaz, ver 13, whose first wife was (?) Jephunneh.

10. Ezrah’s Posterity: 1 Chronicles 4:17-18.—And the sons of Ezrah: Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon; and she conceived, etc. If the sing. וּבֶן is to be retained, we may compare such cases as 1 Chronicles 3:19; 1 Chronicles 3:21; 1 Chronicles 3:23, etc.; but see Crit. Note. The here-named Ezrah occurs nowhere else ; he belongs, at all events, to a grey antiquity, as the father of old Jewish towns like Eshtemoa, Socho, Zanoah, etc. It is not clear how he is connected with the foregoing or following families of Judah. Of his four sons, the last, Jalon, occurs only here even in name; the names Jether and Epher occur elsewhere, but in other families (Jether, 1 Chronicles 2:32, comp. 53; and Epher, 1 Chronicles 11:33 and 1 Chronicles 5:24); further notices of them are wanting. On the contrary, the closing sentence of 1 Chronicles 4:18 shows, with respect, to Mered, that probably all the names from 1 Chronicles 4:17 b (“and she conceived,” etc.) denote descendants of this man by two wives, a “Jewess” and a “daughter of Pharaoh.” And as the words וַתַּהַר וגו״, standing as they now do after the name of the fourth son of Ezrah, and wanting a feminine subject, yield no rational sense, the removal (proposed by Bertheau, and adopted by Kamph., Keil, and others) of that closing sentence: “and these are the sons of Bithiah daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took,” to our passage after וְיָלוֹן, commends itself as a very suitable amendment; comp. the Crit. Note. ותַּהַר is then to be taken as a synonym of וַתֵּלֶד (which is given by the Sept. and the Vulg.), and the names Miriam (מִרְיָם, for which, perhaps, מְרוֹם, as in Sept. cod. Vat. or the like, is to be read, as we expect to find a man’s name in the first place), Shammai, and Ishbah then denote the sons born to Mered by Pharaoh’s daughter; whereupon in 1 Chronicles 4:18 the names of those descended from the Jewess are added. We obtain here, accordingly, two lines descending from Mered—one Egyptian, from which (and in particular from Ishbah the third son of Pharaoh’s daughter) the inhabitants of the town Eshtemoa (Sept. ’Εσθεμών or ’Εσθαιμών), on the mountains of Judah, the present Samua, south of Hebron, drew their origin (comp. Joshua 15:15; Joshua 21:14, and 1 Chronicles 4:19), and one Jewish, from which three towns of Judah are derived:—1. Gedor, comp. on 1 Chronicles 4:4; 1 Chronicles 2:0. Socho, perhaps the present Suweikeh, in the lowland south west of Jerusalem, comp. Jos 15:35, 1 Samuel 17:1, etc.; 3. Zanoah, perhaps the present Sanuah, in the lowland near Zorah, comp. Joshua 15:34 (though the other Zanoah on the mountains of Judah, Joshua 15:36, the site of which we do not know, might be meant). Of the names of the three “fathers” or founders of these towns, Jekuthiel (יְקוּתִיאֵל, probably “fear of God”) occurs nowhere else; while Jered (comp. Genesis 5:15) and חֶבֶר occur elsewhere, the latter pretty often (Genesis 46:17; Numbers 26:45; Judges 4:11; Judges 4:17; 1 Chronicles 8:17).—And these are the sons of Bithiah, etc. These words, in the position which we have assigned to them, are not a subscription for the preceding, but rather an introduction to the following words וַתַּהַר וגו״. We know nothing more of this daughter of Pharaoh. בַּת־פַּרְעֹה may be merely a general phrase for מִצְרִית, an Egyptian; so thinks Hitzig, Gesch. d. V. Isr. p. 64, who, indeed, without right, might thus degrade the Pharaoh’s daughter of the Exodus, the foster-mother of Moses, into a common Egyptian. No less arbitrary is the opposite conjecture of the older Rabbins, and recently of Fürst (Gesch. d. bibl. Liter. i. 319), that this same king’s daughter Thermuthis, the protectress of Moses, is here meant. The name Miriam, at the head of the descendants of this Egyptian, seems to have given rise to this identification with Thermuthis (comp. Wagenseil, Sota, p. 271). The opinion of Osiander, Hiller, J. H. Michaelis, Starke, etc., that we are not to think of an Egyptian here, as Bithiah is a Hebrew name, and Pharaoh the name of a Jew, is also arbitrary, and directly against the phrase בַּת־פַּרְעֹה (comp. 2 Chronicles 8:11; 1 Kings 9:24).

