1 Chronicles 2


The Sons of Israel (2:1-2)

    • These were the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

      • Guzik writes, “The line of the patriarchs began with Abraham, and was passed down to Isaac (and not Ishmael) and then to Jacob/Israel (and not to Esau). Yet with the sons of Israel, all the sons were chosen as inheritors of the covenant. These twelve sons of Israel actually became 13 tribes of Israel, because two tribes came from Joseph (Manasseh and Ephraim).”

        HCSB says, “The genealogy here narrows its focus upon the sons of Jacob, which has been the thread of this story told in terms of names. Telling that story from Adam to Jacob takes one chapter of 54 verses. Telling the story of Jacob’s family will take the next eight chapters. The sons are listed (with one exception- Dan) by birth mother, and then by birth order: Leah (Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun); Rachel (Joseph, Benjamin); Rachel’s servant Bilhah (Dan, Naphtali); Leah’s servant Zilpah (Gad, Asher). See Gn 29-30).”

      • ESV Study Bible adds, “The line of divine election culminates in the sons of Israel, the subject of the following genealogies. But the Chronicler does not consider them in the traditional order of these verses (drawn apparently from Gen 35:22-26. Further, his actual listing of the 12 tribes differs because it includes the half-tribes of Manasseh in Transjordan (1 Chron 5:23-26) and west of the Jordan (7:14-19) and omits mention of Zebulun and Dan.”

The Royal Family of Judah (2:3-4:23)

        • ESV Study Bible writes, “The first and most extensive place is given to Judah. This material is of diverse origin and much of it is fragmentary, but the author has arranged it as follows into an artistic whole according to the principles of a large-scale inclusio (or concentric-ring structure in which the last elements repeat the first): 2:3 Shelah, the oldest surviving son of Judah; 2:4-8, Perez and Zerah, Judah’s sons by Tamar; 2:9-3:24, Hezron, ancestor of David and his line; 4:1-20, Perez’s other descendants; 4:21-23, Shelah’s descendants. As is common in such literary arrangements, the central unit (2:9-3:24) is the focus of chief interest because it leads to David, the central human character in Chronicles. This unit has its own complex arrangement of materials.”

From Judah to Azariah

      • Judah had 3 sons born to him by Bathshua, a Canaanite woman: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Judah’s firstborn, Er, was evil in Yahweh’s eyes, so He put him to death.

        • On Bathshua, NET Bible’s notes say, “The name means ‘daughter of Shua.’ Shua is identified in Gen 38:2 as a ‘Canaanite man.’”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible adds, “Er and Onan, the first two sons of Judah, were destroyed because of their sin (Gen 38:6-10). The descendants of Shelah are listed as an appendix at the end of the genealogies of Judah (1 Chr 4:21-23).”

      • Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar bore to him Perez and Zerah. So, he had 5 sons in all.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “The main ancestral line of David descends from Perez, one of the sons of Tamar, Judah’s widowed daughter-in-law.”

      • The sons of Perez: Hezron and Hamul.

      • The sons of Zerah: Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Kalkol, and Darda- five in all.

      • The son of Karmi: Achan, who brought trouble on Israel when he was unfaithful by taking what was devoted to destruction.

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes that Karmi was a decendant of Zimri.

        • Many translations follow the Hebrew text which lists Achan’s name as “Achar.” However, I have sided with “Achan,.” As NET Bible’s text critical notes explains, “The Hebrew text has ‘Achar,’ which means ‘disaster,’ but a few medieval Hebrew mss read ‘Achan.’ See Josh 7:1.”

      • The son of Ethan: Azariah.

From Hezron to David

        • On verses 9-55, NLT Illustrated Study Bible remarks, “The descendants of Hezron are given down to the time of David, in several sections: the direct line from Hezron to David (2:9-17; cp Ruth 4:18-22), the other descendants of Hezron (1 Chr 2:18-41), then the descendants of Hezron’s son Caleb (2:42-55).”

      • The sons born to Hezron were: Jerahmeel, Ram, and Caleb.

        • HCSB points out, “This is the line of David, so the thread turns to Hezron’s descendants. The name Hezron occurs in Gn 46:12 and Nm 26:21. Since there is no biblical record of Hezron’s family, the Chronicler had used some extra-biblical genealogical source (probably archived at the Jerusalem temple) unknown to us.”

        • Again I have sided with translations which depart from the Hebrew text for Hezron’s last listed son. NET Bible’s text critical notes explain, “The Hebrew text has ‘Celubai,’ but see v. 18, where Caleb is described as the son of Hezron.”

