1Chronicles 7

1Chronicles 7:1–40

Six (or Seven) Genealogies

Outline of Chapter 7:

       vv.    1–5        The Descendants of Issachar

       vv.    6–12       The Descendants of Benjamin

       v.     12 alt.     The Descendants of Dan

       v.     13           The Descendants of Naphtali

       vv.   14–19      The Descendants of Manasseh

       vv.   20–29      The Descendants of Ephraim

       vv.   30–40      The Descendants of Asher


       v.      1           The Line of Issachar, Son of Jacob

       v.      6           The Line of Benjamin, Son of Jacob

       v.      6           The Number of Sons and Grandsons Brought to Egypt

       v       7           The Huppim and Shuppim Chart

       v.      7           Who Is Aher?

       v.     12           The Line of Dan

       v.     13           The Genealogy of Naphtali, Son of Jacob

       v.     14           The Genealogy of Manasseh, Firstborn Son of Joseph, Son of Jacob

       v.     21b         The Raid on Ephraim by Gath

       v.     23           The Genealogical Line of Ephraim, Son of Joseph, Son of Jacob

       v.     30           The Line of Asher, Son of Israel

Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To









I ntroduction: With 1Chron. 7, we stopped examining lines from Jacob to the exile, and concentrate on the general families. In this chapter, which is half the length of the previous chapter, we will examine six sons of Jacob: Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim and Asher. Some of these genealogies are going to be quite straightforward, e.g., that of Asher. There is no one to speak of in Asher’s line, so correlating this line with historical events and particular people is not a problem; it is in perfect sync with other passages that have Asher’s line in it. There are other lines, like Benjamin’s or Manasseh’s, that just want to make you pull your hair out. Surprisingly enough, in that case, there are no problems with previous genealogical lines, but internally, in this chapter alone. What appears to be the case is that small portions of this chapter have been severely compromised over its 2000+ year existence.

Also, interestingly enough, the tribes of Dan and Zebulun are not mentioned in this chapter or any other portion of 1Chron. 1–9. Some speculate that the tribe of Dan should be the latter half of v. 12, which we will cover when we get there. However, Zebulun  is still missing entirely. Now, this does not mean that Zebulun is not mentioned at all in these chapters. He is mentioned as one of the sons of Jacob in 1Chron. 2:1 and the cities which the tribe of Zebulun shared with the Levites is also recorded (1Chron. 6:63, 77). Additionally, the tribe of Zebulun is not ignored elsewhere in Chronicles, as we find them mentioned in 1Chron. 12:33, 40 27:19 2Chron. 30:10–11, 18. However, the actual line of Zebulun is nowhere mentioned in any of these chapters. It is my personal opinion that is a textual error rather than an intentional leaving out of the tribe of Zebulun. Even that is surprising, as Zebulun had the second largest number of children to carry into Egypt; and that his tribe was the fourth largest tribe in the two numbering of Israel. Conversely, Zebulun received the smallest land grant under Joshua (the territories of Zebulun, Issachar and Benjamin are all roughly the same size).

There is an oddity in this chapter as well. These lines are mostly related to the Israelite military, probably during the time of David. In the lines of Issachar, Benjamin, and Asher (the first, second and sixth line), the number of men who were enrolled in military service are given. In most of the lines, particularly in these three, the end of the line is filled with names of people that we don’t know. In fact, what we have in general is that the lines begin with a handful of familiar names, as we would expect, and then rapidly move to a number of men whose names are found only here in this chapter. My guess is that, in general, we are dealing with (1) records from a partial military census, taken perhaps in the time of Saul (simply to determine how many men were of draft age); or, (2) a list of the great military families; or, (3) a list of the various heads of the military during the time of David. I would lean toward these options in the order that I gave them in, particularly as we do not find their names repeated anywhere else in Scripture as being among David’s (or, Solomon’s) mighty men.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


The Descendants of Issachar

Slavishly literal:


Moderately literal:

And to sons of Issachar: Tola and Puah, Jashub and Shimron, four.



Issachar had four sons: Tola, Puah, Jashub and Shimron.

The Line of Issachar, Son of Jacob

I.     Tola (Gen. 46:13 Num. 26:23 1Chron. 7:1)

       A.    Uzzi (1Chron. 7:2)

               1.    Izrahiah (1Chron. 7:3)

                       a.    Michael, Obadiah, Joel, Isshiah (1Chron. 7:3)

       B.    Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, Samuel (1Chron. 7:2)

II.    Puah (or, Puvvah—Gen. 46:13; Puvah in Num. 26:23) 1Chron. 7:1

III.   Jashub (or, Iob—Gen. 46:13) Num. 26:24 1Chron. 7:1

IV.   Shimron (Gen. 46:13 Num. 26:24 1Chron. 7:1)

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

This verse begins and to sons of Issachar. Keil and Delitzsch believe the inclusion of the lâmed prefixed preposition to be a mistake, and a copyist error, as it was found in 1Chron. 6:57, 61, 67.


Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter; his ninth son was Issachar. Jacob had four sons by Leah; then two sons by Rachel’s personal servant, Bilhah (Dan and Naphtali). Leah, decided to bring her personal servant into the act, and Zilpah then bore Jacob two sons, Gad and Asher. Then Leah began bearing more children, giving Jacob Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah (Gen. 29:32–30:21). Issachar has one of the weirdest names. Leah first bears four children to Jacob. Her younger sister Rachel, whom Jacob loved, could not have children, so she gave to Jacob her personal servant by which to bear two children. Leah followed suit and gave her personal servant to Jacob as well to bear more children. Then, when she bore Issachar, she said that it was because God was giving her recompense for giving her maid to Jacob. The word that Leah uses is sâkâr (רָכָ) [pronounced saw-KAWR], which means remuneration, hire, wages. Strong’s #7939 BDB #969. The idea was that she gave her maid to Jacob, the maid bore Jacob sons, and Leah is personally recompensed for the loan of her maid by giving birth to another son of Jacob. The name Issachar is the Hebrew name yisesâkâr (רָכָ̣י) [pronounced yisê-saw-KAWR]. Strong’s #3485 BDB #441. Why exactly ZPEB says its meaning is unclear, Footnote when Leah flat out states the meaning, is unclear to me.

We know very little about the person of Issachar. He is only mentioned in those places where his brothers are also mentioned. In Genesis, he is only found being born and named (Gen. 30:18); in a list of the sons of Leah (Gen. 35:23); in the list of those who moved to Egypt with their sons (Gen. 46:13 Ex. 1:3) and in Jacob’s last address to his children. Similarly, Issachar is found in the line of Israel in 1Chron. 2:1–2. On Jacob’s deathbed, his words to Issachar were rather bleak: “Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the sheepfolds. When he saw that a resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, he bowed his shoulder to bear burdens and became a slave to forced labor.” (Gen. 49:14–15).

We also know little about the tribe of Issachar. We find this tribe named only in passages where all of the tribes are named (there are a few exceptions to this). During the time of the census, it was led by Nethanel ben Zuar (Num. 1:8 2:5 10:15) and that there were 54,400 Footnote men over the age of twenty at their exodus from Egypt (Num. 1:28–29 2:6). Nethanel offered a sacrifice on behalf of the tribe he led (Num. 7:18), as did the other tribal leaders. The man sent out to spy out the land on behalf of Issachar was Igol (Num. 13:7; the ones who led the tribe originally were not the ones who were sent out into the land to spy out the land). The tribe increased slightly in size after the 38 silent years in the desert, to 64,300 (Num. 26:25). After gen X was removed from Israel, the new leader of Issachar was Paltiel ben Azzan.

