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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
1 Chronicles 7

 

 

Verses 1-40

e. The Families of the Remaining Tribes (except Dan and Zebulun), and in particular of the Benjamtte House Of Saul

1 Chronicles 7–8

1. The Families of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, West Prayer of Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher: 1 Chronicles 7

α. The Tribe of Issachar: 1 Chronicles 7:1-5

1 Chronicles 7:1.And the sons[FN1] of Issachar: Tola and Puah, Jashub[FN2] and Shimron, four 2 And the sons of Tola: Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Samuel, heads of their father-houses to Tola, valiant heroes in their generations; their number in the days of David was twenty and two thousand and six hundred 3 And the sons of Uzzi: Izrahiah; and the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five heads in all 4 And with them, by their generations, by their father-houses, troops of the host of war, thirty and six thousand; for they had many wives and sons 5 And their brethren of all the families of Issachar, valiant heroes, eighty and seven thousand was their register for all.

β. The Tribe of Benjamin: 1 Chronicles 7:6-11

6Benjamin: Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three 7 And the sons of Bela : Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five, heads of father-houses, valiant heroes; and their register was twenty and two thousand and thirty and four 8 And the sons of Becher: Zemirah, and Joash, and Eliezer, and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abiah, and Anathoth, and Alemeth: 9all these were the sons of Becher. And their register by their generations, heads of their father-houses, valiant heroes, twenty thousand and two hundred 10 And the sons of Jediael: Bilhan; and the sons of Bilhan: Jeush,[FN3] and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tarshish, and Ahishahar 11 All these were sons of Jediael, by the heads of the fathers, valiant heroes, seventeen thousand and two hundred going out in the host for war.

γ. Another Tribe, and the Tribe of Naphtali: 1 Chronicles 7:12-13

12And Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir: Hushim, sons of another 13 The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, sons of Bilhah.

δ. Half-Tribe of Manasseh (west of Jordan): 1 Chronicles 7:14-19

14The sons of Manasseh: Ashriel,[FN4] whom his concubine, the Aramitess, bare; she bare Machir, the father of Gilead 15 And Machir took a wife for Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of his sister was Maachah, and the name of the 16 second was Zelophehad; and Zelophehad had daughters. And Maachah, wife of Machir, bare a Song of Solomon, and she called his name Peresh; and the name of his brother was Sheresh; and his sons were Ulam and Rekem 17 And the sons of Ulam : Bedan: these are the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son ofManasseh 18 And his sister Hammolecheth bare Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahlah 19 And the sons of Shemidah: Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam.

ε. The Tribe of Ephraim: 1 Chronicles 7:20-29

20And the sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah, and Bered his Song of Solomon, and Tahath his Song of Solomon, and Eladah his Song of Solomon, and Tahath his Song of Solomon 21And Zabad his Song of Solomon, and Shuthelah his son; and Ezer and Elad; and the men of Gath that were born in the land slew them, because they came down to take away their cattle 22 And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to 23 comfort him. And he went in to his wife, and she conceived and bare a Song of Solomon, 24and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house. And his daughter was Sherah, and she built Beth-horon, the nether and the upper, and 25 Uzzen-sherah. And Rephah his Song of Solomon, and Resheph and Telah his Song of Solomon, and26,27Tahan his son. Ladan his Song of Solomon, Ammihud his Song of Solomon, Elishama his son. Non 28 his Song of Solomon, Joshua his son. And their possession and their habitations were Bethel and her daughters, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer and her daughters, and Shechem and her daughters unto Ajjah[FN5] and her daughters 29 And on the side of the sons of Prayer of Manasseh, Bethshean and her daughters, Taanach and her daughters, Megiddo and her daughters, Dor and her daughters; in these dwelt the sons of Joseph the son of Israel.

ζ. The Tribe of Asher: 1 Chronicles 7:30-40

30The sons of Asher: Imnah, and Ishuah, and Ishui, and Beriah, and Serah their sister 31 And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel; he is the father of Birzavith.[FN6] 32And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister 33 And the sons of Japhlet Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath : these are the sons of Japhlet 34 And the sons of Shemer: Ahi, and 35 Rohgah, and Hubbah[FN7] and Aram. And the son of Helem his brother: Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal 36 The sons of Zophah : Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah, 37Bezer, and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran, and Beera 38 And the sons of Jether: Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara 39 And the sons of Ulla: Arah, and Hanniel, and Riziah 40 All these were the sons of Asher, heads of father-houses, choice, valiant heroes, heads of the princes: and their register for the service in war was twenty and six thousand.