11. The Sons of the Wife of Hodiah: 1 Chronicles 4:19.—And the sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham. Hodiah (הוֹדִיָּה). as the present St. constr.אֵשֶׁת, and its occurrence as the name of several Levites after the exile, in the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 8:7; Nehemiah 9:5; Nehemiah 10:11), show, is not a woman’s, but a man’s name. We know neither the name of Hodiah’s wife nor her relation to the foregoing; for that נַחַם, whose sister she is said to be, is the same as נַעַם, Caleb’s son, 1 Chronicles 4:15, no one will seriously assert.—The father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa (or perhaps “the father of Eshtemoa;” see Crit. Note) the Maachathite. The two designations, “the Garmite” and “the Maachathite,” are to us equally obscure and unintelligible; the latter may, perhaps, contain an allusion to Maachah the third wife of Caleb, 1 Chronicles 2:48. The situation of Keilah (קְעִילָה), a town in the lowland of Judah (Joshua 15:44), has not yet been ascertained. On Eshtemoa, see 1 Chronicles 4:17.

12. Descendants of Shimon and Ishi: 1 Chronicles 4:20.—And the sons of Shimon: Amnon, etc. We know not otherwise either Shimon or his four sons, and therefore cannot indicate his place in the genealogy of Judah. That he was a Hezronite, like all the foregoing, is a mere conjecture of Wellhausen (p. 20).—And the sons of Ishi: Zoheth and Benzoheth. The name Ishi was also borne by a Jerahmeelite (1 Chronicles 2:31), the son of Appaim, and by a Simeonite, 1 Chronicles 4:42. Neither, can be meant here, especially as a son Zoheth, not there mentioned, and an anonymous grandson of this Zoheth, are added as descendants.

13. Descendants of Shelah, third son of Judah: 1 Chronicles 4:21-23.—The sons of Shelah son of Judah. On this third son of Judah by the Canaanitess Bathshua, see 1 Chronicles 2:3; Genesis 38:5. The absence of the copula ו before בְּנֵי שֵׁלָה(as before בְּנֵי יְהוּדָה, 1 Chronicles 4:1) marks the beginning of a new genealogical series; and, indeed, a series that is of the more importance, because the posterity of Shelah is entirely omitted in 1 Chronicles 2:0.—Er the father of Lechah, and Ladah the father of Mareshah. This Er is not to be confounded with Shelah’s brother, the first - born of Judah (as Bertheau thinks); rather is this a similar case of uncle and nephew having the same name, as in Ram, for example, 1 Chronicles 2:9; comp. 1 Chronicles 4:25. We know no more of the town Lechah (לֵכַה) founded by this younger Er; but Mareshah, founded by his brother Ladah, is no doubt the present Marash in the Shephelah; see on 1 Chronicles 2:42.—And the families of the house of byssus work, of the house of Ashbea. This house of byssus work (cotton factory) may have been situated in Egypt, or possibly in Palestine. We know as little of its situation as of the “house of Ashbea” (בֵּית אַשְׁבֵּעַ,) rendered by Jerome: domus juramenti). For the cultivation of cotton (בּוּץ, here defectively בֻּץ) also in Syria and Palestine, comp. Ezekiel 27:16; Pausan. v. 5. 2; Pococke, Morgenl. ii. 88; Robinson, ii. 612, 628, iii. 432.

1 Chronicles 4:22. And Jokim, and the men of Cozeba, etc. The strange rendering of these and the following words in the Vulg. (see Crit. Note) seems to have been occasioned by an old Rabbinical combination of the words אֲשֶׁר בָּֽעֲלוּ לְמוֹאָב with the narrative of the book of Ruth; the יוֹקִים = qui stare fecit solem are accordingly Elimelech, the viri mendacii his sons Mahlon and Chilion, who removed with him to Moab, and married daughters of this land; and in ישבי לחם is indicated their return to Bethlehem, etc. Our passage in reality states a total or partial conquest of Moab, effected in ancient times by several descendants of Shelah, whose names are not otherwise known to us. יוֹקִים appears contracted from יוֹיָקִים. The men of כֹּזְבָה might be the inhabitants of כְּזִיב, Genesis 38:5 (= אַכְזִיב, Joshua 15:44), the birthplace of Shelah, in the lowland of Judah. An altogether strange and now inexplicable name occurs at the end, יָשֻׁבִי לֶחֶם, “which the punctuators would scarcely have so pronounced, if the pronunciation had not been so handed down to them” (Berth.).—And these are ancient things, that is, not merely “before the exile, in the period of the kings,” as Bertheau thinks (p. 46), who endeavours to convert this notice into an indirect support of his hypothesis, that in 1 Chronicles 4:7-20 the generations and families of Judah after the exile are reported, while 1 Chronicles 4:21-23 form an appendix referring to the period of kings, but certainly without warrant; the words merely bespeak a high age, belonging to the grey foretime, for the traditions concerning Jokim, the men of Cozeba, etc. (comp. Wellhausen, p. 23, n. 1).