Moses set Issachar as one of the six tribes that would stand on Mount Ebal, the mountain of blessing, to pronounce appropriate blessings to those who obey God’s Word. When Moses blesses Issachar, he does so in conjunction with the tribe of Zebulun, saying, “Rejoice, Zebulun, in your going forth, and Issachar, in your tents. They will call peoples to the mountain; there they will offer righteous sacrifices, for they will draw out the abundance of the seas and the hidden treasures of the sand.” (Deut. 33:18b–19).

Issachar is one of the tribes to border West Manasseh (Joshua 17:10–11). The land and cities apportioned Issachar is given in Joshua 19:17–23 (see also 1Chron. 6:62, 72). Footnote They gave some of their cities (four) over to the family of Gershon, a sub-family of the Levites (Joshua 21:6, 28–29). Issachar is probably bordered by more sons of Israel than any other state. To the south is West Manasseh; to the north is Zebulun and Naphtali. On the east, Issachar is bordered by the Jordan River; on the north side of the Jordan is East Manasseh, and on the south side of the Jordan is Gad. The northeast tip of Issachar is at the exit point of the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee.

When Deborah and Barak went to war against Sisera and Jabin, Issachar is one of the tribes which was associated with this war, although it is only mentioned after the fact (Judges 5:15). One of the judges of Israel was Tola ben Puah, a son of Dodo, a man of Issachar (Judges 10:1–2). We know little about him other than he ruled over Israel (or a portion thereof) for 23 years.

The tribe of Issachar is mentioned only one time in all of Samuel and Kings. Under Solomon there was one leader and probably representative from the tribe of Issachar, Jehoshaphat ben Paruah (1Kings 4:17). One of the house of Issachar, Baasha ben Ahijah, struck down Nadab, one of the many evil kings over Northern Israel (1Kings 16:25–28). This was about 909 b.c. and Baasha ruled over Israel for a time. Baasha did evil as a king, as did the man he supplanted (1Kings 15:33–34). However, the tribe of Issachar is mentioned in 1Chron. 13:32, and certain ones from that tribe were described as men who could discern the times and understood what Israel should do (this was when Saul ruled over Israel, although God had chosen David to supplant him). David had a great deal of support from the northern tribes in general during this time (see also 1Chron. 12:40). One of David’s chief of staff came from the tribe of Issachar: Omri ben Michael (1Chron. 27:18). When Hezekiah reinstituted the Passover, several of the northern tribes, including Issachar, joined him (2Chron. 30:13–19).

Finally, the tribe of Issachar, along with the other tribes of Israel, is mentioned in what appears to be one of the millennial passages of Ezekiel (Ezek. 48:21–35). Its borders, walls, and gates (actually, gate) are given. In the Tribulation, there will be 12,000 evangelists from the tribe of Issachar (Rev. 7:7).

All four sons named in v. 1 were born to Issachar outside of Egypt and moved to Egypt with him. (Gen. 46:13). We really know nothing about these sons, as only their names appear in Gen. 46:13 Num. 25:23–24.

And sons of Tola: Uzzi and Rephaiah and Jeriel and Jahmai and Ibsam and Shemuel—heads of a house of their fathers to Tola; soldiers of might to their generations. Their number in days of David, 22,600.



The descendants of Tola were Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam and Shemuel (or, Samuel). These men were heads of the house of Tola’s family, and mighty soldiers to their generations. They numbered 22,600 in the days of David.


As you would no doubt expect, we do not know any of these men. They are described by the masculine plural construct of soldiers followed by the masculine singular noun chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil ] and it means efficiency, army, strength, valour, power, might. Strong’s #2428 BDB #298. According to 2Sam. 24:9, there were 800,000 men in Israel (northern Canaan) during the time of David who could be drafted; and 500,000 men in Judah (southern Canaan). My guess is that northern Canaan would include those tribes east of the Jordan. The numbers themselves are possibly a problem. If there are eight tribes in northern Israel, then the average would be 100,000 soldiers per tribe; and 22,600 is far below that average. My thinking is that the 22,600 might be accurate, but that the 800,000 is too many. Many exegetes have, throughout the centuries, questioned the numbering that we find in Scripture—particularly the large numbers—and we do not know if we fully grasp how to properly translate large numbers from the ancient Hebrew.

What appears to be the case in 1Chron. 27, is that under David, there was a monthly standing army of 24,000; apparently, those who were in the reserves trained and were active one month each year; and that the entire army, including reserves, during the time of David, would have been about 288,000.

And sons of Uzzi: Izrahiah and sons of Izrahiah, Michael and Obadiah and Joel, Isshiah, five heads, all of them.



The descendants of Uzzi: his son, Izrahiah; Izrahiah’s sons: Michael, Obadiah, Joel, Isshiah—five of them, all leaders.

One of the leaders of the tribe of Issachar under David’s reign is named Omri ben Michael—this is possibly a reference to the same Michael found in this verse. The five refers to the descendants of Uzzi named here, none of whom are mentioned elsewhere in Scripture (apart from Michael, of course). However, the chronicler recalls that they were all leaders (or, rather, heads of their families, which is probably the sense in which this should be taken).

And with them to their generations to a house of their fathers, detachments of [the] army of war—36,000, for they multiplied wives and sons.



And along with them throughout the generations of the house of their fathers, there have been detachments of their war army of up to 36,000, for they had many wives and sons.


We have in this verse a word we haven’t seen often: the masculine singular construct of gedûwd (דד) [pronounced geDOOD], which means band, troop, division, detachment. Strong’s #1416 BDB #151. The 36,000, I assume, refers to the largest their portion of the army has been.

And their brothers to all of families of Issachar, soldiers of might, 87,000 enrolled by genealogy to the all.



And the mighty soldiers who were descended from Issachar, contained in his genealogy, were 87,000 in total.

I’m not certain whether this means: (1) there were 87,000 soldiers from Issachar in the history of Israel; (2) there were 87,000 soldiers recorded by genealogy from Issachar; (3) there were 87,000 soldiers from Issachar from the three times that a head count of the soldiers was taken.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Chart Index


The Descendants of Benjamin

Benjamin: Bela and Becher and Jediael—three.



Benjamin had three principle descendants: Bela, Becher and Jediael.

The Line of Benjamin, Son of Jacob

I.     Bela (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:38 1Chron. 7:6)

       A.    Gera (who is clearly a son of Bela in the Greek of Gen. 46 and in both the Greek and Hebrew of 1Chron. 8) Gen. 46:21 1Chron. 8:5

               1.    Ard (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:40) (Equivalent to Addar in 1Chron. 8:3)

       B.    Naaman (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:40 1Chron. 8:4, 7—he may not be equivalent to the Naaman in 1Chron. 8)

       C.    More descendants of Bela: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth (1Chron. 7:7) (in 1Chron. 7:7 it reads: And sons of Bela were five: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth and Iri).

