I Chronicles 8



This chapter carries us back to the tribe of Benjamin, partly dealt with already in the

last chapter vs.6-12. The tribe is reverted to for the same kind of reason that called

for our ch. 3. David was so important a character in the tribe of Judah . And Saul,

with whom the resume of Chronicle-history begins  here in v. 33; ch.9:39 and ch.

10, belongs to the tribe of Benjamin.  Thus the genealogy of this tribe forms the

porch to the history contained in this work, and the forty verses of this chapter

rehearse the sons and chief men of Benjamin, with a view to bring into prominence

the stock of Saul.


1 “Now Benjamin begat Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, and Aharah

the third,  2 Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.”  These verses give five

sons to Benjamin. Of the nonappearance of Becher here (ch.7:6) and the appearance

of Ashbel in his place, also of the non-appearance here of Jediael (Ibid.) and the

appearance of Aharah (i.q. Ahiram, Numbers 26:38) in his place, notice has

been taken on Ibid. vs.6-12. Of the two additions to the sons of Benjamin here, viz.

Nohah and Rapha, nothing is known elsewhere; yet it may be possible to count

five families from Numbers 26:38-39.


3 “And the sons of Bela were, Addar, and Gera, and Abihud,  4 And Abishua,

and Naaman, and Ahoah,  5 And Gera, and Shephuphan, and Huram.”

Nine sons are here assigned to Bela.  In Genesis 46:21 only finds us clearly three

of them, and these in very different order, viz. Gera, Naaman, and Ard; and

Numbers 26:39-40 finds us only three, viz. Ard, Naaman, and Shupham. Yet our

Huram may correspond with Hupham, and then the four pairs of names —

Shephuphan and Huram, Shupham and Hupham, Shuppim and Huppim, and

Muppim and Huppim — may be interpreted as designating one and the same

couple of persons. The recurrence of the name Gera in v. 5, so close upon the

same name in v. 3, would of course be more remarkable, and point inevitably to

the disordered state of the text, if it were necessary to suppose that these nine

persons were really brothers, as well as called sons of Bela.


6 “And these are the sons of Ehud: these are the heads of the fathers of the

inhabitants of Geba, and they removed them to Manahath:”  Ehud. We are

brought to a halt again by the sudden introduction of this name. Even if it stand for

Abihud (v. 3) or for Ahoah (v. 4), why is it changed in so short an interval? It is

impossible to establish order in these verses except by most gratuitous conjecture.

But it may be supposed that the verses say that Ehud’s people once belonged to

Manahath, that the heads of them removed them to Geba (Joshua 18:24), and

that he himself (query, Ehud? but commonly read Gera) removed them.


 7 “And Naaman,  and Ahiah, and Gera, he removed them, and begat

Uzza, and Ahihud.”  - Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera look very much like

the Naaman, Ahoah, and Gera of vs. 4-5; and finally that after the removing “he”

had two sons, Uzza and Ahihud.


8 “And Shaharaim begat children in the country of Moab, after he had

sent them away; Hushim and Baara were his wives.”  Shaharaim. It has

been proposed, in the utter obscurity here, to add this name as a third to Uzza

and Ahihud. This may be a way out, but if so, instead of repeating “and

Shaharaim,” it might be more natural to keep the former enigmatic nominative

and object to begat, whether Ehud or Gera. There can be little doubt that a

copyist’s error has given us them (μt;ao) in place of ta,, in the latter part of

this verse, before the names of the wives. The sentence then would translate,

after his sending away [whether by divorce or not] Hushim and Baara his



9 “And he begat of Hodesh his wife, Jobab, and Zibia, and Mesha, and

Malcham, 10 And Jeuz, and Shachia, and Mirma. These were his sons,

heads of the fathers.  11 And of Hushim he begat Abitub, and Elpaal.”

These verses give seven unknown sons of Ehud, Gera, or Shaharaim, as the

case may be, by the wife Hodesh, whom one would have been glad to identify

with Baara, and two unknown sons of the wife Hushim.



