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The interest of this chapter owes something to the several unsatisfied questions which it suggests, to difficult and knotty points which nevertheless do not altogether counsel despair, and to occasional significant indications of sources drawn upon by the compiler, certainly quite additional to the contents of the existing books of the Old Testament.
We know something of what we have to expect when the name of Israel, or Jacob, is announced in the first verse, with his twelve sons—those "patriarchs," some of whom (certainly not as many as eleven, for Reuben was absent, and, with scarcely a doubt, Benjamin), "moved with envy, sold into Egypt Joseph," the twelfth (Acts 7:9). We here enter, in fact, upon the genealogies and tables and enumeratious of collateral lines of "all Israel," to which the whole of the following seven chapters are devoted (1 Chronicles 9:1). This second chapter leads off with the most important line of descent of the twelve—that of Judah. And the contents of this chapter do not exhaust the one line, which, on the contrary, stretches as far as to 1 Chronicles 4:23. Within these limits there are just that amount of repetition (1 Chronicles 2:3; 1 Chronicles 4:1, etc.) and appearance of confusion which betoken the recourse of the compiler to various records and sources of in-formation—themselves sometimes but fragmentary, and probably to mere memory and the tradition that depends upon it.
The contents of this chapter are best mastered by noticing that they consist of:
1. The table of Israel's twelve sons (1 Chronicles 4:1, 1 Chronicles 4:2).
2. The line of Judah to the stage where it branches into three great-grandsons (1 Chronicles 4:3-9).
3. The line of Judah pursued through those three branches to a point manifestly significant in one, and presumably so in the others (1Ch 4:10 -55).
1 Chronicles 2:1, 1 Chronicles 2:2
1. TABLE OF ISRAEL'S TWELVE SONS. The twelve sons of Israel, not in the order of age (cf. Genesis 29:31-24; Genesis 35:16-19), nor exactly in the order of children of wives as against those of handmaids (Genesis 25:23-26), nor in that of the aged father's dying blessing (Genesis 49:1-33.), nor in that of Exodus 1:2-4. It is the place of Dan which disturbs the fittest order, and Keil suggests that his place in this text is accounted for by Rachel's desire that her handmaid's child should be accounted her own; but surely this was not exceptional, but applied to all or most of such cases, and should have been far rather taken into consideration in any of the other lists than in this. However accounted for, the order is—lest, the six sons of the first wife Leah; secondly, the elder son of Rachel's handmaid Bilhah; thirdly, the two sons of the loved wife Rachel; fourthly, the other son of Rachel's handmaid Billah; lastly, the two sons of Zilpah, handmaid of Leah. As this order corresponds with nothing in our Old Testament, it may serve as one slight indication that the compiler of Chronicles was not dependent on these records alone. The Hebrew text and the Septuagint accord exactly with the Authorized Version here.
1 Chronicles 2:3-9
2. THE LINE OF JUDAH, TO HIS THREE GREAT-GRANDSONS. The line of Judah is, with a well-known object, the first to be taken up, although Judah stands fourth of Israel's sons. Judah has five sons: three, Er, Onan, Shelah, by a Canaanitess, the daughter of Shad; and two, Pharez and Zerah, by Tamar, his own daughter-in-law, under the circumstances described (Genesis 38:6-30). There all these names are found in exact accord in the Authorized Version, in the Hebrew text, and in the Septuagint. The Septuagint Version, however (Genesis 38:2), by an evident inaccuracy of translation, gives Shua as the name, not of the father, but of the daughter, ᾗ ὄνομα Σαυά. Parallel passages are also found (Genesis 46:12; Numbers 26:19-22). Er and Onan died without issue, and the descendants of Shelah are not mentioned till we reach 1 Chronicles 4:21-23. The line is now carried on by the twin sons of Tamar (1 Chronicles 4:5, 1 Chronicles 4:6). Pharez, with two sons, Hezron and Hamul (Genesis 46:12; Ruth 4:18), and Zerah, with five sons, Zimri (or Zabdi, Joshua 7:1), Ethan, Heman, Calcol, Dara (or with many manuscripts, followed by the Targum, Syriac, and Arabic versions, Darda). If these last four names are not identical with those in 1 Kings 4:31, they are not to be found in any available connection elsewhere, and the last two not at all. Upon this supposition, it is held by some that this very passage proves that the compiler drew on resources not possessed by us. The weight of evidence seems, however, largely in favour of the persons being the same. (See Gilbert Barrington's 'Old Testament Genealogies,' 1:206-208, well summarized in art. "Darda," Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' for as competent a discussion of the question as the present data will allow.) It needs to be constantly remembered that an enumeration like the above, of five so-called sons, does not necessarily involve their being five brothers, although in this case it looks the more as though they were so, as it is said five of them in all
1 Chronicles 2:7
We have then so far seven grandsons to Judah, when a new name, unmentioned before, is introduced—Carmi. He is neither described as one of the seven grandsons nor as descended from any one of them, but unenviably enough is marked as the father of Achar—later form of Achau—the troubler of Israel. Joshua 7:1-18 supplies the missing link, and states that Carmi is son of Zimri (Zabdi), one of the aforesaid seven grandsons. By the punishment of death, visited upon this Achar, with his sons and daughters (Joshua 7:24, Joshua 7:25), it may be presumed that the line of Judah through him became extinct.
1 Chronicles 2:8
The line through Ethan, another of the seven grandsons, seems to stop with Azariah, a name found nowhere else.
1 Chronicles 2:9
3. THE LINE OF JUDAH PURSUED THROUGH THE THREE BRANCHES OF HEZRON'S SONS. The track of genealogy then returns upon Pharez, and to the name of Hezron, the most important by far of the seven grandsons. His three sons are announced, and, as beginning with the firstborn, so presumably in order of seniority. They are: (A), Jerahmeel; (B), Ram; (C), Chelubai.
1 Chronicles 2:10-15
(B) Ram is taken first in order, at once to push on the lineage of Judah to the great landmark DAVID, who is reached at the seventh generation from Ram (Ruth 4:19-22; Matthew 1:3-5; Luke 3:31-33), his name being ranked last of seven brothers only, sons of Jesse.
1 Chronicles 2:11
Salma, Hebrew שַׂלְמָא; but Ruth 4:20, שַׂלְמָה and in following verse שׂלְמוֹן. The variation of the first two of these forms has many parallels, as between Chronicles and the earlier Old Testament Scriptures.
1 Chronicles 2:13-15
Give us what we have not elsewhere, the names of the fourth, fifth, and sixth sons of Jesse, viz. Nathaneel, Raddai (but see 1 Kings 1:8), and Ozem. But, on the other hand, they make it appear that David was the seventh of seven, instead of (1 Samuel 14:10, 1 Samuel 14:11; 1 Samuel 17:12) the eighth of eight sons. The missing son, any way, belongs to the seventh place. The Syriac and Arabic versions have taken the Elihu of 1 Chronicles 27:18, and put him in this place. Others, following the Septuagint, suppose this Elihu, if strictly a brother of David, to be Eliab, the oldest. The explanation of the absence of the name here may be that he died early and without issue, and would accordingly be the less wanted in a genealogical register.
