1 Chronicles 4:9 MEANING

1 Chronicles 4:9
(9) More honourable than his brethren.--Comp. what is said of Hamor son of Shechem in Genesis 34:19.

His brethren.--Perhaps the sons of Coz. The form of the Hebrew verb implies connection with 1 Chronicles 4:8.

His mother called his name . . .--Comp. Genesis 29:32-35, and especially Genesis 35:18.

With sorrow.--Rather, pain.

Verse 9. - This is not less true of the name of vers. 9, 10, which, however, has made its own mark amid the whole scene. The episode of these two verses, offering itself amid what should seem, superficially, a dry mass of dead names, is welcome and grateful as the oasis of the desert, and it warns us that life lies hidden at our every footfall on this ground, spread over though it is with monument and inscription, and hollow, as we thought, with the deadest of the dead. But the glimpse of old real life given us in this brief fragment of a biography is refreshing and is very suggestive. It seems an insufficient and unnatural method of accounting for the suddenness of the appearance of this episode to suppose ('Speaker's Commentary,' in lee.) that the name of Jahez was well known, from any cause, to those for whom Chronicles may be supposed to have been primarily intended. We prefer by far one account of it, viz. that the work in our hands is not in its original complete state; or, variously put, that it is in its uncompleted original state. No root corresponding to the characters of this name in present order is known; it is possible that some euphonic reason makes the name יַעְבּצ out of the real word (future Kal) יַעִצֵב, i.e. he causes pains. We cannot suppose there would be any "play" appreciable on a transposition of alphabetical characters for mere play's sake. The resemblance that almost each part of this brief and abruptly introduced narration bears to incidents recorded in Genesis (Genesis 34:19; Genesis 33:20; Genesis 4:25; Genesis 29:32; Genesis 28:20) and Exodus speaks for itself, and strongly countenances the supposition that it is a genuine deposit of the genuinely olden history of Judah. The mother's reason for the naming of the child; the language and matter and form (Genesis 17:18-20; Exodus 32:32) of the prayer of the child, when presumably he was no longer a child; and the discriminating use of the words Elohim (ver. 10) of Israel, as comps, red with the name Jehovah (1 Chronicles 2:3; 5:41), generally found here, - all help to produce this impression, although some of these particulars would carry little conviction by themselves; e.g. a mother's reasons for assigning the name of her child long outlived the earlier times alone. Upon the whole, and regarding the passage in its present place, we may say that it must be very much misplaced, or else must be understood to connect Jabez with some branch of the family of Coz. There is the more room to assume this in the vagueness of the last preceding clause, "The families of Aharhel the son of Harum." The origin of the theories of some of the older Jewish writers, to the effect that Jabez was a doctor in the law, with a school of scribes around him, is probably to be found in the desire to find a connection between his proper name, Jabez, and the place so named (1 Chronicles 2:55), and where, as we are told, "families of scribes dwelt," belonging to the Kenites. That these were connected with Bethlehem, through Salma, and that Jabez of our present passage was also of a family connected with Bethlehem, is worthy of notice, but is not enough by a long way to countenance the thought, in spite of Targum and Talmud (Smith's 'Bible Dictionary,' sub vet.). The Targum, as well here as in 1 Chronicles 2:55, identifies Jabez with Othniel "son of Keuaz" (Joshua 15:17; Judges 1:13; Judges 3:9), or more probably "the Kenizzite" merely; but there is nothing to sustain such an identification. The description, he was more honourable than his brethren, finds a close parallel, so far as the word honourable goes, in Genesis 34:19; although the honourableness of Shechem, the person there in question, does not come out to anything like the same advantage with that of Jabez, nor at all in the same direction. The word, however, is precisely the same, is often used elsewhere, and uniformly in a good sense, although the range of its application is wide. The essential idea of the root appears to be "weight." The phrase may therefore be supposed to answer to our expressive phrase, a "man of weight " - the weight being sometimes due chiefly to character, at other times to position and wealth in the first place, though not entirely divorced from considerations of character. We may safely judge, from what follows, that the intention in our present passage is to describe Jabez as a man of more ability and nobility than his brethren. It can scarcely be doubted that the meaning that lies on the surface is the correct interpretation, when it is said that his mother named him Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. The sorrow refers to unusual pains of travail, not to any attendant circumstances of domestic trial, as e.g. that the time of his birth was coincident with her own widowhood, as happened to the wife of Phinehas, when she named her offspring "Ichabod" (1 Samuel 4:19-22).

4:1-43 Genealogies. - In this chapter we have a further account of Judah, the most numerous and most famous of all the tribes; also an account of Simeon. The most remarkable person in this chapter is Jabez. We are not told upon what account Jabez was more honourable than his brethren; but we find that he was a praying man. The way to be truly great, is to seek to do God's will, and to pray earnestly. Here is the prayer he made. Jabez prayed to the living and true God, who alone can hear and answer prayer; and, in prayer he regarded him as a God in covenant with his people. He does not express his promise, but leaves it to be understood; he was afraid to promise in his own strength, and resolved to devote himself entirely to God. Lord, if thou wilt bless me and keep me, do what thou wilt with me; I will be at thy command and disposal for ever. As the text reads it, this was the language of a most ardent and affectionate desire, Oh that thou wouldest bless me! Four things Jabez prayed for. 1. That God would bless him indeed. Spiritual blessings are the best blessings: God's blessings are real things, and produce real effects. 2. That He would enlarge his coast. That God would enlarge our hearts, and so enlarge our portion in himself, and in the heavenly Canaan, ought to be our desire and prayer. 3. That God's hand might be with him. God's hand with us, to lead us, protect us, strengthen us, and to work all our works in us and for us, is a hand all-sufficient for us. 4. That he would keep him from evil, the evil of sin, the evil of trouble, all the evil designs of his enemies, that they might not hurt, nor make him a Jabez indeed, a man of sorrow. God granted that which he requested. God is ever ready to hear prayer: his ear is not now heavy.And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren,.... The Targum adds,"and wiser in the law than his brethren;''or he might be a man of great wealth and riches, or of great strength and courage, all which make a man honourable; or he may be so called, because a praying man, as follows, a man of devotion and religion, a man of God, see 1 Samuel 9:6, but who he was is not easy to say, probably a son or brother of Harum, or however that belonged to one of the families of Aharhel, mentioned in the preceding verse; for that he was Othniel, as say the Targumist and other Jewish writers (z), is not probable, and besides is after spoken of distinct from him, 1 Chronicles 4:13.

and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, because I bare him with sorrow; either with sorrow for her husband, being dead, or by reason of very sharp pains she endured at the birth of him; he was another Benoni.

(z) T. Bab. Temurah, fol. 16. 1.

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