1 Chronicles 1


In our Bibles today we have 1 and 2 Chronicles as two books but they were originally one book. The Book of 1 Chronicles is a book of narrative history, and genealogies.

While the books of 1 and 2 Kings focus on the northern kingdom, Israel, 1 Chronicles focuses on the southern kingdom, Judah. Nothing is said about the northern kingdom in 2 Chronicles because Jeroboam led the northern tribes after sins that took them away from worshipping God.

For this reason, 1 Chronicles focuses on the kings and events that relate to the southern kingdom, specifically the tribe of Judah. 2 Chronicles covers the history of both 1 and 2 Kings.

The purpose of the book was to encourage the remnant that had come out of the Babylonian captivity and it covers in some extra detail most of the information already covered by 1 and 2 Samuel and 1 and 2 Kings.


No one knows who the author of the book is but Jewish tradition believes that Ezra wrote both 1 and 2 Chronicles, as well as the books of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The reason for this is because the book of Ezra immediately begins where 2 Chronicles concludes, 2 Chronicles 36:22-23 / Ezra 1:1-3. Ezra was a priest in the southern kingdom who lived in Jerusalem, Ezra 7:11.

Within the book, the author mentions the records of three prophets, Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, 1 Chronicles 29:29. They also mention the Jewish historical books such as the chronicle of the kings of Judah and Israel, 1 Chronicles 9:1, these books don’t exist anymore.


Chronicles tell us about the events in the history of Israel down to the end of their captivity in Babylon and the restoration that was initiated by the Medo-Persian king, Cyrus, 2 Chronicles 36:22-23.

In view of what the author writes in 2 Chronicles 35:25, it appears that the book was written after the time of Jeremiah who wrote Lamentations. Most commentators agree that the book was written between 450 and 425 BC.

Brief Summary

1 Chronicles 1-9, begins with Adam and runs through the genealogies of Israel. It continues through all the 12 tribes of Israel, then King David, and then the Priestly line. The descendants teach the history of the nation, extending from God’s creation all the way through the exile in Babylon.

1 Chronicles 10-29, is a review of King Saul’s death with the Philistines, through King David’s reign, including the preparation for the building of the new temple, which Solomon would build. The book finishes with Solomon’s reign as king of Israel.


Genealogies. 1 Chronicles 1-9

From Adam to Noah. 1 Chronicles 1:1-4

From Noah’s sons to Jacob and Esau. 1 Chronicles 1:5-54

From Judah to David’s descendants. 1 Chronicles 2:1-3:21

The lineage of Jacob’s other sons is given, with particular attention to Levi. 1 Chronicles 4:1-8:40

A listing of those who resettled in Jerusalem following Babylonian exile is given. 1 Chronicles 9:1-44

David’s reign. 1 Chronicles 10-29

The stage for David’s reign is set by details of King Saul’s death. 1 Chronicles 10:1-14

David is made king over all Israel and captures Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 11:1-9

David’s loyal servants are named. 1 Chronicles 11:10-12:40

David brings the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. 1 Chronicles 13:1-16:43

David will not be allowed to build the Temple, 1 Chronicles 17:1-2, but God establishes a special covenant with him. 1 Chronicles 17:3-27

David strengthens Israel’s forces. 1 Chronicles 18:1-20:8

He takes an unauthorized census. 1 Chronicles 21:1-30

David makes preparation for the construction of the Temple. 1 Chronicles 22:1-19

He organizes the priests and Levites. 1 Chronicles 23:1-26:28

He appoints other officials. 1 Chronicles 26:29-27:34

David’s final words and the account of his death are given. 1 Chronicles 28:1-29:30

The Text

Gill, in his commentary, gives us a useful summary of this chapter.

‘This chapter gives us the genealogy of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah, 1 Chronicles 1:1 of the sons of Noah, and their posterity, to Abraham, 1 Chronicles 1:5 of the sons of Abraham and their posterity, 1 Chronicles 1:28 and of the sons of Esau, 1 Chronicles 1:35 and of the kings and dukes that reigned in Edom, 1 Chronicles 1:43.’

Historical Records From Adam To Abraham To Noah’s Sons

‘Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. The sons of Noah: Shem, Ham and Japheth.’ 1 Chronicles 1:1-4

Although many people don’t enjoy reading genealogies, they were very important to the Jews, especially when we think that the Messiah would eventually come through the Jews.

Adam Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The principle design of the writer appears to have been this, to point out, from the public registers, which were still preserved, what had been the state of the different families previously to the captivity, that at their return they might enter on and repossess their respective inheritances. He enters particularly into the functions, genealogies, families, and orders of the priests and Levites and this was peculiarly necessary after the return from the captivity, to the end that the worship of God might be conducted in the same way as before, and the by the proper legitimate persons.’

The author begins by listing Adam, whom we know had three sons, Genesis 4:1-2 / Genesis 4:25, and other children, Genesis 5:4 Notice the author doesn’t mention them all, they only mention Seth. No one knows the reason behind this.

Noah had three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth Genesis 5:1-32, but there is no mention of the flood in Noah’s day. It appears the author was focusing on the names of those who had a significant spiritual role in history, along with those who led the development of the populations of the world.

The Japhethites

‘The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras. The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah. The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites.’ 1 Chronicles 1:5-7

Although Japheth was the lastborn, here, as the descendant of Shem, he is placed first in order to emphasise the legacy of Shem over the other two sons of Noah, Genesis 10:2-4.

Payne, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It is commonly supposed that ‘the seven sons of Japheth founded the people of Europe and northern Asia.’ From Javan came Greek Ionia, and from Gomer came the ancient Cimmerians of the Russian plains. From Madai came the Medes and Persians of Iran, from Tubal and Meshech came the inhabitants of the Turkish plateau.