1 Chronicles 2:16, 1 Chronicles 2:17
These verses do not say that David "begat" Zeruiah and Abigail, but that these two were sisters of the foregoing seven brethren. Light is thrown upon this by 2 Samuel 17:25, which says that Abigail was the daughter of one Nahash, and that Zeruiah was her sister. But it is to leave us in greater darkness as to who Nahath was: whether Nahath was another name for Jesse, or the name of Jesse's wife, or the name of a former husband of Jesse's wife, to whom she bore these two daughters before she became wife to Jesse, and that former husband possibly none other than the Ammonite king (2 Samuel 10:2)—or whether none of these conjectures be near the truth, some of which on the face of them seem unlikely enough, is as yet unsettled. Meantime it is worth remembering that Zeruiah named one of her celebrated sons, and probably the eldest of them, Abishai, after Jesse, Ishai being the same as our Jesse; yet from the above premises it is taken that she was strictly sister of Abigail, and therefore was not really related to Jesse. The subject is treated interestingly under the various names in Smith's 'Bible Dictionary.' The husband of Zeruiah is given nowhere, while the husband of Abigail, hero called Jether the Ishmeelite, is, in the passage already referred to (2 Samuel 17:25), called Ithra (which is a slightly altered form of the name), an Israelite, with little doubt an error for Ishmaelite. In the same passage also her own name appears as אֲבִיגַל, instead of אֲבִיגַיִל, though many manuscripts have this latter.
1 Chronicles 2:18-20
(C) Chelubai. The descendants of Caleb (Chelubai), placed third of Hezron's sons, are next dealt with; but the subject is almost immediately interrupted by resumed reference to Hezron (1 Chronicles 2:21-24), and by the table of Jemh-meel and his descendants (1 Chronicles 2:25-41); after which the table of Caleb, apparently the same Caleb, is carried on (1 Chronicles 2:42-49). Taking these broken portions, however, just as they come, we are immediately met by a series of uncertainties and surprises. 1 Chronicles 2:18 is obscure in that it says Caleb had children by Azubah (the Hebrew construction also unusual), a wife, or indeed strictly a woman (not even using the ordinary formula "his wife"), and by Jerioth, of whom nothing is said; and the verse adds obscurity by saying, her sons are these, without plainly indicating to which woman reference is made. It may be safely presumed, however, from what follows, that Azubah is intended, though no other part of Scripture helps us By so much as a mention of the sons' names to determine it certainly. Meantime one Hebrew manuscript and the Chaldee Paraphrase are found to omit the words "and by Jerioth." The Vulgate, and the Syriac and Arabic versions, make Jerioth one of the children—possibly a daughter—of Caleb and Azubah, and this view is supported by Kennicott and Houbigant (Barrington's 'Genealogies,' 1:210). The tone of 1 Chronicles 2:19 may certainly he held to offer some countenance to the assumption that either Jerioth's name ought to appear as that of a child or not at all. The name Ephrath in this verse abounds with interest. The ancient name of the town of Bethlehem, and also apparently of a district round it, is the same word which is found here as the name of a woman. In either case it is more generally written אֶפְרָתָה, as even in the two other appearances of it in this very chapter. Two manuscripts, followed by two ancient editions, and apparently by the Vulgate, substitute aleph for the above final he. In Micah 5:1, Bethlehem is found united with Ephratah in one compound word. The mother Ephrath is here interesting for her descendants given, her son Hur, grandson Uri, and great-grandson Bezaleel. Further reference to these is made in verse 50.
1 Chronicles 2:21-24
The first interruption to the record of Caleb's posterity is now occasioned by a resumed reference to Hezron, who at the age of threescore took to wife (as it seems from 1 Chronicles 2:24) Abiah, sister to Gilead, daughter of the eminent man Machir, who was Manasseh's oldest son by an Aramitess concubine (1 Chronicles 7:14). Two sons of Hezron by Abiah are given (the latter of them a posthumous child), but the elder having a son called Jair tracked, no doubt as one who became famous by the number of cities he took. He was thus connected on the father's side with a great family of Judah, and on the mother's with a great family of Manasseh. He is probably not the Jair of Judges 10:3, with his "thirty sons, thirty ass colts, and thirty cities." And יָאִיר is not יָעִיד of 2 Samuel 21:19; 1 Chronicles 20:5. Evident stress is laid on his maternal descent. Thus (Numbers 32:41) he is styled son of Manasseh, and hence also the explanation of the last clause of verse 23, infra, all these belonged to the sons of Machir the father of Gilead. Some of the cities alluded to are the Havoth-Jair (Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 13:30), Englished as the "groups of dwellings of Jair," on which see interesting note in Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine', vocabulary, pp. 526, 527. They lay in the trans-Jordanic district Trachonitis, the modern El-leyah and Jebel-Hauran. It is not possible to harmonize exactly the numbers of the cities given here with those in passages quoted above; nor is the translation of verse 23, Authorized Version, very certainly the correct one. E. Bertheau, in his 'Die Bucher der Chronik erklart; 15. Kurzgef. exegetisches Handbuch. z. A.T.,' translates, "And Geshur and Aram took the Havvoth-Jair from them with Kenath and her daughter-towns, sixty cities." "Took" is supposed to mean here "retook," or "recovered." Though this suits the Hebrew syntax better, it does not suit so well our immediate context; nor have we any other information of such re, covering of them.
1 Chronicles 2:23
Geshur was a small district between Argob and Bashan; and Aram, commonly translated Syria, i.e. the ancient Syria, viz. the territory of Damascus. Kenath, rechristened by its subduer Nobah (Numbers 32:42), and retaining this name at the time of Gideon, and Zeba and Sahnunnah subsequently vindicated the life of its old name, and regained it, replaced in the present day by Kenawat. And the towns thereof; Hebrew literally, her daughters; i.e. the small, subordinate groups of people (Numbers 21:25, "All the villages thereof," literally, daughters). All these belonged to the sons of Machir, the father of Gilead, might perhaps be open to the translation, "All these were the possessions of Machir, the possessor of Gilead."
1 Chronicles 2:24
The remaining verse of this section brings another point of difficulty unsolved yet. No place Caleb-ephratah is known, and no sort of accounting for Hezron dying anywhere but in Egypt, whither he went with Jacob (Genesis 46:12), is producible. The Vulgate has Ingressus est Caleb ad Ephratam, but our Hebrew text cannot be made to justify it, if for nothing else, for want of a preposition אֶל before "Ephrata." This reading of the Vulgate has suggested to others that by a slight but still gratuitous alteration of our Hebrew text בָא might be substituted for the preposition בְּ prefixed to the name of Caleb; but upon that showing we have to suppose that Caleb did leave Egypt on his own account and travel to Ephratah, and then there fails any strong connection between that fact and what is said about Abiah. Still, the explanation might receive some countenance from the fact that it is said that Abiah's son became the father—or founder—of Tekoa, a place near Bethlehem, in South Judah (1 Samuel 30:14). Bertheau has at this point suggested that Caleb-ephratah, instead of being included in Neger-Caleb, may rather, in distinction from it, designate the northern portion of the territory of Caleb. The solution of the problem will probably not yield to anything but a justly restored text.
1 Chronicles 2:25-41
We reach here the second interruption in the account of Caleb's posterity. (A) Jerahmeel, though the eldest Hezronite son, has as yet been passed by in favour of Ram and in favour of Caleb, so far as regards part of his descendants. Jerahmeel himself is mentioned nowhere else, but his people collectively are (1 Samuel 27:10; 1 Samuel 30:29). On the other hand, this place alone supplies the lists of names, and we have not the aid of any collation. 1 Chronicles 2:25 purports in the Authorized Version to give five sons of Jerahmeel by his first wife, of name not given. The absence of the conjunction "and," however, in the Hebrew text before the last name, Ahijah, suggests that this may be the name of the first wife the presence of which seems greatly required by the contents of the next verse. Some particle being required, Le Clerc, accepting the suggestion of Junins and Tremellius, proposes to supply מֵאֵת, and Bertheau the same preposition, but in a simpler form, prefixed to the name Ahijah (see Barrington's 'Genealogies,' 1:180).