EXEGETICAL

1. The Tribe of Issachar: 1 Chronicles 7:1-5.—And the sons of Issachar. That וְלִבְנֵי is an error of the pen for וּבְנֵי (comp. 1 Chronicles 7:20; 1 Chronicles 5:11, etc.), occasioned by the many לִבְנֵי in the previous section ( 1 Chronicles 6:42; 1 Chronicles 6:46-47, etc.), is probable in itself, and is confirmed by the Sept. cod. Alex. (see Crit. Note). To regard the לְ as introductory, “as for the sons of Issachar,” is impossible, because the names of the four sons immediately follow. On the constant Keri (יִשָּׁכָר, “obtained by hire”) referring to the name ישׂשׂכר, and on its probable pronunciation, comp. the expositors on Genesis 30:16, and Dietrich’s Gesenius.Tola and Puah, Jashub and Shimron. So run the names also in Numbers 26:23 ff, while in Genesis 46:15 the second and third vary (פֻּוָּה for פּוּאָה, and יוֹב for יָשׁוּב).

1 Chronicles 7:2. Uzzi and Rephaiah, etc. These sons of Tola occur nowhere else. They are here designated “heads of their father-houses to Tola” their parent; this addition לְתוֹלָע serves to define לְבֵית אֲבוֹתָם more exactly; but it is somewhat strange, which raises the suspicion of corruption.—Valiant heroes in their generations, after their births, that Isaiah, as they are registered. Before לְתֹלְדוֹתָם a הִתְיַחְשָׂם appears to have fallen out; comp. 1 Chronicles 7:9. Less probable is the connection of לְתֹלְדוֹתָם with the following מִסְפָּרָם against the accentuation, which Keil proposes, “after their births their number was,” etc. Moreover, the number22,600 for the men of Issachar fit for service in David’s time should rest on the known census made by Joab under this king ( 1 Chronicles 21; 2 Samuel 24), and therefore, like the following Numbers, 1 Chronicles 7:4-5; 1 Chronicles 7:7; 1 Chronicles 7:11, etc, should be credible and accurate.

1 Chronicles 7:3. Five heads in all, namely, Izrahiah the father with his four sons.

1 Chronicles 7:4. And with them, namely, the five heads of families mentioned 1 Chronicles 7:3 (עַל in וַֽעֲלֵיהֶם, “with, along with”). The number36,000 for this family alone is at first sight surprising; but the following remark: “for they (those five heads) had many wives and sons,” is sufficient to explain and justify it, pointing to an unwonted fruit-fulness of this family, and making it conceivable that the grandson of Izrahiah should have nearly twice as many descendants (36,000) as the patriarch Tola (22,600).

1 Chronicles 7:5. And their brethren … eighty and seven thousand was their register, literally, their register with respect to all (לְכֹל). In this sum total of all the tribes of Issachar in the time of David are included—1. The22,600 descendants of Tola; 2. The36,000 of Izrahiah; and3. “Their brethren,” 28,400 of the other families of the tribe not mentioned by name. The credibility of these numbers is shown by the circumstance that in the two enumerations under Moses the men of Issachar fit for service were respectively54,400 ( Numbers 1:29) and64,300 ( Numbers 26:25). The comparatively slow increase (about23,000) during the centuries from Moses to David is due to the desolating troubles in the time of the judges.

2. The Tribe of Benjamin: 1 Chronicles 7:6-11.—Benjamin: Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three. A בְּנֵי or וּבְנֵי appears to have fallen out before בִּנְיָמִין. If only three sons of Benjamin are here enumerated, this seems to contradict Genesis 46:21, where ten sons of Benjamin are named; also Numbers 26:38, where at least five are named; and 1 Chronicles 8:1 f, where at all events five are enumerated, though some of them are different from those in Numbers. The relation of these four different registers may be thus exhibited:—

Genesis 46

Numbers 26

1 Chronicles 8

1 Chronicles 7

Bela.

Bela.

Bela.

Bela.

Becher.

Becher.

Ashbel.

Ashbel.

Ashbel.

Gera.

Naaman.

Ehi.

Ahiram.

Ahrah (אַחְרַח).

Kosh.

Muppim.

Shephuphan.

Huppim.

Hupham.

Ard.

Nochah (נוֹחָה).

Raphah (רָפָא).

