Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsh, [1857-78], at sacred-texts.com
I. Genealogies, With Historical and Topographical Notes - 1 Chronicles 1-9
In order to show the connection of the tribal ancestors of Israel with the peoples of the earth, in 1 Chron 1 are enumerated the generations of the primeval world, from Adam till the Flood, and those of the post-diluvians to Abraham and his sons, according to the accounts in Genesis; in 1 Chron 2-8, the twelve tribal ancestors of the people of Israel, and the most important families of the twelve tribes, are set down; and finally, in 1 Chron 9, we have a list of the former inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the genealogical table of King Saul. The enumeration of the tribes and families of Israel forms, accordingly, the chief part of the contents of this first part of the Chronicle, to which the review of the families and tribes of the primeval time and the early days of Israel form the introduction, and the information as to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the family of King Saul the conclusion and the transition, to the following historical narrative. Now, if we glance at the order in which the genealogies of the tribes of Israel are ranged - Viz. (a) those of the families of Judah and of the house of David, 1 Chron 2:1-4:23; (b) those of the tribe of Simeon, with an account of their dwelling-place, 1 Chron 4:24-43; (c) those of the trans-Jordanic tribes, Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 1 Chron 5; (d) of the tribe of Levi, or the priests and Levites, 1 Chr 6:1-66; (e) of the remaining tribes, viz., Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, cis-Jordanic Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher, 1 Chron 7; and of some still remaining families of Benjamin, with the family of Saul, 1 Chron 8, - it is at once seen that this arrangement is the result of regarding the tribes from two points of view, which are closely connected with each other. On the one hand, regard is had to the historical position which the tribes took up, according to the order of birth of their tribal ancestors, and which they obtained by divine promise and guidance; on the other hand, the geographical position of their inheritance has been also taken into account. That regard to the historical position and importance of the tribes was mainly determinative, is plain from the introductory remarks to the genealogies of the tribe of Reuben, Ch1 5:1-2, to the effect that Reuben was the first-born of Israel, but that, because of his offence against his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, although they are not specified as possessors of it in the family registers; while it is narrated that Judah, on the contrary, came to power among his brethren, and that out of Judah had come forth the prince over Israel. Judah is therefore placed at the head of the tribes, as that one out of which God chose the king over His people; and Simeon comes next in order, because they had received their inheritance within the tribal domain of Judah. Then follows Reuben as the first-born, and after him are placed Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, because they had received their inheritance along with Reuben on the other side of the Jordan. After Reuben, according to age, only Levi could follow, and then after Levi come in order the other tribes. The arrangement of them, however - Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher, and again Benjamin - is determined from neither the historical nor by the geographical point of view, but probably lay ready to the hand of the chronicler in the document used by him, as we are justified in concluding from the character of all these geographical and topographical lists.
For if we consider the character of these lists somewhat more carefully, we find that they are throughout imperfect in their contents, and fragmentary in their plan and execution. The imperfection in the contents shows itself in this, that no genealogies of the tribes of Dan and Zebulun are given at all, only the sons of Naphtali being mentioned (Ch1 7:13); of the half tribe of Manasseh beyond Jordan we have only the names of some heads of fathers'-houses
(Note: It may perhaps be useful to notice here our author's use of the words Geschlecht, Vaterhaus, and Familie, and the rendering of them in English. As he states in a subsequent page, the Geschlechteer are the larger divisions of the tribes tracing their descent from the sons of the twelve patriarchs; the Vterhuser are the subdivisions descended from their grandsons or great-grandsons; while the Familien are the component parts of the Vterhuser. The author's use of these words is somewhat vacillating; but Geschlecht, in this connection, has always been rendered by "family," Vterhaus by "father's-house," Familie by 'household," and Familiengruppen by "groups of related households." - Tr.)
(Ch1 5:24); and even in the relatively copious lists of the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin, only the genealogies of single prominent families of these tribes are enumerated.
