1 Chronicles Chapter 4
4:1 “The sons of Judah; Pharez, Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal.”
Having traced the basic messianic line, the author returns to the sons of Jacob (Israel), in their wider extent, bringing the list of names to a conclusion with a special consideration of the family of Saul (4:1 – 9:44), probably as a prelude to a rehearsal of Saul’s death (Chapter 10). All of this forms a backdrop to the main theme of (1 Chronicles), the history of David (Chapters 11-29).
This goes back to the time of the twelve sons of Israel. In this lesson, we are tracing the lineage of the tribe of Judah. Much of this we dealt with in the last lesson. “Judah” means God be praised. Pharez is one of the twin sons of Judah by his daughter-in-law Tamar. Hezron is Judah’s grandson. Carmi is his descendent through the other twin Zarah. Hur is his descendent through Caleb. Shobal is a descendent of Hur. Many times, the word “sons” is used loosely to mean descendants.
1 Chronicles 4:2 “And Reaiah the son of Shobal begat Jahath; and Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These [are] the families of the Zorathites.”
Reaiah is the same with Haroeh (1 Chron. 2:52), the names are of the same signification.
“And Jahath begat Ahumai, and Lahad. These are the families of the Zorathites”: Who inhabited Zoreah, as the Targum, at least part of it (see 1 Chron. 2:53).
This is an unusual place to begin, but perhaps, the penman believes enough had already been recorded about the earlier sons and grandsons of Judah. Reaiah is the same as Haroeh. Ahumai and Lahad, brothers that formed the Zorathites. They were people of the town of Zorah in the lowlands of Judah.
1 Chronicles 4:3 “And these [were of] the father of Etam; Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash: and the name of their sister [was] Hazelelponi:”
Or of the prince of Etam: or, as the Targum, these are princes that dwelt in Etam, a place not far from Zorah (Judges 15:8), And is mentioned with Beth-lehem and Tekoa in the tribe of Judah (2 Chron. 11:6), namely, which follow.
“Jezreel, and Ishma, and Idbash”: These were the sons of the governor of Etam.
“And the name of their sister was Hazelelponi”: Who, perhaps, was a person of great note in those days, though now unknown.
1 Chronicles 4:4 “And Penuel the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These [are] the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah, the father of Beth-lehem.”
The prince of that place, according to some, and the same with Hareph (1 Chron. 2:51).
“And Ezer the father of Hushah”: Thought to be the same with Shuah (1 Chron. 4:11).
“These are the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephratah”: Caleb’s wife (1 Chron. 2:19), the Targum adds, the same with Miriam; and so other Jewish writers say, Miriam had two names, and one was Ephratah”: Though Josephus makes Hur to be her husband, and not her son, as here.
“The father of Bethlehem”: Of the inhabitants of that city, at least part of them, or prince of that place, as his grandson Salma also was (1 Chron. 2:51).
Etam was a rocky place just out of Bethlehem. Jezreel, Ishma, Idbash, and Hazelelponi settled there. In verse 4, Penuel founded Geder. Ezer founded Hushah. Hur, through Caleb and Salma, founded Beth-lehem. Ephratah and Bethlehem are the same.
1 Chronicles 4:5 “And Ashur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah.”
A son of Hezron by Abiah (1 Chron. 2:24).
“Had two wives, Helah and Naarah”: As Lamech had, polygamy not being reckoned unlawful in those times.
1 Chronicles 4:6 “And Naarah bare him Ahuzam, and Hepher, and Temeni, and Haahashtari. These [were] the sons of Naarah.”
Of whom we have no account elsewhere.
“These were the sons of Naarah”: The second wife of Ashur.
1 Chronicles 4:7 “And the sons of Helah [were], Zereth, and Jezoar, and Ethnan.”
The other wife.
“Were Zereth, and Zoar, and Ethnan”: Nowhere else mentioned.
Tekoa is a place that was founded by Ashur. This is speaking of the two wives of Ashur. Ashur was a son of Hezron, who was born after the death of his father. Ashur had two wives named Helah and Naarah. Each of his wives had several sons, and they all seemed to settle in Tekoa.
1 Chronicles 4:8 “And Coz begat Anub, and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum.”
Another son of Helah, and brother of the before mentioned.
“Begat Anub, and Zobebah”: Of whom we nowhere else read.
“And the families of Aharhel, the son of Harum”: These were of the posterity of Coz; the Targum is.
“And the family of Aharhel”: This is Hur, the firstborn of Miriam; which is not at all probable.
