The Word Made Fresh
1Benjamin had five sons: Bela, Ashbel, Aharah, 2Nohah, and Rapha. 3Bela’s sons were Addar, Gera (father of Ehud), 4Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, 5Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram. 6Ehud’s sons, who became family heads in Geba and were exiled to Manahath, 7were Naaman, Ahijah, Gera (who was carried into exile), Uzza, and Ahihud. 8Shaharaim sent away his wives Hushim and Baara. He moved to Moab, 9and had these sons with his wife Hodesh: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, 10Jeuz, Sachia, and Mirmah. They were the ancestral family heads. 11Shaharaim also had sons with his wife Hushim: Abitub and Elpaal. 12Elpaal’s sons were Eber, Misham, Shemed (who built Ono and Lod with their surrounding settlements), 13Beriah, Shema (who were ancestors of the people of Aijalon, the ones who had chased away the people of Gath), 14Ahio, Shashak, and Jerimoth. 15Beriah’s sons were Zebadiah, Arad, Eder, 16Michael, Ishpah, and Joha. 17Elpaal’s sons were Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, 18Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab. 19Shimei’s sons were Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, 20Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, 21Adaiah, Beraiah and Shimrath. 22Shashak’s sons were Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, 23Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, 24Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, 25Iphdeiah, and Penuel. 26Jeroham’s sons were Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, 27Jaareshiah, Elijah and Zichri. 27These were family heads of the generations descended from their ancestors. They lived in Jerusalem.
29Jeiel, an official in Gibeon, and his wife Maacah 30were the parents of Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, 31Gedor, Ahio, Zecher, 32and Mikloth. Mikloth was the father of Shimeah. They lived across from their relatives in Jerusalem. 33Ner was the father of Kish. Kish was the father of Saul. Saul’s sons were Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-Baal. 34Jonathan’s son was Merib-Baal. Merib-Baal’s son was Micah. 35Micah’s sons were Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. 36Ahaz was the father of Jehoaddah. Jehoaddah’s sons were Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri’s son was Moza. 37Moza’s son was Binea, who was the father of Raphah, who was the father of Eleasah, who was the father of Azel. 38Azel had six sons: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. 39Azel’s brother Eshek was the father of Ulam, Jeush, and Eliphelet. 40Ulam’s sons were known as great warriors, experts with the bow. There were a hundred fifty children and grandchildren born to him.
These were the Benjaminites.
1-28: Now the tribe of Benjamin gets a fuller treatment. The names of the sons of Benjamin given in verses 1-5 differ from those given in 7:6, but no explanation is offered. Ehud in verse 6 is not connected with any of the names above, but we know that he is the son of Gera (Judges 3:15), son of Bela, son of Benjamin, and that he was a left-handed man, a judge who rescued Israel from the Moabite King Eglon. Shaharaim (verse 8) is another unconnected name, and he is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, nor are his wives. Verse 13 reflects the constant conflict on the edge of the territory of Benjamin where skirmishes with the Philistines were common. The rest of the names in this paragraph are obscure. Verse 28 tells us that Jerusalem is located in the territory of the tribe of Benjamin.
29-40: Jeiel is another name pulled out of the air, unconnected to any list that has gone before – the chronicler has a disturbing habit of doing this. Gibeon, however, is the site of an important battle in the time of Joshua (see Joshua 10). The names of Jeiel’s descendants are given, with a note that they are connected with the Benjaminite families in Jerusalem. Then in verse 33 we start all over again with Ner, who is not mentioned in any list above. Ner, however, is an important member of the genealogy of Benjamin, because he is the grandfather of Saul, the first anointed king of Israel. Saul’s descendants are traced for fourteen generations, enough to bring that family history down to the time of the Exile (see Matthew 1:17). Crazy old King Saul is thus honored in the records of later administrations for at least several hundred years.
CONGRATULATIONS! You have completed what is perhaps the most difficult week of readings you will have to encounter through the entire Bible. You made it! Yes, there will be other lists of names, but if you have come this far, nothing can stop you! Go get a cookie and a glass of milk.