I Chronicles 7



1 “Now the sons of Issachar were, Tola, and Puah, Jashub, and Shimrom,

four.” The great tribes of Judah and Levi being now passed, as well as the

minor ones of Simeon, Reuben, and Gad, we reach the sons of Issachar. Issachar

was Jacob’s fifth son by Leah (Genesis 35:23). In the list of Genesis 46:13 our

Puah (ja;Wp) appears differently spelt as Phuvah (jW;pu), and Jashub is found as

Job, which is corrected by the Samaritan Codex to Jashub, and this reading the

Septuagint follows. In the other parallel passage (Numbers 26:23) the Phuvah

form obtains, but the other names are the same as here. Tola. We read (Judges

10:1-2) of another person of this name, who judged Israel twenty-three years, at

Shamir, in Mount Ephraim, and who is called “the son of Puah, the son of

Dodo, a man of Issachar.” This is a good instance of how the use of the same

names, though in different order, clung to a tribe or family through long periods.


2 “And the sons of Tola; Uzzi, and Rephaiah, and Jeriel, and Jahmai,

and Jibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their father’s house, to wit, of

Tola: they were valiant men of might in their generations; whose

number was in the days of David two and twenty thousand and six

hundred.”  The six sons of Tola given here are stated to be the six heads of

the house at the time of the census of David (II Samuel 24:1-17). The verse

further states that the Tolaites had grown to number at that time twenty-two

thousand six hundred, and as this fact is not stated elsewhere, it is pretty clear

proof that the compiler had other sources of information in addition to those

possessed by us.


3 “And the sons of Uzzi; Izrahiah: and the sons of Izrahiah; Michael,

and Obadiah, and Joel, Ishiah, five: all of them chief men.”  The names of

Izrahiah’s sons count up only four; but if, with four of Kennicott’s manuscripts,

the words, and the sons of Izrahiah, should be omitted, the five will count right

for sons of Uzzi, and the little clause beginning this verse will correspond exactly

with that beginning v. 2. The Syriac, however, does not omit “and the sons of

Izrahiah;” but alters the numeral “five” to “four.”


4 “And with them, by their generations, after the house of their fathers,

were bands of soldiers for war, six and thirty thousand men: for they had

many wives and sons. 5  And their brethren among all the families of

Issachar were valiant men of might, reckoned in all by their genealogies

fourscore and seven thousand.” The meaning of these verses, especially of

the former of them, is not quite evident. This seems to say that as the Tolaites

were in David’s time twenty-two thousand six hundred, so the Uzzites taken

from among them (or the “sons of Izrahiah,” as the case may be) numbered

thirty-six thousand additional. But were not the Uzzites included in the

Tolaites? and did not the figure thirty-six thousand embrace the

accumulated numbers, whilst the balance of fifty-one thousand necessary to

make up the eighty-seven thousand of v. 5, was drawn from all the other

branches of the Issachar tribe? This is not the view, however, generally

taken, and if the numbers of vs. 2 and 4 are distinct, the balance needful

for v. 5 will, of course, be twenty-eight thousand four hundred. It cannot

be denied that this view is favored by the special description applied to

these Uzzites, or Izrahiahites, as bands of soldiers for war; their disposition

and their training constituting possibly the reason of their being singled out

for further description from among the sons of Tola. The statement of the

total number of the tribe of Issachar in David’s time is wonderfully

corroborated by the two censuses of Moses — Numbers 1:28-29, fifty-four

thousand four hundred; and Numbers 26:23-25, sixty-four thousand three

hundred. The total of Issachar, four score and seven thousand, is a good

proportion of the aggregate total of all the tribes, given (II Samuel 24:8-9)

as eight hundred thousand. Grove, however, adds all the above numbers, and

makes thereby Issachar’s total (see Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 1:901 b) one

hundred and forty-five thousand six hundred, which seems disfavored by the

numbers at the second census of Moses. At the time of this census Issachar

came third of all the tribes, only Judah and Dan taking precedence. The

expression  bands of soldiers for war culminates in the word (μydiWdg])

bands,” which is applied (Genesis 49:19) to Gad, and almost invariably to

the irregular but special bodies of fighting men of the nations round (Authorized

Version, ch.12:23 is incorrect, the Hebrew word being different). The

examples are too numerous to quote, but some of the more important

instances are II Kings 6:23; 13:20; 24:2; Hosea 6:9; 7:1.