Verses 9-10: The retention of this historical information probably indicates that “God” had granted Jabez’s request. His good accomplishments thus contradict his name, “Son of Sorrow.”
“Jabez” asked God to turn any curse associated with his name, which means “He Will Cause Pain”, into a blessing. The Lord’s willingness to hear human prayers should not be taken for granted.
1 Chronicles 4:9 “And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.”
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 honorable. Or he may be so called, because a praying man, as follows, a man of devotion and religion, a man of God (see 1 Sam. 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, is not probable, and besides is after spoken of distinct from him (1 Chron. 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.
1 Chronicles 4:10 “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.”
When he was undertaking some great and dangerous service.
“Oh that thou wouldst bless me indeed”: I trust not to my own or people’s valor, but only to thy blessing and help.
“Enlarge my coast”: Drive out these wicked and cursed Canaanites, whom thou hast commanded us to root out, and therefore I justly beg and expect thy blessing in the execution of thy command.
“That thine hand might be with me”: To protect and strengthen me against my adversaries.
“That thou wouldst keep me from evil”: Or work with (for so the Hebrew prefix mem is sometimes used, as SOS 1:2, 3:9; Isa. 5:7-8), i.e. so-restrain and govern it.
“That it may not grieve me”: That it may not oppress and overcome me, which will be very grievous to me. The consequent put for the antecedent; and more is understood than is expressed. He used this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief: Lord, let me not have that grief which my name implies, and which my sin deserves.
The families of all the aforementioned people from Coz to Jabez are not mentioned directly. We may safely assume they are of the tribe of Judah, since we are studying that at the moment. We also know that Jabez is acquainted with the God of Israel, because he prayed and God answered his prayer. Little else is known.
1 Chronicles 4:11 “And Chelub the brother of Shuah begat Mehir, which [was] the father of Eshton.”
If Shuah is the same with Hushah (1 Chron. 4:4), then Chelub was the son of Ezer.
“Which was the father of Eshton”: Not the prince of a place called Eshton, as Vatablus; for it is the name of a man, the son of Mehir, and who in the next verse is said to beget sons.
1 Chronicles 4:12 “And Eshton begat Beth-rapha, and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These [are] the men of Rechah.”
Or the family of Rapha.
“And Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash”: Or the city of Nahash. Tehinnah seems to have been the prince or governor of a city, so called.
“These are the men of Rechah”: These sons of Eshton dwelt in a place called Rechah. The Targum, without any reason, says these are the men of the great Sanhedrim.
Chelub is unknown, except for the fact mentioned in the Scripture above. Rechah is an unidentified place in Judah, where this family lived.
Verses 13-15: For “Othniel” and “Caleb” (see the note on Joshua 15:17-19).
1 Chronicles 4:13 “And the sons of Kenaz; Othniel, and Seraiah: and the sons of Othniel; Hathath.”
Even when their enemies conquered the Israelites as a result of sin, God did not forget. He sent judges to rescue them (Judges 3:9).
“Othniel” was the first judge in Israel (Judges Chapter 3).
1 Chronicles 4:14 “And Meonothai begat Ophrah: and Seraiah begat Joab, the father of the valley of Charashim; for they were craftsmen.”
Another son of Othniel, “Begat Ophrah”.
“And Seraiah”: the brother of Othniel “Begat Joab”. Not David’s general, but another of the same name, who lived long before him (see 1 Chron. 2:54).
“The father of the valley of Charashim”: Of the inhabitants of the valley, or the prince of them, called the valley of craftsmen (Neh. 11:35), the reason of which is here given.
“For they were craftsmen”: That dwelt in it, carpenters and smiths, both which the word signifies, men that wrought in stone, wood, and iron.
Kenaz was Caleb’s younger brother, according to (Judges Chapter 3 verse 9). He was connected to the Kenizzites. Othniel delivered the people from Kirjath-sepher, and they had peace 40 years. He was the first judge of Israel after the death of Joshua. Seraiah was brother to Othniel, and father to Joab. Hathath was son of Othniel of the tribe of Judah. Meonothai was the father of Ophrah. Possibly he is the brother of Hathath. Joab seemed to have settled the valley of Charashim. “Charashim” means craftsmen.
1 Chronicles 4:15 “And the sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh; Iru, Elah, and Naam: and the sons of Elah, even Kenaz.”
This is the “Caleb” who was sent into the land God promised Israel (Num. Chapter 14).
