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1 Chronicles 4


(LXX versing)
Line of Hur, Asher The Family of Judah The Descendants of Judah and Simeon The Descendants of Judah Judah, Shobal
4:1-10 4:1-8 4:1-23 4:1-2 4:1-2
4:3-4 4:3
4:5-7 4:5
4:8 4:8-10
4:9-10 4:9-10 Caleb
Other Family Lists
4:11-12 4:11-12 4:11-12 4:11-12
4:13-23 4:13-23 4:13-14a 4:13-14
4:15 4:15
4:16 4:16
4:17-18 4:17-18
4:19 4:19
4:20 4:20a
The Descendants of Shelah Shelah
4:21-23 4:21-23
Descendants of Simeon The Family of Simeon The Descendants of Simeon Simeon
4:24-33 4:24-27 4:24-33 4:24-27 4:24-27
4:34-43 4:28-43 4:28-33 4:28-40
4:34-43 4:34-38a
4:41-43 4:41

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Bible Interpretation Seminar")


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

  1. First paragraph
  2. Second paragraph
  3. Etc.


1The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal. 2Reaiah the son of Shobal became the father of Jahath, and Jahath became the father of Ahumai and Lahad. These were the families of the Zorathites. 3These were the sons of Etam: Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash; and the name of their sister was Hazzelelponi. 4Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, the father of Bethlehem. 5Ashhur, the father of Tekoa, had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 6Naarah bore him Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni and Haahashtari. These were the sons of Naarah. 7The sons of Helah were Zereth, Izhar and Ethnan. 8Koz became the father of Anub and Zobebah, and the families of Aharhel the son of Harum. 9Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez saying, "Because I bore him with pain." 10Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, "Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!" And God granted him what he requested.

4:1-22 The NASB Study Bible, p. 558, suggests that what seems like a compilation of sources and repetitions is, in reality, a chiastic, purposeful structure.
  1 Chr. 2:3 ‒ Shelah
    1 Chr. 2:4-8 ‒ Perez
      1 Chr. 2:9-3:24 ‒ Hezron
    1 Chr. 4:1-20 ‒ Perez
  1 Chr. 4:21-23 ‒ Shelah

The focus of this Hebrew structure would be the lineage of Hezron. This list of David's descendants is unique to this context.

4:1 This is the second list of Judah's male children. The first list is in 1 Chr. 2:3, where the sons of Judah by a Canaanite woman are named. The sons listed here start with Perez (cf. 1 Chr. 2:4), who was borne by Tamar (cf. Genesis 38). He is the progenitor of David.

▣ "Carmi" This may be the "Chelubai" of 1 Chr. 2:9, a son of Hezron known as "Caleb" (cf. 1 Chr. 2:18, see Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 407). If this is true then Perez and the other five from Judah may be successive generations, not children (cf. Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 341). There is a man by this name in 1 Chr. 2:7.

These names recur in families.

4:3 Why the descendants of Hur are mentioned again is uncertain (cf. 1 Chr. 2:50-55). It seems that the Chronicler combined several genealogical traditions.

▣ "the sons of Etam" The UBS Text Project, p. 396, suggests "the father of Etam," giving it a "C" rating (considerable doubt). Possibly the phrase implies "the founders of Etam" (a UBS suggestion, because "these" (BDB 41) is PLURAL, as in 1 Chr. 4:19; 8:29a.

Usually, only sons are listed but often daughters or sisters are named if they were known or honored (cf. 1 Chr. 2:9,19; 3:3,19,27). It is unlikely that the list of children is complete. ANE genealogies regularly skipped children and generations.

4:7 "Izhar" For this name (BDB 850) in the MT, the Masoretic scholars suggested "Zohar" (Qere). This person is known only here but the name Izhar appears as son of Kohath and grandson of Levi in Exod. 6:18,21; Num. 16:1; 1 Chr. 6:18,21. But this is a different person, different tribe, different father.

4:9 "Jabez" This name (BDB 716) is a word play on "pain" (BDB 780 I, cf. 1 Chr. 4:9,10). In 1 Chr. 2:55 it is the name of a city of scribes.

4:10 This is Jabez's prayer of faith and request for blessings. YHWH heard and answered.

These two verses are unusual in that no other place in the genealogies is a person's prayer recorded. This is also one of the few places a value judgment is given to a person. This was a man of faith and YHWH honored that faith.