1 Chronicles 4:23. These are the potters and the dwellers in Netaim and Gederah.הֵמָּהִ “these,” appear to refer to the whole descendants of Shelah (with the natural exception of those “byssus workers,” 1 Chronicles 4:21, that could not well be at the same time potters), and not merely those named in 1 Chronicles 4:22 (as Berth.); for this verse has its closing notice in וְהַדְּבָרִים עַתִּיקִים. It is not known where Netaim (נְטָעִים, “plantings”) was; perhaps it means royal gardens near Jerusalem, or near those pleasure gardens of Solomon in the Wady Urtus at Bethlehem (see on Song of Solomon 1:1, vol. 13. p. 29 of Bibelw.); comp. also Uzziah’s gardens, 2 Chronicles 26:10. Gederah (גְּדֵרָה, “fence”) is perhaps the town mentioned Joshua 15:36 in the lowland of Judah (the present village Gedera, about an hour south-west of Jabneh; see Keil on 1 Chronicles 12:4).—With the king, in his service, they dwelt there. To what king this alludes is uncertain; probably no single king (as Uzziah, or David, or Solomon) is meant: but the phrase applies to the kings of the house of David in general, who, from the beginning, inherited extensive private domains, where not merely cattle-breeding, tillage, and gardening were pursued, but also handicrafts, as the pottery here mentioned, the cotton-weaving, 1 Chronicles 4:21, and perhaps carpentry, ver 14.10

It has been already remarked that Bertheau’s assumption, that 1 Chronicles 4:1-20 of our chapter “presented a description of the generations and families of the tribe of Judah which were living soon after the exile (the time of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah),” but 1 Chronicles 4:21-23 formed an appendix relating to earlier times, was not well founded, and finds no sufficient support in the assertion, “and these are ancient things.” Comp. the full refutation which Keil (p. 66 ff., note 2) has given to this hypothesis. Neither is the concomitant assumption tenable, that there are exactly twelve families of the house of Judah in 1 Chronicles 4:1-29, and of Judah, too, after the exile, in the days of Zerubbabel; for the families mentioned are not arranged according to the sons and grandsons of Judah in 1 Chronicles 4:1, but are strung together loosely, and without any mark of connection. Instead of twelve, also, a smaller number of families may be brought out by another mode of reckoning; as, for example, Ewald, in a far more arbitrary way indeed than Bertheau, has found twelve families in the whole of our section, including Shelah and his descendants in 1 Chronicles 4:21-23 (Gesch. i. p. 471). Both appear to be merely accidental—the number twelve of the families named, according to Bertheau’s reckoning, and the circumstance that many of the persons and places in our section recur in Ezra and Nehemiah. To the latter circumstance, strongly urged by Bertheau, Keil has justly opposed the no less undeniable fact, that most of the places already occur in Joshua, and very many of the persons in Samuel and Kings, and that, with respect to the geographical coincidences with Ezra and Nehemiah, the historical contents of these books, that were almost exclusively enacted on the soil of Judah, and among Israelites of Jewish extraction, should in great part be taken into account in explanation of this. Comp. also what has been urged above in the Preliminary Remark, p. 53.

c. The Families of Simeon, and the Transjordanic Tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half-Manasseh (till the Deportation of the latter by the Assyrians).—1 Chronicles 4:24 to 1 Chronicles 5:26

1. The Families of Simeon: 1 Chronicles 4:24-43

1 Chronicles 4:24.The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul. 25Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his Song of Solomon 2:0; Song of Solomon 2:06And the sons of Mishma: 27Hamuel his son, Zaccur his son, Shimi his son. And Shimi had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many sons: and all their family did not multiply, like the sons of Judah.

28, 29And they dwelt at Beer-sheba, and Moladah, and Hazar-shual. And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad. 30And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at 31Ziklag. And at Beth-marcaboth, and at Hazar-susim, and at Beth-biri, and 32at Shaaraim: these were their towns until the reign of David. And their villages, Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five towns. 33And all their villages that were round these towns unto Baal. This was their habitation, and they had their own genealogy.

34, 35And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah the son of Amaziah. And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel. 36And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah. 37And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, 38the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah. These are they that entered by name princes in their families; and their father-houses spread greatly. 39And they went to the entrance of Gedor,11 to the east of the valley, to seek pasturefor their flocks. 40And they found fat and good pasture, and the land was wide on all sides, and quiet, and peaceful; for they were of Ham who dwelt there before. 41And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the Meunites12 that were found there, and destroyed them unto this day, and dwelt in their stead; for there42was pasture there for their flocks. And of them, of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to mount Seir; and Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, were at their head. 43And they smote the remnant that had escaped of Amalek, and dwelt there unto this day.


