Judah (1 Chr 4:1-4:1)

“The sons of Judah were Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal.”

Now we look at the settled lands of the southern tribes or clans. This is not the strictly artificial 12 tribes of Israel only. This list that starts with the 5 sons of Judah is completely different from the list in chapter 2, of this book, where the 5 sons were Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah based on Genesis, chapter 38. Only (1) Perez is left over from this early list. (2) Hezron was actually the son of Perez, or the grandson of Judah based on the preceding chapter. (3) Carmi was the son of Zerah, the lesser known twin brother of Perez, so that he is Perez’ nephew, and also a grandson of Judah. (4) Hur, on the other hand, was the grandson of Hezron, via Caleb, thus the great grandson of Judah. (5) Shobal was the son of Hur, thus the great–great grandson of Judah, quite a distance removed from Judah. Once again there is a little confusion on the part of the biblical author here compared to the preceding chapter.

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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.

The descendents of Seir (1 Chr 1:38-1:42)

“The sons of Seir or Edom were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. The sons of Lotan were Hori and Homam. Lotan’s sister was Timna. The sons of Shobal were Alian, Manahath, Ebal, Shephi, and Onam. The sons of Zibeon were Aiah and Anah. The son of Anah was Dishon. The sons of Dishon were Hamran, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. The sons of Ezer were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Jaakan. The sons of Dishan were Uz and Aran.”

Once again, there is a similarity to Genesis, chapter 36, where Seir is called a Horite, a branch of the Hivites. Seir is both a leader and the name of a place, where Esau was living. They seem to inter-marry with Esau and the Edomites. This Seir, who was an early leader southeast of the Dead Sea, had 7 sons and at least 1 daughter, who nearly became the daughter-in-law of Esau. They were considered the chiefs of the Horites in the land Seir. This appears to be an attempt to show how Esau and the others lived in Edom. (1) Lotan’s 2 sons were Hori and Heman. The sister of Lotan was (3) Timna, the concubine of Eliphaz, the son of Esau. (3) Shobal’s 5 sons were Alian or Alvan as in Genesis, Manahath, Ebal, Shephi or Shepho as in Genesis, and Onam. (4) Zibeon’s 2 sons were Aiah and Anah, who found springs in the wilderness. (5) Anah is both the name of the son of Zibeon and Zibeon’s brother.   Anah’s son was Dishon and his sister Oholibamah married Esau. Once again, (6) Dishon is listed as the son of Anah and his brother. Dishon’s 4 sons were Hamran or Hemdan in Genesis, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. (7) Ezer’s 3 sons were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Jaakan or Akan in Genesis. (8) Dishan’s 2 sons were Uz and Aran. Uz is a name and place connected with Aram.