1 Chronicles 1


Genealogy of the Nation of Israel (1:1-9:34)

    • ESV Study Bible writes:

      The genealogies of chs. 1-9 are intended to show the Chronicler’s own generation, now existing as the small province of Yehud (Judah) in the Persian Empire, that they are still God’s people Israel and retain their central place in God’s purposes for humanity. The identity and legitimacy of this people are traced in a line beginning with Adam (1:1) and extending through the tribes of Israel (chs. 2-8) down to the community of Judean exiles restored from captivity in Babylon (9:2-34). This community is depicted not as the sum total of the people but as the representative nucleus or focus to which ‘all Israel’ may join in God’s work of restoration. The tribal genealogies have been carefully structured to show how the Chronicler conceived of Israel: Judah (2:3-4:23), Simeon (4:24-43), the Transjordan tribes (5:1-26), Levi (6:1-81), the northern tribes (7:1-40), Benjamin (8:1-40).

      • The greatest amount of detail is devoted to Judah, Levi, and Benjamin. Judah and Benjamin bracket the lists, while Levi is placed at the center. The significance of this arrangement is discussed in greater detail below; briefly, it indicates that Judah and Benjamin (the core of the old southern kingdom, along with Simeon, whose territory was merged with Judah’s) enclose or enfold Israel, while the Levites provide its spiritual heart.”

      • This section also announces in advance some of the book’s key themes: Israel’s history of unfaithfulness (Hb ma’al), leading to exile (5:25-26; 9:1), the persistence of the Davidic line after the exile as the bearer of God’s promise to his people (3:17-24), and the central role of the Levites and the Aaronic priests in offering worship and making atonement for Israel (6:1-81).”

      • The opening chapter, drawn almost wholly from Genesis, traces the descent of Israel (as Jacob is consistently known in the book) from Adam and depicts the place of his descendants among the nations. The line of divine election runs from Adam through 10 generations to Noah, then through Shem in 10 generations to Abraham and on to Israel. The author highlights this theme by presenting first the secondary lines of descent before dealing, last of all, with the figures who form the ancestral link between Adam and Israel. The descendants of Japheth and Ham (1 Chron 1:5-16) are listed before the Shemites, leading to Abraham (1:17-27). Next the descendants of Abraham’s concubines Hagar and Keturah are given (1:29-33) before Isaac (1:34); then Esau’s line (1:34-54) before Israel’s sons (2:1).”

Founding Ancestors (1:1-34)

From Adam to Noah’s Sons

      • Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. Noah’s sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “From Genesis 5. Israel’s direct ancestral link with Adam means that Israel is the focus of God’s purpose from creation. The line of Noah marks a fresh start for humanity after the flood.”

        • Guzik points out, “We know that Adam and Eve actually had three sons by name (Genesis 4:1-2, 4:25) plus many other unnamed sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4). Yet in this first verse we read nothing of Cain or Abel; only of Seth. This indicates that the Chronicler was inspired by God to make a selective genealogy for a specific purpose…This father and his three sons [Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth] – each survivors of the flood – became the basis for the nations in the post-flood world.”

Japheth’s Descendants

      • The sons of Japheth: Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javal, Tubal, Meshek, and Tiras.

      • The sons of Gomer: Ashkenaz, Riphath, and Togarmah.

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes point out the differing textual tradition for Riphath, “Many medieval Hebrew mss, along with the LXX and Vulgate, read ‘Riphath’ (see Gen 10:3). This is followed by several English translations (e.g., NAB, NIV, NLT), while others (e.g., ASV, NASB, NRSV) follow the MT reading (‘Diphath’).”

      • The sons of Javan: Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes say, “The Kethib has…(Rodanim), which probably refers to the island of Rhodes. The Qere has…(Dodanim), which refers to one of the most ancient and revered locations in ancient Greece. The MT and most medieval Hebrew mss of the parallel list in Gen 10:4 read ‘Dodanim,’ but a few have ‘Rodanim.’”

      • Citing Payne, Guzik notes, “It is commonly supposed that ‘The seven sons of Japheth founded the people of Europe and northern Asia.’ From Javan came Greek Ionia. From Gomer came the ancient Cimmerians of the Russian plains. From Madai came the Medes and Persians of Iran. From Tubal and Meshech came the inhabitants of the Turkish plateau. These are respectively the islands of Cyprus and Rhodes.”

Ham’s Descendants

      • The sons of Ham: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.