In Judah, little more is given than the families descended from Pharez, 1 Chron 2:5-4:20, and a few notices of the family of Shelah; of Levi, none are noticed but the succession of generations in the high-priestly line of Aaron, some descendants of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, and the three Levites, Heman, Asaph, and Ethan, set over the service of song; while of Benjamin we have only the genealogies of three families, and of the family of Saul, which dwelt at Gibeon. But the incompleteness of these registers comes still more prominently into view when we turn our attention to the extent of the genealogical lists, and see that only in the cases of the royal house of David and the high-priestly line of Eleazar do the genealogies reach to the Babylonian exile, and a few generations beyond that point; while all the others contain the succession of generations for only short periods. Then, again, in regard to their plan and execution, these genealogies are not only unsymmetrical in the highest degree, but they are in many cases fragmentary. In the tribe of Judah, besides the descendants of David, 1 Chron 3, two quite independent genealogies of the families of Judah are given, in 1 Chron 2 and 1 Chron 4:1-23. The same is the case with the two genealogies of the Levites, the lists in 1 Chron 6 differing from those in 1 Chr 5:27-41 surprisingly, in Ch1 6:16, Ch1 6:20, Ch1 6:43, Ch1 6:62, Levi's eldest son being called Gershom, while in Ch1 6:1 and Ch1 23:6, and in the Pentateuch, he is called Gershon. Besides this, there is in 1 Chron 6:35-38 a fragment containing the names of some of Aaron's descendants, who had been already completely enumerated till the Babylonian exile in 1 Chr 5:29-41. In the genealogies of Benjamin, too, the family of Saul is twice entered, viz., in Ch1 8:29-40 and in Ch1 9:35-44. The genealogies of the remaining tribes are throughout defective in the highest degree. Some consist merely of an enumeration of a number of heads of houses or families, with mention of their dwelling-place: as, for instance, the genealogies of Simeon, 1 Chron 4:24-43; of Reuben, Gad, half Manasseh, 1 Chron 5:1-24; and Ephraim, Ch1 7:28-29. Others give only the number of men capable of bearing arms belonging to the individual fathers'-houses, as those of Issachar, Benjamin, and Asher, Ch1 7:2-5, Ch1 7:7-11, Ch1 7:40; and finally, of the longer genealogical lists of Judah and Benjamin, those in 1 Chron 4:1-20 and in 1 Chron 8 consist only of fragments, loosely ranged one after the other, giving us the names of a few of the posterity of individual men, whose genealogical connection with the larger divisions of these tribes is not stated.
By all this, it is satisfactorily proved that all these registers and lists have not been derived from one larger genealogical historical work, but have been drawn together from various old genealogical lists which single races and families had saved and carried with them into exile, and preserved until their return into the land of their fathers; and that the author of the Chronicle has received into his work all of these that he could obtain, whether complete or imperfect, just as he found them. Nowhere is any trace of artificial arrangement or an amalgamation of the various lists to be found.
Now, when we recollect that the Chronicle was composed in the time of Ezra, and that up to that time, of the whole people, for the most part only households and families of the tribes of Judah, Levi, and Benjamin had returned to Canaan, we will not find it wonderful that the Chronicle contains somewhat more copious registers of these three tribes, and gives us only fragments bearing on the circumstances of prae-exilic times in the case of the remaining tribes.
1 Chronicles 1:1
The patriarchs from Adam to Noah and his sons. - The names of the ten patriarchs of the primeval world, from the Creation to the Flood, and the three sons of Noah, are given according to Gen 5, and grouped together without any link of connection whatever: it is assumed as known from Genesis, that the first ten names denote generations succeeding one another, and that the last three, on the contrary, are the names of brethren.
1 Chronicles 1:5
