The prophet Uriah (Jer 26:20-26:20)

“There was another man

Prophesying

In the name of Yahweh.

This was Uriah,

The son of Shemaiah,

From Kiriath-jearim.

He prophesied

Against this city,

Also against this land,

In words exactly

Like those of Jeremiah.”

Uriah the prophet was from Kiriath-jearim, about 10 miles from Jerusalem. He had prophesied in the name of Yahweh against Jerusalem and Judah in almost the same words as Jeremiah had done, since he was almost a contemporary of Jeremiah. This Uriah is not the same as Uriah, the Hittite husband of Bathsheba in 2 Samuel, chapters 11-12, that David had killed. We know very little about this prophet Uriah, except what is here in Jeremiah. What happened to him is a little different than the fate of Jeremiah.

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Discovery of the Ark of the Covenant (Ps 132:6-132:7)

“We heard of the Ark in Ephrathah.

We found it in the fields of Jaar.

‘Let us go to his dwelling place.

Let us worship at his footstool!’”

David had heard of the Ark of the Covenant while he was in Ephrathah, which was Bethlehem, the home of David. However, the Ark was in Jaar, Kiriath-jearim. The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant in 1 Samuel, chapters 6-7. David wanted to go there and worship at the foot of the Ark of the Covenant.

The list of men by towns returning (Neh 7:25-7:38)

“The men of Gibeon were ninety-five. The men of Bethlehem and Netophah were one hundred eighty-eight. The men of Anathoth were one hundred twenty-eight. The men of Beth-Azmaveth were forty-two. The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth were seven hundred forty-three. The men of Ramah and Geba were six hundred twenty-one. The men of Michmas were one hundred twenty-two. The men of Bethel and Ai were one hundred twenty-three. The men of the other Nebo were fifty-two. The descendents of the other Elam were one thousand two hundred fifty-four. The descendents of Harim were three hundred twenty. The men of Jericho were three hundred forty-five. The men of Lod, Hadid, and Ono were seven hundred twenty-one. The men of Senaah were three thousand nine hundred thirty.”

Once again, we have a very close similarity with Ezra, chapter 2, almost word for word. This list refers to the towns that they had come from in Judah, but also a lot from the Benjamin territory. These were the leaders there that had been taken into captivity. Gibbar or the town of Gibeon had a mere 95 people, the same as Ezra. Bethlehem had 188 not 123 people. Here it is combined with Netophah, a small town near Bethlehem that only had 56 people, so that the net change is only 9 more people here. Anathoth, another small town in Benjamin, had exactly the same amount of 128 people. Beth-Azmaveth or just Azmaveth, a town near Jerusalem, had 42 people, the smallest amount, but exactly the same as in Ezra. There was a group of 3 towns near Jerusalem in the Benjamin territory of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth with exactly the same amount of 743 people. Ramah and Geba were northern towns in Benjamin with exactly the same amount of 621 people. Michmas was another Benjamin town with exactly the same amount of 122 people. Bethel and Ai were 2 northern Benjaminite towns with 123 instead of 223 people as in Ezra. This Nebo was a small town near Bethel and Ai with exactly the same amount of 52 people. There was no mention here of Magbish, a small town in Benjamin with 156 people as there was in Ezra. This other Elam had 1,254 people, but that is the exact amount as mentioned in the previous paragraph and in Ezra. Harim with 320 people was exactly the same as in Ezra. Lod, Hadid, and Ono were 3 Benjaminite towns with 721 instead of 725 people. Jericho had exactly the same amount of 345 people. Senaah, a town in northern Benjamin had the largest group with 3,930 instead of 3,630 people as in Ezra. Thus there were only minor discrepancies between this account and the one in Ezra.

The descendants of Hur (1 Chr 2:51-2:55)

“The sons of Hur the first-born of Ephrathah were Shobal father of Kiriath-jearim, Salma father of Bethlehem, and Hareph father of Beth-gader. Shobal father of Kiriath-jearim had other sons, Haroch, half of the Menuhoth. The families of Kiriath-jearim were the Ithrites, the Puthites, the Shumathites, and the Mishraites. From these came the Zorathites and the Eshtaolites. The sons of Salma were Bethlehem, the Netophathites, Atroth-beth-joab, and half of the Manahathites, the Zorites. The families were also of the scribes that lived at Jabez, the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and the Sucathites. These are the Kenites who came from Hammath, father of the house of Rechab.”

Hur was the grandson of Hezron, via Caleb and Ephrath. Thus his family will become known as the Ephrathites, the area around Bethlehem, since this genealogy is an attempt to find the ancestors of Bethlehem. (1) Hur’s son mentioned earlier was Uri with his grandson the famous ark artisan Bezalel. Here the emphasis is on (2) Shobal, who seems to be the founder or father of Kiriath-jearim which is mentioned over 17 times in the biblical literature. This town was a famous Israelite sanctuary or high place, somewhere around the border of Judah and Benjamin. There also was a Horite named Shobal. Shobal had other sons, but there is mention of (3) Haroch or Haroeh, which is half of Menuhoth. This is the only time that these names appear in the biblical literature. There are 6 families or clans that come out of Kiriath-jearim with this the only mention of the Ithrites, the Puthites, the Mishraites, the Shumathites, the Zorathites, and the Eshtaolites. The brother of Shobal was Salma, who is considered to be the father or founder of Bethlehem. This is the only mention of Salma, but Bethlehem becomes an important biblical place since it is mentioned nearly 50 times in the biblical literature because of David and Jesus much later. The original name of this ancient town may have been Ephrath. Another 6 groups or clans come from Bethlehem. Netophathites is mentioned twice besides here as a village around Bethlehem. This is the only mention of Atroth-beth-joab, the Zorites, the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and the Sucathites. The half of Manahathites mentioned here may be the other half of the group from his brother Shobal. Jabez is both a place and a person. This is the only mention of the 3rd son Hareph and the town of Beth-gader, which might be near or the same as the town of Geder in Joshua, chapter 12, but no groups come from there or him. The Kenites appear 8 times in the biblical literature as a group around the Dead Sea area. Moses’ father-in-law and his wife were Kenites. Hammath was a northern city that only appears twice. However, Rechab appears over 13 times as a group called the Rechabites who like the Kenites were friendly to the Israelites. The most prominent Rechabite may have been Jehonadab in 2 Kings, chapter 10, where he joined with King Jehu in helping wipe out the family of King Ahab.