1 Chronicles 2:26
For עְטָרָה, one manuscript has אָטֶר, and another קְטוּרָה reht.
1 Chronicles 2:28
One manuscript makes Nadab and Abishur two additional sons of Onam, by omitting the words and the sons of Shammai.
1 Chronicles 2:29
אֲבִיגַיִל אֲבִיחַיִל אֲבִיהַיִל, are the readings of various manuscripts in this verse.
1 Chronicles 2:21-35
The Authorized Version is not justified in substituting children for the Hebrew "sons;" the object evidently being to make this statement reconcilable with 1 Chronicles 2:34, which says that Sheshan had only daughters. The difficulty can be removed, possibly, by supposing that Ahlai died (yet see 1 Chronicles 11:41), or that, at the time to which 1 Chronicles 2:34 refers, only daughters were in question. Wall's conjecture, that Ahlai of 1 Chronicles 2:31 is the same with Attai of 1 Chronicles 2:35, would have more probability if aleph were not the initial letter of the one, and ayin of the other. Still, as all the other "sons" of this passage mean sons strictly, it would be unlikely that sons of Sheshan only should mean "grandsons." The genealogy now proceeds through Sheshan's daughter, name not given (unless possibly Ahlai), married to his Egyptian servant Jarha, down to (1 Chronicles 2:41) Elishama, at the twentieth generation from Jerahmeel. To this, however, the Septuagint, adds one generation more, καὶ Ἐλισμὰ ἐγέννησε τὸν Ἰσμαήλ. The Egyptian servant Jarha is not heard of elsewhere; that he was enfranchised before his marriage with Sheshan's daughter is likely enough (Deuteronomy 23:8; 1 Samuel 30:11). The language of the end of 1 Chronicles 2:33, These were the sons of Jerahmeel, would seem to exclude the following thirteen descendants of Jarha and Sheshan's daughter from the genealogy. Yet this is scarcely likely to be the intention, which perhaps was satisfied with simply marking a distinction by the pause.
1 Chronicles 2:36
The name Zabad throws considerable doubt on the opinion that no one of Jerahmeel's descendants given in this genealogy can be found elsewhere in the Old Testament; for compare again 1 Chronicles 11:41.
1 Chronicles 2:38
So also compare Azariah with 2 Chronicles 23:1. These two names are abundantly interesting here. Zabad, the tenth from Jerahmeel, or fourteenth from the patriarch Judah himself, brings us to the time of David, by exactly the same interval as seven other perfect genealogies, four of these having the very same number of steps, viz. fourteen, two having fifteen, and that of David himself having eleven steps. An analogous and equally interesting correspondence can be traced with the name Azariah. See the important art. "Zabad," Smith's 'Bible Dictionary;' and its further remarks as to the evidence of the genealogy in the fact of its twenty-fourth and last name tallying well with the time of Hezekiah, the sixth king after Athaliah (1 Chronicles 4:41).
1 Chronicles 2:42-49
These verses are occupied with the resumption of descendants of Caleb—the Caleb apparently of 1 Chronicles 2:9 and 1 Chronicles 2:18, though, this being so, the last clause in 1 Chronicles 2:49, the daughter of Caleb, Achsa, will require accounting for. This statement would lead us to suppose that we were assuredly reading of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; but it cannot be so. The name of Caleb, with the questions gathering round it, will be best considered here. Of the nine times in which it occurs in this chapter, the mere duplicates (of 1 Chronicles 2:20, 1 Chronicles 2:46, 1 Chronicles 2:48) may be at once counted off. The compound "Caleb-ephratah" of 1 Chronicles 2:24 has been already dealt with. Nor need we for the present suppose 1 Chronicles 2:50 to have any real meaning inconsistent with its apparent meaning, viz. that Caleb is the name of a grandson (son of Hut) as well as of the grandfather. There remain the occasions of the occurring of the word in 1Ch 2:9, 1 Chronicles 2:18, 1 Chronicles 2:42, 1 Chronicles 2:49.
1. The first appearance, then, of the name in this chapter (1 Chronicles 2:9) exhibits it in a form different from that in which it appears the other times in this chapter or elsewhere, viz. as כְלוּבַי, instead of כָלֵב (or once as a patronymic, 1 Samuel 25:3, כּלִבִּי). The Vulgate follows the Hebrew, but the Septuagint has at once substituted Caleb. The Syriac Version has Salchi, and the Arabic Sachli, both of them, no doubt, mere transcribers' errors through the mistake of a letter. This form "Chelubai" is, then, an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, and no different account has yet been given of the name appearing thus on this one occasion. It may be described, with Lange ('Comm. Old Testament,' in loc.), as "adjectivus gentilis" to כְלוּב, which word, however, occur where it will, is never treated as a synonym with Caleb except by the Septuagint, and then but once (1 Chronicles 4:11), making Lange's further claim of three forms for the name of Caleb wrong. The name might be translated the "Cheluban" or "Chelubite."
2. The Caleb called here first "Chelubai," again "Caleb the son of Hezron," and now "Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel," some, and Keil among them, have endeavoured to identify with Caleb the son of Jephunneh. This latter is a well-known figure in history. He, together with Joshua, was among those who, departing from Egypt, were pursued of Pharaoh, and of all the host these two alone lived to enter into the promised land. This is enough to give him distinction and a prominent place before the eye. To this Caleb unmistakable reference is made in twenty-eight passages, in sixteen of which he is called "son of Jephunneh," and in three of those sixteen "son of Jephunneh the Kenazite." Now, he tells us himself (Joshua 14:7) that he was forty years old in the seceded year after the Exodus. But it seems (Genesis 46:12, Genesis 46:26) that Hezron, grandson of Judah, and the father of the Caleb of this chapter, was, however young, one of those who went down into Egypt with Jacob, at a date, according to any chronology, which must render it impossible for any son of his to have been alive and only forty years of age at the time of the Exodus. This being so, either the statement already referred to, found at the close of verse 49, that "the daughter of Caleb was Achsa," must be an interpolation from some ignorant transcriber's marginal annotation, or, unlikely as it is, Caleb the son of Hezron and Caleb the son of Jephunneh both named a daughter Achsa. It is, moreover, likely enough that the frequent describing of Caleb the son of Jephuuneli in this style was occasioned by the desire to distinguish him from some other Caleb, not a contemporary, indeed, but already well known m a generation preceding but not too remote. Other considerations decidedly concur with this view: e.g. Ram is brother of Caleb the son of Hezron; he has a grandson, Nahshon, of great distinction, "a prince of the children of Judah," whose sister Aaron married; he was the elect of the Judah tribe to assist Moses and Aaron in the first numbering of the people (Numbers 1:7). Great prominence is given to him (Numbers 7:12; Numbers 10:14). He was clearly (Matthew 1:4; Luke 3:32) fifth in descent from Judah, in perfect agreement with the table of this chapter. Now, it was this grandson of the elder brother of Caleb who was contemporary with Caleb the son of Jephunneh. Similarly, the Bezaleel of this chapter (verse 20), a great-grandson of Caleb the Hezronite, is spoken of (Exodus 31:1; Exodus 35:30) at the same date exactly at which Caleb the son of Jephunneh says he was still but forty years of age
3. The identity of the Caleb of verse 50, son of Hut, with Caleb the son of Jephuuneh is supposed by some, but is not clear. It appears to be asserted, without explanation, in the arts. "Caleb" and "Ephrath," signed A. C. H; Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' though in the second part of the latter article it is alluded to as only possible. On the other hand, it may rather be that Caleb the son of Jephunneh, instead of being identical with this Caleb the son of Hur, is so called in order to distinguish him from this latter as a contemporary. Again, it has been happily conjectured ('Speaker's Commentary,' in loc.) that just as verse 33 closes the table of Jerahmeel with "These were the sons of Jerahmeel," so verse 49 should close the table of Caleb (verse 42) with the words, These were the Boris of Caleb. With a slight alteration, verse 50 would then begin The sons of Hur, etc. This is, however, only conjecture. Verse 42, then, must be considered to give us another family of Caleb, i.e. a family by another wife, of name not given, just possibly the Jerioth unaccounted for in verse 18. The first statement lauds us in perplexity. Mesha (מֵישַׁע) is the firstborn (i.e. by the wife or woman in question), and the founder of Ziph. And amid some omission or corruption of text, we are then confronted with the words, and the sons of Marsehah (מָרֵישָׁה) the father (or again, perhaps founder) of Hebron. The reading of the Septuagint gives Mareshah in both of these passages, and may come from a Hebrew text that we have not. The substitution could, however, scarcely be accounted for as a mere clerical error, considering both the omission of a resh and the replacing of an he with an ayin. The sentence refuses at present any treatment except the unsatisfactory one of pure conjecture. But employing this, it may be noted that the omitting of the words, "the sons of," before Mareshah would most help to clear the verse of confusion. In this and following verses, Ziph, Hebron, Tappuah, Jorkoam, and Beth-zur, are all names of places certainly, whether or not they are all of persons.
