1 Chronicles 7 Bible Commentary

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

(Read all of 1 Chronicles 7)
In this chapter are given the genealogies of the tribes of Issachar, 1 Chronicles 7:1 of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 7:6 Naphtali, 1 Chronicles 7:13, of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 7:14 of Ephraim, 1 Chronicles 7:20 and of Asher, 1 Chronicles 7:30, even of the chief men of them; and their numbers are reckoned as in the times of David. The tribes of Dan and Zebulun are omitted.

Verse 1. Now the sons of Issachar were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four. The same number is given, Genesis 46:13 with a small variation of two of their names, there called Phuvah and Job, from whence so many families sprang, mentioned Numbers 26:23, where the names are the same as here.

Verse 2. And the sons of Tola,.... The eldest son of Issachar, whose posterity are only reckoned by name:

Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father's house, to wit, of Tola; the principal man of his family:

[they] were valiant men of might in their generations, famous for their courage and military exploits, though they sprang from Tola, whose name signifies "a worm"; and which name Bochart {k} conjectures was given him by his parents, because he was so weakly that they had no hopes of raising him; and yet from him sprung such mighty men, and from them such a numerous race, as follows:

whose number was, in the days of David, two and twenty thousand and six hundred; besides those of the posterity of Uzzi, after mentioned. This was at the time Joab took the number of Israel, by the order of David, 1 Chronicles 21:5.

{k} Hierozoic. par. 2. l. 4. c. 21. col. 630.

Verse 3. And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah,.... Including his posterity:

and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five; together with their father, all reckoned the sons of Uzzi:

all of them chief men; in their father's house, heads of families.

Verse 4. And with them, by their generations, after the house of their fathers, were bands of soldiers for war,.... Companies of men of military courage and skill, who could and did go out to war upon occasion:

six and thirty thousand [men]; besides the 22,600 Tolaites, 1 Chronicles 7:2,

for they had many wives and sons; having many wives, they had many sons; polygamy was the cause of their large numbers; and that they gave into for the sake of the multiplication of Abraham's seed, according to the divine promise.

Verse 5. And their brethren among all the families of Issachar,.... As those of Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, 1 Chronicles 7:1

were men of might; valiant and courageous:

reckoned in all, by their genealogies, fourscore and seven thousand; that is, including with these those of Tola and Uzzi before given.

Verse 6. The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three. Benjamin had ten sons, but three only are mentioned first; the latter of these seems to be the same with Ashbel, Genesis 46:21.

Verse 7. And the sons of Bela; Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five,.... These are thought by some to be the grandsons of Bela, because of the different names in 1 Chronicles 8:3,

heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour; principal men in their tribe and families, and of great courage:

and were reckoned by their genealogies twenty and two thousand and thirty and four; who sprung from these men.

Verse 8. And the sons of Becher,.... Another son of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 7:6,

Zemira, and Joash, and Eliezer and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abiah, and Anathoth, and Alameth; the two last of these, according to Kimchi, gave names to two cities in Benjamin, built by them; Anathoth, the native place of Jeremiah the prophet, and Alameth, the same with Bahurim, 2 Samuel 16:5

all these are the sons of Becher; before named.

Verse 9. And the number of them,.... Of the posterity of the sons of Becher:

after their genealogy by their generations, heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valour; as they increased in succeeding ages, and at the time of David:

was twenty thousand and two hundred.

Verse 10. The sons also of Jediael,.... The third son of Benjamin before mentioned, 1 Chronicles 7:6. Bilhan, including his posterity, as follows:

and the sons of Bilhan; Jeush, and Benjamin; called so after his great grandfather:

and Ehud; who was the second judge in Israel, Judges 3:15

and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar; of whom we nowhere else read.

Verse 11. All these the sons of Jediael, by the heads of their fathers, mighty men of valour, [were] seventeen thousand and two hundred [soldiers], fit to go out for war and battle. Which, with the above sums put together, make of the tribe of Benjamin, besides what follow, 59,430; who, if numbered by Joab, the account was not given in by him, 1 Chronicles 21:6.

Verse 12. Shuppim also, and Huppim, the children of Ir,.... The same with Iri, 1 Chronicles 7:7 so that these were not sons of Benjamin, as they seem to be, if they are the same with Muppim and Huppim in Genesis 46:21 but his great-grandchildren, and are the same with Shupham and Hupham, from whom families of the tribe of Benjamin sprung, Numbers 26:39 the Targum calls them the inhabitants of a city, but of what is not said, unless Geba should be meant, 1 Chronicles 8:6 and

Hushim, the sons of Aher: either the same with Aharah, the third son of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 8:1 or Ahiram, Numbers 26:38, though some read the words, "the sons of another"; whom they suppose to be Dan, who otherwise is omitted; and Hushim is the only son of Dan, Genesis 46:23, where the same plural word is used as here; who, they think, is called another, by way of detestation, that tribe being guilty of gross idolatry; but he rather seems to belong to Benjamin.

