1These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
1These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad and Asher.
These verses list the sons of Jacob, here called “Israel”, in a random order. First the six children of Leah are mentioned, then one of Bilhah, then two of Rachel, then another of Bilhah and finally two of Zilpah. About twenty-two times there is a list of the sons of Jacob in the Bible, where the order often changes.
3The sons of Judah [were] Er, Onan and Shelah; [these] three were born to him by Bath-shua the Canaanitess. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, so He put him to death. 4Tamar his daughter-in-law bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all. 5The sons of Perez [were] Hezron and Hamul. 6The sons of Zerah [were] Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Dara; five of them in all. 7The son of Carmi [was] Achar, the troubler of Israel, who violated the ban. 8The son of Ethan [was] Azariah. 9Now the sons of Hezron, who were born to him [were] Jerahmeel, Ram and Chelubai. 10Ram became the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, leader of the sons of Judah; 11Nahshon became the father of Salma, Salma became the father of Boaz, 12Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse; 13and Jesse became the father of Eliab his firstborn, then Abinadab the second, Shimea the third, 14Nethanel the fourth, Raddai the fifth, 15Ozem the sixth, David the seventh; 16and their sisters [were] Zeruiah and Abigail. And the three sons of Zeruiah [were] Abshai, Joab and Asahel. 17Abigail bore Amasa, and the father of Amasa was Jether the Ishmaelite.
In the rest of this chapter the descendants of Judah are mentioned. Judah’s genealogy is mentioned first because of the kingship that is associated with this tribe.
On the gravestone of Er we read the characteristic of his life: He “was wicked in the sight of the LORD, so He put him to death” (verse 33The sons of Judah [were] Er, Onan and Shelah; [these] three were born to him by Bath-shua the Canaanitess. And Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the LORD, so He put him to death.). It is a warning to live and walk before God’s face with fear, praying and watching, because every moment there can be said or done by us something that will characterize our lives. What will be read on my gravestone?
Few women are mentioned, but the name of Tamar shows a special grace from God (verse 44Tamar his daughter-in-law bore him Perez and Zerah. Judah had five sons in all.). She gives birth to Perez as a result of a lewd act she committed with Judah (Gen 38:14-18,27-3014So she removed her widow’s garments and covered [herself] with a veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.15When Judah saw her, he thought she [was] a harlot, for she had covered her face.16So he turned aside to her by the road, and said, “Here now, let me come in to you”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?”17He said, therefore, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” She said, moreover, “Will you give a pledge until you send [it]?”18He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal and your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave [them] to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him.27It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb.28Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet [thread] on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.”29But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez.30Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet [thread] on his hand; and he was named Zerah.). It is God’s special grace that she is mentioned in the book of Ruth (Rth 4:1212Moreover, may your house be like the house of Perez whom Tamar bore to Judah, through the offspring which the LORD will give you by this young woman.”) and in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus (Mt 1:33Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez was the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram.).
Four of Zerah’s five sons, “Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Dara”, are known for their wisdom (verse 66The sons of Zerah [were] Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol and Dara; five of them in all.). When the Holy Spirit represents the wisdom of Solomon, he declares Solomon wiser than these four men: “For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol” (1Kgs 4:3131For he was wiser than all men, than Ethan the Ezrahite, Heman, Calcol and Darda, the sons of Mahol; and his fame was [known] in all the surrounding nations.). It is rare that such a testimony can be given of four brothers.
It can also be mentioned that a psalm of Ethan and Heman is included in the Holy Scriptures (Psa 88:11A Song. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. For the choir director; according to Mahalath Leannoth. A Maskil of Heman the Ezrahite.
O LORD, the God of my salvation,
I have cried out by day and in the night before You.
; 89:11A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite.
I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever;
To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth.
). They should not be confused with Heman and Ethan, the musicians of David (1Chr 15:1919So the singers, Heman, Asaph and Ethan [were appointed] to sound aloud cymbals of bronze;), for they are of the tribe Levi and not of the tribe Judah (cf. 1Chr 6:33-4433These are those who served with their sons: From the sons of the Kohathites [were] Heman the singer, the son of Joel, the son of Samuel,34the son of Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Eliel, the son of Toah,35the son of Zuph, the son of Elkanah, the son of Mahath, the son of Amasai,36the son of Elkanah, the son of Joel, the son of Azariah, the son of Zephaniah,37the son of Tahath, the son of Assir, the son of Ebiasaph, the son of Korah,38the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, the son of Israel.39[Heman’s] brother Asaph stood at his right hand, even Asaph the son of Berechiah, the son of Shimea,40the son of Michael, the son of Baaseiah, the son of Malchijah,41the son of Ethni, the son of Zerah, the son of Adaiah,42the son of Ethan, the son of Zimmah, the son of Shimei,43the son of Jahath, the son of Gershom, the son of Levi.44On the left hand [were] their kinsmen the sons of Merari: Ethan the son of Kishi, the son of Abdi, the son of Malluch,).