1 Chronicles 2:46-49
Give the names (the first of which appears as that of a man also, next verse and 1 Chronicles 1:33) of two additional concubines of Caleb, and of their descendants.
1 Chronicles 2:47
Offers us another name, Jahdai, not to be accounted for with any certainty. It is not linked to the context, and nothing is known of the six sons assigned to the person owning it. That Gazez occurs twice in the previous verse is remarkable, and suggestive, possibly, of mistake. The Septuagint omits altogether the clause in which it is found the second time. Houbigant translates, "Porro Haran genuit Jahdai," and so summarily removes the difficulty from his way (Barrington's 'Genealogies,' 1:210). Hiller ('Onomasticon,' S.) would make it the same name as Moza, but without any pretence of argument. A more reasonable suggestion than this might be that Jahdai is the name of yet another concubine of Caleb (Lange, 'O.T. Comm.,' in loc.).
1 Chronicles 2:49
Machbenah is an ἅπαξ λεγόμενον (for Madmannah and Gibea, Joshua 15:31, Joshua 15:57). The last sentence of this verse is treated above.
1 Chronicles 2:50-55
The opening sentence of these verses has also been already discussed. It may be now added (see Keil, 'Commentary,' in loc.) that some would understand the words as though they meant, These were the sons of Caleb, in the descending line of Hur, Ephratah's firstborn. This rendering is got at by altering "the son of Hut" into "the sons of Hur," which seems to have been the reading of the Septuagint manuscripts, and which, at all events, their rendering has. The remainder of 1 Chronicles 2:50, with the following four, give three sons of Caleb:
1. Shobal, prince of Kirjath-jearim (city of woods; Joshua 9:17; Joshua 18:15; Joshua 15:9, Joshua 15:60; cf. Joshua 18:14), on the border-hind of Judah and Benjamin, and about ten miles from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus (Nicopolis). It is to be identified, almost with certainty, with the modern Kuriet-el-Enab. Other references of exceeding interest are 1 Samuel 6:21; 1 Samuel 7:2; 2 Samuel 6:5; Ezra 2:25; Neh 7:29; 1 Chronicles 13:6; 2 Chronicles 1:4; Jeremiah 26:20; Psalms 132:6. This Shobal (verse 52) had two sons, Haroeh, i.e. Reaiah (1 Chronicles 4:5), and the progenitor, whatever his name, of half of the people called Manahethites (Authorized Version)—a form probably suggested by the Masoretic pointing of verse 54—or Chatsi-hammenon-choth (Hebrew text), which Gesenius treats as a proper name, and which means "the midst of quiet places" (Psalms 23:2), from which comes the patronymic of the next verse but one (Barrington, 'Genealogies,' 1:213). From the Kirjath-jearim family were derived (verse 53), the Ithrites, Puhites, Shumathites, and Mishraites, of none of whom, except probably the Ithrites (2 Samuel 23:38; 1 Chronicles 11:40), do we find other mention; and from the Mishraites again were derived two offshoots, the Zareathites and Eshtaulites, the towns of both of whom are with great probability to be tracked (Joshua 15:33; Joshua 19:41; Judges 13:25; Judges 18:2). They were situated in that part of Judah called the "low" country, or the Shefelah, stretching from Joppa to Gaza on the Mediterranean.
2. Salma, prince of Bethlehem. The so-called "sons" here attributed to him, six in number, including Bethlehem, evidently betoken families rather than the names of individuals. The town Netophah (Ezra 2:21; Nehemiah 7:26) gave the gentile noun Netophathites (2 Samuel 23:28; Jeremiah 40:8). Ataroth, the house of Joab (i.e. "crowns" of the house of Joab), is not mentioned elsewhere; but the reason of its being distinguished thus may be due to the fact that there was another Ataroth of Gad (Numbers 32:3, Numbers 32:34), and yet another of Ephraim (Joshua 14:5; Joshua 18:13). The Zorites (צִרְעִי) Gesenius thinks to be another gentile form from צָרְעה with צִרְעָתִי, but of them we do not read elsewhere. Verse 55 should not have been separated from the last word of the previous verse. The families of the scribes is linked on by the conjunction and (which has coupled the former sons of Salma also two and two) with "the Zorites." This sixth set of descendants from Salma is exhibited to us in the shape of a trio of scribe families, the heads of which will have been, presumably, Tira, Shimea, and Suchah. They are said to have dwelt at Jabez, a place not ascertained; and scarcely to be put into connection with the Jabez of 1 Chronicles 4:9. The Vulgate has translated the names of these three families: Canentes et resonantes et in tabernaculis commorantes;" and Bertheau advocates the interpretation. These families, it appears, were not purely of Judah; but very interesting it is that, though of the people whose land and possessions were to yield to the descendants of Abraham (Genesis 15:18-21), yet friendship and intermarriage had found them apparently a lasting place in Judah (Judges 1:16), while Saul was careful to urge them to save themselves when he was about to smite the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:6). Though nothing is known of the link of connection given here in the name Hemath (of which the Vulgate gives the rendering, Qui venerunt de celose patris), yet the house of the Rechabites is well known (2 Kings 10:15, 2 Kings 10:23; Jeremiah 35:2, Jeremiah 35:5, Jeremiah 35:18; and cf. 2 Samuel 4:2, particularly 3).
3. In verse 51 Hareph (חָרֵף) only here; though הָריִף, found Nehemiah 7:24; Nehemiah 10:20; Ezra 2:18, may possibly he connected with it. There is nothing further said of any people derived from him except that he was father of Beth-gader. The identification of this place is not certain. Gesenius thinks it perhaps the same with Gederah (Joshua 15:36), but it is more probably the Gedor of same chapter (fifty-eighth verse), on the road between Hebron and Jerusalem.
Homilies By W. Clarkson
1 Chronicles 2:1-55.-The human family.
These verses present a series of family pictures; they remind us that "God setteth the solitary in families" (Psalms 68:6). By thus ordering human life he has provided for the maximum of happiness and of spiritual well-being. We are reminded of —
I. ITS VARIOUS RELATIONSHIPS. Here we have husband and wife, father and mother, son and daughter, brother and sister. How excellent is God's loving-kindness in thus binding our hearts and lives together in such happy and sacred bonds, refining our souls and multiplying our joys!
