I Chronicles 4

The Word Made Fresh

1These are the descendants of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur and Shobal.

2Shobal’s son was Reaiah, who was the father of Jahath, who was the father of Ahumai and Lahad. They belonged to the Zorathite clan.

3The sons of Etam were Jezreel, Ishma and Idbash. Their sister was Hazzelelponi. 4Penuel’s son was Gedor. Ezer’s son was Hushah. They were the descendants of Hur, Eprathah’s firstborn. Hur was the father of Bethlehem.

5Tekoa’s ancestor was Ashhur. He had two wives, Helah and Naarah. 6Naarah bore Ahuzzam, Hepher, Temeni, and Ahashtari. 7Helah bore Zereth, Izhar and Ethnan.

8Koz was the ancestor of Anub, Zobebah and the family of Harum’s son Aharhel.

9The mother of Jabez gave him that name “Because,” she said, “his was a painful birth.” He was honored above his brothers. 10Jabez prayed this prayer to the God of Israel: “I ask you to bless me and extend my property, and that you will guard me and keep me from all harm and pain.” God granted his prayer.

11Shuhah’s brother Chelub was Mehir’s father, and Mehir was Eshton’s father. 12Eshton was the father of Beth-Rapha, Paseah, and Tehinnah, who was the father of Ir-Nahash. These are the men of Recah.

13The sons of Kenaz were Othniel and Seraiah. Othniel’s sons were Hathath and Meonothai. 14Meonothai’s son was Ophrah. Seraiah’s son was Joab, whose son was “the Geharashim,” so called because they were artisans.

15Caleb, son of Jephunneh had sons: Iru, Elah, and Naam. Elah’s son was Kenaz.

16Jehallelel’s sons were Ziph, Ziphah, Tiria, and Asarel.

17Ezrah’s sons were Jehter, Mered, Epher, and Jalon. Mered married Pharaoh’s daughter, Bithiah, and she gave birth to Miriam, Shammai and Ishbah (who was the father of Eshtemoa). 18Mered’s Judean wife bore Jered (father of Gedor), Heber (father of Soco) and Jekuthiel (father of Zanoah).

19Hodiah, whose wife was Naham’s sister, had sons who became the progenitors of Keilah the Garmite and Eshtemoa the Maacathite.

20Shimon’s sons were Amnon, Rinnah, Ben-Hanan and Tilon.

Ishi’s sons were Zoheth and Ben-Zoheth.

21Judah’s son Shelah was the father of Er (father of Lecah), Laadah (father of Mareshah), the families who formed the guild of linen workers at Beth-Ashbea, 22Jokim who led the men of Cozeba, and Joash, and Saraph who married a Moabite woman but returned to Jashubi- Lahem. The records are very ancient, but 23these are the potters who resided at Netaim and Gederah in the king’s service.

24Simeon’s sons were Nemuel, Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul, 25Shallum, Mibsam and Mishma.

26Mishma’s sons were Hammuel, Zaccur and Shimei.

27Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters, but his brothers didn’t have many children – nothing like the Judeans. 28They lived in Beersheba, Moladah, Hazar-Shual, 29Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31Beth-Marcaboth, Hazar-Susim, Beth-Biri, and Shaaraim. These were their towns until the time of king David. 32Their five villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan. 33They also had the villages around the towns as far as Baal. This is where they settled, and they preserved a family record.

34Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah (son of Amaziah), 35Joel, Jehu (son of Joshibiah, son of Seraiah, son of Asiel), 36Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Banaiah, 37Ziza (descended from Shemaiah, Shimri, Jedaiah, and Allon) – 38all these were family leaders, and their clans prospered. 39They traveled to Gedor on the east side of the valley to seek pastures for their flocks. 40They found good, rich pastures in a land that was broad and peaceful (the former inhabitants there were descended from Ham.) 41They are registered here by name; they came during the reign of king Hezekiah of Judah and attacked the Meunim who lived there and eliminated them and settled in their place because of the pastureland for their flocks. 42But five hundred of them, Simeonites, went to Mt. Seir with their leaders Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, and Uzziel, who were the sons of Ishi. 43They killed the Amalekites that had escaped to that area and they have lived there to this day.


1-23: This chapter returns to the lineage of Judah and repeats some of the earlier information (see 2:4-8) but also adds extensively to what was given before and includes some of the women in the family tree. The genealogy is interrupted in verse 9 with an aside to include a no doubt popular story of one Jabez, who is not mentioned before and thus whose place in the genealogical record is unknown. His name means “born in pain,” an appellation which should not have resulted in a successful life and career. But Jabez overcame his mother’s angst and was successful, expanding his territory in unspecified ways. His prayer, that God would protect him from hurt and harm, is in direct conflict with his mother’s experience of him. The chronicler wants to show that trust in God can overcome human fears. Jabez is a place name in 2:55, and so the connection with the idea of territory seems natural. The story also probably reflects the hope of the people returned from exile that they would recover territory lost to the Edomites and others after Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Most of the names in this chapter are otherwise unknown, but Persian and Egyptian influences are evident, reflecting the international connections that are part of Israel’s history.

24-33: A pre-exilic account of the tribe of Simeon is given. Simeon was a small tribe situated to the southwest of Judah, and early on was pretty much absorbed by Judah. Verses 24-27 give the lineal descendants of Simeon, son of Israel; verse 27 bemoans the fact that Simeon remained small while Judah was enlarged. Verses 28-33 record the towns they settled, and assures the reader that the tribe, though largely assimilated by the time of the exile, kept their own family records intact.

34-43: More names are listed in verses 34-38, and then some of the tribal history is filled in. Migrations are mentioned in verses 39 and 42. The tribe struggled for survival, living peacefully with some neighbors (the descendants of Ham mentioned in verse 40), but at war with others (the Amalekites in verse 43). The settlement in Seir (Edom) seems to pretty much end the history of the tribe.


Perhaps you’ve noticed by now that the genealogical records we’ve been perusing continue down not just through the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, but well beyond, to the time of the Exile to Babylon and then back to resettle Jerusalem again. This is the sure evidence that 1 Chronicles was written well after the time of the historical record of those kingdoms.

It is also a powerful assurance that the end of Israel and Judah is not the end of God’s involvement with the people, even though God brought those kingdoms to an end because of their wickedness. What greater assurance could we have of God’s willingness to forgive and restore?