The Divine Gift of Physical Strength (vs. 2-5)


It is remarked as being the peculiar trust and endowment of some men that

they were bodily strong. They are spoken of as “valiant men of might.” In

the line of this endowment came their life-mission, and in the use of this

trust they would be finally judged. On Paul’s principle that the body is

for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (I Corinthians 6:13), we are delivered

from sentimental undervaluing of our physical frame, and consequent neglect

of its culture into health and vigor, or monastic efforts to humble it into a

due subjection to the spirit. In view of the relations between bodily

strength and religious life, we ought to regard health, vigor, energy of

frame, as great gifts from God and, as all Divine gifts are, great and

responsible trusts. In the older times physical strength found its readiest

sphere in armies and wars. So the vigor indicated in these verses took the

form of valor. The modern sentiments concerning peace and war

materially differ from those of earlier ages. The modern admiration of

peace and horror of offensive war befit a condition of advanced civilization

and the tolerably complete division of the earth’s habitable countries

among the different races and nations. Still, we must fully recognize that

war has had its important place in the ordering and training of the world. It

has often proved to be the best judgment on, and corrective of, serious

moral evils; and so there has always been a place and a work for the

mighty man of valor.” On Joubert’s principle, “Force till right is ready,”

the physical restraints of social order must come before the intellectual and

moral ones; and in such early times and first stages of national

development, physical strength, warlike skill, power of command, and

valor, are properly recognized as Divine gifts, and they are as truly such

as are the gifts of statesmanship, diplomacy, and arbitration in quieter,

more developed, more civilized times. The laws that regulate the use of all

our bodily gifts may be effectively illustrated in relation to this one of

valor. It may be pointed out:


  • That it should  never be used for schemes of personal aggrandizement.
  • That it should  not be prostrated to any evil uses, of tyranny or passion.
  • That it is for use in all ways of loyalty, obedience, brotherhood, and



And there is still the place and the work for the gift of physical strength, though

not so much call for it in armies and battlefields. Great things have been done for humanity by the physical endurance of explorers and travelers, such as Livingstone

and Stanley and the members of Arctic expeditions (Space Age – CY – 2012).

Great things are done in the saving of life by strong-armed and brave-hearted

sailors in our lifeboats, and by firemen in our great cities.  Still the demand

for manual labor and bodily strength is made, in field and workshop and yard.

And though so large a proportion of modern toil is mental rather than bodily,

and consequently physical vigor is unduly despised, it remains true that the

man of mind imperils his mind by failure to culture his body into strength.

 It remains true for the intellectual nineteenth century (now 21st century –

CY – 2012), as for every other, that bodily strength is a gracious

DIVINE GIFT which should be treasured, kept, cultured, exercised,

and put to all noble and holy uses. Appeal, especially from the Christian

standpoint, that CHRIST EXPECTS FAITHFULNESS to the whole trust

which He commits to us; and holds us responsible for the measure of

bodily health and energy we maintain, as well as for the culture of character,

mind,  and soul which we may gain. “BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT” together

make the living sacrifice, which is our “reasonable service.”  (Romans 12:1-2)


6 “The sons of Benjamin; Bela, and Becher, and Jediael, three.”

We have four passages for our authorities as to the sons of Benjamin, and

it is not altogether easy to bring them into verbal harmony. They are

Genesis 46:21; Numbers 26:38-41; the present passage; and ch. 8.

Our present passage mentions three sons, as though they were all, and

immediately proceeds to their posterity. The list in Genesis mentions ten, of

whom, however, we know (Numbers 26:40; ch.8:3-4) that three, Naaman, Ard,

and Gera, were grandsons, being sons of Bela, under which circumstances the

order in which the two former stand in Genesis is remarkable. Again, while

Becher is given as the second son in both Genesis and our present place, he is

not mentioned in Numbers 26:38-41 and in ch.8:1. Ashbel, who in Genesis is

given as the third, is expressly called the second son. Among the Ephraimites,

however (Numbers 26:35), a Becher, with his descendants the Bachrites, is

mentioned, and it is not improbable that, by marriage, the family were at that

 time, for manifest reasons of inheritance and possession, reckoned in this tribe,

though by blood of the tribe of Benjamin. Lastly, Jediael of this passage and

v. 10 is not found in Genesis, in Numbers, or in our ch. 8. This name seems to

have superseded in our passage the name Ashbel in Genesis, though it is

impossible to speak certainly. It cannot be supposed to designate the same

person, but rather a descendant in the same branch, whose family had come

to importance “in the days of David.”