II. ITS VARIOUS DISPOSITIONS. In some cases we have parents and children complete; in others, parents without children at all (1 Chronicles 2:30); in others, daughters without sons; in others, sons without daughters; in another case a child born alter its father's death (1 Chronicles 2:24); in another a servant elevated to a son-in-law (1 Chronicles 2:35). What almost endless varieties there are in the circumstances and relations in which our family life is found!
III. ITS PRICELESS ADVANTAGE TO OUR RACE.
1. It is the guardian of a nation's purity; the morals of a people are high or low as it respects or disregards the family bond.
2. It shields young life from the perils by which it would otherwise be corrupted.
3. It calls forth from maturity the best virtues which manhood and womanhood can show. We are thus led to —
IV. THE DISCIPLINE IT PROVIDES FOR EACH STAGE OF LIFE.
1. In childhood it nurtures obedience, submission.
2. In youth, industry, concession.
3. In young manhood, hardihood; in young womanhood, delicacy of feeling.
4. In maturity, patience, self-command, unselfishness, mutual concession, intercessory prayer.
V. ITS BEARING ON HUMAN PIETY. We could not have known and trusted and loved God as our heavenly Father, but for human parentage; we could not have learned how to cultivate the right spirit for reception into and acceptance within the kingdom, but for human childhood (Matthew 18:2); we could not have known how best to regard our fellows and feel toward them, but for human brotherhood (Matthew 23:8).—C.
Homilies By J.R. Thomson
1 Chronicles 2:7.-A transgressor and troubler.
In most instances in the genealogies of this book, the names of the successive members of the families of Israel are mentioned without remark. But now and then a memorable personage is named, and some trait of his character, some incident in his life, is recorded, or rather referred to, by the chronicler. This is the case even when the record is one of shame and infamy. So is it With Achan.
I. Achan was A TRANSGRESSOR. In transgression much is involved: e.g. Law. A line must be drawn in order that it may be passed over. A commandment must be given before it can be violated. In the case of Achan, the law was published with authority. Covetousness. Before there can be sin there must be lust. Desires are divinely implanted, and evil does not lie in their existence, but in their unlawful gratification. Temptation. There must be some circumstance without eliciting and fostering the desire within. Men often blame the temptation, but unreasonably, for the evil is in themselves, not in the innocent and often unconscious occasion of their transgression. Yielding of the will when tempted. Without this, all that goes before is harmless; it is here that the harm begins. If temptation is resisted, virtue is strengthened and character is improved; if the will succumb, moral deterioration ensues. The latter was the ease with Achan. Hiding of sin. This will often follow upon transgression. There is a hope that it may be concealed from men, perhaps even from God. Conscience of sin. This is divinely appointed, to lead the sinner to repentance and reformation. Yet it may prove, if it fail in this mission, a scourge to chastise, awakening remorse and fear.
II. Achan was A TROUBLER. The trouble which follows upon sin is not confined to the sinner. In the case before us all Israel was punished because of one man's sin. Such is the constitution of society, that this is often seen, the chastisement of many for the transgression of one. Trouble may lead to inquiry, and inquiry to discovery. This happened in Achan's case by supernatural agency; but the same happens every day by means which appear natural. Discovery may lead to confession, and confession may be followed by punishment. So it was with Achan. And there are cases where there seem to be no means of avoiding the consequences of transgression. Yet the sinner must remember that we have been assured that "if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Trouble may be followed by Divine acceptance and favour. There seems something harsh in Joshua's language to Achan, "Why hast thou troubled us? The Lord shall trouble thee this day." Yet, when the transgressor was removed and the transgression was put away from Israel, the Lord received his people again into his favour.
1. Before transgression, "Be sure your sin will find you out."
2. After transgression, the trouble that comes upon the sinner is sent in mercy.
3. Confession and repentance, and faith in Christ, are necessary in order to reconciliation and acceptance.—T.
1 Chronicles 2:55.-The families of the scribes.
These Books of Chronicles may have been the work of Ezra, the prince of scribes. In any case, they bear traces of the handiwork of that profession. As learned men, whose learning was devoted to the exposition of the Law of Moses, they were peculiarly suitable to preserve the records of the theocracy.
I. Observe the OCCUPATION of the scribes. It was to study and to expound the sacred books of the nation, to read these writings in public, and to write—probably to write copies of the Law, and commentaries upon its letter and spirit. The civil and sacred Law were alike their theme. All legal and religious documents were entrusted to their care.
II. Remark the PROFESSIONAL POSITION Of the scribes. The text speaks of "the families of the scribes." Occupations have a tendency to transmit themselves from father to son. Hereditary pursuits are observable in all communities. Traditions and habits are thus maintained and perpetuated. These learned Hebrew families seem to have dwelt in certain fixed places, forming, it may be, colleges of studious, scholarly, literary men.
III. Notice the GROWTH AND PROGRESS AND HISTORY Of the scribes. As a class they date from the close of the Captivity; and from that time onward they appear to have exercised great and growing influence over the national life and religion. In the time of our Saviour they were evidently a very important class of the community. In their two grades—the lower, the interpreters of the classic Hebrew into the colloquial Aramaic; the higher, the doctors learned in the Pentateuch—they supplied to Israel much of the intellectual and moral element in the national life. Jesus admitted the excellence of their work when he denominated his ministers "scribes instructed unto the kingdom of heaven;" he pointed out their defects when he required of his followers a higher righteousness than theirs. And the Evangelists contrast the professional formalism of the Jewish scholars with the freshness and authority of the Great and Divine Teacher.
1. A literary profession may be of great service to the cause of religion. Ignorance is a foe to truth. Christianity will be the more appreciated the more it is studied, the more the light of cultivated intellects is brought to bear upon it.
2. A profession devoted to the advancement of religious learning is not without its perils. There is danger lest the form displace the substance, and the letter the spirit. True and fervent piety alone can correct these tendencies and avert these perils.—T.
Homilies By R. Tuck
1 Chronicles 2:1.-Jacob-Israel.
Mistake is often made concerning Jacob, and his character and conduct are very imperfectly estimated. He is set in contrast with the open-hearted, impulsive, and generous Esau, to his great disadvantage. But we forget that we are able to estimate Jacob's character more fully because the process of his moral and spiritual training, in the Divine providential leadings, is detailed, and we therefore have so much of his badness revealed to us in the process. We do not really know Esau as we know Jacob. The accounts that have reached us concerning him only deal with what appears to be attractive and good, and we see very few indications of the badness which his complete story might bring to light. Jacob is set before us as a man under immediate Divine training, and something like the accomplishment of one great stage of the Divine purpose is indicated in the bestowment of the new name, Israel. The meaning of the two names Jacob—the supplanter, Israel—the prince of God, should be given; and the circumstances connected with the affixing of each name should be recalled. They serve to note the marked features of the two distinct portions of Jacob's life.