Jediael.

From this comparison, it appears that—1. Jediael occurs only here, and may be corrupted from the Ashbel of the other three lists, or a synonymous by-form of it. If this conjecture of most old expositors (with which the derivation of אשבל from אֶשְׁבַּעַל [Wellhausen, Text d. B. Sam. p31] would not agree) were well grounded, our text would give three sons of Benjamin agreeing with Genesis, and pass over in silence the remaining seven2. Becher the second son of Benjamin, Isaiah, to our surprise, wanting in Num. and 1 Chronicles8, although a family of nine sons, growing into20,200 men, are given underneath ( 1 Chronicles 7:8-9). His omission in those lists in Numbers 26. may arise from this, that he did not attain to great numbers in the time of Moses, but only in the days of David and Song of Solomon, whose enumerations lie at the basis of the data here3. Some of the differences in the other names prove to be mere variations of pronunciation or structure; thus Ehi, Ahiram, and Ahrah are one and the same; also Muppim (מֻפִּים, probably written by mistake for שֻׁפִּים; see on 1 Chronicles 7:12) and Shephupham, Huppim and Hupham4. Two of the ten names in Genesis 46, as the partly more correct genealogy in Numbers 26:38-40 shows, are not sons, but grandsons of Benjamin, Naaman and Ard, who were sons of Bela5. The two names in Genesis 46. that have no parallel, Gera and Rosh, appear to have died childless, or to have not been blessed with a numerous offspring, to whose existence the later genealogists were not led to make any further reference.

1 Chronicles 7:7. And the sons of Bela … five, etc. Their names do not agree with the names of the sons of Bela given in 1 Chronicles 8:3 and in Numbers 26:40; the difference will rest on this, that a part of these heads of father-houses of the family of Bela, or perhaps all of them, were later descendants of their ancestors, and therefore sons in a wider sense.—Valiant heroes.. גִּבּוֹרֵי חֲיָלִים here and in 1 Chronicles 7:10 for the otherwise usual and more concrete גִּבּוֹרֵי חַיִל ( 1 Chronicles 7:2; 1 Chronicles 7:9, etc.).

1 Chronicles 7:8. And the sons of Becher, etc. Of the names of these nine sons of Becher, the last two, Anathoth and Alemeth, occur otherwise as cities of Benjamin; Alemeth (in the varied form עַלֶּמֶת), 1 Chronicles 6:45, and Anathoth there and Isaiah 10:30, Jeremiah 1:1, both as Levitical cities.

1 Chronicles 7:9. Heads of their father-houses, valiant heroes.רָאשֵׁי בֵית אֲבוֹתָם is in explanatory apposition with לְתֹלְדוֹתָם, and גִּבּוֹרֵי חַיִלwith the former. The heads of houses are, at the same time, designated as heroes of war. See a similar construction in Ezra 3:12.

1 Chronicles 7:10. And the sons of Bilhan: Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, etc. Of these grandsons of Jediael, the first is called in the Kethib “Jeish” (see Crit. Note); the second bears the name of the patriarch, his ancestor; the third is a namesake of Ehud the judge ( Judges 3:15), who was of the family of Gera, and scarcely identical with the present one ( Genesis 46:21). Chenaanah, כְּוַֽעֲנָה, may incline us to think (with Berth.) of a Canaanitish family incorporated with the Benjamites. The names Tarshish, otherwise denoting a precious stone, and Ahishahar, brother of the morning blush, point to the glory and fame of their bearers, and may be surnames, which afterward became personal names.

1 Chronicles 7:11. All these were sons, descendants, of Jediael, by the heads of the fathers registered. רָאשֵׁי הָאָבוֹת stands briefly for רָאשֵׁי בֵית אָבוֹת. The לְ before רָאשֵׁי seems to be redundant; it is also wanting in the Sept, and is perhaps to be erased, though it may be dependent on a הִתְיַחְשָׂם ( 1 Chronicles 7:9) to be supplied in thought, and in this case to be retained. The17,200 men of Jediael’s family fit for war, with the20,200 men of Becher’s and22,034of Bela’s, make up59,434warriors or heads of houses in Benjamin when David made his census, about14,000 more than in the days of Moses, when all the families of Benjamin presented in the field45,600 men ( Numbers 26:41). In weighing the grounds for this not very rapid increase during a period of three or four centuries, it is proper to take into account the catastrophe of the first period of the Judges, whereby the whole tribe of Benjamin was reduced to600 men ( Judges 20:47). The number of280,000 Benjamite warriors given, 2 Chronicles 24:7, for the time of Asa is explained in this way, that there, not heads of houses, but individuals fit for military service, are included.

