The Word Made Fresh
1Issachar’s sons were Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron. 2Tola’s sons were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Shemuel. They were family heads of Tola’s line, known generation to generation for their military prowess, and during David’s reign they numbered twenty-two thousand six hundred available for military duty. 3Uzzi’s son was Izrahiah, and Izrahiah’s sons were Michael, Obadiah, Joel, and Isshiah. All of them were commanders, 4and in their generations had many wives and sons, among whom numbered thirty-six thousand soldiers. 5In all, Issachar’s descendants produced eighty-seven thousand skilled warriors, whose names are included in the genealogical records.
6Benjamin had three sons, Bela, Becher, and Jediael. 7Bela had five sons: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jeremoth, and Iri. Their family record includes twenty-two thousand thirty-four skilled warriors. 8Becher had nine sons: Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth and Alemeth. 9Their family record includes twenty thousand two hundred outstanding soldiers. 10Jediael’s son was Bilhan, and Bilhan’s sons were Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishabar. 11Their family record includes seventeen thousand two hundred soldiers ready for duty. 12Among them were Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir, and Husham son of Aher.
13Naphtali’s sons were Jahziel, Guni, Jezer, and Shallum. Their mother was Bilhah.
14Manasseh had a son, Makhir, by his Aramean concubine. Makhir was the father of Gilead. Gilead’s son Asriel was also descended from her. 15Makhir took a wife from the clans of Huppim and Shuppim. Her name was Maacah, and she bore him two sons whom she named Peresh and Sheresh. The sons of Sheresh were Ulam and Rekem. 17Ulam’s son was Bedan. All these descended from Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh. 18Gilead’s sister Hammolecheth had Ishhod, Abiezer, and Mahlah. 19Shemida’s sons were Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.
20Ephraim’s sons were Shuthelah, Bered, Tahath, Eleadah, Tahath, 21Zabad, Shuthelah, Ezer, and Elead. The indigenous people of the land of Gath killed them because they tried to steal their cattle. 22Ephraim grieved many days for them, comforted by his brothers. 23But he joined with his wife again and she became pregnant. She had a son and named him Beriah because of the terrible loss they had suffered. 24Ephraim’s daughter was Sheerah, who built upper and lower Beth-Horon, as well as Uzzen-Sheerah. 25Ephraim had other sons; Rephah, Resheph, Telah, Tahan, 26Ladan, Ammihud, Elishama, 27Nun and Joshua. 28They possessed Bethel and its surrounding villages, Naaran to the east and Gezer to the west along with its settlements, plus Shechem and its surrounding villages as far as Ayyah and its settlements. 29They also owned Beth-Shean, Taanach, Megiddo, and Dor and their towns along the border with Manasseh. The descendants of Joseph, son of Israel, settled there.
30Asher’s sons were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah and their sister Serah. 31Beriah’s sons were Heber and Malchiel. Malchiel was the father of Birzaith. 32Heber’s sons were Japhlet, Shomer, Hotham. Their sister was Shua. 33Japhlet’s sons were Pasach, Bimhal, and Ashvath. 34Shemer’s sons were Ahi, Rohgah, Hubbah, and Aram. 35Hotham’s sons were Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal. 36Zophah’s sons were Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, 37Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran, and Beera. 38Jether’s sons were Jephunneh, Pispa, and Ara. 39Ulla’s sons were Arah, Hanniel and Rizia. 40All these were descended from Asher and were heads of tribal families. They were noted for their military acumen and were high officials in the royal government. The census shows that Asher provided twenty-six thousand men able to serve in the military.
1-5: The lists in Chapter 7 often include census data of men eligible for military service, and generally pursue the lineage through eldest sons. Thus, the tribe of Issachar is listed from Issachar down to Michael and his brothers, and the tribe is said to have had 87,000 warriors in the time of David.
6-12: Two lists are given for Benjamin (the other is in chapter 8), and they are quite different from one another. Here the emphasis is on tribal leaders and military might, and the lines are traced for each of the three sons named in verse 6 rather than strictly following the eldest son lineages.
13: Naphtali gets short mention and largely follows Genesis 46:24-25, including the mention of Bilhah as the mother figure. Bilhah was the maid of Rachel, Jacob’s favorite wife. Rachel was at first unable to conceive and gave him Bilhah to produce children (Genesis 30:1-6).
14-19: The listing for Manasseh has some confusion with Benjamin in the naming of Shuppim and Huppim. The daughters of Zelophehad mentioned in verse 15 we have met before. They are the ones who petitioned Moses for a special ruling concerning the inheritance of an estate when there are no sons but only daughters (Numbers 27:1-7). Several mothers and daughters are included in the record for Manasseh.
20-29: Ephraim is treated next, and the listing does not agree with the one in Numbers 26:35-37. Some of Ephraim’s sons are killed by the Philistines from Gath, an event not recorded elsewhere. In their grief he and his wife conceive more children; a son and a daughter. The daughter, Sheerah, is the first woman of record to be responsible for building towns. I wish we knew more about her. From there the record proceeds in a straight line down to Joshua, son of Nun, Moses’ successor. Then the chronicler turns to a description of the territorial claims of Ephraim.
30-40: Asher’s genealogy is surprisingly complete compared to the rest. Not only eldest sons are recorded, but other family branches as well. Only one daughter is named, though, and that is Shua. She is unknown except for this mention.
You have noticed, I’m sure, that the family records are not complete here. How could they be when tens of thousands of military-eligible men are mentioned. I’m grateful the list of names is not exhaustive, aren’t you? It is clear that the important thing is that they believed God was with them throughout the generations. Passing down your faith is the most important legacy you can leave.