The inscription on the gravestone of Achar, that is Achan reads: “The troubler of Israel, who violated the ban” (verse 77The son of Carmi [was] Achar, the troubler of Israel, who violated the ban.). His sin is described in the book of Joshua (Jos 7:11But the sons of Israel acted unfaithfully in regard to the things under the ban, for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, took some of the things under the ban, therefore the anger of the LORD burned against the sons of Israel.). We see here to the best families, here Judah, people can belong who are a disgrace to the family.
The names mentioned in verses 9-129Now the sons of Hezron, who were born to him [were] Jerahmeel, Ram and Chelubai.10Ram became the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, leader of the sons of Judah;11Nahshon became the father of Salma, Salma became the father of Boaz,12Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse; are the direct ancestors of David, to whom the chronicler works in the genealogies (cf. Rth 4:19-2219and to Hezron was born Ram, and to Ram, Amminadab,20and to Amminadab was born Nahshon, and to Nahshon, Salmon,21and to Salmon was born Boaz, and to Boaz, Obed,22and to Obed was born Jesse, and to Jesse, David.). That does not mean that all names of the ancestors are mentioned from Ram onwards. Three centuries have passed between Ram, the son of Hezron, and Nahshon, the son of Amminadab. Nahshon is “leader of the sons of Judah” in the days of Moses in the wilderness (Num 1:77of Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab;; 2:33Now those who camp on the east side toward the sunrise [shall be] of the standard of the camp of Judah, by their armies, and the leader of the sons of Judah: Nahshon the son of Amminadab,). Nahshon’s son, Salma, marries Rahab, the harlot, after the fall of Jericho (Mt 1:55Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse.).
Verse 1616and their sisters [were] Zeruiah and Abigail. And the three sons of Zeruiah [were] Abshai, Joab and Asahel. shows that the three men “Abshai, Joab and Asahel”, who we know from David’s army, are the sons of David’s sister and thus his cousins. The same goes for Amasa, who is the son of another sister.
18Now Caleb the son of Hezron had sons by Azubah [his] wife, and by Jerioth; and these were her sons: Jesher, Shobab, and Ardon. 19When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur. 20Hur became the father of Uri, and Uri became the father of Bezalel. 21Afterward Hezron went in to the daughter of Machir the father of Gilead, whom he married when he was sixty years old; and she bore him Segub. 22Segub became the father of Jair, who had twenty-three cities in the land of Gilead. 23But Geshur and Aram took the towns of Jair from them, with Kenath and its villages, [even] sixty cities. All these were the sons of Machir, the father of Gilead. 24After the death of Hezron in Caleb-ephrathah, Abijah, Hezron’s wife, bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa.
Bezalel, the son of Uri (verse 2020Hur became the father of Uri, and Uri became the father of Bezalel.), is known to us from the building of the tabernacle (Exo 31:2-42“See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah.3I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all [kinds of] craftsmanship,4to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze,).
Hezron, from whom Caleb and his descendants came forth, appears to have been a very fruitful man, even in his old age. When he dies, his wife Abia is pregnant and gives birth to another child after his death (verse 2424After the death of Hezron in Caleb-ephrathah, Abijah, Hezron’s wife, bore him Ashhur the father of Tekoa.).
25Now the sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron [were] Ram the firstborn, then Bunah, Oren, Ozem [and] Ahijah. 26Jerahmeel had another wife, whose name was Atarah; she was the mother of Onam. 27The sons of Ram, the firstborn of Jerahmeel, were Maaz, Jamin and Eker. 28The sons of Onam were Shammai and Jada. And the sons of Shammai [were] Nadab and Abishur. 29The name of Abishur’s wife [was] Abihail, and she bore him Ahban and Molid. 30The sons of Nadab [were] Seled and Appaim, and Seled died without sons. 31The son of Appaim [was] Ishi. And the son of Ishi [was] Sheshan. And the son of Sheshan [was] Ahlai. 32The sons of Jada the brother of Shammai [were] Jether and Jonathan, and Jether died without sons. 33The sons of Jonathan [were] Peleth and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel. 34Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. And Sheshan had an Egyptian servant whose name was Jarha. 35Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant in marriage, and she bore him Attai. 36Attai became the father of Nathan, and Nathan became the father of Zabad, 37and Zabad became the father of Ephlal, and Ephlal became the father of Obed, 38and Obed became the father of Jehu, and Jehu became the father of Azariah, 39and Azariah became the father of Helez, and Helez became the father of Eleasah, 40and Eleasah became the father of Sismai, and Sismai became the father of Shallum, 41and Shallum became the father of Jekamiah, and Jekamiah became the father of Elishama.