       D.    Iri (1Chron. 7:7)

               1.    Muppim and Huppim (Gen. 46:21); reasonably thought to be equivalent to Shephupham and Hupham in Num. 26:39. Neither pair is clearly established as sons of Bela in those two passages. Some consider them to be equivalent to Shuppim and Huppim, who are to called sons of Ir (Iri?) in 1Chron. 7:12

       E.    Descendants of Bela, but uncertain as through whom:

               1.    Abihud (1Chron. 8:3)

                       a.    Ehud (1Chron. 8:6)

                               (1)   Naaman, Ahijah and Gera. These three were carried into exile (1Chron. 8:6).

                               (2)   Uzza and Ahihud, who were born to Ehud while exiled (1Chron. 8:7).

               2.    Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah (possibly, Ahijah), Gera, Shephuphan and Huram (1Chron. 8:3–5). Shephuphan and Huram may be equivalent to Muppim and Huppim, discussed above.

II.    Ashbel (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:38 1Chron. 8:1)

III.   Ahiram (Ehi in Gen. 46:21) Num. 26:38 (Aharah in 1Chron. 8:1)*

IV.   Rosh (Gen. 46:21)

V.    Becher (Gen. 46:21 1Chron. 7:6, 8)

       A.    Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, Alemeth (1Chron. 7:8)

VI.   Jediael (1Chron. 7:6, 10)

       A.    Bilhan (1Chron. 7:10)

               1.    Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, Ahishahar (1Chron. 7:10)

VII.  In the line of Benjamin, but not certain through whom (by location, they appear to be descendants of Jediael):

       A.    Aher (who is a son of Benjamin, but we don’t know by who) 1Chron. 7:12

               1.    Hushim (1Chron. 7:12)

       B.    Ir (1Chron. 7:12)

               1.    Shuppim and Huppim (1Chron. 7:12)

Those in blue were born outside of Egypt and brought to Egypt with Benjamin

The line of Benjamin is probably the most messtup line in Scripture. There is even one pair of names—Becher and Ashbel—that I cannot reasonably explain apart from serious textual corruption. Because this is such a difficult line, I will cover them in greater detail when we get to 1Chron. 8.

Because the line of Benjamin is so difficult, I only included the genealogy up until 1Chron. 8:7. We have quite a line after that which we will cover in chapter 8.

*It is reasonable to suppose that Ahiram = Eli = Aharah. The reason would be that his name was only a fragment in Genesis. Our only problem is that he is clearly set out to be a son of Benjamin in 1Chron. 8:1, but a grandson in the Greek text of Gen. 46:21 (that is, if he is equivalent to Anchis in the Greek).

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

Of all the lines, Benjamin’s appears to be the most messtup. However, we will barely touch on this line or these people in this chapter. In 1Chron. 8, Benjamin’s line is given again because of this, we will wait until then to examine it completely. However, we will have a look at Benjamin himself, as well as examine a few of his descendants not mentioned in 1Chron. 8.

As you will recall, Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah, when he thought he was marrying Rachel, the woman that he was in love with. Then Rachel could not have children and Leah kept squeezing them out one after another. When Rachel brought her maid into the mix, Leah did the same with hers. Finally, Rachel bore two children to Jacob: Joseph and Benjamin—Benjamin being the youngest of all Jacob’s children (Gen. 29–30). Actually, Benjamin was born sometime later—Rachel named him Ben-oni (son of my sorrow) and Jacob named him Benjamin (son of my right hand). The birthing was difficult and Rachel died as she gave birth to Benjamin (Gen. 35).

Jacob was a father who clearly played favorites. He was tricked into marrying Leah, and he never got over that (he had to wait a total of 14 years in order to marry Rachel). His sons by Rachel were his favorite sons. He lavished so much more love on Joseph, that Joseph’s brothers despised him and eventually sold him into slavery, telling their father that he had died. When there was a famine in Israel and Jacob’s sons had to go to Egypt for provisions, Jacob insisted on keeping Benjamin behind, so that he would not lose him (he possibly did not trust his other sons) (Gen. 37, 42).

When Jacob’s sons—Joseph’s older brothers—came to Egypt for grain and other provisions, Joseph had become prime minister over Egypt and was in charge of the grain silos as well as the rationing of the grain. When they asked to buy grain, Joseph agreed, but also accused them of being spies, forcing them to say that they were twelve sons in all, of the same man; one was no more (Joseph, whom they had sold into slavery) and one was still at home. Joseph demanded that they bring the youngest son, Benjamin, from home, and kept Simeon as hostage. Realize that Benjamin would have been Joseph’s younger brother and he would have been, at an early age, responsible for his younger brother (Gen. 43.

When the ten sons returned, Joseph had them come to his house, and he prepared a meal for them. Eventually, he revealed himself to them as their brother and asked them to move to Egypt for the next five years of famine which were expected. The number of sons and grandsons that were brought with the eleven sons were as follows:

The Number of Sons and Grandsons Brought to Egypt










5 Footnote





Joseph Footnote










Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

From the chart, it is obvious that Benjamin, although the youngest of all the children of Jacob, brought with him the most children. Now, with regards to the children of Benjamin, we have a lot to sort out. In the lines of Judah and Asher, their grandsons were clearly noted in Gen. 46. No other grandsons are mentioned. Our problem is this: with Benjamin being the youngest, we would not expect him to have grandchildren in this move to Egypt (although such a thing would be possible). In Gen. 46:21, Benjamin has a son named Ard; in Num. 26:40, there is also an Ard mentioned who is the son of Bela, the grandson of Benjamin (this is not repeated in 1Chron. 7). In the Greek of Gen. 46:21, Ard (actually Arad in the Greek and Addar in 1Chron. 8:3) Footnote is the great grandson of Benjamin. Since we have another line of Benjamin given in the next chapter, we will wait until then to sort out his line and to cover most of these descendants in whatever detail is possible.

And sons of Bela: Ezbon and Uzzi and Jerimoth and Iri—five heads of a house of [their] fathers; soldiers of might and their enrollment by genealogies, 22,034.



Bela had five descendants: Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth and Iri—these were heads of their clans as well as soldiers of great honor. There were 22,034 enrolled by genealogy.

Bela will be covered in the next chapter. However, these men are found only in this chapter, and they do not appear to be his actual sons, but later descendants of Bela, men who were officers in Israel’s Army. Uzzi may also be named in 1Chron. 9:8. Iri may be equivalent to Ir in v. 12.

And sons of Becher: Zermirah and Joash and Eliezer and Elioenai and Omri and Jeremoth and Abijah and Anathoth and Alemeth—all of these [were] sons of Becher.



The descendants of Becher were Zermirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, Alemeth—all of these were descendants of Becher.

Why Becher is found here, but not in the next chapter is unknown to me (although I will discuss this problem in much greater detail in the coming chapter). These are likely officers of Israel’s army as well, who names are found only in this verse as a memorial. Again, these are probably men who were late descendants of Becher.

It is possible that Abijah (also known as Abiah) is equivalent to Aphiah of 1Sam. 9:1 (who is a near descendant of Benjamin in the line to Saul). The only problem with this identification is that a relatively unknown descendant of Benjamin (Abijah) is mentioned in 1Sam. 9:1, yet a better known descendant of Benjamin, Becher, the father of Abijah, is not.

