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
our ch. 3. David was so important a character in the tribe
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 Naaman, and Ahoah, 5 And
Nine sons are here assigned to Bela. In Genesis 46:21 only finds us clearly three
them, and these in very different order, viz.
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
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
7 “And Naaman, and Ahiah, and
Uzza, and Ahihud.” - Naaman, and Ahiah, and
Naaman, Ahoah, and
had two sons, Uzza and Ahihud.
8 “And Shaharaim begat children in the country of
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
object to begat, whether Ehud or
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,
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
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,
And Zebadiah, and
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,
And Hananiah, and
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
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
name was Maachah:” (For
3:7; 7:25.) The father of
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.
his firstborn son Abdon, and Zur,
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
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:”
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
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
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.”
“Reading between the lines,” or extracting from these tables some moral
truths which, if they do not contain, they may fairly suggest, we gather:
ENTAIL UNCONSIDERED CONSEQUENCES. Shaharaim went into
names of his sons (v. 9) were Moabitish — Mesha (see II Kings 3:4),
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
for generations; IT WILL BE APPARENT TO THE EYE OF GOD
UNTO THE END OF TIME!
“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
chapter (v. 21) we read that the inhabitants 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.
NOTHING CAN BE MORE PERILOUS TO COMMUNITY
than the WRAPPING UP OF A SIN IN SOME PLEASANT
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;
(Numbers 32:23) AND GOD WILL BRING EVERY SECRET
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.
HONOURABLE INDUCEMENT TO WELL-DOING. “These
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
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
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.
I. THE IMPORTANCE OF SECURING HEALTH AND VIGOUR IN
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.
II. THE INFLUENCE WHICH FRAILTY IN CHILDHOOD MAY
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
matched by a shrinking, retiring disposition, which
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.
III. THE DISABILITIES OF FRAILTY AND DEFORMITY IN THE
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.
IV. THE MEASURE OF MASTERY OVER FRAILTY GAINED BY A
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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