      • Ram was Amminadab’s father, and Amminadab was Nahshon’s father. Nahshon was the leader of the people of Judah. Nahshon was Salmon’s father, and Salmon was Boaz’s father. Boaz was Obed’s father, and Obed was Jesse’s father.

        • Again, I have sided with the translations that depart from the Hebrew text’s rending of “Salma.” NET Bible’s text critical notes say, “The LXX reads ‘Salmon’ (cf. Ruth 4:21) and is followed by some English versions (e.g., NIV, NCV, TEV, NLT).”

        • ESV Study Bible remarks, “…The genealogy of Ram down to David (vv. 10-17) and David’s own descendants (3:1-24) form an inclusio (or literary bookends) around the Calebites (2:18-24, 42-55) and Jerahmeelites (vv. 25-41)…”

      • Jesse’s firstborn son was Eliab, his second was Abinadab, his third was Shimea, his fourth was Nethanel, the fifth was Raddai, the sixth was Ozem, and the seventh was David. Their sisters were Zeruiah and Abigail. Zeruiah’s three sons were: Abishai, Joab, and Asahel. Abigail was Amasa’s mother, and his father was as Ishmaelite named Jether.

        • This verse is often used by Bible skeptics who point out that the Bible is confused about whether David’s father had 7 or 8 sons. It is true that there is a discrepancy that really isn’t readily explained although there are some speculations about why this could be. This Gotquestions.org article summarizes the difficulty and discusses some options:

          • David, Israel’s second king, was the youngest son of Jesse from Bethlehem. In 1 Samuel 17:12–14, Scripture plainly states that Jesse had eight sons, of which David was the youngest. But in 1 Chronicles 2:12–16, the account of David’s family lists only seven sons of Jesse. So, did David have six or seven brothers?”

        • One possibility for the missing brother could be Elihu, who is identified in 1 Chronicles 27:18 as the chief officer over the tribe of Judah and ‘a brother of David.’ But most scholars tend to believe the name Elihu is a variant of Eliab, who was David’s oldest brother. Elihu and Eliab are the same person.”

        • …biblical genealogies often did not include every ancestor in a family line. For example, when a child died without leaving any children, he or she was usually omitted from the record…The passage in 1 Samuel was written in the early days of David’s life, but the genealogy in 1 Chronicles was recorded much later. The chronicler’s primary concern was to preserve Israel’s family records for verifying tribal identity and inheritance rights. Therefore, most Bible scholars deduce that one of David’s seven brothers must have died at a young age without producing any heirs, and was therefore not accounted for in the later genealogical register.”

        • The ESV Study Bible offers another option which I don’t find particularly compelling, but I’ll list it anyway, “…the Chronicler presents him [David] as the seventh [son], perhaps to indicate his favored place in God’s purpose. Telescoping (the omission of names) is a common feature of these genealogies, and often carries theological significance…”

        • After mentioning Elihu or a deceased brother as a possible answer, HCSB simply states, “…the text is silent on this matter.”

        • Jewish sources have contributed various theories as well, none that really fare better than any of the above in my view. For example, that Elihu was a son from a different wife, therefore David was the seventh son from Jesse’s first wife. Or, that David had a younger brother, but the counting stopped at David since he was anointed king.

Other Descendants of Hezron

      • Hezron’s son Caleb had children by his wife Azubah, who was also known as Jerioth. Her sons were: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath who bore him Hur. Hur was Uri’s father, and Uri was Bezalel’s father.

        • I have sided with NET Bible’s rendering of Jerioth as an alternate name for Azubah rather than an addition wife besides Azubah. Their reasoning is as follows, “Heb ‘and Caleb son of Hezron fathered [children] with Azubah, a wife, and with Jerioth’ Jerioth could be viewed as a second wife (so NLT; cf. also NASB, NIV, NRSV), but the following context mentions only ‘her [presumably Azubah’s] sons.’ Another option, the one chosen in the translation, is that Jerioth is another name for Azubah.”

      • Later on, when Hezron was 60 years old, he married Makir’s daughter. Makir was Gilead’s father. Hezron slept with her and she bore him Segub. Segub was Jair’s father. Jair owned 23 cities in Gilead. But Geshur and Aram captured Jair’s cities along with Kenath and its 60 surrounding towns. All of these were descendants of Gilead’s father Makir.

        • ESV Study Bible notes, “Caleb the son of Hezron is to be distinguished from the later contemporary of Joshua (see 4:15). He was a forefather of Bezalel (2:20), the principal craftsman for the tabernacle (Ex 31:2; 2 Chron 1:5). By placing a reference to Bezalel directly after the genealogy of David, the author indicates the very close connection between the Davidic monarchy and the temple, one of the central themes of his historical narrative.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Some of the families of Gilead, listed elsewhere as members of the tribe of Manasseh (cp. Num 32:39-42), also had a connection with the tribe of Judah.”

