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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 8

Preacher's Complete Homiletical CommentaryPreacher's Homiletical

Verses 1-40

CRITICAL NOTES.] Benjamin, son of Bilhan (1 Chronicles 7:10), great-grandson of son of Jacob. Posterity given on account of history of Saul. This tribe remained faithful during the revolt of the ten, and returned with Judah from Babylon.

1 Chronicles 8:3-5.—The nine sons of this Bela are all different in name from the five sons of the earlier Bela (1 Chronicles 7:7). The names Gera, Naaman, and Shephuphan (Numbers 26:39) are heirlooms from the household of the former Benjamin (Judges 3:15) [Murphy].

1 Chronicles 8:6-12.—Ehud same as 1 Chronicles 7:10; others either Abihud of 1 Chronicles 8:3, or Ahoah of 1 Chronicles 8:4. Some of sons heads of houses in Geba, now Jeba, probably removed by force to Manhahath, 1 Chronicles 8:7. 1 Chronicles 8:8. “Shar, from some untold cause, made a temporary migration to the plains of Moab, as Elimelech and David afterwards (Ruth 1:2; 1 Samuel 20:3).” 1 Chronicles 8:9. Hodesh, third wife, from whom seven sons, some names indicating Moabitish affinity. 1 Chronicles 8:12. These places mentioned, Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 7:37. Lod, same as Lydda (Acts 9:32), which is now Lydd [Speak. Com.]. 1 Chronicles 8:13. Ber. and Sh., names to be attached to last verse to complete list of sons of Elpaal [Speak. Com.].

1 Chronicles 8:14-18.—Nine sons of Beriah, 1 Chronicles 8:14-16; seven other sons of Elpaal, 1 Chronicles 8:17-18; twelve altogether.

1 Chronicles 8:19-21.—Nine sons of Shimi, the Shema (1 Chronicles 8:13), son of Elpaal, associated with Beriah.

1 Chronicles 8:22-28.—Eleven sons of Shashak, son of Beriah, 1 Chronicles 8:14. 1 Chronicles 8:27 Jeroham as Jeremoth, 1 Chronicles 8:14. 1 Chronicles 8:28. These, descendants of Bilhan, given from beginning of ch. Dwelt. Jerusalem partly within the limits of the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:28); but we do not hear of Benjamites inhabiting it until return from Captivity (1 Chronicles 9:13; Nehemiah 11:4).

1 Chronicles 8:29-40.—Genealogy of Saul and Jonathan. Gibeon, not Gibeah, capital of Saul’s kingdom (1 Samuel 10:26; 1 Samuel 13:2); modern name El-jib, five or six miles from Jerusalem. Father, i.e., chief of city. whose name Jehiel dropped out here, but given ch. 1 Chronicles 9:35, where this genealogy is repeated. 1 Chronicles 8:30. Baal, between which and Nadab should come “Ner,” restored ch. 1 Chronicles 9:36; Zacher (Zacchariah), to which add Mikloth, ch. 1 Chronicles 9:37. 1 Chronicles 8:33. Kish, called after his uncle, 1 Chronicles 8:30. Abinadab, another name for Ishui, 1 Samuel 14:49; 1 Samuel 31:2. Esh-baal Ish-bosheth (“man of shame”), as Jerub-baal and Jerub-besheth, 2 Samuel 11:21. Merib-baal (“striving with Baal”) called Mephibosheth, 2 Samuel 4:2. 1 Chronicles 8:36. Jehodah, Jarah in parallel list 1 Chronicles 9:42; and Rapha (1 Chronicles 9:37) Rephaiah (1 Chronicles 9:43). 1 Chronicles 8:40. This genealogy of the house of Saul appears, by the number of generations, to belong probably to time of Hezekiah (cf. ch. 1 Chronicles 4:41). Ulam’s “sons’ sons” are in the thirteenth generation from Jonathan, as Hezekiah is in the thirteenth generation from David [Speak. Com.].



I. The materials of which it is composed. Persons and events histories and genealogies, exhortations and warnings, giving variety and interest.

II. The difficulties which surround it. In names and repetitions, chronology, numbers, and authorship. Difficulties in history and condition of text itself. But these do not destroy the value of the record. Difficulties an evidence in favour of its Divine character, in harmony with its professed design, and a moral test and training. “The very difficulties and limitations of revelation are adapted to the conditions of moral growth. It requires and repays toil. It tasks, tries, and puzzles and strengthens faith. It is like man to make everything regular, easy, and plain; but that is not like the God of nature, of history, and of the Bible” [Smyth].

III. The principles on which it is written. Special in design; substantial unity in authorship, periods, and growth. Hence care in choice of matter, and providence in preservation of the records. Methods to bring in prominence and to keep in shade. Records in full, and apparently insignificant allusions; but one grand aim, one directing force, one unbroken leadership in all ages, arranging and guiding for the accomplishment of one purpose.

THE TRIBE OF BENJAMIN.—1 Chronicles 8:1-32

The tribe mentioned, ch. 1 Chronicles 7:6-12; reverted to because Saul, the first king of Israel, came from this tribe. The genealogy contains its chief men, and forms an introduction to the history recorded in these books.