There are two in this list whose names are also cities. Anathoth is also a city in Benjamin given over to the Levites (Joshua 21:18). ZPEB suggests that Anathoth is the plural of Anath, which is the name of a Canaanite goddess, suggesting that Anathoth may have been an area devoted to the worship of that deity prior to Hebrew occupation. Footnote Keil and Delitzsch suggest the city may have been named after the man. We really don’t know, although the connection is probably more than simply a coincidence (I would guess the man was named after the city—perhaps long after the name had any pagan meaning to the Israelites). We examined the city Anathoth in Joshua 18:24. Alemeth is also the name of a city in Benjamin, one given over to the Levites as well (it is Alemeth in 1Chron. 6:60 and Almon in Joshua 21:18). Again, we do not really know which one came from the other. However, it does seem reasonable that a city would be named after the head of the families who inhabited it.

And an enrollment by genealogies to their generations, heads of a house of their fathers, soldiers of might, 20,200.



According to their genealogies, these heads of household sired 20,200 tremendous soldiers.

These men of v. 8 were the primary heads of the family of Becher and the number of soldiers descended from them (apparently at the time of writing? Maybe in the previous census?) Was 20,200. A possibility that occurs to me is that Israel kept a list of male names—a census of sorts, if you will—in order to determine which men could be called upon in times of war and to which family they belonged. In this chapter, Issachar, Benjamin and Asher’s records appear to be related to the military, and therefore possibly came from a military census.

And sons of Jediael: Bilhan; and sons of Bilhan: Jeush and Benjamin and Ehud and Chenaanah and Zethan and Tarshish and Ahishahar.



Bilhan was a sons of Jediael, and the descendants of Bilhan were Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish and Ahishahar.


Jediael shows up only in the genealogy in this chapter. He does not have to be the actual son of Benjamin. Being that he does not show up in any other line means that (1) he is a later, but important descendant of Benjamin or that (2) he is equivalent to one of the other sons of Benjamin. Jediael’s name is yedîy׳ăêl (ל̤א ֲעי.די) [pronounced yedee-ģuh-ALE]. Strong’s #3043 BDB #396. With the double consecutive gutturals, this is one difficult name to pronounce. I would guess, but not stake my theological reputation on his being equivalent to Ashbel, who occurs in every line of Benjamin except for this one as the second or third son named. The name of Ashbel in the Hebrew is ashebêl (ל̤ש-א) [pronounced ahshe-BAYL], which is transliterated Ashbel. Strong’s #788 BDB #78. There is obviously no way one could be confounded with the other, having a guttural sound and an l in common. However, Jediael’s name, in the Hebrew, is tough to say, making it reasonable that one is the shortened version or nickname of the other (this is pure conjecture on my part). Ashbel’s descendants are not mentioned anywhere else (although, it would not matter, as these lists do not match any others).

Ehud is a name found only in the line of Benjamin. He is mentioned here as a descendant of Jediael. In 1Chron. 8:6, there is an Ehud who appears to be in the line of Bela (although it is quite unclear at that point). Then we have Ehud of the judges, who is found in the latter half of Judges 3, who is a descendant of Gera.

Tarshish is also the name of a precious stone; obviously, his mother named him.

The other men are not found anywhere else, and are probably later descendants of the tribe of Benjamin. Barnes suggests that these were soldiers who were named in David’s army when he took a census of the people. Footnote

All of these, sons of Jediael to heads of the fathers, soldiers of might, 17,200; a going out of [the] army to the war.



All these descendants of Jediael were heads over their fathers’ houses, mighty soldiers who numbered 17,200, ready to go to battle.

Let’s just see how a couple of others handled this verse:


NASB                                    All these were sons of Jediael, according to the heads of their fathers’ household. 17,200 mighty men of valor, who were ready to go out [lit., going out] with the army to war.

Young's Lit. Translation         All these are sons of Jediael, even heads of the fathers, mighty in valour, seventeen thousand and two hundred going out to the host for battle.


After the number, we have the masculine plural, Qal active participle construct of the very common verb yâtsâ (א ָצ ָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH], which means to go out, to come out, to come forth. Strong's #3318 BDB #422. Here, it means a going out of. This is followed by the masculine singular construct of tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW], and it can mean army, war, or warfare. Strong's #6635 BDB #838. This is followed by the lâmed prefixed preposition, a definite article and milechâmâh (ה ָמ ָח  ׃ל  ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW], which means battle, war. Strong’s #4421 BDB #536.

And Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir; Hushim, sons of Aher.



Also in the line of Benjamin, we have Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir; and Hushim, the son of Aher.

Let’s see what other translations have done with this verse:


JPS (Tanakh)                        And Shuppim and Huppim were the sons of Ir; Hushim the sons of Aher.

NAB                                       The sons of Dan: Hushim.

NASB                                    And Shuppim and Huppim were the sons of Ir; Hushim was the son [lit., sons] of Aher.

NEB                                       The sons of Dan: Hushim and the sons of Aher.

REB                                       The sons of Dan: Hushim and the sons of Aher.

The Septuagint                      And Sappin and Apphin, and the sons of Or, Asom, his son [was] Aor.

Young's Literal Translation    And Shuppim and Huppim are sons of Ir; Hushim son of Aher.

Now, this is odd—the line of Benjamin seemed to come to a halt, and then, all of a sudden, we seem to be in this line once again. At least, according to most translations. After I deal with Shuppim and Huppim, I will offer you an alternative to this.

Throughout the line of Benjamin, we have men whose names are Shuppim and Huppim or very similar. However, these men are not necessarily equivalent—not that it makes any difference. There is an Iri in this chapter (a descendant of Bela); this could be the same as Ir; however, these men are located, more or less, in the line of Jediael (although I would be hard-pressed to explain exactly how). Since they appear to show up out of nowhere in this verse, they could be in Bela’s line (this would be according to only the Greek of Gen. 46). They could be early descendants of Benjamin. My original thinking is that these two are found much later in the line of Jediael and were well-known to the writer of Chronicles and to those who would have read Chronicles at that time. However, the NIV Study Bible offers a better solution, rendering some of these names in the gentilic adjective: The Shuppites and Huppites were the descendants of Ir, and the Hushites the descendants of Aher. We might do well to just see in a chart, the various men whom are often said to be equivalent:

The Huppim and Shuppim Chart


Gen. 46:21

Num. 26:38

1Chron. 7:12

1Chron. 8:5


Muppim and Huppim

Shephupham and Hupham

Shuppim and Huppim

Shephuphan and Huram


Descendants of Benjamin who were born in Canaan and moved to Egypt.

Descendants of Benjamin

Sons of Ir (who could be Iri in 1Chron. 7:7, who was a son of Bela, who was a son of Benjamin).

They appear to be sons (or descendants) of Bela, who was the son of Benjamin.

Additional information

No clear relationship is established. If anything, they are sons of Benjamin.

They do not appear to be sons of Bela; however, their immediate progenitors are not named, and they could be sons of Benjamin

There is no clear person equivalent to Ir in previous passages.

They may be sons of Ehud, whose father may be Gera, who was a son (or descendant of Bela, the son of Benjamin). None of this is very clear in 1Chron. 8.


The Shuppim and Huppim named in Gen. 46:21 and Num. 26:38 are probably equivalent. This line either disappeared or they are equivalent to Shuppim and Huppim, meaning that Benjamin, the youngest of the twelve sons of Joseph, took grandchildren into Egypt. Time-wise, this is not an impossibility. Those named in 1Chron. 8 may also be equivalent, although the relationships in that passage are rather obscure.