Preliminary Remark.—This account of the tribe of Simeon includes in it a genealogical, a geographical, and a historical section. The first (1 Chronicles 4:24-27) gives the five sons of Simeon, and traces the posterity of the last, Shaul, through a series of generations; the second (1 Chronicles 4:28-33) recounts their dwelling-places till the time of David ; the third (1 Chronicles 4:34-43) contains two migrations or conquests of Simeonite families, one in the time of Hezekiah into a region previously inhabited by Hamites, another without a date to Mount Seir, into a district previously Amalekite. These accounts partake of the same fragmentary character as the sections referring to the following tribes. Comp. moreover, K. H. Graf, Der Stamm Simeon, a contribution to the History of Israel, Meissen 1866, and, with respect to the geography, the great work of the Englishmen E. H. Palmer and T. Drake, The Desert of the Exodus, etc., Cambridge 1871, one of the most valuable publications of the “Palestine Exploration Fund,” with specially valuable contributions to the geography of the south of Palestine. With the conclusion of these inquirers, that the south border of Palestine, in particular of the tribe of Simeon, must be extended much farther than is usually supposed, agrees also Consul Wetzstein, Ueber Kadesh und Palästina’s Südgrenze (Excursus III. in Delitzsch’s Comment on Genesis , 4 th edit.).

1. The Five Sons of Simeon, and the Descendants of Shaul: 1 Chronicles 4:25-27.—Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul. The list in Numbers 26:12-14 also names five sons of Simeon, and quite the same as here, except Jarib, who is there Jakin (יָכִין), of which it appears to be a corruption. On the contrary, in the older parallels, Genesis 46:10, Exodus 6:15, six sons of Simeon are enumerated, among whom an Ohad stands in the third place, who is wanting here and in Numbers, perhaps because his posterity had died out so soon as to form no distinct family; and in the first place a Jemuel, who corresponds to the Nemuel of our passage, and in the last a Zohar, instead of the Zerah here before the last. It is plain that we have here equivalent names, as צֹחַר, candor, is not very remote from זֶרַח, ortus solis (comp. Mal. 3:20; Luke 1:78), and also נְמוּאֵל (with whom Hitzig on Proverbs 30:31, perhaps too boldly, identifies the conjectural king Lemuel of Massa) appears only a by-form of יְמוּאֵל, day of God. It is uncertain whether we are to regard the forms given in Genesis and Exodus at once as original. It is at least plain, from the agreement of Numbers 26:12-14 with our passage, that the Chronist has not adopted an arbitrary form of the names, as Gramberg assumes.

1 Chronicles 4:25. Shallum his son, etc. Only of Shaul, the last (perhaps the youngest) of the sons of Simeon, whose mother is called a Canaanitess in the parallel accounts of Genesis and Exodus, are further descendants reported in six succeeding generations, Shallum, Mibsam, Mishma, Hamuel, Zaccur, and Shimi. By the words, “and the sons of Mishma,” at the beginning of 1 Chronicles 4:27, these six generations are divided into two groups, of which, however, the second, only lineal, without any collateral descendants; comp. the plur. וּבְנֵי in like cases, as 1 Chronicles 1:41, 1 Chronicles 2:31, 1Ch 3:16; 1 Chronicles 3:22, etc.

1 Chronicles 4:27. And Shimi had sixteen sons and six daughters. This father of a very large and flourishing family is brought into prominence, like Elioenai, 1 Chronicles 3:24; comp. the descendants of Jacob, Jesse, David, Job, and Psalms 127:3; Psalms 128:3.—But his brethren (the remaining Simeonites, not merely Shimi’s immediate brothers) had not many sons. This is the reason that their whole “family did not multiply like that of Judah.” With this agrees the comparatively small number of the Simeonites in the census under Moses (Num 1:-4), and the way in which this smaller tribe was included in the stronger tribe of Judah in the division of the land, Joshua 19:1.