7 “And the sons of Bela; Ezbon, and Uzzi, and Uzziel, and Jerimoth,

and Iri, five; heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of

valor; and were reckoned by their genealogies twenty and two

thousand and thirty and four.”  And the sons of Bela. The first and last

of the five (descendants or heads of families) here given, viz. Ezbon and Iri,

are not found in previous places among Benjamite families, but are found

(Genesis 46:16; Numbers 26:16) among Gadite families. It would seem that

by David’s time they had become in some aspects ranked among the

Benjamites, though not originally of them.


8 “And the sons of Becher; Zemira, and Joash, and Eliezer, and

Elioenai, and Omri, and Jerimoth, and Abiah, and Anathoth, and

Alameth. All these are the sons of Becher.” Joash. This name, of

which nothing else is known, is spelt with an ayin, not with an aleph,

as are the names of the seven other persons called (Authorized Version)

Joash. Jerimoth. This name is spelt with a tsere, and not, as the Jerimoth

of v. 7, with khirik. All the names of this verse must be regarded as those

of heads of families, and not the literal sons of Becher.


9 “And the number of them, after their genealogy by their generations,

heads of the house of their fathers, mighty men of valor, was twenty

thousand and two hundred.  10 The sons also of Jediael; Bilhan: and

the sons of Bilhan; Jeush, and Benjamin, and Ehud, and Chenaanah,

and Zethan, and Tharshish, and Ahishahar.”  Bilhan; Jeush. Both of these,

as well as the name Bela, are of Edomitish origin (Genesis 36:5,18,27,32).


11 “All these the sons of Jediael, by the heads of their fathers, mighty

men of valor, were seventeen thousand and two hundred soldiers,

fit to go out for war and battle.  12  Shuppim also, and Huppim, the

children of Ir, and Hushim, the sons of Aher.”  Shuppim… and Huppim.

These two, called (Numbers 26:39) “Shupham and Hupham,” and ch. 8:5

Shephuphan and Huram,” are mentioned (Genesis 46:21) as among those

who went down with Jacob into Egypt, are called Muppim and Huppim,”

and are described as “sons of Benjamin.” They are here described as sons

of Iri, or Ir, which would make them great-grandsons of Benjamin, a thing

impossible. Hushim, the sons of Aher. Nothing can be said with

confidence of either of these names. The Hushim of Genesis 46:23

(called Shuham, Numbers 26:42) are expressly given as a family of

Dan, while the Hushim of ch. 8:8, 11, is manifestly the name, not of a

family, but of an individual, and that a woman.


13 “The sons of Naphtali; Jahziel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shallum,

the sons of Bilhah.” The sons of Naphtali. In an order quite different from the

otherwise parallel passages (Genesis 46:24; Numbers 26:48-50), the tribe of

Naphtali is taken. Naphtali was the second son of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah,

and in order of birth the fifth son of Jacob, and was of course more closely

allied to Dan, Ephraim, and Benjamin. The family was distinguished for its

spirit throughout its history. At the Sinai census it numbered fifty-three

thousand four hundred fighting men (Numbers 1:42-43); but at the close of

the wanderings through the wilderness its numbers had become only forty-five

thousand four hundred. Its territory in the north, largely mountainous, bounded

by Asher, Zebulun, and Manasseh, was some of the finest, and covered the

district afterwards called Galilee, the cradle of the Christian faith, the native

place of most of the apostles, and the home of our Lord. . The slight difference

in the spelling of Jahziel in Genesis, and of Shallum in Numbers, may be

noticed. The following are interesting references to Naphtali in one or

another portion of its history: — Deuteronomy 33:23; Joshua 20:7; 21:32;

Judges 1:33; 5:18; ch.27:19; Ezekiel 48:3-4, 34; Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:15;

Revelation 7:6.  It played a considerable and prominent part also in the conflicts

with Titus and Vespasian, when the days of Jerusalem were numbered.


14 “The sons of Manasseh; Ashriel, whom she bare: (but his concubine

the Aramitess bare Machir the father of Gilead:” The tribe of Manasseh has

been partly treated of in ch. 5:23-26, viz. those of the tribe who inhabited

Gilead and Bashan. Here those who inhabited this side Jordan are treated

of. And it is very difficult to give any coherent account of the differences of

this passage when compared with Numbers 26:28-34 and Joshua 17:1-4.

