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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 4

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2704. B.C. 1300.

The posterity of Shobal, 1 Chronicles 4:1-4 . Of Ashur, 1 Chronicles 4:5-8 . The character and prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:9 , 1 Chronicles 4:10 . The posterity of Chelub and others, 1 Chronicles 4:11-20 . Of Shelah, 1 Chronicles 4:21-23 . The posterity, cities, and victories of Simeon, 1 Chronicles 4:24-43 .

Verse 1

1 Chronicles 4:1. The sons of Judah The posterity: for only Pharez was his immediate son. But they are all mentioned here only to show Shobal’s descent from Judah.

Verses 2-3

1 Chronicles 4:2-3. The families of the Zorathites So denominated, not from a man, but a place named Zoreah, (1 Chronicles 2:53, and Joshua 15:33,) situated in the tribe of Judah. Here several families of that tribe settled; who were descended from Jahath, Ahumai, and Lahad, the sons and grandsons of Shobal. Of the father of Etam Descended from the proprietor or chief man of a place, called Etam, which was in this tribe, 1 Chronicles 4:32.

Verse 4

1 Chronicles 4:4. Penuel the father of Gedor In 1 Chronicles 4:18, Jered is said to be the father, that is, the founder or lord of Gedor. It is probable they were both concerned in building or governing it. The sons of Hur By some other wife than her by whom he had the children, mentioned 1 Chronicles 2:20. The father of Beth-lehem In 1 Chronicles 2:51, Salma is said to be the father of Beth-lehem. But this may be understood as in the foregoing clause of this verse.

Verse 9

1 Chronicles 4:9. Jabez was more honourable, &c. For courage and fervent piety. His mother called his name Jabez That is, sorrowful; saying, Because I bare him with sorrow She had hard labour when she was in travail with him. She records this, that it might be a memorandum to herself, to be thankful to God as long as she lived, for bringing her through that sorrow: and a memorandum to him, that she bore him into a vale of tears, in which he might expect few days and full of trouble. And the sorrow implied in his name might serve to put a seriousness upon his spirit.

Verse 10

1 Chronicles 4:10. Jabez called on the God of Israel The living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer: and in prayer he had an eye to him as the God of Israel, a God in covenant with his people, the God with whom Jacob wrestled and prevailed, and was thence called Israel. Saying, O that thou wouldest bless me indeed! He did not say in what respect he desired God to bless him, but leaves that to God, giving him, as it were, a blank paper, that he might write what he pleased. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings, and those are blessed indeed, who are blessed with them. God’s blessings are real things, and produce real effects. We can but wish a blessing: he commands it. And enlarge my coast Prosper my endeavours for the increase of what has fallen to my lot: drive out these Canaanites, whom thou hast commanded us to root out; and therefore I justly beg and expect thy blessing in the execution of thy command. That thy hand might be with me The prayer of Moses for this tribe of Judah was, that his own hands might be sufficient for him; but Jabez expects not that, unless he have God’s hand with him, and the presence of his power. God’s hand with us to lead, protect, strengthen us, and to work all our works in and for us, is indeed a hand sufficient for us, yea, all-sufficient. And keep me from evil The evil of sin, the evil of trouble; all the evil designs of my enemies, and all disastrous events. That it may not grieve me That it may not oppress and overcome me. He uses this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief: as if he had said, Lord, let me not have that grief which my name implies, and which my sin deserves. God granted him that which he requested Prospered him remarkably in his undertakings, in his worldly business, in his conflicts with the Canaanites, and his endeavours after knowledge, and holiness, and other spiritual blessings.

Verses 12-14

1 Chronicles 4:12-14. These are the men of Rechah From these sprung the inhabitants of Rechah, a town not mentioned elsewhere. The sons of Kenaz Who was the son, either of Chelub, (1 Chronicles 4:11,) or of his son Eshton, (1 Chronicles 4:12,) and the father of Jephunneh, and consequently Caleb’s grandfather, (1 Chronicles 4:15,) whence Caleb is called a Kenezite, Numbers 32:12. Hathath Understand, and Meonothai, out of the beginning of the following verse, as in 1 Chronicles 4:7, where Coz must be supplied from the next verse. And similar ellipses we meet with elsewhere. Joab, the father of the valley Of the inhabitants of the valley.