2. The original Dwelling-Places of the Simeonites in the Southern Part of the Land of Judah: 1 Chronicles 4:28-33; comp. Joshua 19:2-8.—With the names of the Simeonite dwelling-places reported in this old parallel, those here named agree in the main, and in particular with respect to the separation into two groups, one of thirteen, the other of five towns. Only the second group consists there of only four towns (see on 1 Chronicles 4:32), and in the first group, notwithstanding the statement that thirteen towns are reported, 1 Chronicles 4:6, fourteen are actually named; between Beer-sheba and Moladah a Sheba is inserted, a name (שֶׁבַע) which appears to be a repetition of the second component of בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע, occasioned by negligence in copying, but possibly also = שְׁמָע, a town named, Joshua 15:26, before Moladah (of the latter opinion is, for example, Keil, on Joshua 19:2 and our passage). There are several unessential differences of form or orthography between our passage and Joshua 19:0, as in the latter בָּלָה for בִּלְהָה, 1 Chronicles 4:29, אֶלְתּוֹלָד for בְּתוּל ,תּוֹלָד for ,בְּתוּאֵל חֲצַר סוּסָה for בֵּית לְבָאוֹת ,חֲצַר סוּסִים (house of lions) for בֵּית בִּיְאִי, and שָׁרוּחֶן (pleasant harbour) for שַֽׁעֲרַיִם (two gates). It cannot be shown which of these forms is the more original: some of the deviations may rest on mere errors of transcription, as might so easily happen in places that scarcely ever occur again. Moreover, the book of Joshua (1 Chronicles 15:26-29) repeats the most of them as belonging to the towns of the south of Judah, and certainly with some variations of form (for example, בַּ‍ֽעֲלָה for Bilhah, כְּסִיל for Bethul, שִׁלְּחִים for Shaaraim, Madmannah for Beth-marcaboth, Sansannah for Hazar - susim). Most of these places are still undiscovered; Beer-sheba survives in Bir-es-Seba ; Moladah probably in the ruins Tel Milh, south of Hebron, on the road to Aila;13 Hormah, the older name of which was Shephath, in the ruin Sepata, two and a half hours south of Khalasa; Ziklag in Kasluj, east of this Sepata; and Shaaraim in Tell Sheriah, between Beer-sheba and Gaza.—These were their towns until the reign of David, and their villages. With almost all recent expositors, וְחַצְרֵיהֶם is certainly to be attached to 1 Chronicles 4:31, for the parallel, Joshua 19:6, speaks of “towns and their villages,” and all that are named in 1 Chronicles 4:32 are expressly named “towns.” Moreover, the separation of וחצריהם from the foregoing, occasioned by the date “until the reign of David,” is already very old; for the old translators agree with the Masoretic text in transferring the word to the following verse. The reason why the date “until the reign of David” was inserted here, and not in 1 Chronicles 4:33 (where it would be less surprising), appears to be this, that the changes occurring from the time of David in the habitations of the Simeonites, consisting in their partial removal by the Jews (comp. 1 Chronicles 4:34 ff.), applied only to the thirteen towns already named, whereas the five towns, with their villages to be named in the following verse, remained still an undiminished possession of the Simeonites. So, justly, Keil, following Rashi and Kimchi, and partly against Bertheau, who assumes as the object of the subscription merely an allusion to Ziklag (comp. 1 Samuel 27:6), or perhaps to others of the forementioned towns, as belonging from the time of David no longer to the tribe of Simeon, whereas such a limitation of the sense is foreign to the words; and, moreover, Ziklag was severed from Simeon by the Philistines before the reign of David (1 Samuel 27:6).

1 Chronicles 4:32. Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashen, five towns. After the thirteen towns, the parallel, Joshua 19:7, gives a second group, not a pentapolis, but only a tetrapolis, with the omission of Tochen, and the change of Etam (עֵיטָם) into Ether (עֶתֶר). It is hard to say where the original is to be sought. We are scarcely entitled, with Movers (p. 73) and Bertheau, to charge both texts with inaccuracy, and to affirm that the series of these towns originally ran thus: תֹּכֶן ,עֶתֶר ,עֵין רִמּוֹן ,עָשַׁן, so that by an oversight two cities were made out of one En-rimmon (which occurs in Nehemiah 11:29), and by another oversight Tochen fell out of the text of Joshua, and by a third the name עֶתֶר, which is proved to be original by the subsequent mention of such a town in Joshua 15:43, has in Chronicles been supplanted by the better known עֵיטָם. Against this conjecture Keil has justly urged: 1. The רִמּוֹן and עַיִן are counted as separate cities not merely in Joshua 19:7, but also in Joshua 15:32, and the union of the two names into an En-rimmon in Nehemiah may be explained simply from the contiguity of the two places (of which Rimmon is discovered in “Rum er Rummanin,” four hours north of Beer-sheba, and Ain appears to have been the name of an old well lying near it), or possibly by a coalescence of the two at a later period; 2. Etam, if it actually came into the text by exchange with the original Ether, should have been, not at the head of the list, but the last but one (where עֶתֶר stands in Joshua 19:7); and 3. There were notoriously two Etams, one in the mountains of Judah south of Bethlehem, 2 Chronicles 11:6, and one in the Negeb of Judah on the border of Simeon, which occurs in the history of Samson, Judges 15:8; Judges 15:11, and must be the place here meant, where a locality near Ain and Rimmon is intended. This leaves nothing unsolved but the difference of the number, being only four in Joshua, and five here. The hypothesis of Keil, that תֹּכֶן is only another name for עֶתֻר, is not well grounded.