In these places six families, or heads of families, are noted to only two, or

at most three here, viz. Ashriel, Shemida, and perhaps Abiezer (iq.

Jeezer, Numbers 26:30; compare with Joshua 17:2). The opening

clause of this verse also is unmanageable as it stands. One way of reducing

it to coherence would be to supply the words “his wife” between whom

and bare, the similarity of the Hebrew letters of which to those of the

Hebrew for “whom” might possibly account for the loss of it. The

parenthesis about the concubine would then read with emphasis. But there

is not the slightest reason to suppose there was such a wife. Another way

would be to read the concubine as the mother of Ashriel, and prefix a

conjunction, and, to the second “bare;” i.e. and she bare, or, she bare also

Machir.” But it seems pretty plain from Numbers and Joshua that Ashriel

was not strictly a son, but only descendant of Manasseh; and, further, the

irresistible impression is that Machir was the only son, strictly speaking

(see especially Genesis 50:23). The position of Ashriel in our present

passage, first, is also very unsatisfactory in face of Genesis 50:23 and

the other references already given.


15 “And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim,

whose sister’s name was Maachah;)   Of this Maachah, one among

ten of the same name, nothing else is known. The Peshito Syriac makes

her the mother instead of wife of Machir. The distinct mention of the

marriage of a Manassite to a Benjamite woman is to be noticed –

and the name of the second was Zelophehad:” -  The meaning of the

preceding words, and the name of the second, is unintelligible.

Zelophehad was son of Hephen, who was (through Gilead and Machir)

great-grandson of Manasseh (Joshua 17:3). The number and names and

wise appeal and success of the daughters here spoken of, are given in

Joshua 17:3-6; Numbers 26:33; 27:1-11; 36:5-12 - “and Zelophehad had




Woman’s Rights in Ancient Times (v. 15)


The condition and the disabilities of Eastern women should be explained,

described, and duly contrasted with the position won by women in all

Christian countries. Especially deal with their secluded lives in their

harems, or private apartments; the utter neglect of their education and

culture; their disadvantages in never going out into society; and their

utterly dependent position, involving the crushing of their personal wills, or

the leaving them undeveloped and unexercised. (Contrast this with the

modern “overly liberated woman” – one might compare their liberty to

Christ’s warning about the danger of riches – “What shall it profit a

man [or woman] if he [she] gains the whole world [equality and

self-determination] and lose his [her] own soul.”  - Matthew 16:26 –

Also, I highly recommend a very deep and curious look into Paul’s

statement in  I Corinthians 11:10 – “For this cause ought the woman

to have power on her head BECAUSE OF THE ANGELS!” – CY –

2012)  And yet among them some women made for themselves spheres,

by force of their character and ability.  Biblical  illustrations are Sarah,

Rebekah, Moses’ mother, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Jezebel, Athaliah,

etc. Always women have found spheres among the children and dependents,

but sometimes wider and public spheres have opened to them. Women

have little recognized legal or public rights in the East. Woman has no

standing apart from her husband, and this makes the lot of the Eastern

widow so inexpressibly sad. The name Zelophehad recalls a remarkable

exception — a case in which women, having no male protector, succeeded

in securing and maintaining their own rights; and the story is detailed in

the Scripture as affording important instructive features. Compare the

modern assertion of woman’s legal and governmental rights, and how

modern legislation has aided in removing women’s disabilities. This

Zelophehad was a descendant of Manasseh, who died during the

wilderness wanderings, leaving no sons, only five daughters, who, by

the custom of the time, would be treated as unable to inherit his estates.

These five daughters appealed to Moses (Numbers 27:1-7), on the ground

that their father had not died under any such judgment as disabled his children,

and they asked to be authorized to stand as his heirs. The matter was a new

and difficult one, and Moses took it directly to God, and BY DIVINE

DIRECTION established the new rule that when there were no sons the

daughters might claim the rights of heirs. A remarkable illustration of the

wise adjustment of law in its practical application to new and unanticipated

cases. Bishop Wordsworth says, “It seems to have been God’s design in the

Levitical dispensation to elevate woman from the degradation into which she

had fallen, and to prepare her gradually for that state of dignity and grace to

which she is now advanced in the gospel by the incarnation of the Son of

God, the Seed of the woman.” (Galatians 4:4)


