The family of King Rehoboam (2 Chr 11:18-11:23)

“King Rehoboam took as wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth the son of King David and Abihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. She bore him sons, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. After her he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. King Rehoboam loved Maacah daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines. He had eighteen wives and sixty concubines. He became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters. King Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers. He intended to make him king. He dealt wisely. He distributed some of his sons through all the districts of Judah and Benjamin, in all the fortified cities. He gave them abundant provisions. He also found many wives for them.”

There is an allusion to 1 Kings, chapter 11, about King Solomon that is projected on to his son King Rehoboam. However, he never attained the high numbers of his father. He only had 18, not 700, wives and only 60, not 300, concubines. Even these numbers seem high, but more realistic than those of his father. He was a wise ruler and put his sons and plenty of provisions in all the fortified cities. He married the daughter of King David’s son Jerimoth. Thus Mahalath was the granddaughter of King David just as King Rehoboam was the grandson of King David, so that they were first cousins. King Rehoboam also married Abihail, who was the daughter of David’s brother Eliab. She would have been a first cousin of King Solomon, the son of King David. Very little is known about the 3 sons of Rehoboam, Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham, except their listing here. It is not even clear whether Mahalath or Abihail was their mother. The favorite wife of King Rehoboam was Maacah. She was listed as the daughter of Absalom, the son of David, thus another first cousin. In 1 Kings, chapter 15, Maacah’s father is called Abishalom. However, Absalom’s mother was named also named Maacah in 2 Samuel, chapter 3, so that calling his daughter this name does not seem out of place. Maacah too was a granddaughter of King David. Thus King Rehoboam, the grandson of King David married 3 granddaughters of King David. One of Maacah’s 4 sons became important, Abijah, who became the next king. The other 3 sons Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith are just mentioned here.

The Gadite warriors (1 Chr 12:8-12:15)

“From the Gadites, there went over to David at the stronghold in the wilderness mighty and experienced warriors. They were expert with shield and spear. Their faces were like the faces of lions. They were swift as gazelles on the mountains. Ezer was the chief, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third, Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth, Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh, Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth, Jeremiah the tenth, and Machbannai the eleventh. These Gadites were officers of the army, the least equal to over a hundred men and the greatest to a thousand men. These are the men who crossed the Jordan in the first month, when it was overflowing all its banks. They put to flight all those in the valleys, to the east and to the west.”

The Gadites were from the east side of the Jordan. Apparently they were very fast. They brought a lot of people with them as they seem to have an organized army with various ranks. In fact, 11 different ranks are cited as they chased people on the east and west side of the Jordan River. There were 6 people with the name of Ezer. There were 12 people with the name of Obadiah, with the most famous the prophet and book Obadiah. Eliab appeared as the name of 7 different people. Although Mishmannah never appears elsewhere, Attai was the name of 1 or 2 other people. This Jeremiah was not the prophet Jeremiah. Notice that there was another Jeremiah in this Gadite band of soldiers. There were 9 people with the name of Eliel and Johanan. However, there was only 1 other with the name of Elzabad, and no others with the name of Machbannai except the one mentioned here.

The descendents of Sheshan (1 Chr 2:31-2:41)

“Sheshan had no sons, only daughters. But Sheshan had an Egyptian slave, whose name was Jarha. So Sheshan gave his daughter in marriage to his slave Jarha. She bore him Attai. Attai became the father of Nathan. Nathan became the father of Zabad. Zabad became the father of Ephlal. Ephlal became the father of Obed. Obed became the father of Jehu. Jehu became the father of Azariah. Azariah became the father of Helez. Helez became the father of Eleasah. Eleasah became the father of Sismai. Sismai became the father of Shallum. Shallum became the father of Jekamiah. Jekamiah became the father of Elishama.”

Now this lineage takes a new twist as we go through 13 generations from Sheshan who was 11 generations removed from Jacob or Israel. The son of (1) Sheshan was (2) Ahlai or Attai. First the son of Sheshan was Ahlai. Then the biblical author says that he had no sons, only daughters, so that one of the daughters married an Egyptian slave who bore a son named Attai. Is Ahlai the same as Attai, his grandson?   His son was (3) Nathan, while his son was (4) Zabad, who in turn had a son called (5) Ephlal. His son was (6) Obed, who in turn had a son called (7) Jehu. His son was (8) Azariah, while his son was (9) Helez. His son was (10) Eleasah who had a son named (11) Sismai. His son was (12) Shallum, who in turn had a son (13) Jekamiah, who had a son named (14) Elishama. There were 4 biblical characters with the name of Nathan. It is not clear whether this Nathan is the prophet at the time of David, or one on his men in his army, or neither. King David had a son named Nathan also. Nathan’s son Zabad may have been one of David’s mighty men. Obed was the grandfather of David, but this Obed may have been one of his mighty men, which is more probable. This Jehu is not King Jehu (841-814 BCE) of Israel, since there were 5 biblical characters with the name Jehu. There were 25 biblical people with the name of Azariah, a very popular name. The names Helez and Eleasah appear once elsewhere but the name Sismai is unique here. Shallum is another popular name with over 15 people with that name that also included a King of Israel (743 BCE), but not this Shallum. Jekamiah is not that popular, but Elishama is the name of 7 biblical people. Certainly, this biblical author had a lot of interest in this lineage.