Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament1 CHRONICLES 7
And of the sons of Issachar: Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four. And the sons of Tola: Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai, and Ibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their fathers' houses, [to wit], of Tola; mighty men of valor in their generations: their number in the days of David was two and twenty thousand and six hundred. And the sons of Uzzi: Izrahiah. And the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, and Obadiah, and Joel, Isshiah, five; all of them chief men. And with them, by their generations, after their fathers' houses, were bands of the host for war, six and thirty thousand; for they had many wives and sons. And their brethren among all the families of Issachar, mighty men of valor, reckoned in all by genealogy, were fourscore and seven thousand.
[The sons of] Benjamin: Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three. And the sons of Bela: Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth, and Iri, five; heads of fathers' houses, mighty men of valor; and they were reckoned by genealogy twenty and two thousand and thirty and four. And the sons of Becher: Zemirah, and Joash, and Eliezer, and Elioenai, and Omri, and Jeremoth, and Abijah, and Anathoth, and Alemeth. All these were the sons of Becher. And they were reckoned by genealogy, after their generations, heads of their fathers' houses, mighty men of valor, twenty thousand and two hundred. And the sons of Jediael: Bilhan. And the sons of Bilhan: Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah, and Zethan, and Tarshish, and Ahishahar. All these were sons of Jediael, according to the heads of their fathers' [houses], mighty men of valor, seventeen thousand and two hundred, that were able to go forth in the host for war. Shuppim also, and Huppim, the sons of Ir, Hushim, the sons of Aher.
The sons of Naphtali: Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum, the sons of Bilhah.
The sons of Manasseh: Asriel, whom his concubine the Aramitess bare: she bare Machir the father of Gilead: and Machir took a wife of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maacah; and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters. And Maacah the wife of Machir bare a son, and she called his name Peresh; and the name of his brother was Sheresh; and his sons were Ulam and Rakem. And the sons of Ulam: Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh. And his sister Hammolecheth bare Ishhod, and Abiezer, and Mahlah. And the sons of Shemida were Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi, and Aniam.
And the sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and Tahath his son, and Eleadah his son, and Tahath his son, and Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead, whom the men of Gath that were born in the land slew, because they came down to take away their cattle. And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came to comfort him. And he went in to his wife, and she conceived, and bare a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house. And his daughter was Sheerah, who built Beth-horon the nether and the upper, and Uzzen-sheerah. And Rephah was his son, and Resheph, and Telah his son, and Tahan his son, Ladan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son, Nun his son, Joshua his son.
Verses 28, 29
And their possessions and habitations were Beth-el and the towns thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Azzah and the towns thereof; and by the borders of the children of Manasseh, Beth-shean and its towns, Taanach and its towns, Megiddo and its towns, Dor and its towns. In these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel.
The sons of Asher: Imnah, and Ishvah, and Ishvi, and Beriah, and Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber, and Malchiel, who was the father of Birzaith. And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their sister. And the sons of Japhlet: Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath. These are the children of Japhlet. And the sons of Shemer: Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram. And the sons of Helem his brother: Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal. The sons of Zophah: Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri, and Imrah, Bezer, and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran, and Beera. And the sons of Jether: Jephunneh, and Pispa, and Ara. And the sons of Ulla: Arah, and Hanniel, and Rizia. All these were the children of Asher, heads of the fathers' houses, choice and mighty men of valor, chief of the princes. And the number of them reckoned by genealogy for service in war was twenty and six thousand men.
There are many discrepancies when these lists are compared with the lists cited in the marginal references to other scriptures; but it is no part of our purpose to attempt any explanation of them. The word son is used no less than nine different ways in the Bible.F1 Also, there was a mixing of the tribes, for examples, as when, "Becher's heiress married an Ephraimite which transferred his reckoning from the tribe of Benjamin to that of Ephraim."F2 We also have place-names such as Anathoth also used as the names of persons (1 Chronicles 7:8). Cundall noted that we even have two different genealogies; "Nor is it possible to explain why two should have been given."F3 As Keil noted, "Verse 12 is unintelligible to us."F4
Such problems as these do not concern us. The great purpose of the sacred author here was to forge a strong link between the pre-exilic and post-exilic Israels; and these remarkable genealogies certainly accomplished that very thing. No doubt they were understood far more perfectly by the descendants of the twelve tribes than any one may understand them thousands of years later.
Also, as we have repeatedly stressed, these genealogies are incontrovertible proof that the O.T. deals, not with myth or legend, but with history. The power of this argument is indeed tremendous. Once, when this writer was minister of Manhattan Church of Christ, a group of several New York University students called upon him; and one of them asked if it was not a fact that Jesus Christ was merely a myth. This writer then quoted in its entirety the genealogy of Jesus Christ through his mother Mary as found in Luke 3:23ff, and concluded by asking, "Now, will some of you recite for me the genealogy of Paul Bunyan, Beowolf, Santa Claus, or any other myth"? One of these later obeyed the gospel.
These names stimulate our curiosity and our imagination. Many of these are described as mighty men of valor, heads of their fathers' houses, chief among the princes of Israel, etc. What wonderful deeds of faith and trust in God must have been done! What marvelous stories of heroism, tragedy, glory, defeat and victory were woven around the names written here. We shall never know the slightest thing about most of them; but as we gaze upon their names we are haunted by thoughts of those whose exploits lie buried under the silence of millenniums.
Footnotes for 1 Chronicles 7
1: See my commentary on 2 Samuel, p. 269, for a list of these.
2: F. C. Cook, Barnes' Commentary Series, Chronicles, p. 331.
3: The New Bible Commentary, Revised, p. 374.
4: C. F. Keil, Keil and Delitzsch's Old Testament Commentaries, Vol. 3b, p. 134.