The peoples and races descended from the sons of Noah. - These are enumerated according to the table in Gen 10; but our author has omitted not only the introductory and concluding remarks (Gen 10:1, Gen 10:21, Gen 10:32), but also the historical notices of the founding of a kingdom in Babel by Nimrod, and the distribution of the Japhetites and Shemites in their dwelling-places (Gen 10:5, Gen 10:9-12, Gen 10:18-20, and Gen 10:30 and Gen 10:31). The remaining divergences are partly orthographic, - such as תּבּת, Ch1 1:5, for תּוּבל, Gen 10:2, and רעמא, Ch1 1:9, for רעמה, Gen 10:7; and partly arising from errors of transcription, - as, for example, דּיפת, Ch1 1:6, for ריפת, Gen 10:3, and conversely, רודנים, Ch1 1:7, for דּדנים, Gen 10:4, where it cannot with certainty be determined which form is the original and correct one; and finally, are partly due to a different pronunciation or form of the same name, - as תּרשׁישׁה, Ch1 1:7, for תּרשׁישׁ, Gen 10:4, the aa of motion having been gradually fused into one word with the name, לוּדּיּים, Ch1 1:11, for לוּדים, Gen 10:13, just as in Amo 9:7 we have כּוּשׁיּים for כּוּשׁים; in Ch1 1:22, עיבל for עובל, Gen 10:28, where the lxx have also Εὐάλ, and משׁך, Ch1 1:17, for משׁ, Gen 10:23, which last has not yet been satisfactorily explained, since משׁך is used in Psa 120:5 with קדר of an Arabian tribe. Finally, there is wanting in Ch1 1:17 ארם וּבני before עוּץ, Gen 10:23, because, as in the case of Noah's sons, Ch1 1:4, where their relationship is not mentioned, so also in reference to the peoples descended from Shem, the relationship subsisting between the names Uz, Hul, etc., and Aram, is supposed to be already known from Genesis. Other suppositions as to the omission of the words ארם וּבני are improbable. That this register of seventy-one persons and tribes, descended from Shem, Ham, and Japhet, has been taken from Gen 10, is placed beyond doubt, by the fact that not only the names of our register exactly correspond with the table in Gen 10, with the exception of the few variations above mentioned, but also the plan and form of both registers is quite the same. In Ch1 1:5-9 the sections of the register are connected, as in Gen 10:2-7, by וּבני; from Ch1 1:10 onwards by ילד, as in Gen 10:8; in Ch1 1:17, again, by בּני, as in Gen 10:22; and in Ch1 1:18 by ילד, and Ch1 1:19 by ילּד, as in Gen 10:24 and Gen 10:25. The historical and geographical explanation of the names has been given in the commentary to Gen 10. According to Bertheau, the peoples descended from the sons of Noah amount to seventy, and fourteen of these are enumerated as descendants of Japhet, thirty of Ham, and twenty-six of Shem. These numbers he arrives at by omitting Nimrod, or not enumerating him among the sons of Ham; while, on the contrary, he takes Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, and Joktan, all of which are the names of persons, for names of people, in contradiction to Genesis, according to which the five names indicate persons, viz., the tribal ancestors of the Terahites and Joktanites, peoples descended from Eber by Peleg and Joktan.
1 Chronicles 1:24
The patriarchs from Shem to Abraham. - The names of these, again, are simply ranged in order according to Gen 11:10-26, while the record of their ages before the begetting and after the birth of sons is omitted. Of the sons of Terah only Abram is named, without his brothers; with the remark that Abram is Abraham, in order to point out to the reader that he was the progenitor of the chosen people so well known from Genesis (cf. Ch1 1:27).
1 Chronicles 1:28
The sons of Abraham. - In Ch1 1:28 only Isaac and Ishmael are so called; Isaac first, as the son of the promise. Then, in Ch1 1:29-31, follow the posterity of Ishmael, with the remark that Ishmael was the first-born; in Ch1 1:32 and Ch1 1:33, the sons of Keturah; and finally in Ch1 1:34, the two sons of Isaac.
The names of the generations (תּולדות) of Ishmael (Hebr. Yishma'el) correspond to those in Gen 25:12-15, and have been there explained. In Ch1 1:32. also, the names of the thirteen descendants of Abraham by Keturah, six sons and seven grandsons, agree with Gen 25:1-4 (see commentary on that passage); only the tribes mentioned in Gen 25:3, which were descended from Dedan the grandson of Keturah, are omitted. From this Bertheau wrongly concludes that the chronicler probably did not find these names in his copy of the Pentateuch. The reason of the omission is rather this, that in Genesis the great-grandchildren are not themselves mentioned, but only the tribes descended from the grandchildren, while the chronicler wished to enumerate only the sons and grandsons. Keturah is called פּילגשׁ after Gen 25:6, where Keturah and Hagar are so named.
The two sons of Isaac. Isaac has been already mentioned as a son of Abram, along with Ishmael, in Ch1 1:28. But here the continuation of the genealogy of Abraham is prefaced by the remark that Abraham begat Isaac, just as in Gen 25:19, where the begetting of Isaac the son of Abraham is introduced with the same remark. Hence the supposition that the registers of the posterity of Abraham by Hagar and Keturah (Ch1 1:28-33) have been derived from Gen 25, already in itself so probable, becomes a certainty.
1 Chronicles 1:35
The posterity of Esau and Seir. - An extract from Gen 36:1-30. Ch1 1:35. The five sons of Esau are the same who, according to Gen 36:4., were born to him of his three wives in the land of Canaan. יעוּשׁ is another form of יעישׁ, Gen 36:5 (Kethibh).
