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The history of the genealogy is prosecuted in this Chapter. Here is the posterity of Judah registered, which forms the most illustrious, as well as the most numerous, of all the tribes of Israel. There is an interruption in the register to introduce the prayer of Jabez, which though forming a chasm in the genealogy, yet makes the Chapter itself the more interesting.
The tribe of Judah was, on several accounts, the most illustrious in Israel. It formed a separate kingdom, including Levi, Simeon and Benjamin. And when the other tribes appeared to have been scattered, and almost lost, in the Assyrian conquests, this of Judah, when returning from captivity, became conspicuously great and flourishing. But Judah derived its eminence still more from the appointment that our Lord should spring from it. And hence we find Judah placed first in point of rank, in the list of Israel's sons, when blessed. See Revelation 7:5 ; Hebrews 7:14 .
Jabez being so remarkably spoken of, and his prayer so recorded, and the Lord's gracious answer to it in granting it so striking, demands a more particular attention. Though the birth of Jabez was attended with more than ordinary sorrow to his mother, yet neither is her name, or his father's name, recorded, He is declared to be more honourable than his brethren. And his prayer is evidently a proof of his great piety, for it is a prayer founded in God's covenant love, as the God of Israel. Will it be a violence to truth, or an improper indulgence to fancy, if we consider him as somewhat typical of the Lord Jesus? Was not our Jesus more honourable than his brethren? Was not that Holy One most eminent indeed for piety, who spent whole nights in prayer to his Father? And was not Jesus's desire for the enlargement of his coast, when the heathen by decree were given unto him for an inheritance, and the utmost part of the earth for his possession? Oh, thou sweet and gracious Saviour! why should not every person, and everything, which hath the most distant allusion, by shadow or by word, to thine unequalled glory and honor, be made the means of leading my heart to thee? While I read the history of men, even the most honourable men, I behold nothing perfect, nothing satisfying. But thou, dearest Jesus, hath said, I will cause them that love me to inherit substance, and I will fill their treasures. Proverbs 8:21 .
Very honourable testimony is here given to the descendants of Judah, who excelled in different handicrafts and mechanical arts.
The descendants of Simeon occupy the history of these verses with an account of the places of their settlement. The genealogy of this tribe was considered of sufficient importance in the register of families, to be faithfully preserved. For though our Lord did not spring from Simeon; yet perhaps to avoid contention in this tribe, it was highly proper to settle it in this manner.
READER! it is a sweet thought, in the contemplation of what is here recorded of the tribes of Judah and of Simeon, to recollect that God is the God of all the families of Israel, both then, and now, and forever. Yes, blessed Lord God, Jehovah, thou hast loved with an everlasting love, and thou changest not; therefore it is, the sons of Jacob are not consumed. And oh! how glorious is it, to see the eternal security of this love founded in the person, and established in the perfect obedience, righteousness, and salvation of thy dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reader! let us in the character and conduct of Jabez, learn those sweet lessons which, in a gospel sense, and with an eye to Jesus, are afforded us in his example. It is but little that is said of Jabez: but that little opens vast improvement. Though more honourable than his brethren, though so remarkable for his piety, so steadfast in his trust on a covenant God: yet how short a relation is made of him among men? How delightful the thought in the breast of the believer, whose life is hid with Christ in God! However unknown, unobserved, unnoticed, by the world, yet eternally secure, and eternally happy in Jesus! Jabez prayed not to an unknown God; not to one uncertain to hear, and uncertain to answer; but to Israel's God, a God in covenant with his chosen from everlasting. And what was the burden of Jabez's prayer, Oh! that thou wouldest bless me (said he) indeed: that thou wouldst enlarge my coast; that thine hand might be with me; to keep use from evil, that it might not grieve me. And is not this a gospel prayer in Jesus? What is it to be blest indeed, but to have our sins cancelled in the blood of Christ: for how can I be blest indeed until my sins are forgiven, and till I have redemption in Jesus's blood, according to the riches of God's grace? How will my coast be enlarged, until that Christ hath made me free, and enlarged my heart, and mouth, and lips, to the praises of his name? And how shall I be kept and secured everlastingly in this freedom, unless He that pardons still upholds, He that redeems continues still to preserve, and He that sanctifies still shines in upon me, and takes not his Holy Spirit from me? Oh Lord! thou that didst hear and answer the prayer of Jabez, hear me, and grant my request, for all these spiritual blessings in Jesus! Bless me, my God, and make me truly happy indeed, by making me all that thou wouldst have me to be in Jesus; that He may be my portion, my hope, my joy, my life, my salvation, in time and to all eternity.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13