Dismissing the sons of Esau-Edom, the narrative proceeds with the sons of Israel, who are named in order, by way of introduction to their genealogies, which occupy 1 Chronicles 1-8.
The rest of 1 Chronicles 2 treats of [the leading tribe of Judah, and its sub-divisions, under the heads of Zerah and Perez (3-41), and Caleb (42-55); while 1 Chronicles 3, 4 complete the account of this tribe, so far as the fragmentary materials at the writer’s disposal permitted.
1 Chronicles 2:2Dan, Joseph, and Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.
1 Chronicles 2:3The sons of Judah; Er, and Onan, and Shelah: which three were born unto him of the daughter of Shua the Canaanitess. And Er, the firstborn of Judah, was evil in the sight of the LORD; and he slew him.THE FIVE SONS OF JUDAH, FROM Genesis 38.
(3) The daughter of Shua the Canaanitess.—Shua was the father of Judah’s wife.
Er, the firstborn of Judah, was (became, proved) evil.—Word for word from Genesis 38:7. Suppressing other details relating to the sons of Judah, the chronicler copies this statement intact from Genesis, because it thoroughly harmonises with the moral he wishes to be drawn from the entire history of his people.
(6) Zimri.—This name is probably a merely accidental variant of Zabdi. Both are genuine Hebrew names occurring elsewhere. But the fact that Zimri here, and Zabdi at Joshua 7:1, are both called sons of Zerah, seems to prove their identity; especially as m is often confused with b, and d with r.
Ethan, and Heman, and Calcol, and Dara.—It is stated (1 Kings 4:31) that Solomon was “wiser than all men; than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, and Chalcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol.” It will be seen that the first three names coincide with those of our text, and that Dara is only one letter different from Darda. Further, many MSS. of Chronicles, as well as the Svriac and Arabic versions and the Targum, actually have Darda. The Yatic. LXX. reads Darad. There is thus a virtual repetition of these four names in the passage of Kings, and it is difficult to suppose that the persons intended are not the same there and here. Ethan is called an Ezrahite in Kings, but Ezrah and Zerah are equivalent forms in Hebrew; and the Yatic. LXX. actually calls Ethan a Zarhite—i.e., a descendant of Zerah (Numbers 26:13). The designation of the four as “sons of Mahol” presents no difficulty. Mahol is a usual word for the sacred dance (Psalm 149:3; Psalm 150:4), and the four Zarhites are thus described as “sons of dancing”—that is, sacred musicians. It is likely, therefore, that these famous minstrels of Judah were adopted into the Levitical clans in which sacred music was the hereditary profession. (See Psalms 88, 89., titles.) Whether Ethan and Heman are the persons mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Chronicles 6:44; 1 Chronicles 15:17; 1 Chronicles 15:19 as the recognised heads of two of the great guilds of temple musicians is not clear. The Levitical ancestry ascribed to them in 1 Chronicles 6 would not be opposed to this assumption, as adoption would involve it.
Achar, the troubler of Israel.
Achar . . . troubler of Israel.—There is a play on the man’s name in the Hebrew, which is, “Achar ’ocher Yisrael.” So in Joshua 7:25 Joshua asks, “Why hast thou troubled us?” (‘achartânu), and in 1 Chronicles 2:26 the place of Achar’s doom is called “the valley of Achor” (trouble). Probably Achan is an old error for Achar.
Ram.—Called Aram in our Lord’s genealogy (Matthew 1) The two names are synonyms, both meaning high, and are used interchangeably in Job 32:2 (Ram) and Genesis 22:21 (Aram).
Chelubai.—Strictly, the Chelubite or Calebite, a gentilic term formed from Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:18). This seems to show that we are concerned here not so much with individual sons of Hezron as with families or clans of Hezronites.
(11) Salma.—So in Ruth 4:20; but in 1 Chronicles 2:21, Matthew 1:4, and Luke 3:32, Salmon.
(13-17) The family of Jesse (Heb., Yishai in 1 Chronicles 2:12, but ‘Ishai in 1 Chronicles 2:13).
