Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations
on the Holy Bible

1 Chronicles 4

Verse 1

1 CHRONICLES Chapter 4

The posterity of Judah by Caleb the son of Hur, 1 Chronicles 4:1-4. By Ashur, 1 Chronicles 4:5-8. By Jabez: his prayer, 1 Chronicles 4:9-20. The posterity of Shelah, 1 Chronicles 4:21-23. The posterity and cities of Simeon: their conquest of Gedor; and of the Amalekites in Mount Seir, 1 Chronicles 4:24-43.

The sons of Judah, i.e. the posterity; for only Pharez was his immediate son. But they are all mentioned here only to show Shobal’s descent from Judah, of whom he intended to speak more particularly.

Verse 2

Reaiah; called Haroeh, 1 Chronicles 2:52; of whom see there.

The families of the Zorathites; of whom see on 1 Chronicles 2:53.

Verse 3

Etam is the name either of a man, or of a place; of which see below, 1 Chronicles 4:32 2 Chronicles 11:6; whose inhabitants descended from him. The name of his father is not here expressed.

Verse 4

Either they are other sons besides those mentioned 1Ch 2, or there is some variation in their names, which is most frequent among the Hebrews, as hath been oft proved.

The father of Beth-lehem: this title is here given to the father, and 1 Chronicles 2:51, to Salma, his son, who had it either with or after his father. See Poole "1 Chronicles 2:51", See Poole "1 Chronicles 2:52".

Verse 7

Understand here,

and Coz, out of the beginning of the following verse. The like ellipses we have in the end of 2 Chronicles 4:13, and of 2 Chronicles 7:18.

Verse 9

Jabez; one of the fathers of the families of Aharhel last mentioned.

More honourable than his brethren, for courage, and especially for true and fervent piety, expressed in the following petition.

Verse 10

Jabez called on the God of Israel, 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 valour, 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 Song of Solomon 1:2 3:9 Isaiah 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 useth this expression in allusion to his name, which signifies grief: q.d. Lord, let me not have that grief which my name implies, and which my sin deserves.

Verse 12

From these are sprung the present inhabitants of Rechah, a town not elsewhere mentioned.

Verse 13

Kenaz; the son either of Chelub, 1 Chronicles 4:11, or of his son Eshton, 1 Chronicles 4:12, and the father of Jephunneh, and consequently Caleb’s grandfather, 1 Chronicles 4:15; whence Caleb is called a Kenezite, Numbers 32:12.

Hathath; understand, and Meonothai, out of 1 Chronicles 4:14. See Poole "1 Chronicles 4:7".

Verse 14

The father of the valley, i.e. of the inhabitants of the valley.

Verse 15

Another Kenaz, differing from that Kenaz 1 Chronicles 4:13. Or his name might be Uknaz.

Verse 16

Jehaleleel; the son of Kenaz, or Uknaz, last mentioned.

Verse 17

Ezra; the son of Ashriel last named.

She bare; she, i.e. Bithiah, bare unto Mered, as may seem by comparing this with 1 Chronicles 4:18.

Verse 18

His wife; either Ezra’s wife, or rather, another wife of Mered. Jehudijah; or, the Jewess; so called to distinguish her from his Egyptian wife here following.

These are the sons, to wit, Miriam, and the rest following, 1 Chronicles 4:17.

The daughter of Pharaoh; either

1. Of Pharaoh king of Egypt for Mered might be a person of great estate and quality; or this might be only Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter. Or,

2. Of some other Egyptian or Israelite called by that name; which might easily happen upon divers occasions.

Verse 19

Hodiah, his third wife.

Verse 20

Shimon; another son of the father of Keilah, mentioned 1 Chronicles 4:19.

Ishi; son of Tilon last mentioned.

Verse 21

Having treated of the posterity of Judah by Pharez, and by Zerah, he now comes to his progeny by

Shelah, of whom see Ge 38.

Verse 22

Who had the dominion in Moab; which they ruled in the name and for the use and service of the kings of Judah, to whom Moab was subject from David’s time. Or, who had possessions in Moab; or, who married wives in Moab. These are ancient things: the sense is either,

1. These persons and things were in ancient times, and therefore it is not strange if now they be so little known. But that might have been with equal truth said of divers other parts of this account. Or rather,

2. But those blessed times and things are long since past and gone. Our ancestors then had the dominion over the heathen, but their degenerate posterity are now slaves to them in Chaldea, Persia, &c., where they are employed as potters or gardeners, or in other servile works.