Verse 13. The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum,.... Called Shillem, Genesis 46:24,

the sons of Bilhah; Jacob's concubine; her grandsons; for Naphtali, the father of them, was her son; from these sprung so many families, after their names, Numbers 26:48.

Verse 14. The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare,.... The wife of Manasseh, as distinguished from his concubine in the next clause; though the Targum reads, in connection with that, "whom his Aramitess (or Syrian) concubine bare;" and then adds,

who also bare Machir the father of Gilead; so that Ashriel and Machir were brethren; from which Ashriel sprung the family of the Ashrielites, Numbers 26:29 as from Machir the Machirites, Numbers 26:29.

Verse 15. And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maachah,.... He married into the tribe of Benjamin, a sister of the persons mentioned, 1 Chronicles 7:12 whose name was Maachah:

and the name of the second was Zelophehad; the second son of Manasseh, or of his posterity mentioned; for he was not his immediate son; for he was the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, Numbers 27:1

and Zelophehad had daughters; but no sons, the names of his daughters are given, Numbers 26:33.

Verse 16. And Maachah the wife of Machir bare a son, and she called his name Peresh; and the name of his brother was Sheresh,.... He had both these sons by her:

and his sons were Ulam and Rakem, that is, either the sons of Peresh or Sheresh, the nearest, as Kimchi observes.

Verse 17. And the sons of Ulam: Bedan,.... See 1 Samuel 12:11

these were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh; that is, were of his posterity, or belonged to his family; for Ulam and Rakem were sons of a brother of Gilead, 1 Chronicles 7:16.

Verse 18. And his sister Hammoleketh,.... The sister of Gilead so named; though the Targum renders it "that reigned"; and so Kimchi, that reigned in some part of Gilead; and the Vulgate Latin version translates it, "a queen bare Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahalah"; Abiezer is the same with Jeezer, from whom a family sprung of that name, Numbers 26:30, of which Gideon was, Judges 6:11.

Verse 19. And the sons of Shemida,.... Another son of Gilead's sister, unless the same with Ishod; from him sprung the family of the Shemidaites, Numbers 26:30

were, Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam; from Shechem came the family of the Shethemites, as from Likhi, if he is the same with Helek, as probably he may be, was the family of the Helekites, Numbers 26:30.

Verse 20. And the sons of Ephraim,.... A son of Joseph, and father of a tribe of this name, whose genealogy through five generations follows: Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eladah, Tahath; the second.

Verse 21. And Zabad his son,.... Not the son of Tahath the second last mentioned, but the son of Ephraim, a second son of his:

and Shuthelah; his son, the son of Zabad, called after his uncle's name, 1 Chronicles 7:20

and Ezer, and Elead; two other sons of Zabad:

whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew: that is, Zabad and his three sons; these the men of Gath slew, who were Philistines that dwelt there, and were originally of Egypt, and were born in that land, but had removed into Palestine, which had its name from them, of which Gath was one of its cities; and this bordering upon the land of Goshen, or being near it, where the Israelites dwelt, they made inroads upon them, and plundered them:

because they came down to take away their cattle; and the sons, the grandsons of Ephraim, resisted them, and so were slain: and that the aggressors were not the Ephraimites, who went out of Egypt before their time, and fell upon the men of Gath, born in the land of the Philistines, in order to dispossess them of their land and substance, and were slain by them, which is the sense of the Targum and other writers, both Jewish and Christian; but the men of Gath, as is clear from this circumstance, that they

came down, as men did when they went from Palestine to Egypt, not when they went from Egypt to Palestine, then they "went up"; which would have been the phrase used, if this had been an expedition of the Ephraimites into Palestine; besides, it is not reasonable to think, that the Ephraimites, addicted to husbandry and cattle, and not used to war, should engage in such an enterprise; but rather the men of Gath, or the Philistines, who were a warlike people, and given to spoil and plunder; this, according to a learned chronologer {l}, was seventy four years after Jacob went down to Egypt, and one hundred and forty years before the children of Israel came from thence.

{l} Nic. Abrami Pharus, l. 9. c. 21. p. 242.

Verse 22. And Ephraim their father mourned many days,.... For the loss of his son and grandchildren for the above fact was done while the Israelites were in Egypt, and Ephraim the patriarch yet alive; nor is there any need to suppose another Ephraim, different from him:

and his brethren came to comfort him; some of the heads of the other tribes of Israel, particularly Manasseh, with some of his family.