        • HCSB expounds on the reference above, adding, “’Machir’ was a member of the tribe of Manasseh…Intertribal marriage at this early stage in Israel’s history already had begun to blur tribal distinctions and create cross-tribal loyalties.”

        • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “Geshur and Aram are states from farther north toward Mount Hermon. David married the daughter of the king of Geshur, and the settlements of Jair are mentioned within the list of Solomon’s governors (1 Kgs 4:13). These settlements were captured after this time, therefore, probably in the ninth century BC, when Aram was becoming strong. The affiliation of these settlements with Judah is found only here.”

      • After Hezron’s death, Caleb slept with Ephrath, his father’s widow, and she bore to him Ashur. Ashur was Tekoa’s father.

        • Here again I have sided with the NET in their departure from the Masoretic rendering of verse 24. (ESV also sides with this rendering). NET Bible’s text critical notes explain:

          • Heb ‘And after the death of Hezron in Caleb Ephrathah, and the wife of Hezron, Abijah, and she bore to him Ashhur the father of Tekoa.’ The translations assumes three differences from the MT. 1) Where the MT preserves only the preposition…(bet, ‘in’), the NET agrees with the text behind the LXX and Vulgate in reading…(baʾ b-, ‘went to’). Caleb is thus the subject of the verb rather than an otherwise unattested place name, and Ephrath(a) is a reference to his wife (see vv. 19 and 50). A directional he on the end of Ephratha would be unusual on a personal name but the he also appears in v. 50 where it cannot be a directional he. Also the phrase [went to] is viewed as a euphemism for sexual relations, rather than a description of entering the town of Ephrath (or Bethlehem). 2) The…(vav, ‘and’) is not read before ‘wife of Hezron.’ 3) A…(vav) is restored after…(ʾaviyyah, ‘Abijah’) to make …(ʾavihu, ‘his father’). This less common form of the noun with the suffix also occurs in 1 Chron 26:10 and 2 Chron 3:1. Thus ‘the wife of Hezron his father’ is a descriptor of Caleb’s second wife, Ephrath. Some translations follow the MT on the first point to make Abijah the subject of the following verb as in ‘after Hezron died in Caleb Ephrathah, Abijah, Hezron’s wife, bore to him Ashhur, the father of Tekoa’ (cf. NASB, NIV, NRSV). However, the preterite verb form cannot properly be preceded by its subject in this fashion. One would need to suppose that the phrase ‘and the wife of Hezron, Abijah’ is not appositional but rather a parenthetic clause ‘and the wife of Hezron was Abijah.’ R. Braun (1 Samuel [WBC], 40) is favorable to the idea that ‘the name of Hezron’s wife represents a misplaced gloss on v 21‘ (citing Williamson, JBL 98, 355). In the reading adopted here, this would mean that Caleb’s second wife, Ephrath, had actually been his late father’s wife (probably Caleb’s stepmother). Perhaps the text was subsequently altered because Caleb’s actions appeared improper in light of the injunctions in Lev 18:8; 20:11; Deut 22:30; 27:20 (which probably refer, however, to a son having sexual relations with his stepmother while his father is still alive).”

Descendants of Hezron’s Son Jerahmeel

      • The sons of Hezron’s firstborn son Jerahmeel: His firstborn was Ram, Bunah, Oren, Ozem, and Ahijah. Jerahmeel had another wife whose name was Atarah. She was Onam’s mother.

      • The son’s of Jerahmeel’s firstborn son Ram: Maaz, Jamin, and Eker.

      • The sons of Onam: Shammai and Jada.

      • The sons of Shammai: Nadab and Abishur.

      • Abishir’s wife was named Abihail and she bore him Ahban and Molid.

      • The sons of Nadab: Seled and Appaim. Seled died without children.

      • The son of Appaim: Ishi, who was Sheshan’s father. Sheshan was Ahlai’s father.

      • The sons of Shammai’s brother Jada: Jether and Jonathan. Jether died without children.

      • The sons of Jonathan: Peleth and Zaza.

      • These were all descendants of Jerahmeel.

      • Sheshan didn’t have any sons, only daughters. Sheshan had an Egyptian servant named Jarha. Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his servant Jarha, and she bore him Attai.

      • Attai was Nathan’s father, and Nathan was Zabad’s father. Zabad was Ephlal’s father, and Ephlal was Obed’s father. Obed was Jehu’s father, and Jehu was Azariah’s father. Azariah was Helez’s father, and Helez was Eleasah’s father. Eleasah was Sismai’s father, and Sismai was Shallum’s father. Shallum was Jekemiah’s father, and Jekemiah was Elishama’s father.

