“The sons of Gad lived beside the Reubenites in the land of Bashan as far as Salecah. Joel was the chief. Shapham was the second in command. Janai and Shaphat were in Bashan.”
This implies that the clans of Reuben and Gad on the east Jordan River were living together and not separate. They both lived in the land of Bashan, a hilly district east of the Jordan between the mountains of Hermon and Gilead. Salecah was the eastern boundary of Bashan. Once again, Joel was the chief here as with the Reubenites, but it is not clear if this was another Joel or the same Joel. This is the only mention of this Shapham, who was the second in command, and Janai, who seemed to be in charge of Bashan. However, there were 4 people with the name of Shaphat, who seemed to share power with Janai.
“Joel’s kindred by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned were the chiefs, Jeiel, with Zechariah and Bela the son of Azaz, son of Shema, son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, as far as Nebo and Baal-meon. Joel also lived to the east as far as the entrance of the desert, this side of the Euphrates, because their cattle had multiplied in the land of Gilead. In the days of Saul they made war on the Hagrites, who fell by their hand. They dwelt in their tents throughout the whole region east of Gilead.”
The kindred folk of Joel had as its chief Jeiel. There were 8 different people with this name, mostly Levites. There 28 people with the popular name of Zachariah, with probably the most famous the prophet whose book was Zachariah. Bela was the name of a town, an Edomite king, the eldest son of Benjamin, and this Bela. This, however, is the only mention of Azaz. There are 3 other people with the name Shema. This Shema is the son of Joel, but he is not listed among the 7 sons of Joel above. Aroer was an ancient city on the north side of the Arnon that became the southern border of the tribe of Reuben. Nebo is the mountain from which Moses took his first and last view of the Promised Land in the land of Moab, facing Jericho. Baal-meon was a town built by the children of Reuben along with Nebo as described in Numbers, chapter 32. Eastward they went as far as the desert right before the Euphrates River. They lived mostly in tents in the land of Gilead. The term Gilead appears more than 130 times in the biblical literature, referring to a mountainous region east of Jordan, bounded on the north by Bashan, and on the south by Moab. These people of Reuben also defeated the Hagrites, an Arab tribe, supposedly the descendants, of Ishmael, based on his mother’s name Hagar, Sarah’s slave. They were mentioned in an inscription of King Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria.
“The sons of Joel were Shemaiah, Gog, Shimei, Micah, Reaiah, Baal, and Beerah. King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria carried away Joel, who was a chieftain of the Reubenites, into exile.”
Although there are many biblical people named Joel, this Joel is a descendent of Reuben, either via Hanoch or Carmi. This Joel had 7 sons. Joel himself was taken away during the Assyrian Captivity. Otherwise, there is no mention of any of the children from the 4 sons of Reuben. Like Simeon, this tribe or clan of Reuben tends to disappear slowly. Just like Simeon, there is someone called (1) Shemaiah and Shimei. This is the first (2) Gog mentioned, but others will come. There are 2 other more famous people with the name (3) Micah, one from Judges, chapters 17-18, and other prophet with the book named Micah. (4) Reaiah is also mentioned in the families of Judah. (5) Baal was the name of a very popular god in Israel and Samaria. However, it also was the name of a place as well as the name of some individuals. This would seem to indicate that Baal worship was very strong since people and places take this name. (6) Beerah was only mentioned here.
“The sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.”
In fact, the real first-born was Reuben, yet he gets very little attention. Reuben (the Reubenites) had 4 sons (1) Hanoch (the Hanochites), (2) Pallu (the Palluites), (3) Hezron (the Hezronites), and (4) Carmi (the Carmites). However, this Hezron is not the same as the one listed as the grandson of Judah, the son of Perez. These names are exactly the same as in Genesis, chapter 46.
“Though Judah became prominent among his brothers, so that a prince was from him, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph.”
This biblical author justified a prince from Judah and its prominence without indicating why that should be. Nothing in the relationships with the 12 sons of Israel indicates that Judah should be first. It just happened, de facto, without a rational. There seemed to be a conflict between the people of Judah and the sons of Joseph from Ephraim and Manasseh. The biblical authors clearly favored Judah.