Verse 23. And when he went in to his wife,.... After his grief and sorrow in part at least had subsided:

she conceived and bare a son; which in some measure made up for the loss he had sustained:

and he called his name Beriah; which signifies being "in evil" or calamity, he being born in an evil time:

because it went evil with his house; or evil was in his house, as Noldius {m}, in his family; a great calamity had befallen it.

{m} Ebr. Concord. Part. No. 750. p. 165.

Verse 24. And his daughter was Sherah,.... That is, the daughter of Beriah; not an immediate daughter, but a descendant of his, otherwise she could not have reached the times of Joshua, as she did by what follows:

who built Bethhoron the nether, and the upper; which were cities on the border of the tribe of Ephraim; which the Israelites having taken from the Canaanites, and destroyed, she rebuilt, see Joshua 16:3

and Uzzensherah; which was called after her own name, and to distinguish it from another place called Uzzen; though of neither of them do we read elsewhere.

Verses 25-27. And Rephah was his son,.... The son of Beriah, whose genealogy from him is traced down to Joshua in this and the two following verses, and stands thus: after Rephah, Resheph, Telah, Tahan, Laadan, Ammihud, Elishama, who was prince of the tribe of Ephraim in the wilderness, Numbers 1:10, then Non or Nun, whose son was Jehoshua or Joshua.

Verse 28. And their possessions and habitations,.... That is, of the sons of Ephraim, when come into the land of Canaan:

were Bethel, and the towns thereof; the villages belonging to it, which was formerly called Luz, and was the border of Ephraim, Joshua 16:7

and eastward Naaran: the same with Naarath, Joshua 16:7

and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; of which see
Joshua 16:3,

and Shechem also, and the towns thereof; which was a city of refuge in Mount Ephraim, Joshua 20:7

unto Gaza, and the towns thereof; not Gaza, a city of the Philistines, for the tribe of Ephraim did not reach so far; the Targum calls it Aiah; it may be read Adaza, as in the margin of our Bibles.

Verse 29. And by the borders of the children of Manasseh,.... Of the half tribe of Manasseh on this side Jordan: near to them the Ephraimites dwelt, even near to

Bethshean and her towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and her towns; of all which places see Joshua 17:11,

in these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel; the Ephraimites, in those mentioned in 1 Chronicles 7:28, and the Manassites, in those that are here mentioned; who were both the children or posterity of Joseph, the beloved son of Israel.

Verses 30, 31. The son of Asher,.... Which, and his two grandsons born before Jacob went down to Egypt, are here reckoned as in Genesis 46:17 only it is here added Malchiel his second grandson,

who is the father of Birzavith; which Jarchi interprets, prince of a city of this name, which signifies pure oil; which it might have from the abundance of olives about it, Asher being a tribe which abounded with them, see Deuteronomy 33:24 though some of the Rabbins take it to be the name of a man, whose daughters, they say, as Jarchi observes, were very beautiful, having much oil to anoint with, and were married to kings and priests anointed with oil.

Verse 32. And Heber,.... The other grandson of Asher; and son of Beriah;

begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shuah their sister; a place on the borders of Ephraim is called the coast of Japhleti; but whether from this Japhlet is uncertain.

Verse 33. And the sons of Japhlet; Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath; these are the children of Japhlet. Of whom we read not elsewhere,

Verse 34. And the sons of Shamer,.... Or Shomer, the brother of Japhlet, 1 Chronicles 7:32.

Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram; of whom nothing is known but their names.

Verse 35. And the sons of his brother Helem,.... Or Helem his brother, that is, the brother of Shomer, who, according to Hillerus {n}, is Hotham, 1 Chronicles 7:32.

Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Aram; nowhere else mentioned.

{n} Onomastic. Sacr. p. 551.

Verses 36, 37. And the sons of Zophah,.... The eldest of the sons of Helem:

Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah, Bezer; and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran, and Beera; in all eleven.

Verse 38. And the sons of Jether,.... The same with Ithran, the last of Zophah's sons but one, 1 Chronicles 7:37,

Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara; not Jephunneh the father of Caleb; he was not of the tribe of Asher, but of Judah.

Verse 39. And the sons of Ulla,.... Who either was the son of Ara, last mentioned, or another son of Jether:

Arah, and Haniel, and Rezia; here ends the genealogy of Asher; the last of the tribes; Dan and Zebulun not being reckoned at all.

Verse 40. All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father's house,.... Principal men in their tribe, and respective families:

choice and mighty men of valour; these were some selected from others, being eminent for their courage and valour:

chief of the princes; or chief princes; the Vulgate Latin version is, dukes of dukes, they were heads of their fathers' families:

[and] the number throughout the genealogy that were apt to war, and to battle, [was] twenty and six thousand [men]; that is, in the days of David, 1 Chronicles 7:4, this was the number, not of their chief men, nor of all the people in the tribe, but of their militia.