The grandchildren of Esau. In Ch1 1:36 there are first enumerated five sons of his son Eliphaz, as in Gen 36:11, for צפי is only another form of צפו (Gen.). Next to these five names are ranged in addition ועמלק ותמנע, "Timna and Amalek," while we learn from Gen 36:12 that Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, who bore to him Amalek. The addition of the two names Timna and Amalek in the Chronicle thus appears to be merely an abbreviation, which the author might well allow himself, as the posterity of Esau were known to his readers from Genesis. The name Timna, too, by its form (a feminine formation), must have guarded against the idea of some modern exegetes that Timna was also a son of Eliphaz. Thus, then, Esau had through Eliphaz six grandchildren, who in Gen 36:12 are all set down as sons of Adah, the wife of Esau and the mother of Eliphaz. (Vide com. to Gen 36:12, where the change of Timna into a son of Eliphaz is rejected as a misinterpretation.)
To Reuel, the son of Esau by Bashemath, four sons were born, whose names correspond to those in Gen 36:13. These ten (6 + 4) grandsons of Esau were, with his three sons by Aholibamah (Jeush, Jaalam, and Korah, Gen 36:35), the founders of the thirteen tribes of the posterity of Esau. They are called in Gen 36:15 עשׂו בּני אלּוּפי, heads of tribes (φύλαρχοι) of the children of Esau, i.e., of the Edomites, but are all again enumerated, Gen. 3615-19, singly.
(Note: The erroneous statement of Bertheau, therefore, that "according to Genesis the Edomite people was also divided into twelve tribes, five tribes from Eliphaz, four tribes from Reuel, and the three tribes which were referred immediately to Aholibamah the wife of Esau. It is distinctly stated that Amalek was connected with these twelve tribes only very loosely, for he appears as the son of the concubine of Eliphaz," - must be in so far corrected, that neither the Chronicle nor Genesis knows anything of the twelve tribes of the Edomites. Both books, on the contrary, mention thirteen grandsons of Esau, and these thirteen grandsons are, according to the account of Genesis, the thirteen phylarchs of the Edomite people, who are distributed according to the three wives of Esau; so that the thirteen families may be grouped together in three tribes. Nor is Amalek connected only in a loose way with the other tribes in Genesis: he is, on the contrary, not only included in the number of the sons of Adah in Gen 36:12, probably because Timna stood in the same relationship to Adah the wife of Esau as Hagar held to Sarah, but also is reckoned in Gen 36:16 among the Allufim of the sons of Eliphaz. Genesis therefore enumerates not five but six tribes from Eliphaz; and the chronicler has not "completely obliterated the twelvefold division," as Bertheau further maintains, but the thirteen sons and grandsons of Esau who became phylarchs are all introduced; and the only thing which is omitted in reference to them is the title עשׂו בּני אלּוּפי, it being unnecessary in a genealogical enumeration of the descendants of Esau.)
When Esau with his descendants had settled in Mount Seir, they subdued by degrees the aboriginal inhabitants of the land, and became fused with them into one people. For this reason, in Gen 36:20-30 the tribal princes of the Seirite inhabitants of the land are noticed; and in our chapter also, Ch1 1:38, the names of these seven שׂעיר בּני, and in Ch1 1:39-42 of their sons (eighteen men and one woman, Timna), are enumerated, where only Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, also mentioned in Gen 36:25, is omitted. The names correspond, except in a few unimportant points, which have been already discussed in the Commentary on Genesis. The inhabitants of Mount Seir consisted, then, after the immigration of Esau and his descendants, of twenty tribes under a like number of phylarchs, thirteen of whom were Edomite, of the family of Esau, and seven Seirite, who are called in the Chronicle שׂעיר בּני, and in Genesis חרי, Troglodytes, inhabitants of the land, that is, aborigines.
If we glance over the whole posterity of Abraham as they are enumerated in Ch1 1:28-42, we see that it embraces (a) his sons Ishmael and Isaac, and Isaac's sons Israel and Esau (together 4 persons); (b) the sons of Ishmael, or the tribes descended from Ishmael (12 names); (c) the sons and grandsons of Keturah (13 persons or chiefs); (d) the thirteen phylarchs descended from Esau; (e) the seven Seirite phylarchs, and eighteen grandsons and a granddaughter of Seir (26 persons). We have thus in all the names of sixty-eight persons, and to them we must add Keturah, and Timna the concubine of Eliphaz, before we get seventy persons. But these seventy must not by any means be reckoned as seventy tribes, which is the result Bertheau arrives at by means of strange calculations and errors in numbers.