3. Another (unnamed) Tribe, and the Tribe of Naphtali: 1 Chronicles 7:12-13.—And Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir. This first half of the verse contains pretty certainly a supplement to the genealogy of Benjamin; for the names Shuppim and Huppim coincide with those of two by the sons of Benjamin, as they are called Genesis 46:21 (the word מֻפִּים there appears, as has been said, corrupted from שֻׁפִּים); and that these two Benjamites, whose more correct forms are preserved in Numbers 26:39, appear here as בְּנֵי עִיר, is easily reconciled with other statements, for עִיר is most probably identical with עִירִי the son of Bela, 1 Chronicles 7:7; hence those who are called, Genesis 46 and Numbers 26, sons of Bela, appear here more correctly as his grandsons. Thus our verse contains so far nothing difficult or enigmatical.—Hushim, sons of another, or “sons of Aher” (אַחֵר). It is possible that these words also refer to a Benjamite family, for the name חֻשִׁם, in the varying form חוּשִׁים or חֻשִׁים, is found, 1 Chronicles 8:8; 1 Chronicles 8:11, among the Benjamites as the son of a Shaharaim, who might lie hid under the אַחֵר of our passage (so thinks Davidson, Introd. ii51, who proposes the middle form שַׁחַר as common ground for אַחֵר and שַֽׁחֲרַיִם). But it is more probable that חֻשִׁם denotes the only son of Dan mentioned Genesis 46:23, who is himself, indicated by the mysterious אחר. For—1. Both in Genesis 46. and Numbers 26. Dan immediately follows Benjamin, and he stands in the first passage, as here, between Benjamin and Naphtali2. The name שׁוּחָם, which Numbers 26:42 gives for the only son of Daniel, is different only in form from the חֻשִׁם of our passage and the חֻשִׁים of Genesis; we may suppose a חוּשָׁם or שְׁחוּחָם (comp. שְׁפוּפָם, Numbers 26:39) as common ground-form for both3. Decisive for the reference of 1 Chronicles 7:12 b to the tribe of Dan is the בְּנֵי בִלְהָה at the close of 1 Chronicles 7:13, a note referring obviously, Genesis 46:25, to Dan and Naphtali, the two sons of Bilhah. The avoiding to name Daniel, and concealing him under the indefinite אַחֵר (comp. Ezra 2:31), recall the former surprising omissions of this tribe in 1 Chronicles 6:46-54, and appear to rest like these on a peculiar dislike of our author to record particulars concerning a tribe that had early separated itself from the theocratic community by the establishment of a foreign worship; comp. Judges 17, 18. That the name Dan occurs three times in our book ( 1 Chronicles 2:2, 1 Chronicles 12:35, 1 Chronicles 27:22) certainly appears to stand against this hypothesis proposed by Bertheau, and approved by other moderns, as Kamph, Böhmer (Zur Lehre vom Antichrist, Jahrb. f. deutsche Theol. 1859, p449), and to favour either the view of Ewald, who supposes an accidental omission of the name of Dan and of some other words by a corruption of the text, or that of Keil, who, with the ancients, finds in the words “ Hushim, sons of Aher,” only a Benjamite family (named 1 Chronicles 8:8; 1 Chronicles 8:11). But that here again a corruption of the text accidentally affects the name of Daniel, whom we expect to meet between Benjamin and Naphtali, is scarcely credible; and against the addition of the words in question to the foregoing series of Benjamites is the absence of the copula ו before חֻשִׁם. There is therefore considerable probability in the assumption of Berth, that the omission of Dan is as little accidental here as in the list of the twelve tribes in Revelation 7:5-8, and that it has a theocratic, judicial import, as it points to the fall of Dan into idolatry. From the Rabbinical tradition concerning Judges 18:30, where the name of Moses is supposed to be intentionally changed into Prayer of Manasseh, that it might not occur in the history of the Danite sanctuary, nothing can be drawn in support of this assumption, as this is only an insipid conceit in explanation of the Keriמנשׁה (against Berth.). It is also to be borne in mind that another tribe, that of Zebulun, is wholly passed over in our series, the omission of which may well be called accidental (as, for example, that of the tribes Asher and Gad in the list of tribe-princes, 1 Chronicles 27:16-24). Comp. the evangelical-ethical principles, No2.—The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, and Guni, and Jazer, and Shallum. The parallel lists, Genesis 46:24, Numbers 26:48 f, give these names, only the first is there Jahzeel (יַחְצְאֵל) and the last Shillem (שִׁלֵּם). For the addition, “ sons of Bilhah,” see on 1 Chronicles 7:12.