Additional Notes:

There is also a Huppim and Shuppim to be found in the line of Manasseh in v. 15 (which is a messtup verse, by the way).

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

There are points at which the line of Benjamin appear as though it is going to be very clear. For instance, at the beginning of 1Chron. 8, Benjamin’s sons are named, and they are called the firstborn through the fifth, which appears to settle the matter. However, in this passage, probably written or compiled by the same author, they are said to be three, and the sons of Bela are five (1Chron. 7:6–7).

Aher is found only in this passage. However, many consider him to be equivalent to Ahiram in Num. 26:38, to Ehi in Gen. 46:21 and to Aharah in 1Chron. 8:1. So, to clearly see this (as though anything in Benjamin’s line is clear), let’s have another chart:

Who Is Aher?


Gen. 46:21

Num. 26:38

1Chron. 7:12

1Chron. 8:1

1Chron. 8:6








êchîy (י.ח̤א) [pronounced ay-KHEE]. Strong's #278 BDB #29.

ăchîyrâm (םָרי.חֲא) [pronounced uh-khee-RAWM]. Strong’s #297 BDB #29.

achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHAYR]. Strong’s #313 BDB #31.

achărach (ח-רֲח-א) [pronounced ah-khuh-RAHKH]. Strong’s #315 BDB #31.

êchûwd (דח̤א) [pronounced ay-KHOOD]. Strong's #261 BDB #26.


Son (or descendant) of Benjamin

Son (or descendant) of Benjamin; probably not a son of Bela.

A descendant of Benjamin as the father of Hushim.

Benjamin’s third-born son.

Uncertain; descendant of Benjamin


Given the fact that the vowel points were added a thousand or more years after the original manuscripts; and that the d and r in the Hebrew are so similar, any or all of these names could be equivalent. The line is such that almost any position taken would not result in any more problems than we already have from this line of Benjamin.

You may wonder why I include a chart which concludes, for all intents and purposes, nothing. There is a reason for that. You may read a very convincing exegete who draws some conclusions or inferences about this or that and bases them upon faulty reasoning. I want you to see the Hebrew, the relationships outlined in the passage, and then recognize that one could reasonably suppose one way or the other, but that it is not completely clear to the point of drawing cold, hard conclusions. The original manuscripts were no doubt clear and accurate; what we have, although amazingly true to the original, Footnote in part, is simply not completely clear and accurate.

I must admit that I am not unhappy to be temporarily done with the line of Benjamin; it was much more of a struggle than the other lines (that will become more apparently in 1Chron. 8 to you), and at no time did I ever feel as though I provided any real insight or solved any of the problems.

Recall that I mentioned that these last couple of names seemed to come out of nowhere after the line of Benjamin had been essentially completed. That is because this verse has been a thorn in the side to many exegetes (Keil and Delitzsch call this verse unintelligible, and the latter half of the verse utterly enigmatical). Footnote So let me suggest an alternative reading: Also in the line of Benjamin, we have Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir; and Hushim, the son of Aher.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index


The Descendants of Dan

You will note that in the various translations offered, the REB, NEB and NAB were radically different. They used this verse for the sons of Dan, who are mentioned nowhere else. So, at this point, we will look at an alternate view of this verse:

The sons of Dan: Hushim and the sons of Aher.

1Chronicles 7:12 Alternative Suggested Reading

Now let me provide you with an entirely different take on this verse, which the New English Bible and the Revised English Bible suggests: The sons of Dan: Hushim and the sons of Aher (1Chron. 7:12). The reasoning, as I see it, is five-fold: (1) This follows Gen. 46:23 almost exactly; Gen. 46:23 reads: And the sons of Dan: Hushim. The line is equally brief in Num. 26:42, where on son of Dan is given: Shuham. (2) The second reason, would be that this fits in well with the brevity of the line of Naphtali which is to follow. (3) Thirdly, it appears as though the line of Benjamin had come to a complete stop already. Why do we suddenly have more names added to his line? (4) The line of Dan is otherwise completely omitted from 1Chron. 1–9. In fact, in thinking this over, I feel strongly enough to include this alternative reading and to give this verse a subheading. (5) The line of Dan follows the line of Benjamin in both Gen. 46 and Num. 26. Now, I want you to understand what does not support this: the text itself. For all the aforementioned reasons, theologians and exegetes for hundreds of years have tried to bend the text itself to support this point of view that the tribe of Dan belongs here. Without going into any great detail, Footnote the existing text, in the Greek and the Hebrew says just what we find in the original rendering of v. 12. The only reasonable explanation which would explain the absence of the tribe of Dan here is serious, and probably unintentional (or at least, non-directional) textual corruption. That is, it is doubtful that someone came along and actually changed the text because they decided that Dan was just a tribe that did not belong here. The inclusion of Hushim would indicate that.

Now, the translations which agree with this are the NAB, TEV, REB, NEB and the CEV. This is, on one level, a fairly bold move, since there is no real manuscript evidence to support this. However, logically, it makes a great deal of sense. However, in considering the context, the number of problems in this particular chapter, the omission of Dan in these lines, and the fact that the loss of Shuppim, Huppim and Ir will not cause us any genealogical problems are cause us to feel as though we are somehow lacking, leads me to reasonably conclude that this verse was substantially altered from the original due to a scribal error (perhaps resulting in an early scribal fix). Also, recall that we examined Aher? Again, there is not a problem with Aher being in the line of Dan—it does not contradict any previous passage nor does it take someone undeniably associated with Benjamin and force him into the line of Dan.

My own personal opinion is that Shuppim and Huppim do belong in the line of Benjamin, although not in this verse. There does appear to be several problems with the text of this chapter, and the misplacing of these few names is probably just one of many. The end result, I believe, was an incorrect placement of Shuppim and Huppim as well as the omission of the tribe of Dan.

A Third Alternative Suggested Reading for 1Chronicles 7:12

And Shuppim and Huppim were the sons of Ir.

 1Chronicles 7:12a

Hushim, sons of another [Dan].

1Chronicles 7:12b


There is a third approach to this verse. Some retain And Shuppim and Huppim were the sons of Ir with the line of Benjamin. Then they begin a new, paragraph of one sentence which reads, Hushim, sons of another. Another, of course, would refer to Dan. This is not an interpretation based upon a reasonable textual mistake; this is a literal rendering of the verses. In the Hebrew, Aher is achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]; Strong’s #313 BDB #31. However, there is no need for this to be a proper noun. In the Hebrew, the word another is achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHEHR]. Strong’s #312 BDB #29. In other words, there is a way for us to include the tribe of Dan—although Dan himself goes unnamed—and change nothing in the Hebrew text. Furthermore, this is in complete agreement with Gen. 46:23, which reads: And the sons of Dan: Hushim.

Now this third approach may seem to offer the best of both worlds. We get the line of Dan in and we do not have to alter the text to do so. The problem is this: the chronicler is not one who finds the tribe of Dan or the name Dan offensive. He mentions the name of Dan in 1Chron. 2:2, 12:35 and 27:22. Interestingly enough, this is not the only place where we would have expected to find the name of Dan, but it is not there. Recall in the previous chapter when we briefly looked at the cities given over to the Levitical tribes (1Chron. 6:54–81) and we came up short two cities (Elteke and Gibbethon)—these were cities given from the tribe of Dan (Joshua 21:23). However, there are places where we would expect to find the tribes of both Ephraim and Dan (1Chron. 6:61 and after v. 69), but they are not there.