I. JACOB'S FIRST NAME—THE SUPPLANTER. This declares the infirmity of his natural disposition. It is clear, from the record given in Genesis, that he began life under very serious disabilities, heavily weighted. The doctrine of heredity finds forcible illustration. He inherited his mother's disposition—a tendency to scheme, to outwit others, to take advantage of them, to trip them up, to get one's own good even at the expense of other people's loss; the planning, bargaining, keen-dealing spirit. This inherited evil disposition so influences him that he "entraps his brother, he deceives his father, he makes a bargain even in his prayer; in his dealings with Laban, in his meeting with Esau, he still calculates and contrives; he distrusts his neigh-hours… he repels, even in his lesser traits, the free confidence that we cannot withhold from the patriarchs of the elder generation." What he might have become but for the grace of God is well indicated in Dean Stanley's description of the ordinary Arab sheikh: "In every respect, except that which most concerns us, the likeness is complete between the Bedouin chief of the present day and the Bedouin chief who came from Chaldaea nearly four thousand years ago. The more we see the outward conformity of Abraham and his immediate descendants to the godless, grasping, foulmouthed Arabs of the modern desert, nay, even their fellowship in the infirmities of their common state and country, the more we shall recognize the force of the religious faith which has raised them from that low estate to be the heroes and saints of their people." To add to Jacob's natural disabilities, he was the favourite child of his mother, and, for long years, was placed under her influence and the persuasion of her mischievous example. This tended to remove the sense of evil from his scheming and deceiving ways. And circumstances seemed to favour him; his brother's hunger and his father's blindness seemed to be providential openings for carrying out his mother's plan for securing the birthright and the blessing. So often we deceive ourselves with the idea that Providence helps us to do what we, in our mere wilfulness, intend to do. All we can say of Jacob, under his first name, is that there is force of character, if only it can be toned aright; and there is an interest in religious things, a religious thoughtfulness, which gives promise of a true and noble life when he has passed through a long period of trial and sorrow and discipline. With all his infirmities, and with that sad absence of simplicity and uprightness in him, there is yet the making of the good man. And so, even in these first stages, his story carries lessons of hopefulness to those who feel deeply the natural infirmity of their characters, or have to do with the training of young people who are heavily weighted with inherited infirmities.
II. JACOB'S SECOND NAME—THE PRINCE OF GOD. This declares the possible triumph of Divine grace over natural infirmity. We must connect it, not with the incident of meeting Esau only, but with Jacob's whole life. It seals the Divine training, and affirms Jacob's conversion from the self-willed and self-seeking spirit. "Jacob has gone through a long training and chastening from the God of his fathers, to whose care and guidance he had given himself (at Bethel); he suffers heavily, but he learns from that he suffered." Trace the stages of the Divine dealing. The force of the scene of Mahanaim in completing the Divine work is suggestively given by F. W. Robertson: "His name was changed from Jacob to Israel, because himself was an altered man. Hitherto there had been something subtle in his character—a certain cunning and craft—a want of breadth, as if he had no firm footing upon reality. Jacob was tender and devout and grateful for God's pardon, and only half honest still. But this half-insincere man is brought into contact with the awful God, and his subtlety falls from him—he becomes real at once. No longer Jacob—the supplanter, but Israel—the prince of God… a larger, more unselfish name—a larger and more unselfish man—honest and true at last." This, then, becomes the great and searching question for us all: not, "What are we in our inherited tendencies and natural dispositions?" but, "What are we now, and what are we becoming, in all holy triumph over inward infirmities and outward foes, through yielding ourselves fully to the leadings and teachings and sanctifyings of Divine grace? And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." ― R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:3.-Divine judgment on individual sin.
Very little is known of Er. The account in Genesis (Genesis 38:7) is as brief as that given in the Chronicles. Yet it sets clearly before us a case of early death, probably a sudden and violent death, and it declares to us that, in this particular instance, the death, and the manner of the death, were immediate judgments on personal transgression. There is a strong tendency to assume individual sin as the cause of calamities and so-called accidents, but our Lord taught us that we cannot always, or necessarily, trace such a connection. It may be so, but it may not be so; and we, in Christian charity, had better leave the discovery of the connection in God's own hands (see Luke 13:1-5). Still, we should be ready to learn the lessons which God may design to teach us, when he is pleased to give us illustrative cases in his Word. Oftentimes we find the Divine recognition and judgment of social and national sins illustrated. The old divine bids us remember that "God can only punish nations, as such, in this world; he can punish individuals in this world and the next." Israel is, as a nation, the subject of frequent Divine judgments, and Israel is bidden observe how Divine judgments fall on the guilty nations around her. But as this feature of the Divine dealings is set forth so prominently and so constantly, there is some danger of our assuming that Divine judgments, as executed here on earth, do not concern the individual; and that God may be said directly to govern the race, but not the man. Such a delusion would tend to nourish human wilfulness and pride, and still more completely separate men from God; and, therefore, we have men's personal sins, and the immediate Divine judgment on those sins, impressively narrated.
I. ER'S SIN WAS SOME PERSONAL ACT OF WRONG-DOING. Exactly what it was we are not told, but we know the ways in which men nowadays transgress God's laws and insult the Divine honour. There are acts of wilful disobedience and rebellion, acts of bodily self-indulgence, and acts of violence and cruelty toward others. We have to see that this evil of Er's was distinctly personal. He did not merely share in the errors, or follies, or sins of his age, in a blind and heedless way; he made wicked ways for himself, and wrought evil in his own wilfulness. Therefore the Divine observation rested upon him as a man who strove to set himself against God.
II. ER'S SIN REVEALED A HOPELESSLY CORRUPTED NATURE. It was such a fruitage as could only come out of a corrupt tree. Distinguish between the one sin into which man may be tempted; even the good man may be "drawn aside and enticed," "overtaken in a fault;" and the continuing in sin, which indicates the love for it, and the deteriorating influence it has exerted on mind and heart. A time may come for the man (as Er), or for the nation (as Sodom), when remedial agencies cease to be of avail, and then they can but be "cut down." Illustrate from Pharaoh, with the hardened heart, from King Saul, and from the expression used in Hosea (Hosea 4:17), "Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone."
III. ER'S SIN BROUGHT UPON HIMSELF DIVINE JUDGMENT. This is briefly but forcibly intimated in the words, "and he slew him." His early and sudden and violent death, was no disease and no accident. It was direct Divine judgment. God deals with the individual exactly as with the hopelessly corrupted world and the utterly degraded Sodom. Life on earth is forfeited it' it is so shamefully abused. Discuss the question how far we may recognize calamities reaching individuals as Divine judgment on their personal transgressions. In every age there are open and notorious cases, e.g. Ananias and Sapphira. We may say that it is quite possible for any accident to be a judgment; but it may be a judgment on a bad system, and the sufferer may not be the direct cause. Impress God's constant inspection of individual conduct and character.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:7.-Sinners are troublers.
Achar is but a modernized form of the familiar Achan (Joshua 7:25). The story of this man is given so fully in the early records, and is here so definitely recalled, that we may be sure some important and permanent lessons were taught by it, and it may be still for "our instruction, on whom the ends of the world are come." The narrative should be fully detailed. Bring out that Achan's sin was at once self-will, disobedience, covetousness, and sacrilege. Explain that the one condition of Divine blessing for Israel was entire and unquestioning loyalty to the Divine will. And there is no other condition of blessing now. That will might oppose seemingly right feelings; and this brings us the more subtle and anxious testings of our loyalty, e.g. Abraham's offering Isaac. That will would necessarily oppose all covetous feeling. The man who wants to get for self will ever find it hard to accept God's will and way for him. But the covetous man who is a member of a community not only brings trouble on himself, but on others who may be related to him.
I. THIS SINNER'S SIN. Set out its public character, in view of Joshua's public proclamation. Show its aggravations, as committed directly against the known will of God.