11Chelub the brother of Shuhah became the father of Mehir, who was the father of Eshton. 12Eshton became the father of Beth-rapha and Paseah, and Tehinnah the father of Ir-nahash. These are the men of Recah.

4:12 "the father of Ir-nahash" This probably means "the founder of the city of Nahash" (TEV).

"Ir" (BDB 746) means "city."

"Nahash" (BDB 638 II) means "serpent" (BDB 638 I). It is found only here as a name for a city. It is used as a name of a person several times (i.e., 1 Sam. 11:1,2; 2 Sam. 17:25,27; 1 Chr. 19:1-2).

The Expositor's Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 341, thinks the Hebrew root means "copper" (BDB 638), therefore, a city of coppersmiths. This would fit the context of several guilds being mentioned.

  1. craftsmen, 1 Chr. 4:14
  2. linen workers, 1 Ch4. 4:21
  3. potters, 1 Chr. 4:23
  4. remember, the guild of scribes in 1 Chr. 2:55

13Now the sons of Kenaz were Othniel and Seraiah. And the sons of Othniel were Hathath and Meonothai. 14Meonothai became the father of Ophrah, and Seraiah became the father of Joab the father of Ge-harashim, for they were craftsmen. 15The sons of Caleb the son of Jephunneh were Iru, Elah and Naam; and the son of Elah was Kenaz. 16The sons of Jehallelel were Ziph and Ziphah, Tiria and Asarel. 17The sons of Ezrah were Jether, Mered, Epher and Jalon. (And these are the sons of Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took) and she conceived and bore Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah the father of Eshtemoa. 18His Jewish wife bore Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah. 19The sons of the wife of Hodiah, the sister of Naham, were the fathers of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite. 20The sons of Shimon were Amnon and Rinnah, Benhanan and Tilon. And the sons of Ishi were Zoheth and Ben-zoheth. 21The sons of Shelah the son of Judah were Er the father of Lecah and Laadah the father of Mareshah, and the families of the house of the linen workers at Beth-ashbea; 22and Jokim, the men of Cozeba, Joash, Saraph, who ruled in Moab, and Jashubi-lehem. And the records are ancient. 23These were the potters and the inhabitants of Netaim and Gederah; they lived there with the king for his work.

4:13 Othniel" This is the first named Judge (cf. Jdgs. 3:9,11). He was the son of Kenaz and younger brother of Caleb (cf. Jos. 15:17).

▣ "Meonothai" The name "Meonothai" (BDB 723) is found at the end of 1 Chr. 4:13 and starts 4:14 in the LXX and Vulgate. The name appears only in this context.

4:14 "craftsmen" In Neh. 11:35 this same term (BDB 360) is translated "the valley of craftsmen." This would have been an ancient guild of artisans. 1 Chronicles 4:21-23 mentions other groups of craftsmen/artisans.

The NASB has "Ge-harashim" and "harashim" (i.e., craftsmen"). "Ge" (BDB 161) means "valley." So, the PLURAL NOUN "craftsmen" appears twice.

4:15 "Naam" This name is formed on the Hebrew root "to be pleasing" or "to be agreeable." This same root forms "Naomi" (Ruth 1:2).

4:16-20 It is often confusing in these genealogies because the names listed

  1. refer to people
  2. refer to clans
  3. refer to cities
  4. refer to geographical regions

These verses are from a pre-exilic list because later Judah does not control all the geographical/city names mentioned.

4:17 "(And these are the sons of Bithia the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took)" This parenthesis is actually found at the end of 1 Chr. 4:18.

It identifies a political marriage. It denotes one of two realities.

  1. a strong Judah
  2. a weak Egypt
  3. the honor Joseph, and thereby his family, had in Egypt before a new Pharaoh

4:22 "who ruled in Moab" Note the following translations.

  1. the NJB has "who went to Moab to take wives" (cf. TEV, JPSOA)
  2. the NKJV agrees with the NASB
  3. the REB has "who fell out with Moab and came back to Bethlehem"
  4. JPSOA, following the Aramaic Targums, has "who married into Moab"

The Hebrew VERB "ruled" (BDB 127, KB 142, Qal PERFECT) can mean

  1. ruled over ‒ Isa. 62:4
  2. marry ‒ Gen. 20:3; Deut. 21:13; 22:22; 24:1; Isa. 54:1,5; 62:5; Mal. 2:11

This phrase may have been included to show that before Ezra 9:1 and Neh. 13:23, marriage to a Moabitess (cf. Ruth) was not a problem.