I. The changes through which it passed. Its history to entrance into Promised Land as meagre as afterwards full. After departure from Egypt, the smallest tribe but one (Numbers 1:36), in the time of the Judges involved in civil war, upon the occasion of iniquity of Gibeah, almost extinguished, and little hope of revival, for nearly all women slain, and the eleven other tribes bound by oath not to marry their daughters to any man belonging to Benjamin (Judges 19:20-21; Judges 21:10; Judges 21:21). But increase of tribe so rapid, that in time of David it numbered 59,434 able men (1 Chronicles 7:6-12); in that of Asa, 280,000 (2 Chronicles 14:8); and in that of Jehoshaphat, 200,000 (2 Chronicles 17:17). The tribe honoured with giving the first king to Israel, and after the exile, along with Judah, constituted the flower of the Jewish colony (cf. Ezra 11:1; Ezra 10:9).

II. The notices by which it is characterised. Several circumstances conduce to the importance of this small tribe.

1. The only tribe that produced skilful archers, men expert with the bow, 1 Chronicles 8:40 (cf. 1 Samuel 20:20; 2 Samuel 1:22; 2 Chronicles 17:17), and with sling (Judges 20:16).

2. From this tribe sprang a deliverer. After first conquest of country the nation under foreign yoke, groaned in misery, and turned to Ehud, son of Gera, for help (1 Chronicles 8:6). Proficient in use of left hand, a practice confined to Benjamites, who did work with small risk (cf. Judges 3:15; Judges 20:16; 1 Chronicles 12:2).

3. Baanah and Rechab, captains of predatory bands, were of “the children of Benjamin” (2 Samuel 4:2).

THE ROYAL FAMILY.—1 Chronicles 8:33-40

A particular account given.

I. Its head or chief. “Saul, son of Kish.” Good-looking and of commanding appearance, the choice of Israel, but not by the will of God (1 Samuel 9:2). A man of valoûr, with capacity to govern and lead; the first king of Israel who occupied a position between the heroic age of Judges and the settled monarchy of David and Solomon.

II. Its posterity. Numerous, able, and honoured in sacred genealogy. Jonathan’s line given for about ten generations. The list ends in Ulam, whose family became famous in the tribe (1 Chronicles 8:40), and qualified to serve their country. This better than wealth and high position. In this list trace the hand of David in fulfilling his promise (1 Samuel 20:15; 2 Samuel 9:1; 2 Samuel 9:3; 2 Samuel 9:7). A mark of generosity to remember in prosperity what we promised in adversity.


1 Chronicles 8:8-9. Shaharaim, the Benjamite polygamist, sent away (by divorce many think) Hushim and Baara, his wives, and this prepared the way for another, Hodesh (new, recent). Others say that Hodesh is another name for Baara, so called because her husband, after long desertion, returned in affection to her.

1 Chronicles 8:9-11. Seven unknown sons. How many pass away never mentioned, unknown and buried in oblivion!

1 Chronicles 8:13. Drove away. A deed showing—

1. That inheritance gained by violence may be taken away again. It is insecure. Wicked schemes may prosper, but justice tracks their steps and ruin is inevitable. “So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain, which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.”

2. Hence retribution certain. In ch. 1 Chronicles 7:21, the men of Gath slew the Ephraimites; in this verse Beriah and Shema “drove away the inhabitants of Gath.” “They that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”

1 Chronicles 8:28. Dwelling in Jerusalem. After return from Babylon, in the city was danger, civic duties and lack of population. Hence—

1. Preference for position of duty and danger.

2. Imitation of noble example. Their ancestors dwelt in the city, and they were induced to take their place. “The glory of children are their fathers.” Let us become children of “parents passed into the skies,” take their place and carry on their work.

3. Blessedness in the result. “The people blessed all the men that willingly offered themselves to dwell at Jerusalem” (Nehemiah 11:2).

1 Chronicles 8:33. Jonathan, who was, as the Romans said of Pompey, a most amiable son of an odious father [Trapp].

1 Chronicles 8:33-34. Suggestive names. Esh-baal, Ishbosheth (2 Samuel 2:8; 2 Samuel 3:7-14; 2 Samuel 4:4-12). Meri-baal, Mephibosheth (2 Samuel 9:12). The Hebrew word bosheth is always applied in Scripture to denote an idol, “as exposing the devotee to shame, as well as being an abomination to the Lord.” Esh, a man of shame, and Merib-baal (contender against Baal), the destroyer of shame, exterminator of idols [Gesenius].

1 Chronicles 8:40. All these sons.

1. The natural succession of the race. We read of “sons,” “children,” and “fathers,” and “children’s children.” “One generation passeth away and another generation cometh.” “The earth is a stage, persons passing and vanishing before our eyes” [Beza].

2. The moral connection of the race. Men an honour or dishonour to their own lineage; influenced by their fathers as they are influencing posterity. There are laws of influence and dependence which run through the whole race. Every human being sustains a relation, possesses a right and is endowed with power to subserve the great end. “No man liveth unto himself.”

Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 8". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/phc/1-chronicles-8.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.
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