One of the sons of this last-named wife, Hushim, was named Elpaal.  From

vs. 12-28  we have a numerous list of his descendants, evidently in different degrees

of relationship, but with the thread picked up apparently several times, in the persons

of the first mentioned “sons,” viz. the five, Eber, Misham, Shamed, Beriah, Shema

(see vs. 16,18,21,25 and 27).


12 “The sons of Elpaal; Eber, and Misham, and Shamed, who built Ono, and

Lod,” - These places are not mentioned in Joshua as originally assigned to Benjamin.

They were obtained or “built” afterwards. They are first mentioned in this passage,

afterwards in Ezra 2:33; Nehemiah 6:2; 7:37; 11:35. Lod is, with little doubt, the

Lydda of Acts 9:32 -“with the towns thereof:”


13 Beriah also, and Shema, who were heads of the fathers of the

inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove away the inhabitants of Gath:” –

Aijalon. A similar kind of history belongs to this place. It was assigned to Dan

(Joshua 19:40-48). Unsubdued by them (Judges 1:34-36), the Ephraimites

possessed it awhile (ch. 6:69), until it came to be more like the  common

property or care of Benjamin and Judah, situated as it was on their

boundary line (I Samuel 14:31; II  Chronicles 11:10; 28:18).


14  And Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth,

15  And Zebadiah, and Arad, and Ader,

16  And Michael, and Ispah, and Joha, the sons of Beriah;

17  And Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hezeki, and Heber,

18  Ishmerai also, and Jezliah, and Jobab, the sons of Elpaal;

19  And Jakim, and Zichri, and Zabdi,

20  And Elienai, and Zilthai, and Eliel,

21  And Adaiah, and Beraiah, and Shimrath, the sons of Shimhi;

22  And Ishpan, and Heber, and Eliel,

23  And Abdon, and Zichri, and Hanan,

24  And Hananiah, and Elam, and Antothijah,

25  And Iphedeiah, and Penuel, the sons of Shashak;

26  And Shamsherai, and Shehariah, and Athaliah,

27  And Jaresiah, and Eliah, and Zichri, the sons of Jeroham.

28  These were heads of the fathers, by their generations, chief men.

These dwelt in Jerusalem.” (Joshua 18:28; ch.9:2-9; Nehemiah 11:1-4).



The next twelve verses are occupied with the immediate ancestors and posterity

of Saul. And apparently the same account, minus some of its deficiencies, is repeated

in the next chapter, vs. 35-44. The two may be taken together here, and the latter will

help the interpretation of the former.


29 “And at Gibeon dwelt the father” -  i.e., the chief - “of Gibeon; whose wife’s

name was Maachah:”  (For Gibeon, see Joshua 9:3,7-18; 10:2;11:19; Nehemiah

3:7; 7:25.) The father of Gibeon (ch.9:35) was Jehiel (laey[iy]; Chethiv spells with

vau; not laeyjiy], ch.15:24). Of Jehiel by this name we do not elsewhere read. And

even if it were on other grounds possible to identify the person with the Abiel of

I Samuel 9:1 and 14:51, it is not possible to identify the names. Compare the similar

remarkable omission of the name of the “father of Gibea (ch.2:49), an omission

to be filled very possibly by this same name Jehiel.


30 “And his firstborn son Abdon, and Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Nadab,

31  And Gedor, and Ahio, and Zacher.”  These verses contain the names of eight

sons of Jehiel instead of the ten of ch.9:36-37. Both of the missing names,

however (viz. Ner after Baal, and Mikloth after Zacher), are introduced in

verses immediately succeeding, where their sons are spoken of. One name,

Zacher, also is spelt as Zechariah in  Ibid. v.37. Both these passages agree in

representing Ner as the grandfather of Saul. Not so the two passages in Samuel

(I Samuel 9:1; 14:51), the first of which writes Abiel in the place of the grandfather

instead of great-grandfather, which, however, need occasion little difficulty; and the

second of which would certainly allow Ner to be grandfather to Saul, but seems to

call him uncle.  Even then, if we accept what the passage allows, it is somewhat

remarkable that in the next verse Ner should be signalized as father of

Abner rather than of Kish — a difficulty, however, much less considerable

if we accept the suggestion (see ‘Speaker’s Commentary,’ in loc.) to

translate v. 51 thus, by the substitution of the word “sons” for “son:”

“And Kish the father of Saul, and Ner the father of Abner, were sons of

Abiel.” It must be remembered at the same time that this is not equivalent

to saying that they were necessarily brothers, but only descendants of the

chief of the family, of the Demarch or Phylarch under mention in the genealogy.