        • HCSB writes, “’Cush’ represented the Sudan and Nubia in the south. ‘Mizraim’ is literally ‘Egypt.’ ‘Put’ represents Libya in the west. As with the Table of Nations in Gn 10, these names also point to geographic relationships. Although ‘Canaan’ is included with the other nations in the south and southwest of the Fertile Crescent, the languages and ethnicity of the Canaanites known to Israel are clearly Semitic from archaeological and extra-biblical literary evidence. Most of Canaan and the rest of Palestine were frequently under Egypt’s sphere of influence in ancient times.”

        • Guzik says, “Canaan refers to the peoples who originally settled the land we today think of as Israel and its surrounding regions.”

      • The sons of Cush: Seba, Havilah, Sabta, Raamah, and Sabteka.

      • The sons of Raamah: Sheba and Dedan.

      • Cush was the father of Nimrod, who was the first to become a might man on the earth.

        • HCSB mentions, “While most of the extra comments in Gn 10 about individuals were omitted in this list, it is not clear why Nimrod was an exception to this practice.”

      • Mizraim was the father of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, Pathrusites, Kasluhites (from whom the Philistines descended), and Caphtorites.

        • HCSB remarks, “The Philistines were of great interest to the Israelites, since they were enemies of Israel for centuries.”

        • Guzik, again citing Payne, says, “The Hamitic Philistines were ‘sea peoples’ before settling in Palestine, coming from the Casluhim, who were of Egyptian origin but are related to the Minoan culture of Caphtor (Crete) and the southern coast of Asia Minor.”

      • Canaan was the father of Sidon, who was his firstborn, and Heth, as well as the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites.

Shem’s Descendants

      • The sons of Shem: Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

        • Guzik writes, “From Shem came Elam, who was an ancestor to the Persian peoples; Asshur, who was the father of the Assyrians; Lud was father to the Lydians who lived for a time in Asia Minor; and Aram was father to the Arameans, who we also know as the Syrians. Arphaxad was the ancestor to Abram and the Hebrews. Significantly, these included the nations from under which the people of Israel were largely exiled (the Persians). As the Chronicler includes lists this sweeping panorama of all the nations as a part of God’s plan, it assured Israel that they were still part of this plan and so were the nations to whom they had been exiled.”

      • The sons of Aram: Uz, Hul, Gether, and Meshek.

        • On Uz, Guzik says, “Later, a region in Arabia was named after this son of Aram. Job came from the land of Uz (Job 1:1).” He then cites Payne once again, “Uz gave the name of the home of the patriarch Job (Job 1:1), who may thus have been an early Edomite descendant of Esau (cf. Lamentations 4:21).”

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes remark, “The words ‘the sons of Aram’ do not appear in the Hebrew text. Apparently the phrase… (uvne ʾaram) has accidentally dropped out of the text by homoioteleuton (note the presence of… just before this). The phrase is included in Gen 10:23…The MT of the parallel geneaology in Gen 10:23 reads ‘Mash,’ but the LXX there reads ‘Meshech’ in agreement with 1 Chr 1:17.”

      • Arphaxad was the father of Shelah, and Shelah was the father of Eber. Eber had two sons. One was named Peleg, because the earth was divided during his lifetime. His brother’s name was Joktan.

        • On Peleg’s name, Guzik explains, “This seems to refer to the dividing of the nations at the tower of Babel described in Genesis 11:1-9.”

      • Joktan was the father of: Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, Obal, Abimael, Sheba, Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All of these were Joktan’s sons.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes that the parallel in Gen 10:28, some Hebrew manuscripts, and the Syriac read “Obal,” however most Hebrew manuscripts read “Ebal” here.

      • Shem, Arphaxad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and Abram (that is Abraham).

        • NLT Illustrated Study writes, “The summary of Shem’s descendants ends with Abraham (cp Gen 11:10-26).”

Abraham’s Descendants

      • The sons of Abraham: Isaac and Ishmael.

      • These were their descendants:

        • HCSB writes, “The pattern of this genealogy is to deal with the secondary lines first, and then continuing the ever-sharpening focus upon the line leading to Israel (Jacob). Thus, Ishmael’s descendants were recorded first, then Isaac’s.”

Hagar’s Descendants

        • Ishmael’s firstborn son was Nebaioth. The others were Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.

          • Guzik notes, “God promised to make a great nation through Ishmael (Genesis 21:18). These descendants were the beginning of the fulfillment of that promise, ultimately fulfilled in the Arabic peoples.”

Keturah’s Descendants

        • The sons born to Abraham’s concubine Keturah were: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

          • Guzik writes, “This was the second wife of Abraham, taken after the death of Sarah (Genesis 25:1-4).”