  • WOMAN’S PLACE IN FAMILY LIFE. There she properly takes

A headship, bearing rule over both children and dependents. The

Biblical picture is that of  the “virtuous woman and wife” given in

Proverbs 31:10-31).  If the woman be but a member of the family and

not the head, still there is the due and honorable place of childhood,

sisterhood, and friendship. No woman lacks a sphere of kindly useful

service save the woman who wants none, because life is for her a mere

low self-sphere.  Plead for the nobility of womanly duties and relations

in the home. Martha and Mary could even prove ministers to the bodily

needs of a Friend who was the world’s SAVIOUR, many a woman since

has “entertained angels unawares.”  (Hebrews 13:2)


  • WOMAN’S PLACE IN PUBLIC LIFE. Home, in most cases, provides

ample and satisfying spheres (except to the liberated woman – CY – 2012).

But for women who are free from family ties suitable public spheres are

found among other women, among the suffering, the poor, and the children;

and where there is endowment literature finds work for woman. These

spheres are daily enlarging. They should be fully detailed, and an earnest

plea should be made against the wasting of womans powers when such

broad sphere claim her abilities and energies, and on them she may enter

into the joy of “SERVING CHRIST!”


 16 “And Maachah  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.”



17 “And the sons of Ulam; Bedan. These were the sons of Gilead, the

son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.” Bedan. While all the names of the

preceding verse are strange to us, this name excites much interest, as possibly

to be identified with the Bedan (I Samuel 12:11) who is placed after

Jerubbaal (i.q. Gideon), and before Jephthah and Samuel. Who in the Book

of Judges is to answer to this Bedan of the Book of Samuel it is impossible to

say.). These were the sons of Gilead (see v. 14). The name Gilead surpassed

the name Machir, and even rivaled that of Manasseh himself.


18 “And his sister Hammoleketh bare Ishod, and Abiezer, and Mahalah.”

Abiezer. He is the nephew, then, of Gilead, and grandson of Machir. Gideon

sprang from him (Judges 6:11; 8:32). The name of the mother, Hammoleketh,

is compounded of the article and Moleketh, or Meleketh, a Chaldee form, found

several times in the Book of Jeremiah, of the word for “queen.” Of Ishod and

Mahalah nothing is known, but the latter name is identical with Mahlah, one

of the five daughters of Zelophehad.


19 “And the sons of Shemidah were, Ahian, and Shechem, and Likhi,

and Aniam.” Shemidah, Joshua 17:2 tells us that the descendants of

Shemida obtained their inheritance among the male children of Manasseh;

and Numbers 26:32 places him in the Gilead family. Of Ahian, Likhi,

Aniam, nothing else is known. Shechem. If this name is rightly placed

under Shemidah, it must be concluded from Joshua 17:2 and Numbers 26:31

that it is a different Shechem from the one there found.  This latter was also

a Manassite, belonged to the family of Gilead, and was head of a family

 named Shechemites after him. His descendants are spoken of as the

sons of Shechem in the above passage of Joshua.


20 “And the sons of Ephraim; Shuthelah, and Bered his son, and

Tahath his son, and Eladah his son, and Tahath his son,”

The chief difficulty of the next eight verses (vs. 20-27) lies in reconciling the