Seven sons are here named. 1 Samuel 17:12-13 states that Jesse had eight sons; and from 1 Samuel 16:6-10 (Heb.) it appears that he had that number. In both passages, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shimma (Heb., Shim‘â, here and at 1 Chronicles 20:7) occur, the last under the form Shammah. He is called Shimei (2 Samuel 21:21); but Shimeah == Shim’ah (2 Samuel 13:3; 2 Samuel 13:32); and this appears to have been his real name.
(14, 15) Nethaneel . . . Raddai . . . Ozem.—Not named elsewhere in the Scriptures. The son of Jesse, omitted in our present Heb. text, is called Elihu in the Syriac version, which makes him seventh and David the eighth. The name Elihu occurs in 1 Chronicles 27:18 for Eliab.
(16) Whose sisters were Zeruiah, and Abigail.—Literally, And their sisters, &c. If the reading in 2 Samuel 17:25 be correct, these two women were daughters of Nahash, who must therefore have been a wife of Jesse. Abigail (there called Abigal) was mother of the warrior Amasa, who became Absalom’s general (2 Samuel 19:13), and was afterwards assassinated by Joab (2 Samuel 20:10).
Abishai.—Abshai, here and elsewhere in the chronicle.
Joab, the famous commander-in-chief of David’s forces (see 1 Chronicles 11:6-8); and for Joab and Abishai, who, like Asahel, was one of David’s heroes (1 Chronicles 11:20; 1 Chronicles 11:26), comp. 1 Chronicles 18:12; 1 Chronicles 18:15; 1 Chronicles 19:10 seq., 1 Chronicles 21:2 et seq., 1 Chronicles 27:24. David’s champions were thus his immediate kin, just as Abner was to Saul.
(17) Jether the Ishmeelite.—Incorrectly called “Ithra an Israelite” in 2 Samuel 17:25. The later abhorrence of alien marriages seems to have been unknown in the age of David. The name of Zeruiah’s husband is unknown.
II.—The Calebite stock (1 Chronicles 2:18-24).
(21) And afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir.—This appears to mean, after the birth of the three sons mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:9.
Machir.—The firstborn of Manasseh (Genesis 1:23), to whom Moses gave the land of Gilead (Numbers 32:40; Deuteronomy 3:15). This explains the term “father of Gilead.” The great clan of Machir was the ruling clan in Gilead. Comp. Numbers 26:28, which mentions the clan of the Machirites, and adds that “Machir begat Gilead,” which perhaps means to say that the Israelite settlers in Gilead were of the clan Machir.
Whom he married when he was threescore.—It is possible to see here a metaphorical statement of the fact that a branch of Hezronites amalgamated with the Machirites of Gilead. The “daughter of Machir” would then mean the clan so named. Comp. the expressions, “daughter of Zion” (Isaiah 37:22), “daughter of Judah” (Lamentations 1:15), “daughter of Babylon” (Isaiah 47:1).
1 Chronicles 2:21-23 show a connection between Jair and the two tribes of Judah and Manasseh thus:—
Hezron married the daughter of Machir, chief of Gilead
Jair is of course the name of a group of kindred families or clans, settled in the twenty-three cities.
Geshur, and Aram.—That is, the Aramean state of Geshur, north-west of Bashan, near Hermon and the Jordan, which was an independent kingdom in the age of David (2 Samuel 3:3). The Geshurites “took the tent-villages of Jair from them”—i.e., from the sons of Jair, or the Jairites, at what date is unknown. Comp. Deuteronomy 3:14-15, above cited.
With Kenath.—The Hebrew particle before “Kenath” may be either the sign of the object of the verb, or the preposition “with.” In the latter case, the statement of the verse will be that the twenty-three villages of Jair, together with the (thirty-seven) places called Kenath and her daughters, amounting in all to sixty towns, were taken by the Geshurites. See Numbers 32:41-42, where it is said that Jair occupied the Havoth-jair, and “Nobah went and took Kenath and her daughters, and called it Nobah after his own name.” Kenath is the modern Kanwat, on the western slope of Jebel Hauran.