(Note: That the Chronicle gives no countenance to this view appears from Bertheau's calculation of the 70 tribes: from Ishmael, 12; from Keturah, 13; from Isaac, 2; from Esau, 5 sons and 7 grandchildren of Eliphaz (Timna, Ch1 1:36, being included in the number), and 4 grandsons by Reuel - 16 in all; from Seir 7 sons, and from these 20 other descendants, 27 in all, which makes the sum of 70. But the biblical text mentions only 19 other descendants of Seir, so that only 26 persons came from Seir, and the sum is therefore 12 + 13 + 2 + 16 + 26 = 69. But we must also object to other points in Bertheau's reckoning: (1) the arbitrary change of Timna into a grandchild of Esau; (2) the arbitrary reckoning of Esau and Israel (= Jacob) without Ishmael. Was Esau, apart from his sons, the originator of a people? Had the author of the Chronicle cherished the purpose attributed to him by Bertheau, of bringing the lists of names handed down by tradition to the round or significant number 70, he would certainly in Ch1 1:33 not have omitted the three peoples descended from Dedan (Gen 25:3), as he might by these names have completed the number 70 without further trouble.)
Upon this conclusion he founds his hypothesis, that as the three branches of the family of Noah are divided into seventy peoples (which, as we have seen before is not the case), so also the three branches of the family of Abraham are divided into seventy tribes; and in this again he finds a remarkable indication "that even in the time of the chronicler, men sought by means of numbers to bring order and consistency into the lists of names handed down by tradition from the ancient times."
1 Chronicles 1:43
The kings of Edom before the introduction of the kingship into Israel. - This is a verbally exact repetition of Gen 36:31-39, except that the introductory formula, Gen 36:32, "and there reigned in Edom," which is superfluous after the heading, and the addition "ben Achbor" (Gen 36:39) in the account of the death of Baal-hanan in Ch1 1:50, are omitted; the latter because even in Genesis, where mention is made of the death of other kings, the name of the father of the deceased king is not repeated. Besides this, the king called Hadad (v. 46f.), and the city פּעי (v. 50), are in Genesis Hadar (Gen 36:35.) and פּעוּ (Gen 36:39). The first of these variations has arisen from a transcriber's error, the other from a different pronunciation of the name. A somewhat more important divergence, however, appears, when in Gen 36:39 the death of the king last named is not mentioned, because he was still alive in the time of Moses; while in the Chronicle, on the contrary, not only of him also is it added, הדד ויּמת, because at the time of the writing of the Chronicle he had long been dead, but the list of the names of the territories of the phylarchs, which in Genesis follows the introductory formula שׁמות alum ואלּה, is here connected with the enumeration of the kings by ויּהיוּ, "Hadad died, and there were chiefs of Edom." This may mean that, in the view of the chronicler, the reign of the phylarchs took the place of the kingship after the death of the last king, but that interpretation is by no means necessary. The ו consec. may also merely express the succession of thought, only connecting logically the mention of the princes with the enumeration of the kings; or it may signify that, besides the kings, there were also tribal princes who could rule the land and people. The contents of the register which follows require that ויּהיוּ should be so understood.
1 Chronicles 1:51
The princes of Edom. - The names correspond to those in Gen 36:40-43, but the heading and the subscription in Genesis are quite different from those in the Chronicle. Here the heading is, "and the Allufim of Edom were," and the subscription, "these are the Allufim of Edom," from which it would be the natural conclusion that the eleven names given are proper names of the phylarchs. But the occurrence of two female names, Timna and Aholibamah, as also of names which are unquestionably those of races, e.g., Aliah, Pinon, Teman, and Mibzar, is irreconcilable with this interpretation. If we compare the heading and subscription of the register in Genesis, we find that the former speaks of the names "of the Allufim of Edom according to their habitations,
(Note: So it is given by the author, "nach ihren Wohnsitzen;" but this must be a mistake, for the word is משׁפּחותם = their families, not משׁבתם, as it is in the subscription. - Tr.)
according to their places in their names," and the latter of "the Allufim of Edom according to their habitations in the land of their possession." It is there unambiguously declared that the names enumerated are not the names of persons, but the names of the dwelling-places of the Allufim, after whom they were wont to be named. We must therefore translate, "the Alluf of Timna, the Alluf of Aliah," etc., when of course the female names need not cause any surprise, as places can just as well receive their names from women as their possessors as from men. Nor is there any greater difficulty in this, that only eleven dwelling-places are mentioned, while, on the contrary, the thirteen sons and grandsons of Esau are called Allufim. For in the course of time the number of phylarchs might have decreased, or in the larger districts two phylarchs may have dwelt together. Since the author of the Chronicle has taken this register also from Genesis, as the identity of the names clearly shows he did, he might safely assume that the matter was already known from that book, and so might allow himself to abridge the heading without fearing any misunderstanding; seeing, too, that he does not enumerate אלּוּפי of Esau, but אדום אלּוּפי, and Edom had become the name of a country and a people.