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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
1 Chronicles 5

 

 

Verse 1

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.

Now the sons of Reuben. In proceeding to give this genealogy, the sacred historian states in a parenthesis. (1 Chronicles 5:1-2) the reason why it was not placed first, as Reuben was the oldest son of Jacob, The birthright, which by a foul crime he had forfeited, implied not only dominion, but a double portion (Deuteronomy 21:17); and both of these were transferred to Joseph, whose two sons having been adopted as the children of Jacob (Genesis 48:5), received each an allotted portion, as forming two distinct tribes in Israel. Joseph, then, was entitled to the precedency; and yet, as his posterity were not mentioned first, the sacred historian judged it necessary to explain that 'the genealogy was not to be reckoned after the birth-right,' but with reference to a superior honour and privilege that had been conferred on Judah-not the man, but the tribe-whereby it was invested with the pre-eminence over all the other tribes, and out of it was to spring David, with his royal lineage, and especially the great Messiah (Hebrews 7:14). These were the two reasons why, in the order of enumeration, the genealogy of Judah is introduced before that of Reuben.


Verses 2-5

For Judah prevailed above his brethren, and of him came the chief ruler; but the birthright was Joseph's:)

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 6

Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: he was prince of the Reubenites.

Beerah his son, whom Tiglath-pilneser ... carried away captive. There appear to have been carryings away of the people of Israel, the first by Pul (1 Chronicles 5:26), the second by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chronicles 5:6; 1 Chronicles 5:26), and the third by Shalmaneser (2 Kings 17:6; 2 Kings 18:11). All these, however, previous to the final downfall of Samaria, were partial deportations, being confined to the inhabitants of the towns and villages which were the objects of Assyrian attack.


Verse 7-8

And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 9

And eastward he inhabited unto the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.

Eastward he inhabited ... The settlement was on the east of Jordan, and the history of this tribe, which never took any part in the public affairs or movements of the nation, is comprised in 'the multiplication of their cattle in the land of Gilead,' in their 'wars with the Bedouin sons of Hagar, and in the simple labours of pastoral life. They had the right of pasture over an extensive mountain-range, the great wilderness of Kedemoth (Deuteronomy 2:26) and the Euphrates being a security against their enemies. If their possession did not extend to this limit in the time of Moses or Joshua, it did in the reign of David; and it affords an unmistakeable proof of the increase of their herds and flocks when they pastured them as far eastward as the Euphrates.


Verse 10

And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.

And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, who fell by their hand. [The Septuagint has here, instead of "with the Hagarites," pros tous paroikous, with the neighbours.] Individual tribes often waged separate wars, and obtained successes over conterminous but hostile neighbours, by means of which they enlarged their territories, even in the reign of Saul.


Verse 11

And the children of Gad dwelt over against them, in the land of Bashan unto Salcah:

The children of Gad dwelt over against them. The genealogy of the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 5:24) is given along with that of the Reubenites, as these three were associated in a separate colony.


Verses 12-15

Joel the chief, and Shapham the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 16

And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in her towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, upon their borders.

Sharon. The term Sharon was applied as descriptive of any place of extraordinary beauty and productiveness. There were three places in Palestine so called. This Sharon lay east of the Jordan. Upon their borders - i:e., of Gilead and Bashan. Gilead proper, or at least the largest part, belonged to the Reubenites; and Bashan, the greatest portion of it, belonged to the Manassites. The Gadites occupied an intermediate settlement on the land which lay upon their borders.


Verse 17

All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam king of Israel.

All these were reckoned ... in the day of Jotham. His long reign and freedom from foreign wars, as well as intestine troubles, were favourable for taking a census of the people.

And in the days of Jeroboam - the second of that name.


Verse 18

The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 19

And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab.

The Hagarites - or Hagarenes, originally synonymous with Ishmaelites (cf. Genesis 21:14; Genesis 21:21; Genesis 37:25), but afterward applied to a particular tribe of the Arabs (cf. Psalms 73:6).

Jetur. His descendants were called Itureans, and the country Auranitis, from Haouran, its chief city. These, who were skilled in archery, were invaded in the time of Joshua by a confederate army of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half Manasseh, who, probably incensed by the frequent raids of those marauding neighbours, took reprisals in men and cattle, dispossessed almost the whole of the original inhabitants, and colonized the district themselves. In fact, these four powerful Arabian nations entered into a great Bedouin alliance, at the head of which were the Hagarites and the Itureans, the descendants of Jetur, the tenth son of Ishmael, whose possessions lay in the Iturea of the Romans, the modern Jedur, to exterminate the trans-Jordanic tribes of the Hebrews.

Nephish - or Naphish (Genesis 25:15; 1 Chronicles 1:31) [Septuagint, Nafisaioon]. They were descended from the second-last son of Ishmael, but have not been identified with any existing Arab tribe.

Nodab - sprang, according to Jerome, from Kedehmah, the 12th son of Ishmael; but Poole inclines to think, from Nodab not being in the list of Ishmael's sons, that a grandson is referred to. The name Kedehmah is preserved in that of a town, Kedehma, on the gulf of the same name, situated in Hijron, on the Persian Gulf. Nodab is thought by some to be a nom de guerre from nadab (Arabian) jaculatio, vibramen teli, et nomen tribes Arabicoe, because the inhabitants of the district Kademah, on the Persian Gulf, were celebrated for their manufacture of spears. The distance need not appear too great to admit of their joining in the alliance; because even in the present day the remoteness of Syria from the Euphrates does not prevent the AEneze tribe from feeding off, every winter, the eight extensive wadys which lie between Ana and Tadmor, where a century ago they maintained a continual struggle with the Muwah, who were driven back into the desert near Aleppo (see further in Foster's 'Historical Geography of Arabia'). Divine Providence favoured, in a remarkable manner, the Hebrew army in this just war.


Verse 20-21

And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was intreated of them; because they put their trust in him.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 22

For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity.

They dwelt in their steads until the captivity. It appears that these acquisitions by conquest, which were made by the Reubenites, Gadites, and half tribe of Manasseh, reached to the banks of the Euphrates and the shores of the Persian Gulf, and were retained from the time of Saul until the period of the Assyrian captivity - i:e., for about 300 years. This is an occurrence which, from its being incidentally recorded in a dry catalogue of genealogical names, is apt to be overlooked; but its important character, and the contiguity of the extended possessions of the trans-Jordanic tribes to the Euphrates, must have had great influence on their the extended possessions of the trans-Jordanic tribes to the Euphrates, must have had great influence on their relations with Babylon.


Verses 23-25

And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: they increased from Bashan unto Baalhermon and Senir, and unto mount Hermon.

No JFB commentary on these verses.


Verse 26

And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.

The God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul - the Phal-luka of the Ninevite monuments (see the notes at 2 Kings 15:19).

And the spirit of Tilgathpilneser - the son of the former. By them the trans-Jordanic tribes, including the other half of Manasseh settled in Galilee, were removed to Upper Media. This was the first captivity (2 Kings 15:29).

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 5:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-chronicles-5.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, September 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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