This list includes names of people whose particular characteristic is that they died childless or without sons (verses 30,32-3430The sons of Nadab [were] Seled and Appaim, and Seled died without sons.32The sons of Jada the brother of Shammai [were] Jether and Jonathan, and Jether died without sons.33The sons of Jonathan [were] Peleth and Zaza. These were the sons of Jerahmeel.34Now Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. And Sheshan had an Egyptian servant whose name was Jarha.). Childlessness is not new. God’s providence gives or withhold children, or sometimes gives them only of the same sex. For those who desire to have children, it is a great test if the desire for children remains unfulfilled.
The need that this can bring with it cannot be understood by those who have children. Only the Lord can give His comfort therein. By His consolation they can come to accept in confidence that this is the way He wants to go with them. In this way they can serve Him in a special way. To those who love Him He will give a place and a name in His house, better than those of sons and daughters (Isa 56:55To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial,
And a name better than that of sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
The marriage of Sesan’s daughter to an Egyptian slave (verse 3535Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha his servant in marriage, and she bore him Attai.) can only be permitted if we assume that this slave has become a Jew, a proselyte.
42Now the sons of Caleb, the brother of Jerahmeel, [were] Mesha his firstborn, who was the father of Ziph; and his son was Mareshah, the father of Hebron. 43The sons of Hebron [were] Korah and Tappuah and Rekem and Shema. 44Shema became the father of Raham, the father of Jorkeam; and Rekem became the father of Shammai. 45The son of Shammai was Maon, and Maon [was] the father of Bethzur. 46Ephah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Haran, Moza and Gazez; and Haran became the father of Gazez. 47The sons of Jahdai [were] Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah and Shaaph. 48Maacah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah. 49She also bore Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbena and the father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb [was] Achsah. 50These were the sons of Caleb. The sons of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah, [were] Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim, 51Salma the father of Bethlehem [and] Hareph the father of Beth-gader. 52Shobal the father of Kiriath-jearim had sons: Haroeh, half of the Manahathites, 53and the families of Kiriath-jearim: the Ithrites, the Puthites, the Shumathites and the Mishraites; from these came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites. 54The sons of Salma [were] Bethlehem and the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites. 55The families of scribes who lived at Jabez [were] the Tirathites, the Shimeathites [and] the Sucathites. Those are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.
In this section, “the families of scribes” are noticeably (verse 5555The families of scribes who lived at Jabez [were] the Tirathites, the Shimeathites [and] the Sucathites. Those are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.). Writing is important in the things of God. It means being busy with it and recording it and thus passing it on to the next generations. In this way, future generations can be taught the things of God.
The Kenites (verse 55b55The families of scribes who lived at Jabez [were] the Tirathites, the Shimeathites [and] the Sucathites. Those are the Kenites who came from Hammath, the father of the house of Rechab.) do not originally belong to Israel. They are one of the heathen peoples of the land of Canaan (Gen 15:18-2118On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying,
“To your descendants I have given this land,
From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates:
19the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite20and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim21and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”). Here they are included in the genealogy of the tribe of Judah. It seems that over the years they have become more and more part of the tribe of Judah, may be by marriages. They are a people who, in addition to Caleb, one of the twelve spies, have also become known for the fidelity of one of their families, that of the Rechabites. Their faithfulness to the customs of their fathers is so much appreciated by the LORD, that in the book of Jeremiah He sets this lineage as an example to His unfaithful people (Jer 35:12-1612Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying,13“Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, ‘Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not receive instruction by listening to My words?” declares the LORD.14“The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, which he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are observed. So they do not drink [wine] to this day, for they have obeyed their father’s command. But I have spoken to you again and again; yet you have not listened to Me.15Also I have sent to you all My servants the prophets, sending [them] again and again, saying: ‘Turn now every man from his evil way and amend your deeds, and do not go after other gods to worship them. Then you will dwell in the land which I have given to you and to your forefathers; but you have not inclined your ear or listened to Me.16Indeed, the sons of Jonadab the son of Rechab have observed the command of their father which he commanded them, but this people has not listened to Me.’”‘).