▣ "and Jashubi-lehem" The NEB and NJB have "before returning to Bethlehem" (cf. TEV). The NRSV has "and returned to Lehem." The UBS Text Project, p. 397, gives this a "C" rating (considerable doubt).

NASB, NKJV, NRSV  "(the records are ancient)"
TEV  "(the traditions are very old)"
NJB  "(these are old traditions)"

The parenthesis denotes an editorial comment.

The term "records" (BDB 182) means "words" or "matters." It may be a hint that the information in these genealogies is from numerous oral traditions (cf. 1 Chr. 4:33b).

The ADJECTIVE "ancient" (BDB 801) occurs only twice in the OT (cf. Isa. 28:9, where it refers to the weaning of a child).

24The sons of Simeon were Nemuel and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul; 25Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son. 26The sons of Mishma were Hammuel his son, Zaccur his son, Shimei his son. 27Now Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers did not have many sons, nor did all their family multiply like the sons of Judah. 28They lived at Beersheba, Moladah and Hazar-shual, 29at Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri and Shaaraim. These were their cities until the reign of David. 32Their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen and Ashan, five cities; 33and all their villages that were around the same cities as far as Baal. These were their settlements, and they have their genealogy.

4:24-43 This is the genealogy of the tribe of Simeon (cf. Gen. 46:10; Exod. 6:15; Num. 26:12-13). Simeon was later absorbed into Judah (cf. Jos. 19:1,9; Jdgs. 1:3). Note that there is no tribal blessing in Deuteronomy 33.

4:28-31a These are cities in southern Canaan that are mentioned in Joshua.

  1. Beesheba ‒ Jos. 15:28; 19:2
  2. Moladah ‒ Jos. 15:26; 19:2; Neh. 11:26
  3. Hazar-shual ‒ Jos. 15:28; 19:3; Neh. 11:27
  4. Bilhah ‒ Jos. 19:3 ("Balah")
  5. Ezrem ‒ only here
  6. Tolad ‒ only here
  7. Bethuel ‒ only here, but possibly
    1. the "Bethul" of Jos. 19:4
    2. the "Bethel" of 1 Sam. 30:27
  8. Hormah ‒ Jos. 12:14; 15:30; 19:4 (changed to "Zephath")
  9. Ziklag ‒ Jos. 15:31; 19:5
  10. Beth-marcaboth ‒ Jos. 19:5
  11. Hazar-susim (or "susal") ‒ Jos. 15:28; 19:5
  12. Beth-biri ‒ Jos. 19:6 (Beth-lehaoth)
  13. Shaaraim ‒ Jos. 15:36; 1 Sam. 17:52

4:31 "Beth-biri" "Beth" (BDB 108) means house or family. This city may refer to "Beth-ebaoth" in Jos. 19:6. Beth-marcaboth is listed as a city in Jos. 19:5. Two other cities listed in Jos. 19:5 are similar to cities mentioned here.

4:33 "Baal" Joshua 19:8 has "Baalath." Ba'al was the male fertility god of Canaan.


34Meshobab and Jamlech and Joshah the son of Amaziah, 35and Joel and Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, 36and Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, 37Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah; 38these mentioned by name were leaders in their families; and their fathers' houses increased greatly. 39They went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40They found rich and good pasture, and the land was broad and quiet and peaceful; for those who lived there formerly were Hamites. 41These, recorded by name, came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and attacked their tents and the Meunites who were found there, and destroyed them utterly to this day, and lived in their place, because there was pasture there for their flocks. 42From them, from the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to Mount Seir, with Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, as their leaders. 43They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day.

4:34-38 From 1 Chr. 4:38 we know that this list of names comprised the leaders of family groups/clans (cf. Num. 25:14 for a similar usage).

4:41 "their tents" This refers to the "Hamites" (BDB 325 I).

▣ "Meunites" This tribal group (BDB 589) lived in southern Palestine. The tribe of Simeon (which would later be incorporated into Judah) destroyed those living in their tribal allocation (cf. Jos. 19:1-23).

There is disagreement on to whom this name refers.

  1. Minaeans of south Arabia
  2. Mu'unaya from inscriptions during Tiglath-pileser III's reign
  3. citizens of the town of Maon, south of Hebron (see IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 414)

4:42-43 This describes an early expansion of Simeon's allotted territory to the south, possibly because of overpopulation of the descendants of Simeon.

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