32 “And Mikloth begat Shimeah. And these also dwelt with their brethren

in Jerusalem, over against them.  33 And Ner begat Kish, and Kish begat

Saul, and Saul begat Jonathan, and Malchishua, and Abinadab, and Eshbaal.

34 And the son of Jonathan was Meribbaal; and Meribbaal begat Micah.”

The number of Saul’s children was certainly nine. In addition to the four (I Samuel

31:2) mentioned here, there was Ishui, probably standing second (Ibid.14:49), and

there were two daughters, Merab and Michal (Ibid.), and there were two sons by

Rizpah (II Samuel 21:8), named Armoni and Mephi-bosheth. Esh-baal; the same

with Ishbo-sheth (Ibid. 2:8; 3:7-14; 4:4-12).  Merib-baal; the same with

Mephibosheth (Ibid. 9:12). Micah is, therefore, the great-grandson of Saul.


35 “And the sons of Micah were, Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and

Ahaz.”  Tarea; spelt Tahrea in v. 41 of next chapter.  Ahaz, the last of the four

names contained  in this verse, is supplied in italics, Authorized Version, next

chapter, v. 41.


36 “And Ahaz  begat Jehoadah; and Jehoadah begat Alemeth, and

Azmaveth, and  Zimri; and Zimri begat Moza,”  Jehoadah. The parallel

passage in next chapter (v. 42) has Jarah; but some manuscripts have Jahdah

(hD;[]y"), which comes very near our Jehoadah (hD;["wOhyi). Zimri. It is possible

that this Zimri may rightly be identified with the usurper Zimri of I Kings 16:9-20.


37  And Moza begat Binea: Rapha was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel

his son:”   Rapha. This name appears as Rephaiah in next chapter (v.43).


The genealogy runs on from Micah to Ulam with nothing special to remark upon.

Ulam is twelfth from Saul, while his “sons and sons’ sons” (v. 40) are spoken of.

The time of Hezekiah must be reached, therefore, who was thirteenth from David.

The table of next chapter stops with the name Azel (v.44), and wears the appearance

of having just missed the last two verses of this chapter.


38 “And 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.  39 And the sons of Eshek his brother were, Ulam his firstborn, Jehush

the second, and Eliphelet the third.”  The name Ulam is found also among the

descendants of Gilead, grandson of Manasseh (ch. 7:17).40 And the sons of Ulam

were mighty men of valor, archers, and had many sons, and sons’ sons, and

hundred and fifty.  All these are of the sons of Benjamin.”



Readings Between the Lines (vs. 1-40)


“Reading between the lines,” or extracting from these tables some moral

truths which, if they do not contain, they may fairly suggest, we gather:




Moab and there married a Moabitess, having children of her (v. 8). The

names of his sons (v. 9) were MoabitishMesha (see II Kings 3:4),

Malcham (an idol of Moab; see I Kings 11:33 and Zephaniah 1:5).

This fact points clearly to the evil influence under which his children

came through this matrimonial alliance. If we “make affinity” with those

who are not of like mind and like principles with ourselves, we must be

prepared for serious spiritual consequences.



Shamed, the son of Elpaal, built two cities; one of them was Lod (v. 12).

As stated in the exposition, this is identical with the Lydda of our New

Testament (Acts 9:32), and with the modern Ludd. Here we have an instance

of the results of one man’s activity being witnessed more than thirty centuries

after he has been gathered to his fathers. Who can say how far down the

stream of time our influence will go? It may be visible to the eye of men




“Our echoes roll from soul to soul,

And live for ever and for ever.”



