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Bible Commentaries
1 Chronicles 5

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


This chapter treats of the trans-Jordanic tribes, Reuben, Gad, and eastern Manasseh. From it we learn a number of items not elsewhere recorded in the sacred volume.

Verses 1-2

1, 2.

His birthright was given unto… Joseph This might be readily inferred from the censure of Reuben in Genesis 49:4, compared with the ample blessings pronounced on Joseph, (Genesis 49:22-26,) and the paternal gift of the “one portion above his brethren,” recorded Genesis 48:22; but the transfer of Reuben’s birthright to Joseph is nowhere else expressly recorded. The birthright of the firstborn entitled its possessor to a double portion of the inheritance, (Deuteronomy 21:17,) and Joseph’s rights in this regard were conceded in the allotment of Canaan by his receiving the large territory assigned to Ephraim and Manasseh, the latter receiving two portions, one east and the other west of the Jordan.

The genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birth-right Joseph’s honour in receiving the birthright did not, however, yield him the noblest genealogy, for in this respect Judah prevailed above his brethren, and was honoured in being the father of a line of kings the most celebrated in human history.

Of him came the chief ruler The princely David, and the magnificent Solomon, and their descendants who reigned at Jerusalem, while dynasty after dynasty rose and fell in the kingdom of Israel, and also in Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia. The chief ruler here doubtless refers particularly to David, but may also point to the prince Messiah, that greatest “ruler in Israel,” who came from “among the thousands of Judah.” Micah 5:2.

Verse 6

6. Tilgath-pilneser A corrupt orthography, probably by careless copyists, of Tiglath-pileser. See on 2 Kings 15:29.

Verse 9

9. Unto the entering in of the wilderness That is, the Reubenites spread eastward from their original territory beyond Jordan, and occupied the borders of the great Arabian and Syrian deserts that extend between the uplands just east of the Jordan and the great river Euphrates.

Verse 10

10. The Hagarites The same as the Ishmaelites, who were all descended from Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian hand-maid, and were scattered over the vast deserts between Egypt and Assyria. See on Genesis 25:12-18. In this Hagarite war, the Reubenites were assisted by the Gadites and the half tribe of Manasseh. See 1 Chronicles 5:18-22.

Verse 19

19. Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab These seem to have been clans of Hagarites, corresponding with the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh among the Israelites. Jetur and Nephish are named in the genealogy of 1 Chronicles 1:29-31, and of Genesis 25:13-15.

Verse 21

21. Camels fifty thousand The booty taken in this war seems almost incredible; but when we compare the immense wealth in flocks and herds of a single Bedouin chief like Job, (Job 1:3,) or Mesha, (2 Kings 3:4,) we have reason to believe that the numbers here given are not erroneous.

Verse 25

25. They transgressed Being more widely scattered and Bedouin-like in their habits than the western tribes, these eastern Israelites fell into idolatry sooner than the western tribes, and fell more rapidly, and were accordingly the first to suffer exile.

Verse 26

26. Pul See on 2 Kings 15:19-20.

Carried… away That is, the latter, Tilgath-pilneser, carried them away. According to the account in Kings, Pul was hired by Menahem to withdraw his forces and confirm him in the kingdom, but it is not impossible that on his return through the eastern deserts he also carried off a number of exiles from the exposed eastern tribes. On Halah… Habor… Gozan, see 2 Kings 17:6, note. Hara is mentioned only here. Some think it is the same as Haran, mentioned in Genesis 2:31, and 2 Kings 19:12. Others regard it as the Aramaic form for הר , mountain, and refer it to some mountainous tract near Gozan.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/1-chronicles-5.html. 1874-1909.
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