points of chronology which it forces to the surface. Vs. 20 and 21, purport

to contain the line of descent from Ephraim through his son Shuthelah to

the seventh generation, viz. to another Shuthelah. The remaining two

names, Ezer and Elead, may perhaps be two brothers of the first Shuthelah,

i.e. own sons of Ephraim. If it be so, these two must not be supposed to

correspond with Becher and Tahan, called “sons of Ephraim” in

Numbers 26:35; for it is evident that they were generations succeeding

Shuthelah. Now, Ephraim was born in Egypt (Genesis 46:20), so that,

on the above showing, the actual sons of Ephraim must have made some

incursion from Egypt into the territories of the settled or possibly

aboriginal inhabitants of Gath, and met the fate over which Ephraim so

mourned. Such excursions on the part of the Israelites out of Egypt have

very little collateral evidence. But there would seem to be no impossibility

in the matter, considering Genesis 50:13-23. Next, vs. 23-27 seem to

say that in his sorrow Ephraim has another son, whom he names Beriah,

and of whose line in the ninth descent comes Joshua, the son of Nun. This

also is very doubtful. It may very possibly be that the parenthesis continues

to the end of v. 23 or 24, and that vs. 25-27 carry on the generations

from v. 21. Meantime welcome light breaks in at the stage (v. 26) at

which Ammihud and Elishama are mentioned. For we find these immediate

ancestors of the great Joshua repeatedly mentioned at the period of the

Exodus (Numbers 1:10; 2:18; 7:48); yet none of these places

assist us to say that he did or did not come through Beriah. It is impossible

to solve with any certainty the involved question of chronology and

genealogy presented by this section. The passage is evidently mutilated and

corrupt, though vindicating a high antiquity. A very original presentation of

the whole section, as ingenious as it is conjectural, by Lord A.C. Hervey,

may be found in the art. Shuthclah,” Smith’s ‘Bible Dictionary,’ 3:1305. It

is well worthy of attention that a great point is made in bringing Joshua to

the place of the eighth generation from Joseph, in near analogy with the

numbers in so many other known cases, of the generations that intervened

from the descent into Egypt to the entrance into Canaan. There also may

be found the most and best that can be said against the literal reading of

what is here written respecting the men of Gath and the cattle.


21 “And Zabad his son, and Shuthelah his son, and Ezer, and Elead,

whom the men of Gath that were born in that land slew, because

they came down to take away their cattle.”  This certainly may be translated,

when they (i.e. the men of Gath) came down (i.e. into Goshen) to plunder

their cattle (i.e. the cattle of Ephraim).


22 And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brethren came

to comfort him.  23 And when he went in to his wife, she conceived,  and bare

a son, and he called his name Beriah, because it went evil with his house.”



     Mourning and Consolation (v. 22)


There is much obscurity about this passage, as recording an historical incident.

But, though it is not easy to decide who the persons referred to were and at

what time they lived, the incident is a witness to the community of human nature,

both in the bitterness of the earthly lot and in the consolations with which it

abounds. We have here brought before us:


  • BEREAVEMENT. From the first it has been the fate of men to endure

this sorrow, for our days on earth are as a shadow, and death takes away

from us all in turn the joys of our hearts, the desire of our eyes, the objects

of our hopes. And it is to be observed that the sudden and violent death of

our beloved ones is peculiarly distressing. When the young are cut down

by wicked hands, in tumult or in war, the shock to survivors is especially



  • MOURNING. Lamentation for our dead is natural and right. “Jesus

wept at Lazarus’s grave (John 11:35).  There is such a thing as sanctified

sorrow. In certain cases, even poignant grief and prolonged mourning are excusable. “The heart knoweth his own bitterness  (Proverbs 14:10).   

The parent weeps for the children because they are not.  (Matthew 2:18)


  • SYMPATHY AND CONSOLATION. Those who are near akin or

intimate friends are expected to offer their affectionate condolence to the

bereaved in the hour of sorrow and desolation. This is the obligation of

friendship and its privilege also. Helpful and consolatory is true sympathy;

for who would wish to bear his heaviest burden alone? Yet the most

profitable ministrations in bereavement are those by which the heart of the

bereaved is directed to take refuge in the fatherly wisdom and love of

God, and in the tender sympathy of that High Priest who “IN ALL


(Hebrews 4:15)


24  (And his daughter was Sherah, who built Bethhoron the nether, and

the upper, and Uzzensherah.)  His daughter. If the literal interpretation of this

whole section be accepted, according to which both Ephraim and Beriah must

have passed their lifetime in Egypt, the “daughter,” strictly so called, of either

the one or the other could not have been the founder of the places here

mentioned. The word “daughter” must, therefore, represent simply a female

descendant. (For other references to Beth-horon, see Joshua 10:10-11; 16:3, 5;

18:13-14; 21:20-22.)



A Famous Woman (v. 24)


We know nothing else of Sherah than is recorded in this verse. Whether she did

herself build or enlarge and fortify these towns, or whether this was the work of

her descendants, is not easy to decide. The fact, in any case, is of interest for us,

that her name should be put upon record in this passage, and should be associated

with great works.



SOME VAST DESIGN. History records great feats of feminine valor;

for women have defended castles and cities by their heroism, and

delivered nations, by personal bravery and by the enthusiastic support

they have commanded. Some nations, as e.g. our own, number among

their sovereigns queens of singular sagacity and statesmanship. In art

and in literature, and even in science, women have, in our own times,

won for themselves a high position and a wide renown.



