1 Chronicles 4


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

‘In this chapter is a further account of the tribe of Judah, and of some principal families in it, 1 Chronicles 4:1 and of the tribe of Simeon, their families, cities, and villages, 1 Chronicles 4:24 and of the enlargement of their borders, and conquest of the Amalekites, 1 Chronicles 4:39.’

Other Clans Of Judah

‘The descendants of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Karmi, Hur and Shobal. Reaiah son of Shobal was the father of Jahath, and Jahath the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the clans of the Zorathites. These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash. Their sister was named Hazzelelponi. Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the descendants of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah and father of Bethlehem. Ashhur the father of Tekoa had two wives, Helah and Naarah. Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni and Haahashtari. These were the descendants of Naarah. The sons of Helah: Zereth, Zohar, Ethnan, and Koz, who was the father of Anub and Hazzobebah and of the clans of Aharhel son of Harum. Jabez was more honourable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, “I gave birth to him in pain.” Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request. Kelub, Shuhah’s brother, was the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. Eshton was the father of Beth Rapha, Paseah and Tehinnah the father of Ir Nahash. These were the men of Rekah. The sons of Kenaz: Othniel and Seraiah. The sons of Othniel: Hathath and Meonothai. Meonothai was the father of Ophrah. Seraiah was the father of Joab, the father of Ge Harashim. It was called this because its people were skilled workers. The sons of Caleb son of Jephunneh: Iru, Elah and Naam. The son of Elah: Kenaz. The sons of Jehallelel: Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel. The sons of Ezrah: Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. One of Mered’s wives gave birth to Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. (His wife from the tribe of Judah gave birth to Jered the father of Gedor, Heber the father of Soko, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah.) These were the children of Pharaoh’s daughter Bithiah, whom Mered had married. The sons of Hodiah’s wife, the sister of Naham: the father of Keilah the Garmite, and Eshtemoa the Maakathite. The sons of Shimon: Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-Hanan and Tilon. The descendants of Ishi: Zoheth and Ben-Zoheth. The sons of Shelah son of Judah: Er the father of Lekah, Laadah the father of Mareshah and the clans of the linen workers at Beth Ashbea, Jokim, the men of Kozeba, and Joash and Saraph, who ruled in Moab and Jashubi Lehem. (These records are from ancient times.) They were the potters who lived at Netaim and Gederah; they stayed there and worked for the king.’ 1 Chronicles 4:1-23

This chapter begins by giving us an incomplete genealogy compared to the list of names we find in 1 Chronicles 2:3-17 / 1 Chronicles 2:21-41. The five sons in 1 Chronicles 2:3 and 1 Chronicles 4:1, aren’t the same.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The posterity of Judah in the line of Pharez, ‘Perez’ for he only is mentioned: Hezron, and Carmi, and Hur, and Shobal. Hezron was the son of Pharez, ‘Perez’ and Carmi is supposed to be Chelubai, or Caleb, the son of Hezron, and Hur the son of Caleb, and Shobal was the son of the second Caleb the son of Hur, 1 Chronicles 2:5.’

Jabez prayed to be kept from evil, or calamity and his prayers were answered because of his obedience to God and His will. He was the son of a mother who bore him in a time of great concern over something that isn’t mentioned.

Despite living in the midst of unrighteousness, he grew to be an honourable man and so, he prayed for the blessing of God and the enlargement of his territorial possession.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The mother’s statement that she bore him in sorrow is probably a reference to unusual suffering in childbirth. Jabez’s prayer is one of the noblest found in the Old Testament and has often been used as a sermon text. Basing his criticism on an alleged meaning of the word ‘evil,’ Elmslie called this prayer un-Christian. His prayer was crude and selfish. His conscience was not troubled by the thought that others would suffer if he gained his wishes. We do not agree with such opinions, because God’s answering Jabez’s prayer indicates the purity of the petitioner’s motives.’

Othniel wasn’t a descendant from the twelve sons of Jacob, and so, Othniel and Caleb, 1 Chronicles 4:13 / 1 Chronicles 4:15, were possibly not true Israelites. Joshua 15:17 / Joshua 14:6 tells us that Caleb was the son of Jephunneh.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This man, along with Joshua, was one of the faithful spies sent out by Moses to spy out the land of Canaan.’

The names Netaim and Gederah mean ‘plants’ and ‘hedges’, but here, it’s likely they refer to specific cities.


‘The descendants of Simeon: Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah and Shaul; Shallum was Shaul’s son, Mibsam his son and Mishma his son. The descendants of Mishma: Hammuel his son, Zakkur his son and Shimei his son. Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters, but his brothers did not have many children; so their entire clan did not become as numerous as the people of Judah. They lived in Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar Shual, Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, Beth Markaboth, Hazar Susim, Beth Biri and Shaaraim. These were their towns until the reign of David. Their surrounding villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Token and Ashan—five towns—and all the villages around these towns as far as Baalath. These were their settlements. And they kept a genealogical record. Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah son of Amaziah, Joel, Jehu son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, also Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, and Ziza son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah. The men listed above by name were leaders of their clans. Their families increased greatly, and they went to the outskirts of Gedor to the east of the valley in search of pasture for their flocks. They found rich, good pasture, and the land was spacious, peaceful and quiet. Some Hamites had lived there formerly. The men whose names were listed came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. They attacked the Hamites in their dwellings and also the Meunites who were there and completely destroyed them, as is evident to this day. Then they settled in their place, because there was pasture for their flocks. And five hundred of these Simeonites, led by Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, invaded the hill country of Seir. They killed the remaining Amalekites who had escaped, and they have lived there to this day.’ 1 Chronicles 4:24-43

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The genealogy of Simeon is fragmentary, reflecting the fact this tribe lost its identity quite early and was absorbed into the tribe of Judah.’

When Israel split into the Northern and Southern kingdoms, during the reign of Rehoboam, Benjamin and part of Simeon stayed with the southern kingdom, Joshua 19:2-10.

It was more than likely for this reason that Simeon is included here with the lineage of those of Judah. The tribe of Simeon was relatively smaller, compared to the other tribes, and so they often needed help from the larger tribe of Judah for protection, 1 Samuel 27:6.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning the sons of Simeon.

‘This list differs from that in Genesis 46:10 and Numbers 26:12, and this may have been occasioned by the same person having different names, one list giving one name, and another list giving the other. The matter is really of no importance.’

In these chapters, there is a sense of the grand sweep of human history and of the purpose of God which runs through it none of us are mere creatures of today, we are the product of generations and generations of mankind, and in our lives, there are tides of influence that began to move in the remotest antiquity.

Our lives gain enormously in-depth and meaning when we see our small existence as part of the whole adventure of man upon the earth.

The first paragraph here, 1 Chronicles 4:1-23, gives further genealogies connected with the tribe of Judah. It is by no means clear why these particular genealogies were kept or considered important enough to be included here.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the killing of the Amalekites.

‘They escaped the sword of Saul, though, according to the Jews, 100,000 of them were slain by him in one day, and of the sword of David, though he is said not to leave man or woman alive, 1 Samuel 27:8, and dwelt there unto this day, in the cities of the Amalekites, even of the posterity of the above, who were some of the remnant of Israel, that were not carried away by the king of Assyria, and who dwelt here after the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, even in the times of Ezra, the writer of this book, 2 Chronicles 34:9.’

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