1 Chronicles 4:33. And all their villages that were round these towns unto Baal. The parallel, Joshua 19:8, is more full: “and all the villages that were round these towns, unto Baalath-beer, Ramath-negeb.” Hence בַּעַל appears to be an abbreviation of the fuller name בְּאֵר בַּ‍ֽעֲלַּת and the group of villages extending to this Baalath-beer (or Bealoth, as it is called Joshua 15:24) bore the name Ramath-negeb or Ramah of the south, with which Ramoth-negeb, 1 Samuel 30:27, is manifestly identical. “An attempt has been recently made to determine the situation of this place, in doing which it is to be observed that Baal or Baalath-beer is not to be counted among the towns of Simeon; for it is only said that the villages of the last-named towns extend to Baal, that is, in the direction and perhaps very near to Baal, so that we are warranted in seeking our Baal in a region somewhat more remote from the towns, if it had otherwise a peculiar character and adaptation to denote the direction in which the territory of Simeon extended. Now Walkott found near Ramet el Khulil, about an hour north of Hebron, a second Ramah, called Ramet el Amleh, and also two heights with old sites. A whole group of places on hills, which can be observed at one glance, and present a grand and peculiar aspect, is here found: there is no doubt that the Ramoth-negeb, 1 Samuel 30:27, is to be sought here. As there is a remarkable well in Ramet el Khulil, the conjecture arises that here is a Baalath-beer, a well-town; and a confirmation of this conjecture presents itself in the designation of this place by the addition Ramoth-negeb.” So Bertheau, after Roediger (review of Robinson’s Bibl. Sacra, Halle’sche Literaturztg. 1843, No. 111); whereas Keil on Joshua 19:8 is inclined to seek Baalath-beer and Ramoth-negeb in a more southerly situation than Ramet el Khulil, which is not far from Hebron; and the best chartographers of the day (Menke in 1 Chronicles 3:0 of his Bible Atlas, Gotha 1868) place the localities in question south-west of the Dead Sea, on the caravan road leading to Hebron.—This was their habitation, and they had their own genealogy, that is, their own register of families as a separate independent tribe, though they dwelt in the territory of Judah, and were much less in number and extent than this contiguous tribe. On the substantively used infin. הִתְיַחֵשׁ, genealogy (properly, entrance in the register), comp. Introd. § 5.

3. History of the Two Migrations or Conquests of the Simeonites: 1 Chronicles 4:34-43.—a. First expedition, in the time of Hezekiah: 1 Chronicles 4:34-41.—And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah, etc. These thirteen princes of the tribe of Simeon are only made prominent because they were the leaders of the present expedition, not because the former genealogical series (1 Chronicles 4:24-26) was continued by them. For although of some of them (Joshah, Jehu, and Ziza) the descent for several generations is given, yet the connection of these small genealogical lines with that earlier series is wanting. With the remarkable form יַֽעֲקֹֽבָה, “to Jacob” (reckoned to him), comp. the analogous form יִשְׂרָאֵלָה, 1 Chronicles 25:14, and other examples in Ewald, Lehrb. p. 670, n. 1, 7th edit.

1 Chronicles 4:38. These are they that entered by name princes in their families (not: “these were famous, celebrated princes,” as Luther). A phrase essentially the same occurs in 1 Chronicles 4:41; comp. also 1 Chronicles 12:31; Numbers 1:17; Ezra 8:25. “Princes of families” are, moreover, not heads of families, but “heads of the houses into which the families were divided” (Keil).—And their father-houses spread greatly, unfolded and branched out into a great multitude. On בֵּית־אָבוֹת, plural of the compound בֵּית־אָב, comp. Ewald, § 270, p. 657, where the same plural is cited from 2 Chronicles 35:5, Numbers 1:2; Numbers 1:18; Numbers 1:20; Numbers 7:2, etc., and the similar בֵּית בָּמוֹת, high houses, from 1 Kings 12:31, 2Ki 17:29; 2 Kings 17:32.—And they went to the entrance of Gedor (scarcely “to the west of Gedor,” as Keil, for this would have required the addition of הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ to לִמְבוֹא, to the east of the valley. What valley is uncertain, as the definite article only points to some known valley near Gedor, a place that cannot itself be determined; but the identification of this הַגָּיְא with the valley of the Dead Sea is a very precarious conjecture of Ewald and Bertheau, for the valley of the Dead Sea with its southern continuation bears in the O. T. the standing name of הָעֲרָבָה. Equally uncertain is the conjecture of the same inquirers, and of Kamph., Graf, Mühlau (also of Menke in 1 Chronicles 3:0. of his Bible Atlas), that גְּדֹר is an error of transcription for גְּרָר (Γεράρ in Sept.; see Crit. Note). A place so far west as Gerar (now Kirbet el Gerar) on the river Gerar can scarcely have been used to mark the border of the Simeonite pasture lands; and the mode of expression is not fitted to indicate the west and east bounding points of the region occupied by the Simeonites (comp. also on 1 Chronicles 4:41). On the other hand, to identify Gedor with the town גְּדוֹר named in Joshua 15:58, situated on the mountains of Judah, has its difficulties. for it must also be presumed that the Meunim named in 1 Chronicles 4:41 were the inhabitants of the adjacent hill-town Maon, Joshua 15:55; and the region of this hill-town of Judah cannot be that intended here, as the latter is described, 1 Chronicles 4:40, as On all sides (literally “on both sides;” יָדַיִם, as in Genesis 34:21) open, and therefore clearly as a plain.