“Reuben was the first-born of Israel. However, because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel. Thus Reuben is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright.”
Now we are going to look at the Transjordan area or the east side of the Jordan River. First up is Reuben, who was technically the first born child of Jacob or Israel. Leah, the older sister of Rachel was the mother of Reuben and 5 other sons of Jacob. In Genesis, chapter 35, Reuben had sex with his father’s concubine, Bilhah, who was actually the mother of his step brothers, Dan and Naphtali. Thus he had sex with his step mother while Israel was away. There was no indication in Genesis that Israel took the birthright away from Reuben to give it to the sons of Joseph. The only indication is that Jacob, on his deathbed made the sons of Joseph his, just like Reuben and Simeon in Genesis, chapter 48. There was no talk of replacing them, just making them equal. In fact in Genesis, chapter 46, the biblical author when listing those who went to Egypt with Jacob, listed Reuben first with his children.
“Some of them, five hundred men of the Simeonites, went to Mount Seir, having as their leaders Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi. They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites that had escaped. They have lived there to this day.”
Other Simeonites went to Mount Seir. There is a difference between the land of Seir, which the Horites and Edomites had possessed and this Mount Seir, which is in Judah. This Ishi is different from the other 3 people with the same name including the 1 mentioned earlier in this chapter who had 2 sons. This Ishi has 4 sons. There were 4 different people with the name of Pelatiah, while 2 people had the name of Neariah. 5 people had the name of Rephaiah, while 6 people had the name of Uzziel. These 4 Simeonite leaders destroyed the Amalekites and took over their land. The Amalekites were mentioned 36 times in the biblical literature as they were a pesky group. They were continually defeated by Saul and David a couple of times, but they just kept popping up again. Here it was a small group that escaped some kind of massacre. They were a wandering group along the southern borders of Judah.
“These leaders of Simeon, registered by name, came in the days of King Hezekiah of Judah. They destroyed the tents and the Meunim who were found there. They exterminated them to this day. They settled in their place, because there was pasture there for their flocks.”
This incident is from the time of King Hezekiah who ruled Judah from 716-687 BCE as indicated in 2 Kings, chapters 18-20. There must have been a census of some sort as clearly the Simeon clans are part of Judah. They went after the Meunim, a people southeast of the Dead Sea. Supposedly they destroyed them and exterminated them. Thus they took their land as pasture for their flocks.
“These leaders of Simeon journeyed to the entrance of Gedor, to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks, where they found rich, good pasture. The land was very broad, quiet, and peaceful. The former inhabitants there belonged to Ham.”
These leaders of the Simeon clan also took over the area around Gedor that belonged to Ham. Gedor was a town in the mountains of Judah, about 7 miles north of Hebron that had been founded by Penuel or Jered from the tribe of Judah as indicated earlier in this book. Ham was one of the sons of Noah in Genesis, chapter 10, whose family extended into Canaan.
“The leaders of the Simeon families were Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah the son of Amaziah, Joel, Jehu the son of Joshibiah, son of Seraiah, son of Asiel, Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, Ziza the son of Shiphi, son of Allon, son of Jedaiah, son of Shimri, son of Shemaiah. Their clans increased greatly.”
Some of the more successful families were only mentioned here and not elsewhere, like Meshobab, Jamlech, Joshah, Joshibiah, Asiel, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Jesimiel, and Shiphi. Many of the other names appear elsewhere but they are the not the most well know people with this name. The most famous Amaziah was the king of Judah (796-781 BCE), although there are a couple of other Levites with this name. There were 14 people with the name of Joel, with the most famous being the minor prophet whose book is Joel. There were 5 people with the name of Jehu, the most famous being King Jehu of Israel (841-814 BCE). 11 people had the name Seraiah, some of them Levites. 6 people had the name of Elioenai, while only 4 people had the name of Asaiah or Jedaiah. 3 people had the name Adiel or Shimri, while 2 had the name of Ziza. Although 9 people had the name of Benaiah, the most famous was the son of the priest Jehoiada, who played a major role in the rule of David. Allon was both a person and the name of a town. However, the most prevalent name was Shemaiah, because there were 25 different biblical persons with that name.