The Agora
Bible Commentary
1 Chronicles

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

1 Chronicles 4

1Ch 4:1

The last 4 are Judah's descendants, not his sons.

1Ch 4:8

"Koz" sig "thorns", and "Anub" sig grapes. "Do men gather grapes of thorns?" (Mat 7:16; Luk 6:44).

1Ch 4:9

"It seems very likely that the two unexpected verses about Jabez, cropping up in the middle of the Chronicles genealogies (1Ch 4:9,10), refer to Othniel. For the genealogy there is that of Judah, Othniel's tribe, and Jabez calls on 'the God of Israel' precisely as Caleb also does (Josh 14:14), a thing to be expected since they were both of Gentile origin, being Kenizzites (v 13 here). The phrase: 'more honourable than his brethren', may allude to the fact that other members of the family did not share his union with Israel; or it commemorates his fine work as saviour and judge of Israel (Jdg 3:8-11). His request: 'Oh that thou wouldest... enlarge my border' is matched in Judges by Othniel's tactful incitement of his wife to ask for springs of water as an addition to her dowry -- what Jabez very appropriately calls 'a blessing' (1Ch 4:10; Jdg 1:15). And 'God granted him that which he requested.' Evidently whilst Achsah was asking her father, Othniel was asking his Father" (WJR).

Jabez = a man of Judah, acquainted with pain and suffering, who asks and receives a special blessing from God. Typical of Jesus Christ.

1Ch 4:10

ENLARGE MY TERRITORY: The NIV translates: "enlarge my territory", rightly, I think. This is, in a microcosm -- so to speak, a reference to the promises to Abraham: "all the land you see, to you I will give, and to your seed" (Gen 13), from the great river Euphrates all the way to Egypt (Gen 15), etc! The prayer is, in effect: "God, may I receive the promises made to my father Abraham!"

In that sense, there is a prayer for material prosperity (a token of which Jabez might receive in this life), but particularly wrapped up in God's promise of eternal life, through the resurrection of the dead, and the fulfillment of His great and precious promises. This probably has little to do with a new car, or a new TV/VCR/stereo combination!

In the sense of the Abrahamic promises, notice how in Gen 13, Abraham is promised all the land, "north, south, east and west"... AND a great multiplying of his seed! Notice how this is echoed in the NT, when Jesus says: "There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God" (Luk 13:28,29). This is an interesting twist. In Genesis we hear God telling Abraham that he was "enlarge his territories" in all directions, as far as he can see (did he see the whole earth, in vision?). But in the gospels, Jesus seems to "interpret" this promise (ie, the east, west, north, south allusion) to mean -- not only 'your borders will be extended IN all directions', but especially 'people (Gentiles!) will come to you (and God's kingdom) FROM all directions'!

And so there are two different (but very much related) ways by which the promises to Abraham will be fulfilled: (1) the expansion of Abraham's "territories" outward, and/or (2) the people of those territories coming inward, to Abraham and his God! Either way, the same result is achieved!

1Ch 4:17

"She bare Miriam..." (AV): Perhaps insert here the phrase at end of v 18: "These were the children of Pharaoh's daughter Bithiah, whom Mered had married."

1Ch 4:18

BITHIAH: Prob this is the woman who adopted Moses. Notice that one of her children was named "Miriam". (The only other person by that name in the Bible is the sister of Moses.) -- BS 9:54.

1Ch 4:21

THE SONS OF SHELAH... ER: In naming his son "Er", Shelah may well have been trying to preserve the name of his brother who died before the Lord (Gen 46:12).

Previous Index Next