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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third,
The reason of this return to the genealogy of the Benjamites seems to be the desire to connect the genealogical introduction with the historical body of the work. As the history is to begin with Saul, the genealogical portion is made to end with an account of the family of this Benjamite monarch.
2Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.
3And the sons of Bela were, Addar, and Gera, and Abihud,
4And Abishua, and Naaman, and Ahoah,
5And Gera, and Shephuphan, and Huram.
6And these are the sons of Ehud: these are the heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Geba, and they removed them to Manahath:
And they removed them to Manahath - "They" has no antecedent; and it is difficult to supply one. Almost all commentators suppose that there has been some corruption here, from which, however, we may gather that the "sons of Ehud" (or, perhaps, of Ahoah, 1 Chronicles 8:4) were originally settled at Geba (Joshua 18:24 note), but afterward removed to a place called Manahath, probably a town in the vicinity. Gera 1 Chronicles 8:7 directed the movement.
7And Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera, he removed them, and begat Uzza, and Ahihud.
8And Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab, after he had sent them away; Hushim and Baara were his wives.
After he had sent them away - Translate it: "after he had divorced his wives, Hushim and Baara."
9And he begat of Hodesh his wife, Jobab, and Zibia, and Mesha, and Malcham,
10And Jeuz, and Shachia, and Mirma. These were his sons, heads of the fathers.
11And of Hushim he begat Abitub, and Elpaal.
12The sons of Elpaal; Eber, and Misham, and Shamed, who built Ono, and Lod, with the towns thereof:
13Beriah also, and Shema, who were heads of the fathers of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove away the inhabitants of Gath:
14And Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth,
15And Zebadiah, and Arad, and Ader,
16And Michael, and Ispah, and Joha, the sons of Beriah;
17And Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hezeki, and Heber,
18Ishmerai also, and Jezliah, and Jobab, the sons of Elpaal;
19And Jakim, and Zichri, and Zabdi,
20And Elienai, and Zilthai, and Eliel,
21And Adaiah, and Beraiah, and Shimrath, the sons of Shimhi;
22And Ishpan, and Heber, and Eliel,
23And Abdon, and Zichri, and Hanan,
24And Hananiah, and Elam, and Antothijah,
25And Iphedeiah, and Penuel, the sons of Shashak;
26And Shamsherai, and Shehariah, and Athaliah,
27And Jaresiah, and Eliah, and Zichri, the sons of Jeroham.
28These were heads of the fathers, by their generations, chief men. These dwelt in Jerusalem.
These dwelt in Jerusalem - Jerusalem was partly within the limits of the tribe of Benjamin Joshua 18:28; but we do not hear of Benjamites inhabiting it until after the return from the captivity 1 Chronicles 9:3; Nehemiah 11:4.
29And at Gibeon dwelt the father of Gibeon; whose wife's name was Maachah:
30And his firstborn son Abdon, and Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Nadab,
31And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zacher.
32And Mikloth begat Shimeah. And these also dwelt with their brethren in Jerusalem, over against them.
33And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat Saul, and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal.
This verse combined with 1 Chronicles 9:35-39, seems to show that the genealogy of Saul was:
Abiel ( equals Jehiel?) Ner Kish Abner Saul
Rather than that to be inferred from 1 Samuel 9:1; 1 Samuel 14:50-51.
In 1 Samuel 14:49 note, it is concluded that Saul's second son bore the two names of "Ishui" and "Abinadab." But the order of the names here:
(2) Malchi-shua; and
(3) Abinadab - suggests another explanation, namely, that Ishui, the second son, died young, and that Abinadab was really the fourth son.
Esh-baal - Previous to the introduction of the Phoenician Baal-worship into Israel by Ahab, the word "Baal" בעל ba‛al had no bad sense in Hebrew, but was simply an equivalent of the more ordinary אל 'êl, "God" (1 Chronicles 3:1 note). Hence, there is nothing strange in the use at this time of the names, "Esh-baal" ("man of God"), "Baal," "Beel-iada," "Merib-baal," etc. Later on such names became offensive to pious ears, and were changed for the better, or for the worse, "Beel-iada" becoming "El-iada" ("let God aid") - "Esh-baal," "Ish-bo-sheth" ("man of shame") - "Merib-baal," "Mephi-bosheth;" and the like.
34And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah.
35And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and Ahaz.
36And Ahaz begat Jehoadah; and Jehoadah begat Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza,
37And Moza begat Binea: Rapha was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son:
38And Azel had six sons, whose names are these, Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, and Obadiah, and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel.
39And the sons of Eshek his brother were, Ulam his firstborn, Jehush the second, and Eliphelet the third.
40And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valour, archers, and had many sons, and sons' sons, an hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.
Sons, and sons' sons - This genealogy of the house of Saul appears by the number of the generations to belong probably to the time of Hezekiah (compare 1 Chronicles 4:41). Ulam's "sons' sons" are in the 13th generation from Jonathan, as Hezekiah is in the 13th generation from David.