        • On the verses above, 25-41, ESV Study Bible writes, “Two lists (vv. 25-33 and 34-41) have been joined together here, probably from material preserved by this clan, the descendants of Jerahmeel, the firstborn of Hezron. The Jerahmeelites lived in the Negeb, on Judah’s southern frontier, in David’s day (1 Sam 27:10). If this record of 23 generations is complete, Elishama may have been a contemporary of David, and the Chronicler would be drawing on ancient records from the early monarchy.”

Descendants of Hezron’s Son Caleb

      • The sons of Jerahmeel’s brother Caleb: Mesha was his firstborn, and Mesha was Ziph’s father. Mareshah was his second son, and he was Hebron’s father.

        • HCSB notes, “’Hebron’ was associated with Caleb’s family in Jos 14:13, and is the name of a city in 15:13 and in Jdg 1:20.”

      • The sons of Hebron: Korah, Tappuah, Rekem, and Shema.

      • Shema was Raham’s father, and Raham was Jorkeam’s father.

      • Rekem was Shammai’s father. Shammai was Maon’s father, and Maon was Beth Zur’s father.

      • Caleb’s concubine Ephah bore him Haran, Moza, and Gazez. Haran was Gazez’s father.

      • The sons of Jahdai: Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah, and Shaaph.

      • Caleb’s concubine Maakah bore him Sheber and Tirhanah. She also bore Shaaph, who was Madmannah’s father, and Sheva. Sheva’s sons were Makbenah and Gibea. Caleb’s daughter was Aksah.

        • HCSB writes, “Caleb son of Jephunneh had a daughter named Achsah (Jos 15:16), yet the following list of descendants in vv. 50-52 are the sons of Caleb son of Hezron. Taking the text as it stands, the most likely solution is that both Caleb’s had daughters with the same name.”

      • These were the descendants of Caleb.

Descendants of Caleb’s Son Hur

      • The sons of Ephrath’s firstborn, Hur: Shobal, who was Kiriath Jearim’s father, Salma, who was Bethlehem’s father, and Hareph, who was Beth Gader’s father.

      • The descendants of Kiriath’s Jearim’s father Shobal: Haroeh, half the Manahathites, and the clans of Kiriath Jearim: the Ithrites, Puthites, Shumathites, and Mishraites. The Zorathites and the Eshtaolites descended from these groups.

      • The descendants of Salma: Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth Beth Joab, half the Manahathites, the Zorites, and the clans of the scribes who lived at Jabez: the Tirathites, Shimeathites, and Sucathites. These are the Kenites who descended from Hammath, who was the father of the Rekabites.

      • On verses 42-55, ESV Study Bible remarks, “An addition to vv. 18-24, comprising early lists of the descendants of Caleb (vv. 42-50a) and his son Hur (vv. 50b-55). Personal and place names are found together in this section (Hebron, Beth-zur, Kiriath-jearim, Bethlehem), so ‘father’ here sometimes denotes the ‘founder’ or ‘leader’ of a city.”

        • HCSB adds the following:

        • ‘Shobal’ was an Edomite name; see 1:38, 40. Some of the presence of Edomite genealogy here to be evidence of Edomite clans being incorporated into Judah.”

          • The name ‘Kenites’ was the same as the ancient tribe mentioned in Gn 15:19, who apparently took their name from Cain, the son of Adam. Just how closely related the scribal Kenites were to the family of Rechab is unclear. ‘Hammath’ could refer not just to a person but to a city or region, as we have seen before in this genealogy. Some suggest a relationship by marriage. Here is an insight into the economies of that time. ‘Scribes’ were apparently a hereditary guild where the skills are passed from generation to generation as part of the ‘family business.’ They were not necessarily related to the family of Caleb. See also Pr 31 for evidence of textile production and import-export business conducted on an (extended) family basis.”

        • On the clans of scribes, NET Bible remarks, “Or perhaps ‘the Sopherim.’ The NAB transliterates this term and treats it as a proper name.”

        • To better understand the significance of the note above, the encyclopedia Britannica entry on “sofer” as a term in Judaism is helpful, “Sofer, also spelled Sopher (Hebrew: ‘scribe’), plural Soferim, or Sopherim, any of a group of Jewish scholars who interpreted and taught biblical law and ethics from about the 5th century bc to about 200 bc. Understood in this sense, the first of the soferim was the biblical prophet Ezra, even though the word previously designated an important administrator connected with the Temple but without religious status. Ezra and his disciples initiated a tradition of rabbinic scholarship that remains to this day a fundamental feature of Judaism.”

Click here to go to chapter 3