1 Chronicles 4:40. For they were of Ham who dwelt there before. For the phrase, comp. Judges 18:7; Judges 18:28. These men of Ham, whom the Simeonites found as inhabitants, peaceable and harmless inhabitants of the country in question, and subdued, may have been Egyptians, Cushites, or Canaanites; most probably they belonged to the last branch of the Hamites, as the region in question is contiguous to Palestine. Hitzig (“The Kingdom of Massa” in Zeller’s Theolog. Jahrbüchern, 1844, p. 269 ff., and on Prov. p. 312) gratuitously supposes the Amalekites to be designated by “the men of Ham” (likewise Hoffmann, Blicke in die früheste Geschichte des heiligen Landes, p. 73): for the history of the second expedition of the Simeonites refers to the Amalekites, 1 Chronicles 4:42-43, and it is a question whether the Amalekites were Hamites (Knobel on Genesis 10:13; Genesis 10:23, and comp. above on 1 Chronicles 1:36 f.); and the circumstance that these Hamites were nomades does not compel us to think of Amalekites (Ludim, Hyksos?), since many Canaanitish tribes lived as nomades; for example, those of Laish, Judges 18:0.

1 Chronicles 4:41. Came in the day’s of Hezekiah. Here is a quite definite chronological date, that shows still more positively than the reference to the reign of David in 1 Chronicles 4:31, the high age and the certainty of these notices.—And smote their (the Hamites’) tents, and the Meunites that were found there. The smiting refers first to the tents or dwellings of the Hamites; and then to the Meunites found there, who are therefore foreigners who had come to dwell among the Hamites. מְעוּנִים (for which the Kethib has מְעִינִים and the Sept. Μιναῖοι) are here, as in 2 Chronicles 16:7 (comp. 1 Chronicles 20:1), probably inhabitants of the town Maon near Petra, east of the Wady Musa (Robinson, iii. 127). Their being involved in the fate of the Hamites implies that the scene of the present event lay to the east, though it cannot be further defined. Against the reading proposed by some old expositors (Luther, Starke), וְאֶת־הַמְּעֹנִים, “and the fixed habitations,” in contrast with the forementioned tents, see Bochart, Geogr. Sacra, p. 138.—And destroyed them unto this day, and dwelt in their stead.וַיַּֽחֲרִימֻםad internecionem usque eos exciderunt (J. H. Mich.), deleverunt (Vulg.). Comp. הֶ‍ֽחֱרִים ban, extirpate, in 2 Chronicles 20:23; 2Ch 32:14, 2 Kings 19:11, Isaiah 37:11. The term “unto this day” points to the time of composition, not by the Chronist, but by the old historical sources at least before the exile employed by him.

b. Second expedition of the Simeonites against Mount Seir: 1 Chronicles 4:42-43.—And of them, of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to Mount Seir. Nothing more precise is stated regarding the time of this expedition; it may have been before or alter that in the time of Hezekiah. And the statement, “of them, of the sons of Simeon,” is quite general, and sets no limit either to the Simeonites named 1 Chronicles 4:34-37 or to those before enumerated, 1 Chronicles 4:24-27. Keil, who exchanges the Ishi of our verse with Shimi, 1 Chronicles 4:27, is arbitrary in thinking only of the latter; and no less so is Bertheau, who refers the words to the part of the Simeonites described 1 Chronicles 4:34 ff. Of the surmise, that the event of our verse is somehow connected with that referred, 1 Chronicles 4:34-41, to the time of Hezekiah, and is to be regarded as in some measure a continuation of it (Ew., Berth., Kamph.), there is not the slightest hint in the text, even if the valley of the present expedition to Mount Seir could be situated in the same direction from the tribe of Simeon as that of the former; see on 1 Chronicles 4:39-40.