4. The half-Tribe of Manasseh (west of Jordan): 1 Chronicles 7:14-19.—The sons of Manasseh: Ashriel, whom his concubine the Aramitess bare. That here it is treated of the western half of Manasseh is understood of itself after the former communications concerning East Prayer of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 5:23 f. Of the six families of West Manasseh named in Numbers 26:30; Numbers 26:34, and Joshua 17:2, only two are mentioned here, Ashriel and Shemida ( 1 Chronicles 7:19). But Ashriel, from the more exact accounts in Numbers 26:31, is not a Song of Solomon, but a grandson, of Prayer of Manasseh, by his father Gilead. Now, as the following sentence referring to the Avamæan concubine of Prayer of Manasseh, “she bare Machir the father of Gilead,” seems designed to explain how Ashriel could be called a son of Manasseh and his concubine, it seems necessary to assume that he sprang from her in the fourth degree as the son of Gilead and grandson of Machir. But this assumption is as doubtful as the Masoretic expedient, which separates the words אֲשֶׁר יָֽלְדָה by an Athnach under the latter from the following פִּילַגְשׁוֹ וגו׳, and requires the supplement of some unmentioned wife to the “whom she bare.” The sagacious hypothesis of Movers (assented to by Berth. and Kamph.) here commends itself, that the name Ashriel, as a gloss arising from writing twice the consonants immediately following אשִׁר יל, is to be erased, and so the sense is to be gained: “the sons of Prayer of Manasseh, whom his Aramæan concubine bare: she bare Machir,” etc. Comp. the Sept. on Genesis 46:26 : ἐγένοντο δὲ υἱοὶ Μανασσῆ, οὓς ἔτεκεν αὐτῷ παλλακὴ Σύρα.

1 Chronicles 7:15. And Machir took a wife for Huppim and Shuppim, etc. The whole verse is so obscure, that the assumption either of interpolation or of the omission of some words seems unavoidable. Bertheau proceeds in the former way, rejects the words לְחֻפִּים וּלְשֻׁפִּים as a gloss from 1 Chronicles 7:12, and by means of some other changes, especially the insertion of 1 Chronicles 7:18 a, arrives at the sense: “and Machir took a wife, whose name was Maachah, and the name of his sister was Hammolecheth; and the name of his brother (the second) was Zelophehad.” Somewhat less violent is the emendation attempted by Movers (p89), which limits itself to the change of אֲחֹתוֹ before מעכה into הָאַחַת, and yields the sense: “ and Machir took a wife from Huppim and from Shuppim (לְ) standing for מִן, and pointing to a marriage of Machir with two wives out of the families of Huppim and Shuppim, 1 Chronicles 7:12); the name of the first was Maachah, and the name of the second Zelophehad.” Keil conjectures an omission of some words, among these the name of Ashriel, the first son of Gilead, but at the same time the intrusion of senseless interpolations in 1 Chronicles 7:15 a; while, on the contrary, he regards as critically impregnable the words of the second half verse: “and the name of the second is Zelophehad; and Zelophehad had daughters (only).” Several gaps are also supposed in the emendations of older writers, as in that of J. H. Michaelis, who endeavours to squeeze out the sense: “ and Machir took to wife (the sister of) Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of his sister (namely of Huppim) was Maachah, and the name of the second (here named son of Manasseh) was Zelophehad.” From the unsatisfactory character of all these attempts, it is plain that a correct interpretation of the verse must be given up. So much only is clear from the second gloss, whether it be preserved intact or in some way corrupted, that therein Zelophehad was called the brother or near relative of Machir, and was the same who, Numbers 27:1; Numbers 36:1 ff, Joshua 17:3, was called the father of a great number of daughters.

1 Chronicles 7:17. The sons of Maachah here mentioned, Peresh and Sheresh, as also the sons of the latter, Ulam and Rekem, occur only here.