Verse 18

1 Chronicles 4:18. Bithiah, the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took That is, married. But it is not likely that he married the daughter of the king of Egypt, unless some natural daughter; but rather of some other person called by that name, who might either be an Israelite, or one brought by force out of Egypt by way of spoil.

Verse 21

1 Chronicles 4:21 . The sons of Shelah Having spoken of the posterity of Judah by Pharez, and by Zarah, he now comes to his progeny by Shelah. The families of them, that wrought fine linen From him came all those families that were famous for weaving and working in fine linen; wherewith their kings and priests were clothed.

Verses 22-23

1 Chronicles 4:22-23. Who had the dominion in Moab Which they ruled in the name and for the use of the kings of Judah, to whom Moab was subject from David’s time. Ancient things The sense is, those blessed times are long since past. Our ancestors had the dominion over the heathen, but their degenerate posterity are slaves in Chaldea, where they are employed as potters or gardeners, or in other servile works These were Or, rather, these are the potters, &c. For he seems to oppose their present servitude to their former glory, and to show how low and mean they were in spirit, in that they would rather tarry among the heathen to do their drudgery than return to Jerusalem to serve God, and enjoy their freedom. There they dwelt Or, rather, now dwell, when their brethren are returned: for Ezra seems to have written this, after leave was given by Cyrus for the return of the Jews. With the king for his work The king of Persia, esteeming it a greater honour and happiness to serve that earthly monarch in the meanest employments, than the King of kings in his temple, and in his most noble and heavenly work.

Verse 24

1 Chronicles 4:24. The sons of Simeon were Nemuel, &c. These are here joined with Judah, because their possession was taken out of Judah’s portion, Joshua 19:1. This account seems to differ from that in Genesis 46:10, both in the number and names of the persons; which is not strange, considering how customary it was among the Hebrews for one person to have two or three names given to him upon different occasions. And for Ohad, he may be omitted here, because he left no posterity after him as the rest did.

Verse 27

1 Chronicles 4:27. Neither did their family multiply like the children of Judah The tribe of Simeon did not increase proportionably to the tribe of Judah in which they dwelt, as appears by those two catalogues, Numbers 1:22; Numbers 26:14; which is to be ascribed to God’s curse upon them, delivered by the month of holy Jacob, (Genesis 49:0.,) and signified by Moses’s neglect of them, when he blessed all the other tribes.

Verse 31

1 Chronicles 4:31. These were their cities Several of these cities, though given to Simeon by Joshua, yet, through the sloth or cowardice of that tribe, were not taken from the Philistines until David’s time, who took some of them, and, the Simeonites having justly forfeited their right to them by their neglect, gave them to his own tribe. For it is evident concerning Ziklag, one of them, that it was in the Philistines’ hands in David’s time, and by them given to him, and by him annexed to the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 27:6.

Verse 40

1 Chronicles 4:40. They found fat pasture, &c. Those who thus dwelt (as we do) in a fruitful country, and whose land is wide, and quiet, and peaceable, have reason to own themselves indebted to that God, who appoints the bounds o four habitation. Of Ham The Canaanites, who descended from Ham. And, accordingly, these words contain a reason why they went and possessed this place, because it was not in the hands of their brethren of Judah, but in the possession of that people which they had authority to expel.

Verse 41

1 Chronicles 4:41. These came in the days of Hezekiah But a little before their captivity, which was in the sixth year of Hezekiah, 2 Kings 17:0. So their joy in their new, pleasant, and fruitful possessions, lasted but for a very little while. And smote their tents The people dwelling in tents; in which, it seems, they continued to dwell for the convenience of pasturage. And destroyed them unto this day So as that they could never after recover themselves.

Verse 43

1 Chronicles 4:43. They smote the rest of the Amalekites Not destroyed by Saul, or David, or his successors. That dwelt there unto this day Until the Babylonish captivity, or the time next after it, when these books were written. For, although the main body of the tribe of Simeon, dwelling in Canaan, were carried into captivity, yet this small remnant of them, having removed their dwellings, and being planted In mount Seir, which lay southward from Judah, might possibly be continued and preserved in those parts, when their brethren were gone into captivity.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/1-chronicles-4.html. 1857.
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