The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.
The sons — The posterity: for only Pharez was his immediate son. But they are all mentioned here only to shew Shobal's descent from Judah.
 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
Honourably — For courage, and for fervent piety. She records this, that it might be a memorandum to herself, to be thankful to God as long as she lived, for bringing her through that sorrow: and a memorandum to him, that she bore him into a vale of tears, in which he might expect few days and full of trouble. And the sorrow in his name might serve to put a seriousness upon his spirit.
 And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested.
Called — When he was undertaking some great and dangerous service.
Enlarge — Drive out these Canaanites, whom thou hast commanded us to root out.
Grieve — That it may not oppress and overcome me: more is understood than is expressed. He useth this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief.
And God granted, … — Prospered him remarkably in his undertakings, in his studies, in his worldly business, and in his conflicts with the Canaanites.
 And Eshton begat Bethrapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Irnahash. These are the men of Rechah.
Rechab — From these are sprung the present inhabitants of Rechab, a town not elsewhere mentioned.
 And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.
Father — Of the inhabitants of the valley.
 The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were, Er the father of Lecah, and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea,
Shelah — Having treated of the posterity of Judah by Pharez, and by Zara, he now comes to his progeny by Shelah.
 And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubilehem. And these are ancient things.
Had dominion — Which they ruled in the name and for the use of the kings of Judah, to whom Moab was subject from David's time.
Ancient things — The sense is those blessed times are long since past. Our ancestors had the dominion over the Heathen, but their degenerate posterity are slaves in Chaldea, were they are employed as potters or gardeners, or in other servile works.
 These were the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.
There are — He seems to oppose their present servitude to their former glory, and to shew their mean spirits that had rather tarry among the Heathen to do their drudgery, than return to Jerusalem to serve God and enjoy their freedom.
The king — Of Babylon: esteeming it a greater honour to serve that earthly monarch in the meanest employments, than to serve the king of kings in his temple.
 And Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brethren had not many children, neither did all their family multiply, like to the children of Judah.
Of Judah — The tribe of Simeon did not increase proportionably to the tribe of Judah in which they dwelt; as appears by those two catalogues, Numbers 1:22; 26:14, which is to be ascribed to God's curse upon them, delivered by the mouth of holy Jacob, Genesis 49:5-7, and signified by Moses's neglect of them when he blessed all the other tribes.
 And at Bethmarcaboth, and Hazarsusim, and at Bethbirei, and at Shaaraim. These were their cities unto the reign of David.
Their cities — Several of these cities though given to Simeon by Joshua, yet through the sloth or cowardice of that tribe, were not taken from the Philistines, until David's time, who took some of them; and, the Simeonites having justly forfeited their right to them by their neglect, gave them to his own tribe. For it is evident concerning Ziklag, one of them, that it was in the Philistines hands in David's time, and by them given to him, and by him annexed to the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 27:6.
 And they found fat pasture and good, and the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable; for they of Ham had dwelt there of old.
Fat pasture, … — Those who thus dwelt (as we do) in a fruitful country, and whose land is wide and quiet and peaceable, have reason to own themselves indebted to that God, who appoints the bounds of our habitation.
Of Ham — The Canaanites, who descended from Ham. And accordingly these words contain a reason, why they went and possessed this place, because it was not in the hands of their brethren of Judah, but in the possession of that people which they had authority to expel.