1 Chronicles 5


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

‘This chapter relates the genealogy of the tribes that lived on the other side Jordan, of the Reubenites, 1 Chronicles 5:1, of the Gadites, 1 Chronicles 5:11 of the half tribe of Manasseh, 1 Chronicles 5:23 and of their war with the Hagarites, in conjunction with each other, and their conquest of them, 1 Chronicles 5:18 and who for their sins were all carried captive by the king of Assyria, 1 Chronicles 5:25.’


‘The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright, and though Judah was the strongest of his brothers and a ruler came from him, the rights of the firstborn belonged to Joseph)—the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanok, Pallu, Hezron and Karmi. The descendants of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son, Micah his son, Reaiah his son, Baal his son, and Beerah his son, whom Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria took into exile. Beerah was a leader of the Reubenites. Their relatives by clans, listed according to their genealogical records: Jeiel the chief, Zechariah, and Bela son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel. They settled in the area from Aroer to Nebo and Baal Meon. To the east they occupied the land up to the edge of the desert that extends to the Euphrates River, because their livestock had increased in Gilead. During Saul’s reign they waged war against the Hagrites, who were defeated at their hands; they occupied the dwellings of the Hagrites throughout the entire region east of Gilead.’ 1 Chronicles 5:1-10

Although Reuben was the firstborn of Israel, he lost in inheritance because he slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah, Genesis 35:22 / Genesis 49:3-4, and so, Joseph’s sons were given the first born rights. It was Judah who was given the blessing of being the one through whom the Messiah would come, Revelation 5:1-7.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘His birthright was given. In particular, the right of the first-born to a double inheritance, Deuteronomy 21:17, was conferred on Joseph, both by the expressed will of Jacob, Genesis 48:22, and in the actual partition of Canaan, Joshua 16-17. But though the birthright, as respecting its material privileges, passed to Joseph, its other rights, those of dignity and pre-eminence, fell to Judah; of whom came the chief ruler, an allusion especially to David, though it may reach further, and include a glance at the Messiah, the true ‘Ruler’ of Israel, Micah 5:2.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Despite the fact of the double portion, normally the right of the first-born, having been transferred to Joseph, the Chronicler thought that the birthright of Joseph was nullified by the apostasy of North Israel, and that the blessing of the leadership of God’s people was transferred to Judah.’

No one knows why the sons of Reuben are different from those found in other listings, Genesis 46:9 / Exodus 6:14 / Numbers 26:5. Tiglath-Pileser, the Assyrian king, is the same person as Pul, 2 Kings 15:29 / 2 Kings 16:7. Pul was his personal name which he retained as king of Babylon, and Tiglath-Pileser is his throne name as king of Assyria.

The Hagrites were descendants of Hagar through Ishmael, Genesis 25:12-18 / 1 Chronicles 27:30-31 / Psalms 83:6. The descendants of Reuben uprooted these Hagrites, captured their property and their tents, and lived in their land.


‘The Gadites lived next to them in Bashan, as far as Salekah: Joel was the chief, Shapham the second, then Janai and Shaphat, in Bashan. Their relatives, by families, were: Michael, Meshullam, Sheba, Jorai, Jakan, Zia and Eber—seven in all. These were the sons of Abihail son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz. Ahi son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, was head of their family. The Gadites lived in Gilead, in Bashan and its outlying villages, and on all the pasturelands of Sharon as far as they extended. All these were entered in the genealogical records during the reigns of Jotham king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel. The Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh had 44,760 men ready for military service—able-bodied men who could handle shield and sword, who could use a bow, and who were trained for battle. They waged war against the Hagrites, Jetur, Naphish and Nodab. They were helped in fighting them, and God delivered the Hagrites and all their allies into their hands, because they cried out to him during the battle. He answered their prayers, because they trusted in him. They seized the livestock of the Hagrites—fifty thousand camels, two hundred fifty thousand sheep and two thousand donkeys. They also took one hundred thousand people captive, and many others fell slain, because the battle was God’s. And they occupied the land until the exile.’ 1 Chronicles 5:11-22

The information given in Numbers 26:15-18 is omitted in this context.

Matthew Henry, in his commentary, says the following concerning the tribe of Gad.

‘Some great families of that tribe are here named, 1 Chronicles 5:12, seven that were the children of Abihail, whose pedigree is carried upwards from the son to the father, 1 Chronicles 5:14-15, as that, 1 Chronicles 5:4-5, is brought downwards from father to son. These genealogies were perfected in the days of Jotham king of Judah, but were begun some years before, in the reign of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, 2 Kings 14:16 / 2 Kings 14:28 / 2 Kings 15:5 / 2 Kings 15:32. What particular reason there was for taking these accounts then does not appear, but it was just before they were carried away captive by the Assyrians, as appears, 2 Kings 15:29 / 2 Kings 15:31.’

The war mentioned here against the Hagrites, is probably the same war which was mentioned back in 1 Chronicles 5:10. Because they put their trust in God, God answered their prayers and gave them the victory.

Clarke, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This was a war of extermination as to the political state of the people, which nothing could justify but a special direction of God; and this he could never give against any, unless the cup of their iniquity had been full. The Hagrites were full of idolatry, 1 Chronicles 5:25.’

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘1 Chronicles 5:18-22 record an important victory over their enemies by the trans-Jordanic tribes, no record of which is found elsewhere in the Bible. This should warn us against assuming that the Bible records any such thing as a complete history of God’s people. There may be many other gaps in Samuel and Kings which Chronicles does not fill. Many of the events mentioned in this chapter are recorded in Genesis 25 / Genesis 35 / Genesis 49 / Exodus 6 / Joshua 22:11 / Numbers 1:20 / Numbers 26:5.’

The Half-Tribe Of Manasseh

‘The people of the half-tribe of Manasseh were numerous; they settled in the land from Bashan to Baal Hermon, that is, to Senir (Mount Hermon). These were the heads of their families: Epher, Ishi, Eliel, Azriel, Jeremiah, Hodaviah and Jahdiel. They were brave warriors, famous men, and heads of their families. But they were unfaithful to the God of their ancestors and prostituted themselves to the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God had destroyed before them. So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria (that is, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria), who took the Reubenites, the Gadites and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile. He took them to Halah, Habor, Hara and the river of Gozan, where they are to this day.’ 1 Chronicles 5:23-26

One half of the tribe of Manasseh settled on the east side of the Jordan River and the other half settled on the west side of the river.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning the king of Assyria carried them away.

‘This was the captivity of the tribes of Israel which inhabited the country east of Jordan. It took place eleven years prior to the fall of Samaria (722 B.C.), that is, in 733 BC.’

Go To 1 Chronicles 6


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