        • However, NET Bible adds, “A concubine was a slave woman in ancient Near Eastern societies who was the legal property of her master, but who could have legitimate sexual relations with her master. A concubine’s status was more elevated than a mere servant, but she was not free and did not have the legal rights of a free wife. The children of a concubine could, in some instances, become equal heirs with the children of the free wife. After the period of the Judges concubines may have become more of a royal prerogative (2 Sam 21:10-14; 1 Kgs 11:3).”

        • The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan.

        • The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida, and Eldaah.

        • All these were the descendants of Keturah.

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “The descendants of Ismael and Keturah equate with Arab tribes who lived in the Syro-Arabian desert. Various of these descendants and their settlements are mentioned in the inscriptions of the Assrian king Ashurbanipal. The last king of the Chaldean dynasty, Nabonidus, led an extensive campaign against Tema and other Arabian states in the mid-sixth century BC.”

Sarah’s Descendants

        • Abraham was the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac: Esau and Israel.

        • HCSB writes, “From Adam to Jacob (Israel), the trail narrows down to the twelve tribes of Israel. Notice the Chronicler named him ‘Israel’ not ‘Jacob.’ He began presenting his theology right from the start, a theme that will echo back again and again: ‘We’re all together in this exile; one for all and all for one.’ The Chronicler only rarely uses the name ‘Jacob’ (16:13, 17) rather than ‘Israel.’ This was part of his emphasis upon the unity of the nation of Israel- that they all came from the same father.”

          • Guzik adds, “Of these two sons, only Israel was chosen as the son of the promise and the heir of the covenant of Abraham. Nevertheless, the sons of Esau still were important to God and had a place in His eternal plan.”

Ancestry of the Edomites (1:35-54)

        • Isaac’s genealogy first lists the descendants of Esau (1:35-54) and continues with Israel. The history of Edom is given in three components: the sons of Esau (1:35-37), the descendants of Seir (1:38-42), and the kings who ruled in the land of Edom (1:43-54). This arrangement follows Gen 36.

Esau’s Descendants

      • The sons of Esau: Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

      • The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. And by Timna, Amalek.

      • The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.

The People Of Seir in Edom

      • The sons of Seir: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.

        • HCSB remarks, “’Seir’ was not among the recorded descendants of Esau. But Seir is mentioned in 2 Ch 25:11, 14 as dwelling in the same region as Esau. The implication is that the relationship is national rather than ethnic, but strong enough to be included (see Gn 36:20-28).”

      • The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister.

        • NET Bible says, “Perhaps this is the Timna mentioned in v. 36.”

      • The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.

      • The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah.

      • The son of Anah: Dishon.

      • The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Keran.

      • The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.

      • The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.

The Rulers of Edom

      • These were the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before any king ruled over the Israelites:

        • HCSB notes, “It is not clear why the Chronicler includes the kings of Edom. Certainly it was not to record ethnic continuity. The digression of Seir’s descendants and now Edom’s rulers demonstrated a special interest in this land. Proximity to Judah perhaps gave Edom a greater relevance to the Chronicler’s readers. Edom was conquered by David (18:13), but was a later source of rebellion against the kings of Judah.”

        • Guzik remarks, “It seems that the kings of Edom came into power before the kings of Israel. In this, the Chronicler reminds the reader that God’s ways have their own timing and wisdom; a timing and wisdom which is sometimes apparent and sometimes not.”

        • Bela, who was Beor’s son, whose city was named Dinhabah.

        • When Bela died, Zerah’s son Jobab who was from Bozrah succeeded him as king.

        • When Jobab died, Husham who was from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.

        • When Husham died, Bedad’s son Hadad succeeded him as king. The name of his city was Avith. He defeated Midian in the plains of Moab.

        • When Hadad died, Samlah who was from Masrekah succeeded him as king.

        • When Samlah died, Shaul who was from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king.

          • NET Bible notes, “The river may refer to the Euphrates River (cf. NRSV, CEV, NLT).”

        • When Shaul died, Achbor’s son Baal-Hanan succeeded him as king.

        • When Baal-Hanan died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau. His wife’s name was Mehetabel and she was the daughter of Matred and granddaughter of Me-Zahab.

        • Hadad died.

        • The chiefs of Edom were as follows: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram.

      • Comparing 1 Chronicles with the Assyrian King List from the seventh century BC, NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible says, “Several features of the genealogy in 1 Ch 1 are striking when compared with this. There is no introduction; the scribe has drawn lines across the tablet, dividing it into four sections, two of which are lists of names without kinship terms, alternating with two lists in which relations are specified; both segmented and linear genealogies are used. This suggests the Chronicler was following a known literary pattern.

Assyrian King List of the 7th century BC on a terracotta tablet, from Assur, Iraq. Housed at the Museum of the Ancient Orient, Istanbul.” wikipedia

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