The upshot of all this is that we cannot unequivocally say that the writer of Chronicles had some problem with the tribe of Dan and refused to mention it. What appears to be the better explanation is that there was some serious textual corruption in both this and the previous chapter. Footnote

The Line of Dan

Gen. 46:23

Num. 26:42

1Chron. 7:12b

Dan ➔ Hushim

Dan ➔ Shuham (and the sons of Shuham)

Dan ➔ Hushim (this is disputed)

This is a line which we can work with, if we can accept Hushim as being equivalent to Shuham.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

God’s Word is a complex document, a never-ending font of knowledge. The way most of Christendom has approached it is akin to explaining Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in a four panel comic strip.

There are a lot of goofy believers with goofy ideas, and some eschew the use of human logic when dealing with God, the Bible, or the Holy Spirit. That is so much crap. One of the reasons we are able to unravel some of these genealogical lines—in fact, one of the reasons we are able to zero in on correct theological thought—is the use of correct human logic. This does not mean that when there is a disagreement between what you think is right and what the Bible dogmatically states, that your viewpoint is worth a flying frog. However, what it does mean is that God not only allows, but encourages us to use our ability to think and to reason when it comes to understand Him through His Word. If our lives were to be mystical wisps of non-thought punctuated by devout feelings, His Word would be a pamphlet of a dozen pages. God’s Word is a complex document, a never-ending font of knowledge. The way most of Christendom has approached it is akin to explaining Einstein’s Theory of Relativity in a four panel comic strip. We absolutely approach His Word for the milk; but we approach His Word for the meat as well.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Chart Index


The Descendants of Naphtali

Sons of Naphtali: Jahziel and Guni and Jezer and Shallum (sons of Bilhah).



The descendants of Naphtali were Jahziel, Guni, Jezer and Shallum (all descendants of Bilhah [Rachel’s personal servant].

Bilhah was the personal servant of Rachel, Jacob’s second wife, but by far, his first choice. When Rachel would not bear children, she had Jacob impregnate her personal servant Bilhah, and Bilhah bore two sons, Dan and Naphtali.

The Genealogy of Naphtali, Son of Jacob

I.     Jahzeel (Gen. 46:24 Num. 26:48); or, Jahziel (1Chron. 7:13)

II.    Guni (Gen. 46:24 Num. 26:48 1Chron. 7:13)

III.   Jezer (Gen. 46:24 Num. 26:49 1Chron. 7:13)

IV.   Shillem (Gen. 46:24 Num. 26:49); or, Shallum (1Chron. 7:13)

The differences in spelling are simply with the vowel points, which were added to the text thousands of years after the original text was written.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

We know nothing about the descendants of Naphtali, apart from the fact that the line of Naphtali has no real problems, to speak of. This particular line is an anomaly among the six lines of this chapter. Only Naphtali’s immediate sons are named, and their lines are not followed at all.

In previous genealogical lines, our problems have often been with different spellings of names and what appear to be differing relationships in different passages. That is not our problem as much with Manasseh as just this passage before us. Except for a couple passages which outlines a couple of relationships, most of Manasseh’s descendants are simply referred to as the sons of Manasseh. Therefore, we would expect this passage to give us a clear outline of Manasseh’s line. Well, it does not really contradict any previous passage, but it does seem to contradict itself in several areas; and where it doesn’t, it is very unclear. Whereas, we could often appeal to the Septuagint to clear some problems up, that does not appear to be the case for us here. This passage is fairly close in agreement to the Septuagint. It appears as though we have either insertions or missing portions or that this just flat out got corrupted very early on.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Chart Index


The Descendants of Manasseh

Sons of Manasseh: Asriel, who bore, his mistress the Aramæan; she bore Machir, father of Gilead.



The descendants of Manasseh: Asriel, born to him by his Aramæan mistress; she also bore to him Machir, who was the father of Gilead.

Manasseh was the firstborn of the two sons born to Joseph, Jacob’s first son born to him by Rachel. With Manasseh’s line, we have a reasonable amount of confusion. It appears as though the text in this portion is corrupt; or, at the very least, difficult to follow. Because of this, the relationships are not easy to determine. However, in being unable to completely follow Manasseh’s line here, I find myself in good company. Martin Selman: The genealogy of Manasseh is in some disarray, and can be [partially] reconstructed only with the help of Numbers 26:29–33 and Joshua 17:1–2...Even then, the relationship between Makir the father of Gilead (vv. 14–17) and the other clans remains unclear. Footnote When comparing this to Num. 26, we have several names which are the same, but their relationships appear to be different (although, they are difficult to determine with complete certainty). First off, let’s examine a couple different translations of this particular verse:


NASB                                    The sons of Manasseh were Asriel, whom his Aramaean concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead.

NIV                                        The descendants of Manasseh: Asriel was his descendant through his Aramean concubine. She gave birth to Makir, the father of Gilead.

The Septuagint                      The sons of Manasse: Esriel, whom his Syrian concubine bore; and she bore to him also Machir the father of Galaad.

Young's Lit. Translation         Sons of Manasseh: Ashriel, whom Jaladah his Aramaean concubine bare, with Machir the father of Gilead.


After Asriel, we have the relative pronoun and the 3rd person feminine singular, Qal perfect of yâlad (ד ַלָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD], which means to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget. Strong’s #3205 BDB #408. The subject of the verb is next: we have the feminine singular noun (with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix) of pîylegesh (ש∵ג∵לי.) [pronounced pee-LEH-gesh], which means mistress, paramour, illicit lover, concubine. A concubine, or mistress, was not too unlike a wife in the ancient world. She had fewer rights and privileges. My thinking is, a mistress then was more like a live-in woman today. Strong’s #6370 BDB #811. She is further identified with the definite article and the feminine singular gentilic adjective ărammîy (י.-רֲא) [pronounced uh-rahm-MEE], which means Aramæan. Strong’s #761 BDB #74.

Although women are not unheard of in genealogical lines, they are rare. Manasseh’s mistress is mentioned in this verse. In the next verse, we have an unnamed wife along with her sister, as well as a handful of daughters, almost unnamed, but mentioned as the daughters of Zelophehad. Another sister is also later named in v. 18. The NIV Study Bible suggests that this genealogy is more domestic than the others. Footnote

With Asriel, we have a slight problem. In Num. 26:30, we begin naming the sons of Gilead, and Asriel is among them (in the Greek and the Hebrew); Footnote however, in this verse, he appears to be a son of Manasseh. This would indicate that he was either misplaced in Numbers or that the name occurs twice in that line; once as a son of Gilead in 1Chron. 7 and as his great uncle in Num. 26. ZPEB does not distinguish between the two. Now, apart from one or two people being difficult to place exactly in this line, this was our only real problem in this first portion of Manasseh’s line. However, we will have two major problems as we continue on in this line.