This Caleb is descended from the Caleb who was son of Hur. Kenaz as well as this Caleb, are the sons of Jephunneh, the Kenezite. The second Caleb had a grandson named Kenaz, who was the son of Elah. Iru and Naam were brothers of Elah.
1 Chronicles 4:16 “And the sons of Jehaleleel; Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel.”
“Ziph, and Ziphah, Tiria, and Asareel”: There were two cities in the tribe of Judah of the name of Ziph (Joshua 15:24), which might be called from these men, or from Ziph (in 1 Chron. 2:42).
This descendent and his sons are from the tribe of Judah, but we do not know who Jehaleleel’s father was.
1 Chronicles 4:17 “And the sons of Ezra [were], Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon: and she bare Miriam, and Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa.”
Who was perhaps the son of Asareel, last mentioned.
“Jether, and Mered, and Epher, and Jalon”: Only one of them, Mered, is after mentioned.
“And she bare Miriam”: Which is not the name of a woman, but of a man, as Kimchi observes. And, according to him, his mother was the wife of Mered, which he gathers from the next verse; though she seems to be the wife of Ezra, who bare him other sons.
“And Shammai, and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa; a prince of a city in the tribe of Judah, so called (Joshua 15:50).
This is not the same Ezra, who penned the book by that name. This is Ezra of Judah and no more is known of him. This connection with the other names earlier are difficult. Eshtemoa is an area where they settled.
1 Chronicles 4:18 “And his wife Jehudijah bare Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. And these [are] the sons of Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh, which Mered took.”
The marriage of a “daughter of Pharaoh” to an otherwise unknown Hebrew is extremely extraordinary (see the note on 1 Kings 3:1).
The inclusion of “Bithiah the daughter of Pharaoh” is a nod to the Egyptian influence in Israel’s heritage.
It appears, that Jehudijah had children by Jered, the founder of Gedor. Jekuthiel was the founder of Zanoah. Heber settled in Socho. Mered took Bithiah, the daughter of the Pharaoh, and had children by her.
1 Chronicles 4:19 “And the sons of [his] wife Hodiah the sister of Naham, the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maachathite.”
Another wife of Mered. Hillerus takes her to be the same with Jehudijah (1 Chron. 4:18), though some take Hodiah to be the name of a man, and read the words, “and the sons of the wife of Hodiah”; which wife of Hodiah was:
“The sister of Naham”: Or rather Achotnaham, we render the sister of Naham, is the name of the first son of Hodiah, as some think:
“The father of Keilah the Garmite”: Prince of the city of Keilah, in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:44), who sprung from the family of Garmi.
“And Eshtemoa the Maachathite”: The father or prince of the inhabitants of Eshtemoa, another city in the same tribe (see 1 Chron. 4:17), who sprung from Maachah (see 1 Chron. 2:48).
Hodiah is one of the wives of Mered. Hodiah is the same as Jehudijah (in verse 18). She is Hebrew and Bithiah was Egyptian. Hodiah was the mother of Heber and Jered. Keilah is a city in the plains of Judah. Eshtemoa is a mountain town of Judah just out of Hebron. The Maachathites inhabit a small kingdom near Palestine. They had warriors among the mighty men of Israel.
1 Chronicles 4:20 “And the sons of Shimon [were], Amnon, and Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi [were], Zoheth, and Ben-zoheth.”
Perhaps another son of Mered by his last wife, or the same with Shammai (1 Chron. 4:17).
“Amnon, and Rinnah, Ben-hanan, and Tilon”: Nowhere else mentioned.
“And the sons of Ishi”: Who it may be was the brother of Shimon or Tilon.
“Zoheth, and Ben-zoheth”: Of whom we know no more than their names.
These names must remain as just some of the descendants of Judah. There are no Scriptures which shed more light upon them.
Verses 21-23: The genealogy of “Simeon” includes the names of towns and regions, presumably to show that its land was part of Judah’s territory.
1 Chronicles 4:21 “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,”
The genealogy of the posterity of Judah, in the lines of Pharez and Zerah, being given. And very largely in that of the former, because of the honor of David, and his kingdom, which sprang from thence, as Jarchi observes. And also the King Messiah, the writer returns to give an account of his posterity by Shelah, a son he had by the daughter of Shuah (Gen. 38:2). And the only one that had children, which were as follows:
“Er the father of Lecah”: Prince of a city of this name in the tribe of Judah. Shelah gave him the name of Er, in memory of his brother (Gen. 38:3).