Kittim and Rodanim are respectively the islands of Cyprus and Rhodes.

The Hamites

‘The sons of Ham: Cush, Egypt, Put and Canaan. The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah and Sabteka. The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan. Cush was the father of Nimrod, who became a mighty warrior on earth. Egypt was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines came) and Caphtorites. Canaan was the father of Sidon his firstborn, and of the Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.’ 1 Chronicles 1:8-16

The descendants of Ham, Genesis 10:6-20, are believed to be those who founded Africa and the Far East. According to the Jewish Targum, Cush, and Mizraim are responsible for founding Arabia and Egypt.

Some of Cush’s family founded Babylon and others founded Ethiopia. The Jewish Targum, regarding Nimrod, says, ‘he began to be bold in sin, a murderer of the innocent, and a rebel before the Lord.’

Payne, in his commentary, says the following, regarding the Philistines.

‘The Hamitic Philistines were ‘sea peoples’ before settling in Palestine, coming from the Casluhim, who was of Egyptian origin but are related to the Minoan culture of Caphtor (Crete) and the southern coast of Asia Minor.’

The Semites

‘The sons of Shem: Elam, Ashur, Arphaxad, Lud and Aram. The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether and Meshek. Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah the father of Eber. Two sons were born to Eber: One was named Peleg, because in his time the earth was divided; his brother was named Joktan. Joktan was the father of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah and Jobab. All these were sons of Joktan. Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah and Abram (that is, Abraham).’ 1 Chronicles 1:17-27

When we read the Genesis account of Shem’s genealogy, we discover that it says he had nine sons, Genesis 10:21-32 / Genesis 11:10-26, but here this is expanded by telling us that he had five sons and four grandsons.

Elam is believed to be an ancestor to the Persians and Asshur is believed to be the father of the Assyrians. Lud is believed to be the father of the Lydians, Aram is believed to be the father of the Arameans, and Arphaxad is the ancestor of Abram and the Hebrews.

The name Peleg means division, which implies that from Peleg people were divided into different ethnic people groups, as we see happening in the events of the tower of Babel, Genesis 11:1-9. The list from Peleg to Abraham includes ten names of successive prominent people that eventually led to the birth of Abram.

The Family Of Abraham

‘The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.’ 1 Chronicles 1:28

Abraham is the father of our faith and Isaac was the son of promise and the covenant, Genesis 17-18 / Genesis 21-27.

Ishmael’s mother was Hagar, and although he was blessed to be a son of Abraham, he wasn’t the son of the promise or the covenant, Genesis 16 / Genesis 21. Ishmael is listed here to show us the start of the nations which surrounded the Israelites in the land of Palestine, Genesis 25:13-15.

Descendants Of Hagar

‘These were their descendants: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael.’ 1 Chronicles 1:29-31

We read about the descendants of Hagar in Genesis 25:12-16. If we remember, God promised Hagar that He would make a great nation come through Ishmael, Genesis 21:18. The descendants mentioned here were the beginning of the fulfilment of that promise.

Descendants Of Keturah

‘The sons born to Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.’ 1 Chronicles 1:32-33

Except for Keturah, whom Abraham married after Sarah had died, the mothers of the descendants from Abraham are not mentioned, Genesis 25:1-4.

Descendants Of Sarah

‘Abraham was the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel.’ 1 Chronicles 1:34

Sarah and Abraham had a son named Isaac, who had two sons named Esau and Jacob, Genesis 36:1-43.

Notice that the writer uses the name Israel, instead of Jacob, this is because God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, Genesis 32:22-31, and so, the writer appears to be focusing on how God was working through the nation of Israel and not so much an individual.

Jacob, that is Israel was chosen by God as the son of the promise and the heir of the covenant of Abraham.

Esau’s Sons

‘The sons of Esau: Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam and Korah. The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz; by Timna: Amalek. The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah.’ 1 Chronicles 1:35-37

Esau’s sons were important to God and they played a significant part in God’s plans. Amalek was the father of the Amalekites who was hostile towards the Israelites when they first came from Egyptian captivity, Exodus 17:8-16.

Later, God commanded that they be destroyed because of what they did against His people, 1 Samuel 15:2-3.

The People Of Seir In Edom

‘The sons of Seir: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister. The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam. The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. The son of Anah: Dishon. The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran. The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan. The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.’ 1 Chronicles 1:38-42

Seir wasn’t a descendant of Abraham, Genesis 36:20-28, he was a Horite whose descendants possibly called themselves after him. It was from these people that Esau took a concubine. The people of Seir were eventually driven from their area by the Edomites, Deuteronomy 2:12.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following concerning Seir.

‘This man and his posterity were not of the race of Esau but are mentioned because they were a family into which Esau, and a son of his, married, and whose possessions he and his obtained. The account from hence, to the end of 1 Chronicles 1:42 is the same as Genesis 36:20, with some little variation of names.’

The Rulers Of Edom

‘These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned: Bela son of Beor, whose city was named Dinhabah. When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king. When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king. When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith. When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king. When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king. When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king. When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab. Hadad also died. The chiefs of Edom were: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom.’ 1 Chronicles 1:43-54

Although some translations use the words ‘chief’ ‘duke’, the idea is that of a ruler and so this chapter ends by telling us about the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned, Genesis 25:30 / Genesis 30:31.

Edom became a very powerful nation, which shows us just how blessed Esau was, Genesis 33:8-16 / Genesis 36:31-43. The Edomites were constantly fighting against Israel and as a result, God brought judgment upon them, Obadiah, and they were wiped off the face of the earth when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.

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