Without so much as a wâw conjunction, we then have a repeat of yâlad followed by the notation of a direct object and Machir, who is called the father of Gilead. Machir was born to Manasseh in Egypt, by, of all things, an Aramæan mistress. Gen. 50:23 tells us that Joseph saw the third generation of Ephraim’s children and that the sons of Machir, his grandson, were born of Joseph’s knees (which was apparently an ancient tradition in some families). In fact, apart from Asriel in v. 14, Machir is the only named son of Manasseh and only his line is ever mentioned. Footnote He is called the firstborn of Manasseh in Joshua 17:1, implying that there were other sons. Moses gave the portion east of the Jordan known as the Gilead to Machir’s descendants (Num. 32:39–40 Joshua 17:1–2). It appears as though a portion of the descendants of Machir moved to East Manasseh and a portion moved to West Manasseh (Joshua 13:29–31).

One of Machir’s sons was named Gilead. It is never clear whether he is named after the area Gilead or vice versa. My guess is that he named the area after himself, as Jair, a son of Manasseh, named Havvoth-jair after himself and Nobah named Kenath and its villages and he named them Nobah, after himself.

The Genealogy of Manasseh, Firstborn Son of Joseph, Son of Jacob

I.     Asriel (1Chron. 7:14)

II.    Machir (by Manasseh’s Aramæan mistress) (Num. 26:29 Joshua 17:1 1Chron. 7:14)

       A.    Gilead (Num. 26:29 Joshua 17:1 1Chron. 7:14)

               1.    Iezer (probably equivalent to Abiezer in Joshua 17:2), Helek, Asriel*, Shechem (?) (Joshua 17:2 Num. 26:30–31); Abiezer and Shechem may belong elsewhere in this line (or there may be two pairs of them)

               2.    Shemida (of unknown descent) (1Chron. 7:19)

                       a.    Ahian, Shechem (Num. 26:31), Likhi and Aniam (1Chron. 7:19)

               3.    Hepher (Num. 26:32 Joshua 17:3)

                               (1)   Zelophehad (Num. 26:33 1Chron. 7:15)

                                      (a)   Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah (Num. 26:33; implied in 1Chron. 7:15)

       B.    Peresh (by Machir’s wife, Maacah) (1Chron. 7:16)

       C.    Sheresh (by Machir’s wife, Maacah) (1Chron. 7:16)

               1.    Ulam (1Chron. 7:17)

                       a.    Bedan

               2.    Rakem (1Chron. 7:17)

       D.    Hammolecheth (Ulam’s sister; Gilead’s sister?) (1Chron. 7:18)

                       a.    Ishhod, Mahlah (1Chron. 7:18)

                       b.    Abiezer (1Chron. 7:18)

                               (1)   Gideon (Judges 6:11, 24, 34)

       E.    Jair and Nobah, definitely Manassites; probably descendants of Machir. Num. 32:41–42

I should mention that there are several problems in this line just in this context. We don’t really have problems when comparing the other instances of this line (Num. 26 and Joshua 17, which are actually not very good genealogies, but simply listings of families who are descended from Manasseh). What we have problems with is this passage by itself.

Certainly not the Asriel mentioned in v. 14.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

And Machir took a wife for Huppim and for Shuppim and a name of his sister, Maacah; and a name of the second, Zelophehad (and were to Zelophehad daughters).



Machir took a wife, the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose name was Maacah.

Again, this is a moderately difficult verse. Therefore, we will see what some others have done with it:


CEV                                       Machir found a wife for Huppim and one for Shuppim. Machir had a sister named Maacah. ¶Zelophehad was also a descendant of Manasseh, and he had five daughters.

The Emphasized Bible           ...and Machir took a wife pertaining to Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of his sister was Maacah, and the name of the second Zelophehad, —and Zelophehad had daughters.

Keil and Delitzsch (lit.)           And Machir took a wife to Huppim and Shuppim, and the name of his sister was Maachah, and the name of the second, Zelophehad.

NASB                                    And Machir took a wife for Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister’s name was Maacah. And the name of the second was Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had daughters.

REB                                       Machir married a woman whose name was Maacah. The second son was named Zelophehad, and Zelophehad had daughters. Footnote

The Septuagint                      And Machir took a wife for Apphin and Sapphin, and his sister’s name was Moöcha; and the name of the second was Sapphaad; and to Sapphaad were born daughters.

Young's Lit. Translation         And Machir took wives for Huppim and for Shuppim, and the name of the one is Maachah, and the name of the second Zelophehad, and Zelophehad hath daughters.


The verb is the Qal perfect of lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH] which means to take, to take from, to take in marriage, to seize. Strong’s #3947 BDB #542. What follows is a woman and then we have the lâmed prefixed preposition twice and Huppim and Shuppim at the end of it. Lâmed can mean with respect to. It is unclear whether Huppim and Shuppim are in this line of Manasseh, or whether this refers back a few verses to Huppim and Shuppim in v. 12, Footnote who were descendants of Benjamin. It is also unclear as to for whom the wive was taken. Did Machir take a wife for himself? Did he offer two of his daughters of Huppim and Shuppim? It appears as though Machir took a wife to himself, a wife who was a sister to Huppim and Shuppim (or a near relative), whose name was Maacah. For this reason, I did not place Huppim and Shuppim in the line of Machir. Shuppim and Huppim appear to be grandsons or great grandsons of Benjamin; Machir is a grandson of Joseph; therefore, their ages would be reasonably close to allow for a marriage. That we have intermarriage between the tribes should be a given to anyone with half a brain, but to justify such a thing, see Num. 36:2ff 1Chron. 2:21. This interpretation does no injustice to the given text—either the Greek or Hebrew. Keil and Delitzsch essentially suggest to throw the names out altogether, so that it simply reads: And Machir took a wife, and the name of his relative [sister, in the Hebrew] [was] Maacah.


The word for sister is âchôwth (תחָא) [pronounced aw-KHOWTH], which means sister. This can refer to an actual sister (Gen. 4:22 12:13, 19 20:2, 9, 12); to a half-sister (Lev. 18:11 Num. 6:7 Deut. 27:22 Ezek. 22:11); a near relative (Gen. 24:59–60); as well as to someone of the same nationality (Num. 25:18 Hosea 2:3). Strong’s #269 BDB #27. Here, because of the mention of two specific men, men who are apparently brothers, we can reasonably assume that we are talking about their actual sister.

Concerning this translation, I believe that we have some missing material or, more likely, that this second half of the verse was misplaced. For after all of this, we have and the name of the second, Zelophehad. We could certainly interpret this as Zelophehad as being another wife of Machir—his first wife being Maacah. However, this does not sit well with several other passages. Zelophehad is implied to be a descendant of Manasseh in Num. 26:33. He is specifically called the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, the son of Joseph in Num. 27:1. In other words, we have jumped from speaking about Machir’s wife (and again, that is a reasonable interpretation of this first half of this verse), to a great grandson (at least) of Machir who is called, in this verse, the second. If you just flat out remove v. 15b, all this text flows together seamlessly. The problem is replacing this text somewhere. It just kind of fits after v. 19—it fits there better than in v. 15; however, it doesn’t really fit there elsewhere. What would be great to see at the end of v. 19 is, and the first son of Hepher was Bob, and the second was Zelophehad. The sons of Bob were Chuck and Buck, but Zelophehad had only daughters. However, this is not found anywhere, only in my imagination. When it comes to the placement of v. 15b, I must tell you that only I had trouble with this. Some translations which are famous for picking up verses and moving them elsewhere at a whim, and without textual evidence for such a move (e.g., the CEV, REB or NAB), did not. Several separated this portion of the verse from the rest of the text, as a separate paragraph (e.g., the CEV), but no one moved it but me. In any case, we covered Zelophehad in great detail back in Num. 36.