“And Laadah the father of Mareshah”: Prince of a city of this name in the same tribe (Joshua 15:44).
“And the families of the house of them that wrought fine linen, of the house of Ashbea”: Which last clause explains what house these families were of, which sprang from Shelah, and were employed in making fine linen. The Targum adds, for the garments of kings and priests, or for the curtains of the tabernacle. As Jarchi; for not with the Egyptians and Greeks only fine linen was made, but among the Hebrews, as Pausanias testifies.
In this particular case, the son of Judah was a son of Judah, and not a descendent further down the line. Shelah was a son of Judah by his Canaanite wife, Shuah. This Er was a Shelanite. He was a nephew of the first Er. He was the brother of Laadah. Mareshah is also a Shelanite. He founded a place by the same name. It is interesting that families that had a trade, taught their children and grandchildren. In this particular case, they wrought fine linen.
1 Chronicles 4:22 “And Jokim, and the men of Chozeba, and Joash, and Saraph, who had the dominion in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem. And [these are] ancient things.”
“Who had the dominion in Moab”: 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, where they are employed as potters or gardeners, or in other servile works
Jokim, Joash, and Saraph were descended from Shelah. Chozeba is a city in the lowlands of Judah. Moab is the heathen land that Ruth came from. “Jashubi-lehem” means returner of bread. This is speaking of a place.
1 Chronicles 4:23 “These [were] the potters, and those that dwelt among plants and hedges: there they dwelt with the king for his work.”
Or are the potters; the posterity of those men, who were so famous in their day, are now of mean employments: some of them made earthen pots.
“Dwelt among plants and hedges”: Or were employed in planting gardens and orchards, and making fences for them; or, as others think, “dwelt in Netaim and Gadara”, cities in the tribe of Judah.
“There they dwelt with the king for his work”: To make pots, plant gardens, and set hedges for him; either for the king of Judah, or it may be for the king of Babylon, where they were carried captive, and now chose to remain, doing those servile works for the king, without the city, in the fields.
This is the end of the genealogy of the tribe of Judah. These people, who worked as potters and were primarily workers for the various kings.
1 Chronicles 4:24 “The sons of Simeon [were], Nemuel, and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, [and] Shaul:”
The account of whom, next to the tribe of Judah, is given before Reuben, because its inheritance lay in the tribe of Judah (Joshua 19:1). His sons were Nemuel, the same with Jemuel (Gen. 46:10).
“And Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, and Shaul”: Who, in the place referred to, is said to be the son of a Canaanitish woman; and Jarib and Zerah are the same with Jachin and Zohar there. And Obed is here omitted, it may be because he died without issue (see Num. 26:12).
This jumps to the genealogy of the tribe of Simeon. “Simeon” means hearing. His descendants were called Simeonites. For some reason, Ohad is skipped in the sons of Simeon. (Num. 26:12-14), have the same names as listed here. Ohad is listed as one of the sons (in Gen. 46:10). Their mother was a Canaanitish woman. Nemuel is the same as Jemuel. His descendants were Nemulites. “Jamin” means right hand. His descendants were called Jaminites. “Jarib” means he will contend. His descendants became the Jachinites. Zerah is the same as Zohar. They became the Zerahites. “Shaul” means asked of God. They became the Shaulites.
1 Chronicles 4:25 “Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son.”
The son of Shaul, and Mibsam was the son of Shallum, and Mishma the son of Mibsam.
1 Chronicles 4:26 “And the sons of Mishma; Hamuel his son, Zacchur his son, Shimei his son.”
These were Hamuel, Zacchur, and Shimei.
1 Chronicles 4:27 “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.”
These were Hamuel, Zacchur, and Shimei. None of which are mentioned by name.
“But his brethren had not many children”: Hamuel and Zacchur.
“Neither did all their family multiply like to the children of Judah”: To show the fruitfulness and great increase of which tribe, the genealogical account of it, in this and the two preceding chapters, is given.
All of these are speaking of the descendants of Shaul. It appears, he was the only son in the family who had large families. Shaul’s descendent, Shimei, was the one who had sixteen sons and six daughters. The tribe of Simeon did not multiply as greatly as the tribe of Judah.
1 Chronicles 4:28 “And they dwelt at Beer-sheba, and Moladah, and Hazar-shual,”
Posterity of Simeon; and this and the other places of their habitation are mentioned in the same order, and with very little variation of names to the end of (1 Chron. 4:31), as in (Joshua 19:2), and here, at (1 Chron. 4:31), it is added “These were their cities unto the reign of David”. When, according to Kimchi, and other Jewish writers, he expelled them from thence, and restored them to the tribe of Judah.