It is difficult to reconcile all the different statements about the Havoth-jair. Judges 10:3-4, for example, speaks of Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty -two years, and “had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts,” and, moreover, possessed “thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair unto this day.” Joshua 13:30 seems to make the Havoth-jair sixty towns. Comp. 1 Kings 4:13; also 1 Chronicles 2:21, where Hezron is sixty when he marries the Gileadite daughter of Machir.
Of course the number of places included in the “camps of Jair” may have varied at different epochs.
All these belonged to the sons of Machir.—Or, all these were sons of Machir—i.e., the clans and families that came of the union of Hezron with the daughter of ‘Machir. (See Note on 1 Chronicles 2:21; and Joshua 19:34.)
Ashur (Heb., Ash-hur) means “man of Hur”—that is, the chief of the clan of the Hurites, settled at Ephrath or Bethlehem (1 Chronicles 2:19). Comp. Ashbel “man of Bel.” (Ash is the elder form of Ish “man”; as appears from the Phenician inscriptions.)
That “Caleb” in this verse means the house of Caleb is evident if we consider that the genealogy makes him great grandson of Judah, whereas the individual Caleb son of Jephunneh took part in the conquest of Canaan, more than four centuries after Judah went down to Egypt.
III.—The Jerahmeelites (1 Chronicles 2:25-41). Comp. 1 Samuel 27:10, “the south (land) of the Jerahmeelites,” in the territory of Judah.
And Ahijah.—This is probably a mistake, as the conjunction is wanting in the Hebrew. The LXX. has, “his brother” the Hebrew for which might easily be misread Ahijah. So the Syriac and Arabic read, “and Ozem their sister.” But the statement of 1 Chronicles 2:26, “Jerahmeel had also another wife,” &c., makes it likely that the first wife was mentioned here; and, therefore, it is conjectured that Ahijah—usually a man’s name—is the former wife; and that the right reading is “from Ahijah,” which requires merely the restoration of the prefix m (me-Ahiyah), which has fallen out, as in other instances, after the m of Ozem immediately preceding.
The mother of Onam.—See 1 Chronicles 2:28-34 for the ramifications of this clan.
I.—1 Chronicles 2:42-45 : Caleb brother of Jerahmeel = Caleb son of Hezron (1 Chronicles 2:18) = Chelubai (1 Chronicles 2:9).
(42) Mesha.—The name of a king of Moab (2 Kings 3:4), whose monument of victory, the famous Moabite stone, was found in 1868 at Dibou. Here the name is probably that of a principal Calebite clan, settled at Ziph, near Hebron (Joshua 15:54-55; 1 Samuel 23:14).
Father of Ziph.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 2:21, “father of Gilead,” and 24.
And the sons of Mareshah the father of Hebron.—The statement of the verse is, “the sons of Mareshah were sons of Caleb,” that is, the Mareshathites, or people of Mareshah (Joshua 15:44), a town in the Shephelah, were a Calebite clan. This branch of Caleb is called “father of Hebron,” because it had the chief part in colonising that old Canaanite city.
(43) Korah.—Elsewhere the name of a subdivision of the Kohathite Levites; in 1 Chronicles 1:35 it was a tribe of Edomites. In this place, therefore, it may be a clan of Hebronites.
Tappuah.—A town in the Shephelah (Joshua 15:34; Joshua 16:8).
Rekem.—A Benjamite city (Joshua 18:27); in 1 Chronicles 7:16, a Machirite chieftain or clan.
Shema.—Occurs several times in the chronicle. In 1 Chronicles 5:8; 1 Chronicles 8:13 it appears to be the name of a clan; in 1 Chronicles 11:44 and Nehemiah 8:4 a person is meant.
(44) Jorkoam.—Occurs nowhere else in the Old Testament. The LXX. (Alex.) has Ἰεκλάν, Jeklan. Probably, therefore, the correct reading is Jokdeam. (For the change of Hebrew d to Greek l see 1 Kings 5:11, where Hebrew Darda is represented by Δαραλά.) Jokdeam was a town in the hill-country of Judah (Joshua 15:56). The chief or clan Raham is here called its father or founder.