POWER. In v. 13 we learn that, by a noteworthy coincidence, Beriah

with Shema “drove away the inhabitants of Gath.” In the previous

chapter (v. 21) we read that the inhabitants of Gath slew the sons of

Ephraim.  Truly “they that take the sword shall perish with the

 sword (Matthew 26:52).  Violence seizes on a neighbor’s land, and

by violence is itself dispossessed. That which we gain by mere physical

force we must be prepared to part with to the next comer who is stronger

than we. The history of the world has, in a large and painful degree,

 been the record of unlawful seizure and reluctant forfeiture of

lands and goods. How much wiser and better to secure by

honorable and worthy means that which “no man taketh away” from us

(Ibid. 6:19-21), treasure which we shall carry with us whithersoever

we go, which time itself cannot steal, and death cannot hold in its grasp!



NAME. Esh-baal (v. 33) is the Ishbosheth of II Samuel 2.; while

Merib-baal (ver. 34) is the Mephibesheth of (II Samuel 4:4). In these

two cases Baal is turned into Bosheth, which signifies shame. Thus, by a

simple name, the heathen deity was branded with public reprobation.

The evil thing was made to seem the ugly and offensive thing it was.



EUPHEMISM -  e.g. if a daughter has been sinful she should not be

called “unfortunate.” Vice does not lose half its evil by losing all

its grossness. (In American and European culture of today, sin is

glossed over as nothing but SINS STILL FINDS ONE OUT;  


THING INTO JUDGMENT!  (Ecclesiastes 12:14)  If we label sin

with a name that passes current in society, WE ARE CO-WORKERS

WITH THE DEVIL HIMSELF!  Speak of sin in terms that will bring it

into disrepute and reprobation.



AN EXCELLENT GRACE. The line of Jonathan is traced to many

generations (v. 34, etc.). Is not the hand of David here? Is this not a sign

that his vow (I Samuel 20:11-17) was honorably fulfilled? What we promise

as we are rising we should scrupulously discharge when we have

attained the summit of our desires. Many are profuse in promises when

the day of performance is distant, but very forgetful of their vows when the

hour has come to redeem them. It is the mark of a true man to carry out

with generous fullness all that he undertook when he was a long way

 from the goal and the prize.




dwelt in Jerusalem (vs. 28, 32). When the captives returned from

Babylon there was a lack of men to populate the sacred city. In the

country were inviting fields waiting for cultivation, while in the city was

danger to be dared and civic duty, to be discharged. So that “the people

 blessed all the men that willingly offered themselves to dwell at

Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:1-2).  The fact that their ancestors dwelt in the

city would probably operate as a powerful inducement to lead many to

offer themselves as citizens, and these would thus be led to serve their

country in a very serious crisis. The knowledge of the honorable

 position taken by our ancestry is a very lawful motive to obedience

 and aspiration. We should, indeed, range ourselves on the right side,

and do the noblest deeds because our God, our Saviour, summons us

 to His side and to the service of our race. But there are many subsidiary

motives by which we may be impelled. And among these is the consideration

of the part and place our fathers took in their day. We may well be inspired

by the thought of their fidelity, their courage, their piety, their

usefulness. We do well to cherish the ambition to be worthy of our sires,

to maintain and magnify an honorable name, not only to be “the children

of our Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:45), but the children of our

earthly ancestors who dwelt in the city of God and wrought His work in the




Poor Mephibosheth! (v.34)


The name Merib-baal, or Mephibosheth, recalls the story of one who was

unfortunate from his birth to his grave; one on whom the burdens and

disabilities of life pressed very heavily. And it reminds us that we find

similar cases within the sphere of our personal experiences. There are

always among us the lifelong victims of accidents; the bearers for weary

years of congenital defects; those heavily weighted with frailty of the vital

organs; the victims of incurable disease; the blind, deaf and dumb, idiot,

lame, etc. Of all such we may regard Mephibesheth as a type, and with the

class before our minds so typified, we may learn some lessons of practical

importance and permanent application. The outline of the story of Mephibosheth

is as follows: — He was the son of David’s friend Jonathan, and,

at the time of the catastrophe at Gilboa, when his father was slain, he was

only five years old. In the excitement and alarm of the defeat, his nurse

caught up the child to flee away with him, but she stumbled and fell, and

caused thereby the child’s incurable lameness. Mephi-bosheth grew up a

weak and helpless cripple. The family estates were secured to him, but his

affliction put him sadly in the power of his bailiff and manager, Ziba, who

was of a self-seeking and treacherous disposition. By Ziba’s schemings and

misrepresentations, Mephibosheth fell under the displeasure of David at the

time of the Absalomic rebellion, and, though explanations were eventually

made, the scheming servant was allowed to retain the advantages he had

gained. The affliction of Mephibosheth had its influence upon his character.