1 Chronicles 7:17. And the sons of Ulam: Bedan. The Masoretic text names a judge Bedan, 1 Samuel 12:11, where, however, perhaps בָּרָק is to be read.—These are the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir. Bertheau, perhaps rightly, proposes here the change (favoured by 1 Chronicles7:41 and by 1 Chronicles 2:21): “These are the sons of the father of Gilead, of Machir the son of Manasseh.”

1 Chronicles 7:18. And his sister Hammolecheth bare Ishod. The Vulg. explains this not elsewhere occurring name appellatively: Regina (as Kimchi, queen of a part of Gilead). Rightly ?—The first of her sons, Ishod, “man of fame, of glory,” is otherwise unknown; on the contrary, the second appears to be identical with the Abiezer named Joshua 17:2, the chief of one of the families of Manasseh. If this were Song of Solomon, he would have to pass for the ancestor of Gideon, Judges 6:11; Judges 6:15. But Abiezer in Joshua, or Jezer (אִעֵזֶר) as it is in Numbers 26:30, appears as first son of Manasseh after Machir, not as the mere sister’s son of this Machir, as here; for which reason the identity is doubtful. Whether the following name מַחְלָה denotes a brother of these two, or a sister (comp. Mahlah, the daughter of Zelophehad, Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1), is doubtful.

1 Chronicles 7:19. And the sons of Shemidah. A son of Prayer of Manasseh, Joshua 16:2, or, more exactly, of Gilead, Numbers 26:32. The names of his four sons, except Shechem, שֶׁכֶם, who appears, Joshua 17:2, as an immediate son of Prayer of Manasseh, but, Numbers 26:32, as a son of Gilead, occur nowhere else; for Bertheau’s attempts to connect Likhi with Helek, Numbers 26:30, and Aniam (אֲנִיעָם) with נֹעָה, one of the daughters of Zelophehad, Numbers 26:33, Joshua 17:3, are arbitrary.

5. The Tribe of Ephraim: 1 Chronicles 7:20-29.—Shuthelah, and Bered his son, etc. Shuthelah appears also, Numbers 26:25, as founder of a chief family of Ephraim. This family is here traced through six generations to a second Shuthelah, 1 Chronicles 7:21, to whom are then added Ezer and Elad, two brothers of the older Shuthelah, and therefore sons or near descendants of Ephraim.—And the men of Gath, that were born in the land, slew them, namely, Ezer and Elad. The Avim (Avites), driven by the Philistines from their seats between Hazerim and Gaza, Deuteronomy 2:23, are said to be born in the land, in contrast with the intruders. Hence Ew, Berth, Kamph. will have these Avim to be here meant, whereas Keil thinks rather of the Philistines, whose settlement in south-west Palestine, in the district of Gath, was attested even in the time of Abraham, or even of the Canaanites, but not the Avites, of whom there is no tradition that they had spread to Gath. At any rate, reference is here made to a very old event, as Ephraim, the son of Jacob, still lived and begat other children. This can scarely have taken place before the descent into Egypt, as Ephraim was born in Egypt, Genesis 46:20 (against Ewald). We must suppose it to have occurred during the sojourn in Egypt, and to have been a warlike expedition from the land of Goshen, that may have fallen in the interval from Genesis 1:13-23. The verb יָרַד is not absolutely against this assumption, which was advocated by older expositors (Rossi, Kimchi, L. Lavater, Grot, Calov, etc.), and accepted by more recent ones, as Fürst (Gesch-d. bibl. Lit. i318). When the Ephraimite host marched from the wilderness of Shur or Paran, we may very well regard this as a descent upon the district of Gath (without directly identifying Ephraim with Paran, as Hitzig does, Gesch, Isr. p48).

1 Chronicles 7:22. And Ephraim, their father, mourned many days. Bertheau will, without ground, take these words figuratively, and apply them to the whole tribe of Ephraim; the going in of Ephraim to his wife, mentioned 1 Chronicles 7:23, can only be taken literally; and as there is no indication that a younger Ephraim is meant (as Keil), it is plainly recorded of the old patriarch Ephraim that he begat a Song of Solomon, Beriah, after those two sons were slain by the Gathites. Ewald perhaps goes too far, when he makes the sons Rephah and Resheph, 1 Chronicles 7:25, be born to Ephraim in this latter period. Rather is the interwoven historical notice of the raid of Ezer and Elad against Gath and its results to be regarded as closed with 1 Chronicles 7:23, and the following passage from 1 Chronicles 7:24 to be taken as the continuation of the genealogy of Ephraim.—And he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house, “because there had been calamity (בְּרָעָה) in his house.” This etymology of the name בְּרִיעָה, reminding us of the well-known derivations of Genesis (especially Genesis 5:9; Genesis 5:29-30), speaks for the undoubted antiquity of the present account. For the relation of this Ephraimite to his namesake of Benjamin, see on 1 Chronicles 8:13 f.