If not cities, societies and families have again and again been built up in

strength and stateliness and serviceableness through feminine wisdom,

sympathy, and devotedness. A gifted and fascinating woman has often

been the architect of fortune, and, as the center and inspiration of

intellectual and social life, has not only laid the foundations, but

reared the edifice of political and social power.



GOD. How many such shine from the pages of inspiration! Sarah,

Miriam, Ruth, Hannah, Esther, in the Old Testament; the Maries,

Priscilla, Dorcas, Lydia, in the New Testament, may serve as

examples. No work is so congenial to the female character, so truly

graceful and ornamental to the feminine life, as work for Christ.





writer thought well to record the name of the builder of Beth-heron,

            surely the memory of the noblewomen of our Lord’s spiritual

kingdom should never fade.


25  And Rephah was his son, also Resheph, and Telah his son, and

Tahan his son.” - Of the names Rephah and Resheph nothing else is known.


26  Laadan his son, Ammihud his son, Elishama his son.  27  Non his son,

Jehoshuah (Joshua) his son.”   Non. The same as Nun (Numbers 13:8,16).



Joshua and Jesus: Resemblance and Contrast (v. 27)


The identity of the names — the one being the Greek form of the other —

has led the Church to look on the Hebrew Captain as a type of the Saviour

of the world. (For confirmation, see Hebrews 4:8.) There are certain

resemblances, though the contrasts are as striking if not as numerous.




Ø      They both bore the same name.

Ø      They both brought to the people of God deliverance from the

enemies of God.

Ø      They were both obedient to “Him that sent them,” and wrought

out the work which He gave them to do.

Ø      They both led (or, lead) the people of God into the promised land.

Ø      They both began their earthly life in obscurity, and rose (or, have

risen) to the highest point of human honor.





Ø      Joshua was engaged in the work of his life for (at least) thirty

years; the Lord for (at most) three.

Ø      Joshua fought with carnal weapons, and won victories with

sword of steel; Christ fought only with spiritual weapons,

and His conquest is the triumph of truth and grace.

Ø      Joshua had good reason to fear that by his death his life-work

would be undone; the Saviour had the best reason to know that

by His death His lifework would be sealed and crowned.

Ø      Joshua led a nation into a land which would prove a temporary

inheritance; the redeeming Lord leads the human race “into

everlasting habitations,” into the one city which is ETERNAL!

 Better the humblest post amongst the followers of Jesus than

the proudest place in the ranks of Joshua.


(I am blessed with a two year old grandson – he and I love to listen to

children’s sons on the internet – I highly recommend “Joshua Fought the

Battle of Jericho and “Jesus Loves Me” by the Cedarmont Kids – they

also sing many other catchy and Biblically sound children’s songs – CY - 2012) 


28 “And their possessions and habitations were, Bethel and the towns

thereof, and eastward Naaran, and westward Gezer, with the towns

thereof; Shechem also and the towns thereof, unto Gaza and the

towns thereof:”  Naaran. This place is probably the same with the Naarath or

Naarah of Joshua 16:7; though here it is said to be an eastward limit,

and there its description might rather seem that of a southward limit. Gaza.

This name can scarcely designate the well-known Gaza, assigned to Judah

(Joshua 15:47; Judges 1:18), but so largely the prey of the Philistines

(Judges 16:21; I Samuel 6:17).


29 “And by the borders of the children of Manasseh, Bethshean and her

towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and

her towns. In these dwelt the children of Joseph the son of Israel.”

The places mentioned in this verse were assigned to Manasseh.

Bethshean was on the west of Jordan, and was within the borders of

Issachar (Joshua 17:11-13; I Kings 4:11-12). Dor was within the

borders of Asher (Joshua 11:1-2; 12:23; 17:11; Judges 1:27-28).

Taanach. This place also lay within the borders of Issachar or Asher

(Joshua 17:11-12; 21:25; Judges 5:19). Megiddo. This place is

constantly coupled with the preceding. It lay on the south of the plain of

Esdraelon (Joshua 12:21; 17:11; Judges 1:27; I Kings 4:12).



30 “The sons of Asher; Imnah, and Isuah, and Ishuai, and Beriah, and

Serah their sister.” The same four sons and one daughter of Asher are found

in Genesis 46:17; but the name of the second son is wanting to the list of

families descended from Asher of Numbers 26:44-47, and the name of

the daughter is given by itself, and not as furnishing a family.