Verse 23

These were the potters; or rather, these are; for he seems to oppose their present servitude to their former glory and to show their low and mean spirits, that had rather tarry among the heathen to do their drudgery, than return to Jerusalem to serve God and enjoy their freedom.

There they dwelt, or tarried or now dwell, when their brethren are returned.

With the king of Babylon or Persia; esteeming it a greater honour and happiness to serve that earthly monarch in the meanest employments, than to serve the King of kings in his temple, and in his most noble and heavenly work.

Verse 24

The sons of Simeon: these are here joined with Judah, because their possession was taken out of Judah’s portion, Joshua 19:1. This account seems to differ from that Ge 46, both in the number and names of the persons, which is not strange, considering how customary it was amongst the Hebrews for one person to have two or three names given to him upon several occasions. And for Ohad, Genesis 46:10, he may be omitted here, because he left no posterity or family after him, as the rest did.

Verse 25

Shallum his son, i.e. son of Saul last mentioned.

Verse 27

The tribe of Simeon did not increase proportionably to the tribe of Judah, in which they dwelt; as appears by those two catalogues, Numbers 1:22 26:14; which is to be ascribed to God’s curse upon them delivered by the mouth of holy Jacob, Ge 49, and signified by Moses’s neglect of them, when he blessed all the other tribes.

Verse 28

These and the following cities are mentioned Joshua 19:2, &c., with no great alterations.

Verse 31

Either,

1. Of David’s posterity, i.e. as long as the kingdom of Judah lasted, or until the captivity of Babylon. But this seems not to be true, for Simeon was gone into captivity with the rest of the ten tribes long before that time. Or rather,

2. Of David himself. And this may seem to be added, because some of these cities, though given to Simeon by Joshua, yet through the sloth or cowardice of that tribe were not taken from the Philistines until David’s time, who took some of them, and, the Simeonites having justly forfeited their right to them by their neglect, gave them to his own tribe. For it is evident concerning Ziklag, one of them, that it was in the Philistines’ hands in David’s time, and by them given to him, and by him annexed to the tribe of Judah, 1 Samuel 27:6.

Verse 34

These and the rest here following are particularly mentioned for their valiant and successful achievements, related 1 Chronicles 4:39, &c.

Verse 38

These named 1 Chronicles 4:34-37.

The house of their fathers increased greatly which forced them to seek for new and larger habitations.

Verse 39

To the entrance of Gedor, to that country that belongs to Gedor, or borders upon it; either that Gedor, Joshua 15:58, or that called Gederah, Joshua 15:36.

Unto the east side of the valley; of which See Poole "1 Samuel 17:2,52".

Verse 40

They of Ham, i.e. the posterity of that cursed Ham; either the Arabians; or the Canaanites or Philistines, who descended from Ham, Genesis 10:6. And accordingly these words contain a reason, either,

1. To prove that the land was good; because the Arabians, who, being wholly given to pasturage, used to find out the choicest grounds, had formerly pitched their tents there. Or,

2. Why they went and possessed this place, because it was not in the hands of their brethren of Judah, but in the possession of that people which they had authority and command to expel.

Had dwelt there of old, i.e. had possessed it of old and hitherto. Or, dwelt there before, i.e. before they came and cast them out of their possessions.

Verse 41

In the days of Hezekiah king of Judah; but a little before their captivity, which was in the sixth year of Hezekiah, 2Ki 17. So their joy in their new, and pleasant, and fruitful possessions lasted but for a very little while.

Smote their tents, i.e. the people dwelling in tents; for so it seems these still did for the conveniency of pasturage.

Destroyed them utterly unto this day, i.e. so as they could never after recover themselves.

Verse 42

Some went to Mount Seir; probably about the same time.

Verse 43

The rest of the Amalekites; not destroyed by Saul, or David, or his successors.

Unto this day; either,

1. Until the captivity of the ten tribes. But that happening so speedily after this time, this expression may seem to be very improper and insignificant here. Or rather,

2. Until the Babylonish captivity, or the time next after it, when these books were written. For although the main body of that tribe dwelling in Canaan were carried into captivity, yet this small remnant of them having removed their dwellings, and being planted in Mount Seir, which lay southward from Judah, might possibly be continued and preserved in those parts, when their brethren were gone into captivity.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://beta.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/1-chronicles-4.html. 1685.