II. THIS SINNER'S SIN BROUGHT TROUBLE ON HIMSELF. As sin always must do. Here the sorrow of feeling himself to be the cause of national disaster; the penalty of his own forfeited life; and the misery of knowing that his family must suffer for his sin, and his very name be blotted out of the national records. As is ever the case with the covetous, Achan might glory over what he had gained, until it could be revealed to him what he had lost; then the gain could only appear to be utterly worthless and hopelessly ruinous, a millstone hung round his neck to drown him in the sea. Compare what Judas Iscariot gained—thirty pieces of silver; and what he lost—life and hope and Christ,—his all. But the point which is specially called up to our remembrance is that —
III. THIS SINNER'S SIN BROUGHT TROUBLE ON OTHERS. SO he is known as the "troubler of Israel." Set out the trouble that came upon Israel. They were grievously smitten before their foes. Also the trouble that came upon Joshua. He was humbled in the dust, filled with fears, and driven to God in agonizing intercessions. But even more terribly Achan's sin brought trouble upon his own family, just as the drunkard and the licentious and the dishonest now drag down into their ruin those they profess to love. "Not Achan alone is called forth to death, but all his family, all his substance. The actor alone does not smart with sacrilege; all that concerns him is enwrapped in the judgment. God's first revenges are so much the more fearful because they must be exemplary." On the penalty of a man's wrong-doing covering and including those related to him, Archbishop Whitgift has this figure: "The eagle that stole a coal from the altar thereby set her nest on fire, which consumed both her young eagles and herself that stole it." We recognize that, if men are linked together in family and social life, it is well that, in God's providence, they should bear one another's burdens, share one another's disabilities, and suffer one another's woes. In such a case as Achan's we have but God doing, by direct command, what he is always doing in the orderings of Divine providence. No man's sin can ever stand alone—it must involve others in its consequences; and in this its hatefulness is revealed and a due fear of it is wrought in our minds. We should not so much hesitate to sin if we could ensure the limitation of the consequences to ourselves. But our sin must make us troublers. Even if the sin be forgiven, the issues must still go on. Then what a sublime idea we may gain of the redemption which God proposes I It deals with us for forgiveness and cleansing, but it also goes on after all the issues of human sin, and will not rest until the whole world is fully delivered, recovered, and saved.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:11.-Lessons from the story of Boaz.
The Book of Ruth is preserved to us as a picture of family and social life in the disorderly times of the judges. Both Ruth and Naomi have been made the frequent subject of public teaching; but Boaz stands out with sufficient prominence in the narrative to justify our fixing attention on him. Give the story, and especially the gleaning customs of those olden times; the kindly relations of masters and labourers; the customs of seeking protection from the family goel, or avenger; of confirming covenants by the gift of a shoe; and of conducting matters of business in the open space within the city gates. Fully explain the Eastern law of the goel. We may find illustrated in the conduct of Boaz —
I. THE CONSIDERATENESS OF THE TRUE GENTLEMAN. See his gentle and considerate treatment of the poor gleaner, and his gentle dealing with her when she claimed his protection. The essence of the Christian gentleman is considerateness for the feelings and wishes of others, and a gentle way of doing all things, even hard and painful things. Find beautiful illustrations in the tender considerateness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and compare Paul's address to the elders at Miletus, and the tone of the Epistle to the Philippians.
II. THE RESPONSIVENESS TO ANOTHER'S TRUST. It is always the mark of the good man that he loves to be trusted, and readily responds to trust. So Boaz did when Ruth put herself under his protection. The Lord Jesus always looked for faith—trust; and opened his best treasures for the opened, trusting heart.
III. THE LOYALTY TO THE SENSE OF DUTY. Shown in his taking up Ruth's case at once, and earnestly, and making himself liable for all that was involved in the vindication of her rights. Then work out how Divine benedictions ever follow right character and conduct. Ruth and Boaz both get their reward. The "right" may not always disclose its issues at once. They often seem painfully delayed, but, if we follow on, right is sure to lead to practical blessing. Right never yet led wrong; and good never yet finally issued in evil.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:13.-The character of Jesse.
Biographies usually make much of the parental connections and ancestral relations of their hero. It is even discussed whether the special genius of a person is to be traced to his father or to his mother. In the earlier Scriptures the mother's name and character are seldom given; but in the time of the later kings the mother's name is preserved with care. The importance of hereditary connections may concern both the intellectual forces of the mind and the moral qualities making up the character. There is the heritage of goodness as well as of greatness; and, therefore, St. Paul thanks God that Timothy stands in the third generation of marked faith and piety (2 Timothy 1:5). Almost nothing is known of the mother of David, and the absence of information has led to strange conjecture; Dean Stanley curiously suggesting that she may have been previously a wife or concubine of one Nahash, possibly an Ammonite king, who under some circumstances not detailed became a second wife of Jesse, and by him the mother of David. All that the narrative suggests is that David was much younger than his brothers, and the child of Jesse's old age. He is introduced to us as conversing with Samuel on the occasion of the anointing of David (1 Samuel 16:1-23.); as caring for the wants of his children while they were away from homo in the army of Saul (1 Samuel 17:1-58.); and as the object of David's special care when the personal enmity of Saul put his relatives, as well as David himself, in peril (1 Samuel 22:3, 1 Samuel 22:4). The incident in which the personal character of Jesse is most fully indicated is that of sending David with a present to his sons in the army; and this suggests that he was a thoughtful and affectionate father, and permits us to trace something of David's remarkable family affection to his paternity. He may therefore serve to introduce the subject of paternal relationships and duties, and the rewards which those may find in the career and virtue of their children who have not been themselves remarkable for anything save for being good fathers. The Divine recognition of faithfulness in this precise office and relation is indicated in God's commendation of Abraham (Genesis 18:19), "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord."
I. FATHERLY LOVE FINDS FITTING EXPRESSION IN WISE RULE AND RESTRAINTS. Jesse seems to have had such authority. His sons, though of full age, promptly come and go at his bidding. He appears to have had his household fully under control, appointing each member his place and work. The well-being of families depends on the firmness of the father's rule. The first conceptions of right, and of the duties of submission and obedience, happily come to us associated with our reverence for, and affection for, our father. And worthy fulfilment, in this respect, of the paternal duties carries to our children worthy ideas of the righteousness and love of "our Father who is in heaven."
II. FATHERLY LOVE CAN MAKE HIGH SACRIFICES. Illustrated in Jesse's sending his sons to the army in the time of national peril. How much he felt their danger is seen in his anxiety to know of their welfare while on the battle-field. Such sacrifices have often been required of parents in times of national danger, and similar sacrifices in quieter spheres, especially in devoting sons to missionary work. Show that to the true parent such sacrifices are made with mingled feelings of joy and sorrow.
III. FATHERLY LOVE FINDS ITS REWARD IN THE CHILDREN'S CARE; as Jesse's life was saved by David when Saul's enmity put the family in peril. Loving children have no greater joy than that of caring for and tending their aged parents who have toiled and suffered so much and so long for them. See our Lord's care of his mother from his cross.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:20.-Artistic gifts finding religious spheres.
(For the earlier references to Bezaleel, see Exodus 31:2; Exodus 35:30; Exodus 36:1, Exodus 36:2; Exodus 37:1.) Explain the precise endowment of this man and his companion, and the assertion of his call by God, who specially "filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship." It has been said that "their work was to be only that of handicraftsmen. Everything that they had to do was prescribed in strict and precise detail. There was to be no exercise for their original powers of invention nor for their taste." But this appears to be a needless limitation of their mission, especially as we are told that they were called to "devise cunning works, to work in gold," etc.; and, however minute patterns of artistic work may be, even this worthy carrying out makes demand on artistic faculty and taste. We are rather disposed to give Bezaleel credit for designing much of the ornamentation, and elaborating the details of a general sketch furnished by Moses. It is curious to note that, in a mistaken apprehension of the commandment (Exodus 20:4), the Jews would not cultivate either the arts of painting or sculpture. This may have been a safeguard to them under the temptations of surrounding idolatry, but it seriously limited their culture as a nation, and possibly made their idolatrous love of images and aesthetic worship the more intense when once the barriers were broken down. The Divine call and endowments of Bezaleel are the Divine protest against the neglect of those artistic faculties which are an essential part of man's composite nature, as God has been pleased to create it. These faculties have their own place, their right place; and it is at the peril of an imperfect and one-sided culture that we, on the one hand, neglect them, and, on the other hand, push them into an exaggerated place.
