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 wife of Machir (1 Chr 7:15-7:15)

“Machir took a wife for Huppim and for Shuppim. The name of his sister was Maacah.”

The son of Manasseh was Machir, the clan of the Machirites. He married Maacah who was a sister of Huppim and Shuppim, the Benjaminites mentioned earlier in this chapter as the sons of Ir. This is a very obscure way of saying it since the text seems to read that Machir got a wife for Huppim and Shuppim and that his sister was Maacah. Maacah was the name of a territory also.

The concubines of Caleb (1 Chr 2:46-2:50)

“Ephah also, Caleb’s concubine, bore Haran, Moza, and Gazez. Haran became the father of Gazez. The sons of Jahdai were Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah, and Shaaph. Maacah, Caleb’s concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah. She also bore Shaaph the father of Madmannah, Sheva the father of Machbenah and the father of Gibea. The daughter of Caleb was Achsah. These were the descendants of Caleb.”

Caleb had at least 3 concubines. (1) Ephah had 3 sons Haran, Moza, and Gazez. Haran was the name of Abraham’s younger brother and also a place in Mesopotamia, where Abraham’s brother stayed, probably named after him. There was another Moza who was the descendent of Saul. Haran was the father of Gazez, but I thought that was his brother. Perhaps he named his son after his brother, but this is the only mention of Gazez in the biblical literature. The sons of the concubine (2) Jahdai were Regem, Jotham, Geshan, Pelet, Ephah, and Shaaph, only mentioned here, with the exception of Ephah. Ephah was a place supposedly names after the grandson of Abraham and son of Midian as well as the name of Caleb’s other concubine. However Shaaph was the father of Madmannah, which was the name of town near Gaza. Sheva was the brother of Madmannah and the father of Machbenah, who became the father of Gibea. Sheva was the name of one of David’s scribes, while this is the only mention of Machbenah and Gibea in biblical literature. (3) Maacah, the 3rd concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah, who were only mentioned here. There were other people with the name Maacah, but also a small country beside Palestine as in 2 Samuel, chapter 10. As if to not neglect women there is a mention that the daughter of Caleb was Achsah, who was given as a prize in Joshua, chapter 15. Finally, I think we are done with Caleb and his descendents.

The good King Asa in Judah (1 Kings 15:9-15:15)

“In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah. He reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the eyes of Yahweh, as his father David had done. He put away the male temple prostitutes out of the land. He removed all the idols that his ancestors had made. He also removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had an abominable image made for Asherah. Asa cut down her image. He burned it at the Wadi Kidron. However, the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless the heart of Asa was true to Yahweh all his days. He brought into the house of Yahweh the votive gifts of his father and his own votive gifts of silver, gold, and utensils.”

There is a difficulty right off the bat. Is Asa the grandson or son of Maacah? The Jerusalem Bible refers to her as ‘grandmother,’ but the Oxford text uses the term ‘mother.’ Although the biblical writer in the preceding verse said that Asa was the son of Abijam, he may have been his brother, because they might have the same mother. However, the usage of mother like that of father may be referring to a grandmother or grandfather, since David is called his father. It is interesting to note that the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 1, lists Asa as the son of Abijam and not his brother. More important, Asa walked in the ways of Yahweh with a heart true for Yahweh. On top of that he was king for a long time, 41 years, so that he had a huge influence that led to stability in Judah, while northern Israel went through a number of kings. He removed the male prostitutes in the temple worship places. There is no indication if there were female temple prostitutes. He removed all the idols of his ancestors. Queen Mother Maacah was removed from her place of prominence. He also burned her picture of the goddess Asherah. This might seem to indicate that she was the grandmother not mother of Asa. However, he did leave the high places of worship alone, although he made many votive gifts to the temple of gold and silver.

The descendants of Nahor (Gen 22:20-22:24)

“Now after these things it was told Abraham, ‘Milcah also has borne children to your brother Nahor, namely Uz the first-born, Buz his brother, Kemuel the father of Aram, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, Jidlaph, and Bethuel.’ Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. These eight children Milcah bore to Nahor, Abraham’s brother.  Moreover, his concubine, whose name was Reumah, bore Tebah, Gaham, Tahash, and Maacah.”

Nahor, the brother of Abram had a wife named Milcah, who was the daughter of their departed brother Haran.  Milcah was Nahor’s niece, the sister of Lot.  This was a very tight knit family.  We have an uncle marry his niece as well as have a concubine called Reumah.  Milcah had eight children with Nahor. Uz, the first born, is the same name as Uz the son of Shem and there is an area with the same name.  Buz is a name that will appear later. A couple of other biblical people have Kemuel as their name, while Aram was a common name and a territory.  The names Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, and Jidlaph only appear here and in no other biblical literature.  Bethuel was the father of Rebekah who will marry Isaac, once again keeping it in the family. This is only mention of Nahor’s concubine Reumah and two of her sons, Gaham and Tahash. The other two names appear later.