1 Chronicles 7:24. And his daughter was Sherah, namely, Ephraim’s daughter ( 1 Chronicles 7:20), not Beriah’s, who is only mentioned by the way. The places Nether and Upper Beth-horon built, that Isaiah, fortified, by this Sherah, probably a powerful heiress, correspond (Robinson, iii 273 ff.) to the present Beit Ur et-Tachta and Beit Ur el-Foka, on the road from Jerusalem to Joppa. They lay at the south border of the tribe of Ephraim, on a strip of land stretching out between the tribes of Benjamin and Dan. Uzzen-Sherah must be sought in their immediate neighbourhood. The name (אזֶֹן=אֻזֵּן, ear) points to a like projection or skirt as its site.

1 Chronicles 7:25-27. Joshua’s forefathers.—And Rephah his Song of Solomon, and Resheph. These two can scarcely pass for actual sons of Ephraim; comp. Numbers 26:35 f. It is uncertain to which of the families of Ephraim there mentioned they belonged.—And Telah his son, that Isaiah, Rephah’s Song of Solomon, who is the chief person, while Resheph is only mentioned by the way. The Tahan named as the son of this Telah appears different from the Tahan named Numbers 26:25 as son of Ephraim, but might belong to his posterity.

1 Chronicles 7:26. Ladan his son, etc. The name לעדן occurs, 1 Chronicles 28:7 f, 1 Chronicles 26:21, also as the name of a Levitical family, but only here as an Ephraimite. Elishama, the son of Ammihud, meets us, Numbers 7:48; Numbers 10:22, as prince of the tribe of Ephraim. in the time of Moses. His grandson was Joshua the son of Non, or Nun, as it is constantly spelled in the Pentateuch and Joshua. [This episode corresponds in antiquarian interest with the notices concerning Caleb in 1 Chronicles2. The simplest exposition of the passage is obtained by making a pause after “Shuthelah his Song of Solomon,” and another after “Rephah his son.” Ezer and Elad are then the second and third sons of Ephraim. This younger but greater son of Joseph became heir to the portion of ground which Jacob had taken from the Amorite in the region of Shechem, Genesis 48:22. Hence, in the early period of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt, we find Ephraim in this quarter asserting his claim and taking possession of this domain. The presence, or perhaps the aggression, of his family provoked the Philistines, and in a warlike encounter these two sons of Ephraim were slain by the men of Gath. After this another son was born to Ephraim, of whom Sherah, the builder or fortifier of towns, and Rephah were most probably the daughter and Song of Solomon, though they are generally regarded as the immediate children of Ephraim. Then we have a fifth son of Ephraim, Resheph, through whom Joshua is the eighth in descent from Ephraim. After the exploits of Sherah, it is probable that the tribe lost its hold on this region, and the bondage in Egypt commenced. We learn from this curious passage that there were nine generations in the line of Joshua during the sojourn in Egypt.—J. G. M. ]

1 Chronicles 7:28-29 attach as a geographical notice of the dwelling-places of the Ephraimites, 1 Chronicles 7:28, and West Manassites, 1 Chronicles 7:29, to their genealogies, as the account of the Levitical cities, 1 Chronicles 6:39 ff, to the preceding genealogy of Levi, or as the like geographical notice of the dwelling-places of the Simeonites, 1 Chronicles 4:28 ff, to the preceding genealogy.—Bethel and her daughters, that Isaiah, the surrounding hamlets belonging to Bethel. Bethel, now Beitin, on the borders of Benjamin and Ephraim ( Joshua 16:2; Joshua 18:15), was originally assigned to the former tribe ( Joshua 18:22), but afterwards belonged to the kingdom of the ten tribes, and therefore to Ephraim. Our genealogist regards only this later relation.—Naaran bears in Joshua 16:7 the name נַֽעֲרָתָה, lengthened by ה local, and seems to be identical with Neara, north of Jericho (comp. Joseph. Antiq. xvii131).—Gezer ( Joshua 16:3) lay between Bethhoron and the sea, in the south-west corner of Ephraim, while the next named, Shechem and Ajjah, lay on the north-west. For the uncertainty of the reading עַזָּה see Crit. Note. The only here occurring עַיָּה lay not far from Shechem (Neapolis, Nablous), perhaps in the region of Michmethah ( Joshua 16:6; Joshua 17:7).