31 “And the sons of Beriah; Heber, and Malchiel, who is the father of

Birzavith.”  These two grandsons are also found in the above lists of both

Genesis and Numbers; but nothing is found there to explain the name

Birzavith, which the Keri spells with yod, the Kethiv with van. With the

former spelling its signification would be the “well of olives,” and would

point to its being the name of a place rather than of a person, and, as some

think, that person a woman (Gesenius, ‘Thes.,’ 239). (For instances of the

expression “father” of a place, see ch. 2:51-52; 4:4-5.)


32 “And Heber begat Japhlet, and Shomer, and Hotham, and Shua their

sister.”  Japhlet. This son of Heber, not otherwise known, cannot be

identified with the Japhletiof Joshua 16:3 (himself an enigma), on

the south boundary of Ephraim, between the nether Beth-heron and

Ataroth. Shomer; i.q. Shamer of v. 34.


33 “And the sons of Japhlet; Pasach, and Bimhal, and Ashvath. These

are the children of Japhlet.”  Nothing, except what follows in the next verses,

is known of the three sons of Japhlet given in this verse. In them we reach the

fourth generation from Asher. The generations then travel forward through

Helem, presumably a third brother of Japhlet, passing the sons of Shamer,

or Shomer, presumably Japhlet’s second brother.


34 “And the sons of Shamer; Ahi, and Rohgah, Jehubbah, and Aram.”

Ahi. It seems impossible to decide with certainty whether this is the name

of a person or whether, with the vau, which otherwise begins the next word,

it should not be translated “his brother,” ie. the brother of Japhlet. In v. 32

the names of three brothers are given, sons of Heber, viz. Japhlet, Shomer,

and Hotham. Now, the name Helem, in ver. 35, is supposed to point to this

Hotham. If it be so, it would so far be an argument that Ahi should be

translated “his brother,” in correspondence with the undoubted “his brother”

of v. 35. Of no one of the names in these verses is anything further known.

35 And the sons of his brother Helem; Zophah, and Imna, and

Shelesh, and Amal.”


36 “The sons of Zophah; Suah, and Harnepher, and Shual, and Beri,

and Imrah,  37 Bezer, and Hod, and Shamma, and Shilshah, and Ithran,

and Beera.  38 And the sons of Jether; Jephunneh, and Pispah, and Ara.”

Vs. 36 and 37 purport to give us eleven sons of Zophah, son of Helem, and

grandson of Heber, and these bring us to the sixth generation from  Asher;

and again (v. 38), we reach the seventh in descent from Asher, in the

three sons of Jether, or Ithran, the tenth son of Zophah.


39 “And the sons of Ulla; Arah, and Haniel, and Rezia.”  Ulla. Whether

in this verse we get to the eighth generation depends on who may be meant by

Ulla. It is impossible to answer the question. The suggestion has been made

that the name may, by some great error of copyists, stand for either Zophah’s

last son Beera, or, by happier conjecture, Jether’s last son, Ara. But neither

professes to be anything better than mere conjecture.


40 “All these were the children of Asher, heads of their father’s house,

choice and mighty men of valor, chief of the princes. And the number

throughout the genealogy of them that were apt to the war and to battle

was twenty and six thousand men.”  The number of Asherites, “of

twenty years old and upwards, able to go forth to war,” given in

Numbers 1:40-41, was forty-one thousand five hundred. Forty years

later (Ibid. ch.26:44-47; compare v. 2) the number was fifty-three

thousand four hundred. But it is supposed that the twenty-six thousand of

this verse may refer only to a portion of the tribe, i.e. to the large and

distinguished family of Heber. It is to be noticed that the name of the tribe

of Asher is not found in the list of the “chief rulers” lower down in this

book (ch.27:16-22). The tone also in which reference is made to Asher and

Manasseh and Zebulun coming to Jerusalem to Hezekiah’s Passover

(II Chronicles 30:11) is very noticeable. This tribe, with Simeon, gave no

judge to the nation, and of all the tribes west of the Jordan they stand by

themselves in this respect. There is an ancient legend that the parents of

Paul lived within the territories of Asher, at the place called Ahlab in

Judges 1:31, otherwise Giscala, or Gush Chaleb.  Against the uncertainty

of the legend we may gratefully remember the certainty of the history of

the “Anna,… daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser (Luke 2:36).



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