1 Chronicles 4:43. And they smote the remnant that had escaped ofAmalek, that is, those Amalekites who escaped annihilation in the victories of Saul and David over this hereditary foe of the Israelites (who were formerly settled, Judges 5:14; Judges 12:15, comp. Numbers 13:29, chiefly in Paran or half-Manasseh east of Jordan; comp. Hitzig, Gesch. d. V. Isr. pp. 26, 104); comp. 1Sa 14:48; 1 Samuel 15:7; 2 Samuel 8:12. These who thus escaped had retired into the Idumean mountains, and there intermingled partly with the Edomites (comp. 1 Chronicles 1:36 f.). Here they were now sought out and extirpated by the Simeonites under the sons of Ishi, while the conquerors occupied their seats. From a comparison of the present passage with Micah 1:15; Micah 2:8-10, Isaiah 21:11; Isaiah 28:12, etc., which appear to indicate an advance of the Israelites who believed in Jehovah far into the south and south-east in the times of Hezekiah and Isaiah, Hitzig (Das Königreich Massa) has, with the concurrence of Bunsen, Bertheau, etc., developed his hypothesis of the founding of an Israelitish kingdom of Massa east or south-east of Seir (not far from Dumah; comp. Gen. 25:44; 1 Chronicles 1:30) by the colony of Simeonites here mentioned, and has assigned to it as kings, Agur and Lemuel, the authors of the two appendices to the book of Proverbs. Comp. our substantially concurring judgment concerning this hypothesis on Proverbs 30:1 ff., vol. 12. p. 208 of the Bibelw. The objections urged against this hypothesis by Graf (Der Stamm Simeon, p. 12 ff.) and Mühlau (De prov. Aguri, etc., orig. p. 24 f.) certainly point out much that is not and cannot be proved in it, but are not sufficient to show that it is a mere fancy picture. At all events, the traditions, that in accordance with our passage part of the tribe of Simeon penetrated far into Arabia and founded there an Israelitish colony, are as widespread as they are ancient. Arabian legends even make the tribe of Simeon found the city and the temple of Mecca. See Hoffmann, Blicke, etc., p. 124.


[1]For וְאֵלֶּה אֲבִי עֵיטָם, which gives no tolerable sense, read with some mss. וְאֵלֵּה בְנֵי אֲבִי עֵיטָם, or with the Sept., Vulg., and some other mss. וְאֵלֶּה בְנֵי עֵיטָם.

[2]So (יִצְחַר) in the Kethib. The Keri וְצֹחַר is designed to gain a name better known (comp. Genesis 13:8; Genesis 46:10).

[3]For וּבֶן some mss. have וּבְנֵי, which is perhaps to be preferred, as in 1Ch 4:13; 1 Chronicles 4:16; 1 Chronicles 4:19-20.

[4]For וַתַּהַר, “and she conceived,” the Sept., following perhaps another reading, give καὶ ἰγίννησεν ’Ιεθέρ (Vulg.: genuitque Mariam). For מִרְיָם they exhibit Μαιών (cod. Vat. Μαρών).

[5]This closing sentence וְאֵלֶּה … מָרֶד stands here probably in the wrong place, and is to be placed after וְיָלוֹן, 1 Chronicles 4:17; see Exeg. Expos.

[6]Before אֶשְׁתְּמֹעַ (which the Sept. here renders by ’Ιεσθημωή, whereas in 1 Chronicles 4:17 it has ’Εσθεμών [cod. vat. ’Εσθαιμών] וַֽאֲבִי seems to have fallen out, as the parallel אֲבִי קְעִילָה indicates.

[7] Kethib: תּוּלוֹן; Keri: תִּילוֹן.

[8]Before בֶּן־זוֹחֵת, which (not as, for example, בֶּן־חָנָן immediately before) is not a nom. propr., but denotes “son of Zoheth,” the name of this son seems to have fallen out.

[9]Jerome (perhaps on the ground of a somewhat different text, but more probably only following the arbitrary interpretation of an old Jewish Midrash) renders the words from וְיוֹקִים: et qui stare fecit solem, virique mendacii et securus et incendens, qui principes fuerunt in Moab, et qui reversi sunt in Lachem.

[10]Moreover, the engineer of the “Palestine Exploration Fund,” Captain Warren, has recently discovered remain of the pottery of these royal factories in Jerusalem. See our Work in Palestine, London 1873, p. 149.

[11]The Sept gives here Γεράρ, whence גְּדֹר might possibly be an error of transcription for גְּרָר.

[12]So (הַמְּעוּנִים) the Keri, whereas the Kethib gives הַמְּעִינִים, and the Sept. accordingly Μιναίους.

[13]So also Palmer and Drake, p. 303.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-chronicles-4.html. 1857-84.
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