1 Chronicles 7:29. And on the side of the sons of Manasseh, on their border, and in their possession. עַל יְדֵי, as in 1 Chronicles 6:16. The four cities now named, Bethshean, Taanach, Megiddo, and Dor, lie properly (like Ibleam joined with them, Joshua 17:11) outside the territory of Prayer of Manasseh, in that of the tribes of Issachar and Asher bordering it on the north. They were, however, to be assigned to Manasseh as remote dwelling-places towards the north, and serve here to mark the north border of the whole territory of “the sons of Joseph,” as the Ephraimite cities named, 1 Chronicles 7:28, determined their south border.

6. The Tribe of Asher: 1 Chronicles 7:30-40.—The sons of Asher: Imnah, and Ishuah, and Ishui, and Beriah. So Genesis 46:17, whereas, Numbers 26:44 ff, Ishui is omitted. Beriah’s sons Heber and Malchiel occur also in Genesis 46 and Numbers 26, but the last, Birzajith, only here (perhaps a woman’s name, see Crit. Note; but perhaps also = בְּאֵר זַיִת, “well of the olive,” and so a local name).

1 Chronicles 7:32-34, Heber’s descendants for three generations. The name Shomer (שׁוֹמֵר), 1 Chronicles 7:32, recurs, 1 Chronicles 7:34, in the form שָׁמֶר (in pausaשָׁמֶר), without warranting a difference between the two. For the name Ahi (אֲחִי) in 1 Chronicles 7:34 (which is not to be taken appellatively, “brother,” as the following ו shows), comp. 1 Chronicles 5:15, where a Gadite is so called.

1 Chronicles 7:35-38. Descendants of Helem, as it appears, the son of Heber, and brother of Shemer, who was called Hotham in the third place after Japhlet and Shomer, 1 Chronicles 7:32. One of the two names, either חוֹתָם or חֵלֶם, seems to have arisen from a slip of the pen, but which is uncertain. So it is with Ithran, the last but one of the eleven sons of Zophah, 1 Chronicles 7:37, who reappears in the following verse under the name of Jether, and perhaps also with Ulla, 1 Chronicles 7:39, which may be = Beera, the last son of Zophah, on the supposition of a very gross error of the pen.

1 Chronicles 7:40. All these were the sons of Asher, etc. This collective notice is like that in 1 Chronicles 7:11; the plur. חֲיָלִים, as in 1 Chronicles 7:5.—Heads of the princes (Vulg. duces ducum), that Isaiah, captains of the greater divisions of the army, at the head of which stood the נְשִׂיאִים, elati, magnates, optimates.—And their register for the service in war, that Isaiah, not that of the whole tribe of Asher, but only that of the family of Heber, as the most powerful and flourishing. The limitation to this one family explains how the present list of warriors (it is expressly designated as such, in contrast with registers including the whole inhabitants of the country; comp. 1 Chronicles 9:22) yields only26,000 men of war, whereas for the whole tribe of Asher, the Numbers 41,500,53,400 are given in Numbers 1:41; Numbers 26:47.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - For וְלִבְנֵי read וּבְנֵי, as the Sept. cod. Alex. reads καὶ οὗτοι υἱοὶ ’Ισσάχαρ (cod. Vat. has καὶ τοῖς υἱοῖς ’Ισσ).

FN#2 - So the Keri: the Kethib has יָשִׁיב.

FN#3 - יְעִישׁ in the Kethib.

FN#4 - אַשְׁרִיאֵל appears to be a gloss introduced into the text by the double writing of the following consonants, אשׁר יל׳

FN#5 - So (עַיָּה) all the best mss. and prints. The עַזָּה of some other mss. and editions is an error of the pen or the press introduced into the text by the influence of the Sept, Vulg, and Targ.; comp. de Rossi, Var. lect. ad h. l.

FN#6 - So the Keri: it is doubtful how the Kethib ברזות is to be pronounced (בִּרְזוֹת ? with Gesen, who supposes it to be a woman’s name).

FN#7 - For יְחֻבָּה is to be read, with the Keri, וְחֻבָּה.

1 Chronicles

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 7:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/1-chronicles-7.html. 1857-84.

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Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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