I. THE MISSION OF THE ARTS IN HUMAN LIFE. Take illustrations from the arts of painting, sculpture, music, and poetry, and show how they bear on the refinement of human life. Each holds out an ideal standard of purity and beauty, and seeking for absolute grace of form materially aids in securing real goodness and purity and truth. Illustrate by the influence of works of art in our homes as aids to the culture of family life. They also bear directly upon the pleasure of human life. For most of us the days must be spent in dull, grinding toil, which wears out the brightness and romance of our spirits. Our real world is bard and depressing. It is of the utmost concern to us that we may pass into an ideal world created by the imagination, and find pleasure in its winsome and joyous scenes. The arts take us into another world, and bring to the earth-toilers the pleasures of a paradise. Evidently true of music and poetry, really true of all.
II. THE MISSION OF THE ARTS IN RELIGIOUS LIFE. Strangely in this sphere we still dread their influence. Yet the decorations of even the tabernacle and temple reproach us, and much more David's elaborate efforts to secure the "beautiful" and the "pleasing" in the temple-worship. Explain that the arts serve in religion the one great end of keeping the ideal and the ideally perfect ever before us, and so they become a perpetual uplifting inspiration, surrounding us ever with the symbols and the suggestions of the Divine and eternal. They are for us the "figures of the true."
III. THE NECESSARY LIMITATION OF THE ARTISTIC IN THE HIGHER AND RELIGIOUS SPHERES. The creations of art must never be sought for themselves, or they become virtual idols. They may only be symbols of realities, and handmaids to truths. As a practical conclusion, it may be shown that a man is not responsible for other gifts than those with which he is personally entrusted, but he is bound to be fully loyal to God in the use of those he has. Sooner or later in life, every man who wants to be faithful will discover his faculty and find his sphere.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:22, 1 Chronicles 2:23.-The prowess of Jair.
The story of this man is given in Numbers 32:41; Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 13:30. From the repeated mention of him we may assume that he was a remarkable man for military genius, and was in so large a degree successful in his warlike enterprises as to stand out before the ages as a prominent example of the warlike endowment, and its place in the Divine purposes. The brief notice of this man suggests for our consideration—The consecration to God of the military talent. We cannot accept fully the facts of human history without recognizing the Divine gift of the genius of the warrior. Different views are held on the righteousness of war. From the Christian standpoint all offensive war must be at once and entirely condemned, but defensive war—and aid to those called to defensive war—appears to be fully consistent with Christian principles. Still, we shall unfeignedly rejoice when the principle of arbitration can be universally adopted, and the "nations learn war no more." It is, even in its best forms, a terrible human scourge and evil. But, whatever our view of it may be, history keeps her testimony, and declares that, in the long story of our race, war has been one of the important agencies used by God, and overruled by him, to the accomplishment of his gracious ends; and that he has, again and again, raised up men who had "war' for their life-mission, and the military endowment as their precise trust. There have been the Joshuas, the Davids, the Maccabees, the Marlboroughs, and the Wellingtons, etc. Times and circumstances have made war the only possible agency for the punishing of wrong and the deliverance and confirmation of the right. Still, we should distinctly observe that warfare is the creation of man's lust of power and dominion, his ambition to be supreme; and that the "God of peace" does but—if we may so say—fit, temporarily, into the circumstances thus created, until he can get fully established his kingdom of righteousness in which war will be unknown.
I. THE DISTINCTIVE MILITARY GIFT. It is the gift of command over other men finding one particular mode of expression. This is the essence of it, but it is combined with the constructive faculty, the power of organization, courage, bodily skill, quickness of invention, etc.—all, it may be pointed out, endowments which may find other spheres than battle-fields. Illustrate by the devotion of F. W. Robertson's soldierly gifts to the service of the Church, and by the gift of ruling men found in the heads of large mills and factories.
II. THE LOYALTY THAT GUIDES THE USE OF THE MILITARY GIFTS. It is characteristic of the soldier that he is loyal to his king, and this loyalty finds expression in instant and unquestioning obedience. So the soldier among us is a plea urging us to maintain similar relations to our Lord, who is the "King of kings." So far as we can see, it would be a loss to the moral health of a nation if the example of soldierly loyalty and obedience were removed. St. Paul was essentially a loyal soldier. When a command came from his Lord, he tells us, "Immediately we conferred not with flesh and blood."
III. THE WITNESS TO VIRTUE AND DUTY THAT IS MADE BY MILITARY MEN. Lord Nelson's words embody the witness all soldiers make. We must work for, suffer for, and, if need be, die for, duty. "England expects that every man will do his duty." And in this time-serving, self-seeking, money-getting age we cannot afford to lose any agency which renders public witness to the fact that there is something nobler than even life—it is duty. If it could be so that, in the world of the future, the military genius was no longer needed, still even a world at peace would need the story of the heroic ages, and its witness to the dignity of endurance, obedience, promptitude, sacrifice for a high idea, and above all to the paramount claims of duty.—R.T.
1 Chronicles 2:55.-The mission of the Kenites.
This people is first mentioned in Genesis 15:19. They were a nomadic tribe, and their principal seat seems to have been the rocky tracts in the south and south-west of Palestine, near the Amalekites (see Numbers 24:21, Numbers 24:22). Jethro was a Kenite. Jael was wife of Heber the Kenite. Saul spared them in his expedition against the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:6). David maintained friendly relations with them (1 Samuel 30:29). The house of the Rechabites belonged to this tribe. The friendly feeling between the two tribes, based on the conduct of the Kenites at the time of the Exodus (Exodus 18:10-19; Numbers 10:29-32), led to their intermixture and almost amalgamation with the Israelites—Kenite families not only dwelling among them, but being actually regarded as of one blood. Their semi-monastic austerity is their chief feature. They preserved their nomadic life and customs even when dwelling in the midst of the cities of Israel. Dean Stanley thus pictures a colony of them, that of Heber, the husband of Jael: "Between Hazor, the capital of Jabin, and Kedesh-Naphtali, birthplace of Barak—each within a day's journey of the other—lies, raised high above the plain of Merom, amongst the hills of Naphtali, a green plain. This plain is still and was then studded with massive terehinths. Underneath the spreading branches of one of them there dwelt, unlike the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, a settlement of Bedouins, living, as if in the desert, with their tents pitched and their camels and asses around them, whence the spot had acquired the name of 'The Terebiuth,' or 'Oak,' of the 'Unloading of Tents.'" It is from this peculiarity of the Kenites that we learn their mission.
I. THEIR NOMADIC LIFE REMINDED ISRAEL OF GOD'S MERCIES. For they had once been what the Kenites then were—a mere tribe or aggregation of tribes. But God had, in a most glorious and gracious way, made them a nation, and given them a land. Such a reminder brought home to them the claims of Jehovah, and should have renewed their devotion and allegiance to him. Compare the witness made by the hermits in the times of the early Church.
II. THEIR STRICT OBEDIENCE TO RULE REPROACHED ISRAEL FOR THE NEGLECT OF THE COVENANT. They were loyal to the customs and rules of their founder, whatever disabilities such loyalty might seem to entail. Illustrate by the story of testing the Rechabites with the offer of wine, given in Jeremiah 35:1-19. Impress that we need still the witness of virtue and excellence in those who are not with us; who are among us, but not of our party. And in this we may see some good in the association together in one nation of differing religious sects. Each may teach the others some valuable lessons, and find effective expression of some essential virtue. Our Lord, in his teachings, even ventured to draw lessons from the quick-witted example of the bad man. We may learn something of God and duty from all those with whom we are brought into even casual contact.—R.T.
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Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 2". The Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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