Keil and Delitzsch, again expressing the same frustration as me, suggest that the name of Asriel (from v. 14) was misplaced and belongs here after the second. The problem is that there is no one-shot simple fix for v. 15. Even when a portion is removed, or altered, it is still, in part, unintelligible.

And so bore Maacah, woman of Machir, a son and so she called his name Peresh and a name of his brother Sheresh and his sons Ulam and Rakem.



So, Machir’s wife, Maacah, bore two sons, whom she named Peresh and Sheresh; two of Sheresh’s descendants were Ulam and Rakem.

In my second translation, I tried to get the gist of this, although it is by interpretation; some of these genealogies, the way they are stated, are not completely clear. However, we do not know anything about these men, so their relationship becomes less important.

And sons of Ulam, Bedan. These [were the] sons of Gilead, a son of Machir, a son of Manasseh.



Bedan was the son of Ulam. These were the sons of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh.

This verse is a problem for us. We have the line of Machir proper in vv. 16–17a; Sheresh and Peresh would have been Machir’s sons, as was Gilead; they would have been brothers and not sons (or, descendants) of Gilead, as Gilead is a son of Machir. One option would be that Zelophehad is not equivalent to the Zelophehad elsewhere in Scripture, but a wife for Shuppim (Maacah being the wife for Huppim). That would clear up the end of v. 15, but we would then have the problem of Maacah being called the woman of Machir (which is standard language in the Bible for the wife of Machir). I would rather stay with my original proposition, where v. 15b is a problem; however, that would leave us with the last statement as being approximate; perhaps all of these lived in Gilead. Barnes agrees at this point, stating: ...these descendants of Machir were reckoned to the family of Gilead. The name “Gilead” prevailed above all others in the line of Manasseh, the term “Gileadite” almost taking the place of “Manassite.”  Footnote This would square with Num. 32:40, which reads: And Moses gave Gilead to Machir ben Manasseh, and he lived in it. However, since a portion of Machir’s descendants moved to Gilead and a portion moved west of the Jordan (Joshua 13:31), we would therefore only have, in this list, those who moved to the east? That appears to be what comes next.

I don’t know that there is anything that I can do to satisfactorily fix these four verses. I want to move v. 15b elsewhere, but there is nowhere else which calls for it to be. I would like to move the latter half of this verse back to the end of v. 15, because when we begin naming additional sons of Machir, we are no longer dealing specifically with the sons of Gilead. Others have also had trouble with this. The NIV Study Bible presents it as a separate paragraph and attaches it to what follows. The problem is that what follows is not clearly a line of Gilead (no more than what preceded).

Bedan, here, is not equivalent to Bedan in 1Sam. 12:11, which reads, “Then Jehovah sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah and Samuel, who delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.” Bedan is probably a scribal mistake. The Septuagint has Barak in 1Sam. 12:11, which makes more sense, as there was no Bedan who was a deliverer (i.e., a judge) of Israel in the days following Joshua.

And his sister, the Hammolecheth, bore Ishhod and Abiezer and Mahlah.



And Gilead’s sister, Hammolecheth, bore Ishhod, Abiezer and Mahlah.

It is complete unclear as to whose sister is referred to here. It could refer back to Gilead, if v. 17b were a new paragraph, or, even if it weren’t. As a new paragraph, v. 17b would not make sense. These would then be descendants of Gilead’s sister and not Gilead. Also, Hammolecheth could be the sister of Ulam, Bedan or even Manasseh. The only person that we may know out of this list is Abiezer. He is called a son of Gilead back in Num. 26:30, where he is referred to as Iezer (which appears to be a contraction of Abiezer). Abiezer was one of those sons of Manasseh who occupied West Manasseh (along with Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Hepher, Shemida and Zelophehad—Joshua 17:2–5). Footnote Among Abiezer’s descendants is Gideon, the great judge of Judges 6–8 (se Judges 6:11, 24).

According to Rotherham, Ishhod is one word, as per the Eastern Massorites, but two words according to the Western Massorites. Footnote

And so were sons of Shemida: Ahian and Shechem and Likhi and Aniam.



And these are the sons of Shemida: Ahian, Shechem, Likhi, and Aniam.

Shemida appears to be a son of Gilead. That is what this passages suggests, but does not outright state. He is mentioned, along with Shechem, in Joshua 17:2, as two of the Manassite families that took residence west of the Jordan. Although Shechem is called his son in this passage, in Num. 32: 31–32 and Joshua 17:2, he is listed first (which may not mean anything, other than his branch of the Shemidahites became more prominent).

More than any other line, I am glad to be done with this particular line. When I run into a problem or two with a line—particularly problems which have reasonable explanations—I enjoy trying to untangle the confusion. However, here the confusion is internal to the passage. It would be difficult for a skeptic to point to this passage with glee as a serious contradiction, because, if anything, this passage would attest to the careful transmission of Scripture. For those who copied these lines, century after century after century, must have had the urge to fix this passage with an extra phrase or two; or must have wanted to remove this or that half of a verse, or transport one verse from here to there (as I desired to do) Footnote ; however, they left everything as they found it, in somewhat of a genealogical mess (which is what we would have preferred; better to have a corrupt passage than a passage which has been fixed, albeit incorrectly).

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Chart Index


The Descendants of Ephraim

And sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah and Bered, his son; and Tahath, his son; and Eleadah, his son; and Tahath, his son; and Zabad, his son; and Shuthelah, his son; and Ezer and Elead.



The sons of Ephraim were Shuthelah, Ezer and Elead. The son of Shuthelah was Bered; his son was Tahath, his son was Eleadah, his son was Tahath, his son was Zabad, and his son was Shuthlah.

With this verse, we again enter into a difficult genealogy, one that we would have expected to have been easy, as it is not clearly outlined elsewhere. Num. 26:35–36 reads: These are the sons of Ephraim, according to their families: Shuthelah, Becher [probably, Bered], and Tahan [probably, Tahath] and their respective families. The sons of Shuthelah include Eran, of the Eranites. The key to understanding this genealogy, which allows everything to fall properly into place, is the position of Ezer and Elead in this line; and the proper placement in time of the Gath raiding incident. Once these two things are solved, then everything in this line makes sense. The line as found in 1Chron. 7:20–21a appears to be a linear line with perhaps some confusion at the very end as to what to do with Ezer and Elead. All of these names could simply refer to non-successive families of Ephraim, but that would put it into contrast with other passages where such notation indicates successive generations. Barnes suggests that the successive generations are parenthetical, making Shuthelah, Ezer and Elead sons of Ephraim. This insight clears up this line and the timing of the incident which follows. Footnote

With regards to the translation on the right in vv. 1–2, I strayed very far from the actual text, attempting to properly interpret these verses.

And so struck them down, men of Gath, the ones born in the land, for they came down to raid their cattle



Then, men of Gath came down to raid the cattle of Ezer and Elead and the men of Gath struck Ezer and Elead down.

Here we have an incident which involves the family of Ephraim, but we do not have even a clue as to when. Personally, I lean toward the time that Ephraim was in Egypt. Egypt was a powerful country at that time with a great sphere of influence. Given Joseph’s power, his sons certainly attained to some stature as well in Egypt. