1 Chronicles 2:50 MEANING

1 Chronicles 2:50
III.--1 Chronicles 2:50-55 : A third register of Calebite clans and settlements.

(50) The sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah.--See 1 Chronicles 2:19-20 and Notes. The statement "These were the sons of Caleb" should be connected with 1 Chronicles 2:49, as a subscription or concluding remark to the list, 1 Chronicles 2:42-49. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 2:33.) A fresh start is then made with "the sons (so the LXX.) of Hur, firstborn of Ephratah," reverting to the Caleb of 1 Chronicles 2:19 seq., just as 1 Chronicles 2:34 returns to Jerahmeel in the Sheshanite branch.

Shobal the father of Kirjath-jearim.--Shobal is named at 1 Chronicles 4:1 as a chief clan or sub-tribe of Judah, along with Hur.

Kirjath-jearim.--"City of woods," one of the four cities of the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:17), also called Kirjath-Baal and Baalah (Joshua 15:9; Joshua 15:60), in the hill-country of Judah.

(51) Salma the father of Beth-lehem.--See 1 Chronicles 2:11, where Salma may be the feather-house (clan) of which Boaz was a member. The present Salma, however, is a Calebite, whereas the Salma of 1 Chronicles 2:11 is a Ramite.

Beth-gader (geder).--Joshua 12:13, Geder; Joshua 15:36, Gederah; or perhaps Gedor (Joshua 15:58).

(52) Haroeh, and half of the Manahethites.--Haroeh is probably a relic of Jehoraah (LXX., ????) =Reaiah (see 1chron iv 2) and perhaps hatsi-hammenuhoth should be altered to hatsi-hammanahti (see 1 Chronicles 2:54), which would give the sense of the Authorised Version. As the Hebrew stands, the Vulg. is a literal rendering of it: qui videbat dimidium requietionum (!). The Manahathites were the people of Manahath (1 Chronicles 8:6). a town near the frontier of Dan and Judah (1 Chronicles 2:54).

(53) This verse is really a continuation of the last, and a comma would be better than a full stop after the word Manahathites. The "families" (clans or groups of families, mishpehoth) dwelling in the canton of Kirjath-jearim, viz., the Ithrites, Puhites (Heb., Puthites), &c, were also sons of Shobal. Two of David's heroes, Ira and Gareb (1 Chronicles 11:40), were Ithrites. The three other clans are nowhere else mentioned.

Of them came the Zareathites, and the Eshtaulites.--Rather, from these went forth the Zorathites, &c. The men of Zorah and Eshtaol were subdivisions of the clans of Kirjath-jearim. Zorah (Judges 13:2), a Danite town, the home of Samson, now Sura. Eshtaol, also a Danite town, near Zorah (Judges 16:31; Judges 18:11-12), the present Um-Eshteiyeh. Both were on the western border of Judah, a few miles west of Kirjath-jearim.

(54) The sons of Salma; Beth-lehem.--In 1 Chronicles 2:51 Salma is called "father of Bethlehem," and according to 1 Chronicles 2:50, Salma is a son of Hur and a grandson of Ephratah, i.e., Beth-lehem (see 1 Chronicles 2:19, Note). The recognition of the ethnographical and geographical significance of these expressions at once removes all difficulty. Salma was the principal clan established in Bethlehem-Ephratah; branches of which were settled at Netophah, a neighbouring township (1 Chronicles 9:16; 2 Samuel 23:28-29), important after the return (Ezra 2:22; Nehemiah 7:26).

Ataroth, the house of Joab.--Rather, Atroth-beth-Joab (comp. Abel-beth-Maachah); an unknown town, whose name means "ramparts of the house of Joab," i.e., "Joab's castle," perhaps a strong city where Joab's family was settled. (See 1 Chronicles 2:26.)

Half of the Manahethites were sons of Salma, the other half sons of Shobal (1 Chronicles 2:52).

The Zorites.--A by-form of Zorathites (1 Chronicles 2:53). The word really belongs to the next verse, as the sons of Salma are arranged in pairs.

(55) The families (mishpehoth=clans) of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez.--Among the clans calling themselves sons of Salma were three groups of Sopherim (Authorised version, "scribes") settled at Jabez (Heb., Ia'bec), a town of northern Judah, near to Zorah. (See 1 Chronicles 4:9, Note.) The three clans were known as those of Tir'ah, Shimeah, and Suchah. The Vulg. treats these names as appellatives, and renders canentes atque resonantes et in tabernaculis commorantes, that is, "singing and resounding, and dwelling in tents." This translation is assumed to be due to Jerome's Rabbinical teachers, and is justified by reference to the words ter-'?h, "trumpet-blare;" shim'?h, "report;" or the Aramaic Shema'ta "legal tradition" and s-k?h (= sukkah), "a booth." Hence the conclusion has been drawn that the Sopherim of Jabez were, in fact, ministers of religion, discharging functions precisely like those of the Levites. So Wellhausen, who refers to Jeremiah 35:19, and the title of Psalms 70 in the LXX., and to one or two late fragmentary notices of the Rechabites. On the face of it the supposition is unlikely; nor does it derive any real support from the Kenite origin of these Sopherim, for it is a mere fancy that the house of Jethro, the Kenite priest of Midian, became temple-ministers in Israel. Besides, the etymologies of the names are hardly cogent; and if we try to extract history from etymology here, we might as well do so in the case of the clans of Kirjath-jearim (1 Chronicles 2:53), and make the Ithrites a guild of ropers (yether, "cord, bowstring"), the Puthites hinge-makers (pothoth--1 Kings 1:50--"hinges"), and the Shumathithes garlic-eaters (sh-m, "garlic," Numbers 11:5). The Vulg. often makes the blunder of translating proper names. (See 1 Chronicles 2:52; 1 Chronicles 2:54).

These are the Kenites that came of Hemath (Heb., Hammath), the father of the house of (Beth-) Rechab.--The three clans of Sopherim were originally Kenites, and traced their descent from Hammath, the traditional founder of the Rechabite stock. When, or under what circumstances these Rechabite Kenites amalgamated with the Calebite clan of Salma is unknown; but comp. Judges 1:11-16.

Verses 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 ver. 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, 60; cf. 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; Nehemiah 7:29; 1 Chronicles 13:6; 2 Chronicles 1:4; Jeremiah 26:20; Psalm 132:6. This Shobal (ver. 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 ver. 54 - or Chatsi-hammenon-choth (Hebrew text), which Gesenius treats as a proper name, and which means "the midst of quiet places" (Psalm 23:2), from which comes the patronymic of the next verse but one (Barrington, 'Genealogies,' 1:213). From the Kirjath-jearim family were derived (ver. 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, 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.

2:1-55 Genealogies. - We are now come to the register of the children of Israel, that distinguished people, who were to dwell alone, and not be reckoned among the nations. But now, in Christ, all are welcome to his salvation who come to him; all have equal privileges according to their faith in him, their love and devotedness to him. All that is truly valuable consists in the favour, peace, and image of God, and a life spent to his glory, in promoting the welfare of our fellow-creatures.These were the sons of Caleb the son of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah,.... This is another Caleb, the grandson of Caleb the son of Hezron, called after his name; he was the son of Hur, the firstborn of his wife Ephratah, 1 Chronicles 2:19.

Shobal the father of Kirjathjearim: of the inhabitants of that place; they sprung from him; or, as the Targum, he was prince of Kirjathjearim, a city in the tribe of Judah, Joshua 15:60.

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