1 Chronicles 4:29 “And at Bilhah, and at Ezem, and at Tolad,”
Many of the places assigned to Simeon in this list are reckoned among the towns of the extreme south of Judah in (Joshua 15:26), et seq. Bilhah, or Balah, is, perhaps, Baalah (Joshua 15:29); Ezem (Authorized Version, Azem) and Eltolad are also mentioned there. Their sites are unknown.
1 Chronicles 4:30 “And at Bethuel, and at Hormah, and at Ziklag,”
Called Chesil in (Joshua 15:30; Joshua 19:4 has Bethûl), a contraction like Hamul for Hamuel (1 Chron. 4:26; compare 1 Chron. 2:5).
“Hormah”: The ancient Zephath (Judges 1:17), now Sepata.
“Ziklag”: Now Kasluj, east of Sepata (Joshua 15:30-31; 1 Sam. 27:6).
1 Chronicles 4:31 “And at Beth-marcaboth, and Hazar-susim, and at Beth-birei, and at Shaaraim. These [were] their cities unto the reign of David.”
“Beth-marcaboth”: “house of chariots.”
“Hazar-susim”: “village of horses;” for which Hazar-susah is an equivalent (susah being used as a collective word).
“Beth-birei”: Probably a corrupt writing of Beth-lebaoth, “house of lionesses” (Joshua 19:6), for which (Joshua 15:32), has the contraction Lebaoth. There were lions in the wilds of Judah (1 Sam. 17:34; compare Judges 14:5; 1 Kings 13:24).
“Shaaraim”: (two gates), is Sharuhen (Joshua 19:6), and Shilhim (Joshua 15:32). Sharuhen is known from Egyptian inscriptions (Sharuhuna).
“These were their cities unto the reign of David”: And their villages. (Joshua 19:6), shows that this is the right punctuation: “And Beth-lebaoth and Sharuhen: thirteen towns, and their villages” unto the reign of David. Does this mean that in the age of David the thirteen cities passed from the possession of the Simeonites? Ziklag, at all events, was at that time a Philistine borough (1 Sam. 27:6).
1 Chronicles 4:32 “And their villages [were], Etam, and Ain, Rimmon, and Tochen, and Ashan, five cities:
There are but four mentioned (in Joshua 19:7). One might be added since, or new built, namely, Tochen. These, according to Kimchi, were all that remained for them to dwell in, in the times of David. And therefore, they were obliged to seek out for new settlements for themselves and flocks (as in 1 Chron. 4:39).
1 Chronicles 4:33 “And all their villages that [were] round about the same cities, unto Baal. These [were] their habitations, and their genealogy.”
The same with Baalath-beer (Joshua 19:8).
These were their habitations, and their genealogy”: As before described, until the times of David.
All of the above are a list of towns and cities where the tribe of Simeon lived. It shows that even up until the time of David, they lived in these towns, and cities, and the surrounding areas. This area had originally been allotted to Judah, but it was taken out of that area to make the divisions fairer to all concerned. Baal, is a town named Baalath-beer. From generation to generation, they lived in these places.
1 Chronicles 4:34-37 “And Meshobab, and Jamlech, and Joshah, the son of Amaziah,” “And Joel, and Jehu the son of Josibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel,” “And Elioenai, and Jaakobah, and Jeshohaiah, and Asaiah, and Adiel, and Jesimiel, and Benaiah,” And Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah;”
These, with those that follow to the end of (1 Chronicles 4:37), were famous men in the tribe of Simeon, of rank and dignity, and eminent for courage and valor, as the latter part of the chapter testifies. Though they are nowhere else taken notice of. Jamlech, as Fabritius observes, is not very different from Jamblichus, the name of a famous Platonic philosopher.
1 Chronicles 4:38 “These mentioned by [their] names [were] princes in their families: and the house of their fathers increased greatly.”
The principal men of them, heads of their fathers’ houses.
“And the house of their fathers increased greatly”: By them, so that they were obliged to seek out for new habitations, as follows.
There are 22 listed here, and very little is known of them, except what we read right here. They were the leaders of the families descended from Simeon.
