The descendants of Zerah (1 Chr 2:6-2:8)

“The five sons of Zerah were Zimri, Ethan, Heman, Calcol, and Dara. The son of Carmi was Achar, the troubled one of Israel, who transgressed in the matter of the devoted thing. Ethan’s son was Azariah.”

Zerah, like Esau, was the lesser known twin brother of Perez. He formed the group known as the Zarhites. There was a grandson of Esau with the same name. One of Simeon’s sons had the same name also. Zerah had 5 sons. There is an interesting notation in 1 Kings, chapter 4, where there is a mention of a famous wise man Ethan the Ezrahite, who were the sons of Mahol. His sons were Heman, Calcol, and Darda, almost the same as here. There might be some confusion here. There is also a problem with (1) Zimri since that was the name of the 5th king of Israel (885 BCE). There also was a Zimri who was Simeon’s chief as well as a few other people with the name Zimri. (2) Ethan was also the name of some Levites. His son Azariah had the same name as over 20 other biblical people, including the king of Judah known sometimes as King Uzziah of Judah (781-740 BCE). (3) Heman was also the name of the grandson of Samuel. (4) Calcol and (5) Dara do not appear elsewhere in the biblical literature. Why is Carmi here? Carmi was the name of a son of Reuben. However the Carmi here was the father of Achar, the troubled one. This refers to Joshua, chapter 7, where Achan not Achar as here, stole some money and statues from a foreign god temple. He was punished by Yahweh for his transgressions as Joshua and his fellow Israelites stoned him to death. In that chapter this Achan was the son of Carmi, who was the son of Zabdi, who in turn was the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah. This possibly could be a reference to Zimri who was called Zabdi. In fact, at one point in Joshua they call Achan the son of Zerah.

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