He was of a gentle, retiring disposition, too ready to let others ride over

him, but capable of warm affections, faithful to those he loved and from

whom he had received kindnesses, and in the difficult circumstances of his

life able to manifest great magnanimity of spirit (see <100405>2 Samuel 4:5; 9.;

16:1-4; 19:24-30; 21:7). In the different recorded passages of his life these

points find illustration.


THE TIME OF CHILDHOOD. The relation of robust childhood to

energy, happiness, and success in the years of maturity is becoming every

day better understood and more fully realized. The conditions of civilized

life put infancy under much disability, and much motherhood is concerned

in the mastery of those disabilities, and the strong growing of the young

life. Perils come out of hereditary taints, infantile diseases, and, as in

Mephibosheth’s case, the accidents, or ignorance, or carelessness of

nurses. It is not, therefore, a little thing that mothers and all having to do

with young children should be skilled in their work and trained into

efficiency; and this duty we urge in faithfulness to the great Father, who

gives this trust of his young children to the mothers. And no nobler or

more responsible earthly work is committed to any one than this watching

and culturing of the children.


HAVE UPON CHARACTER, The relation between our bodily frame and

our moral character is fully recognized, though It is too subtle for us

precisely and adequately to trace. Scripture admits it when it says of God,

“He knoweth our frame.” There is a kind of harmony between the two, so

that strength in one is matched by a kind of strength in the other, and frailty

in the one is matched by a kind of weakness in the other. This is seen in

Timothy. He evidently had a weak and sickly bodily organization, and it

was matched by a shrinking, retiring disposition, which St. Paul earnestly

urged him to overcome, “enduring hardness as a good soldier of Jesus

Christ.” The secret of fretfulness in after life, of suspiciousness,

despondency, absence of perseverance, and lack of proper self-reliance,

may be found in the frailties of the childhood stages. And oftentimes even

the bodily pamperings and self-indulgences and failure to hold the

passions under wise restraints, which are degrading features of the

permanent character, find their true genesis in the unnourished early life.

This is a subject of practical bearing on the moral and spiritual well-being

of the race, and deserves to be thoroughly thought out, and presented in

careful and impressive detail. It becomes a consideration full of solemnity

for all who deal with children, that the men and women may as plainly bear

on their characters the marks of the neglect or error of mother and nurse,

as Mephibosheth bore for his life the consequences of his childish fall.


IMPORTANT CRISES OF LIFE. As seen in Mephibosheth’s inability to

show his real feeling to David when the rebellion tested David’s friends.

His frailty put him into Ziba’s hands. So it is found, again and again, that a

man’s poor constitution, or his lameness, or his partial deafness, or his

deficient eyesight, or his passionate temper, come up against him, and close

door after door which otherwise he might hopefully enter. And while this

thought should make us very considerate and gentle with any who thus

spend life under infirmities, it should also serve to impress the one lesson

we are learning from Mephibosheth’s life, viz. that too much care cannot

be shown in dealing with the young, tender, imperilled life of our children.

All this man’s troubles were the fruitage of the fall in his childhood.


SINCERE PIETY; or, to put it in Christian form, by a full consecration of

heart and life to Christ. This is seen in Mephibosheth, whose piety finds

expression in his submission under wrong. It is well illustrated in the life of

Calvin, Melancthon, or Baxter, and in such frail men as Henry Martyn. The

young man who was thought too weak-bodied to go as a missionary, nobly

urged that “he wanted to give his very weakness to Christ.” The history of

Christ’s Church most encouragingly records that God has ever found

gracious ways in which feeble instruments might do his noblest works. —



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