Verses 39-43: Here certain historical notices of the activities of the tribe of “Simeon” in the days of “Hezekiah” are detailed. Those of “Ham” are Egyptians (Psalms 105:23, 27). “The rest of the Amalekites” are those who escaped after David defeated them (1 Sam. 30:18, 2 Sam. 8:12). For the hatred of the Amalekites toward Israel (see the note on Judges 3:12-13).
1 Chronicles 4:39 “And they went to the entrance of Gedor, [even] unto the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks.”
There was a city of this name in the tribe of Judah (1 Chron. 4:18), but this seems to be further off, and perhaps is the same with Gedaris, mentioned by Strabo along with Azotus and Askelon, cities that belonged to the Philistines. Since it was inhabited by the posterity of Ham, of whom the Philistines were, as in the following verse.
“Even unto the east side of the valley”: Which was near to Gedor, and a suitable place.
“To seek pasture for their flocks”: Their sheep and goats.
1 Chronicles 4:40 “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.”
In or near the valley of Gedor.
“And the land was wide, and quiet, and peaceable”: There was room enough for them and their flocks, and they had no enemies on either side to disturb them.
“For they of Ham had dwelt there of old”: Either the Canaanites who descended from Canaan the son of Ham, and had never been expelled from thence; or the Philistines, who were a colony of the Egyptians, the posterity of Ham. And these inhabitants being of this cursed race, the Simeonites scrupled not to dispossess them.
It appeared, they had primarily only towns and cities, and they sought land to graze their flocks. Gedor is unknown, except it was a land that Ham had settled many years before. This pasture land had been prepared for this purpose through the years. It was, now, a land of heathen people that the LORD had told them to drive out. They wanted the land, because it would be a good place for their sheep.
1 Chronicles 4:41 “And these written by name came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and smote their tents, and the habitations that were found there, and destroyed them utterly unto this day, and dwelt in their rooms: because [there was] pasture there for their flocks.”
“Hezekiah”: He ruled Judah (ca. 715-686 B.C.).
This land was of the Philistines or Amalekites. This does not mean that they attacked Judah or Hezekiah. This is just dating the time at the reign of Hezekiah. The Amalekites and the Philistines were mutual enemies of Judah and Simeon. It appears that the princes of Simeon overcame them, and took the pastureland.
1 Chronicles 4:42 “And [some] of them, [even] of the sons of Simeon, five hundred men, went to mount Seir, having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi.”
In the land of Edom.
“Having for their captains Pelatiah, and Neariah, and Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi”: These four captains are said, by the ancient Rabbins, to be of the tribe of Manasseh, as Kimchi observes (see 1 Chron. 5:24). But as the five hundred they were at the head of, as were of the sons of Simeon; the captains, no doubt, were of the same race.
1 Chronicles 4:43 “And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.”
“Amalekites”: Longstanding enemies of Israel whom God purposed to exterminate. Another branch of the Amalekite family tree had appeared in Persia, represented by Haman, who attempted to exterminate the Jews (Ester 3:1).
The princes of Simeon were small in number even with their followers. We see that God was with them and they overcame the Amalekites, and took their land. The captains were sons of Ishi. Nothing is known of Ishi, except that he was a Simeonite, and what we read here.
1 Chronicles Chapter 4 Questions
1. Name the sons of Judah?
2. What does “Judah” mean?
3. Who was the mother of Pharez?
4. Are those listed, in verse 1, really sons of Judah?
5. Hur is his descendent through whom?
6. What two brothers founded the Zorathites?
7. What was Etam?
8. Who founded Beth-lehem?
9. Who were the two wives of Ashur?
10. Who was Kenaz?
11. Who was the first judge of Israel, after the death of Joshua?
12. How many years was their peace with him as judge?
13. What does “Charashim” mean?
14. Is the Ezra, in verse 17, the same who penned Ezra?
15. Who took Bithiah?
16. Who is the same as Hodiah?
17. What country was Bithiah from?
18. Shelah was the son of Judah by whom?
19. Name three descendants of Shelah.
20. What does “Jashubi-lehem” mean?
21. Who were the sons of Simeon listed in verse 24?
22. What does “Simeon” mean?
23. What other son is listed in Genesis?
24. What does “Jamin” mean?
25. Zerah is the same as ________.
26. Who was the only son of Simeon, who had many descendants?
27. Who had 16 sons and 6 daughters?
28. Where did they all live?
29. Baal, in verse 33, is speaking of where?
30. Who were the princes listed from Simeon’s families?
31. Why did they go to the east side of the valley?
32. Who were the captains, who led them?
33. How many men did they have to fight against the Amalekites?