Rekem.—The LXX. (Alex.) again has Jeklan (Jokdeam), which is as likely to be right as Rekem.
Shammai.—See 1 Chronicles 2:28.
(45) Maon . . . Beth-zur.—Towns in the hill-country of Judah (Joshua 15:55; Joshua 15:58). Maon, now Main, south of Hebron. Beth-zur (2 Chronicles 11:7), now Beit-sûr. In Judges 10:12 Midianites, not Maonites, is the better reading.
(46) Ephah, Caleb’s concubine . . .—These sons of concubines appear to represent mixed populations or tribal groups considered to be of less pure descent than the chief houses of Caleb. The same title of inferiority might cover a relation of dependence, something like that of the clients of the great Roman houses. The name Ephah occurred in 1 Chronicles 1:33 as a tribe of the Midianites. It is likely, therefore, that we have before us a record of the admixture of a Midianite element with the southern Judeans.
Haran.—Abraham’s brother (Genesis 11:26); a place in Mesopotamia where Abraham settled (Genesis 11:31). It is the Assyrian harranu (high-road). The Midianites claimed descent from Abraham (1 Chronicles 1:33), this name therefore might well be borne by a semi-Midianite clan.
Moza.—Occurs in Joshua 18:26 as a town in Benjamin.
Haran begat Gazez.—Comp. 1 Chronicles 2:24, Note. Gazez was probably a branch of the clan Haran. The LXX. (Vat.) omits the clause.
(47) The sons of Jahdai.—Heb., Yohdai, or Yehdai. The connection of these tribal groups with the foregoing is not clear; but from 1 Chronicles 2:46 it appears that they were Calebites with a foreign admixture. It is curious to find the Midianite name Ephah recurring among them.
(48) Maachah, Caleb’s concubine, bare . . .—The Heb. is peculiar, “Caleb’s concubine Maachah—he bare Sheber,” &c. There is another reading, “she bare.” Maachah was a well-known Syrian state (Deuteronomy 3:14). (Comp. 2 Samuel 3:3; 1 Chronicles 11:43; 1 Chronicles 19:6-7; and 2 Kings 25:23.) These Calebites, it would seem, were of partly Aramean origin. The masculine verb “he bare” is intelligible if Maachah means not a woman, but a race. (Comp. 1 Chronicles 19:15, “Aram hath fled” = the Syrians have fled; 16, “Aram saw,” &c.)
(49) Madmannah.—A town of southern Judah, mentioned along with Ziklag in Joshua 15:31. The Shaaf who settled here are different from those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:47.
Machbenah, an unknown place in Judah, and Gibeah in the hill-country (Joshua 15:57) were settlements of the mixed Calebites called Sheva.
The daughter of Caleb was Achsa.—In Joshua 15:13-19 the father of Achsah is called Caleb son of Jephunneh. This Caleb son of Jephunneh is associated with Joshua in the Pentateuch (Numbers 12:6; Numbers 12:8), and took a prominent part in the conquest of Canaan.
As he represents Judah (Numbers 12:6; comp. Judges 1:10-12), it is reasonable to see in Caleb son of Jephunneh the chief of the tribal division of Hezron-Caleb in the time of Joshua.
Already in these curious lists we have met with special memorials of remarkable members of clans (comp. 1 Chronicles 2:6-7; 1 Chronicles 2:20), and we may see in the brief clause “and Achsah, daughter of Caleb” a similar notice that this famous person was a Calebite.
(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 (géder).—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., Ἀραά) =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, mishpehôth) dwelling in the canton of Kirjath-jearim, viz., the Ithrites, Puhites (Heb., Puthites), &c, were also sons of Shobâl. 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 Eshtaôl were subdivisions of the clans of Kirjath-jearim. Zorah (Judges 13:2), a Danite town, the home of Samson, now Sura. Eshtaôl, 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 (mishpehôth=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‘bêç), 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 terû‘āh, “trumpet-blare;” shim‘āh, “report;” or the Aramaic Shema‘tâ “legal tradition” and sûkāh (= 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 (pôthôth—1 Kings 1:50—“hinges”), and the Shumathithes garlic-eaters (shûm, “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.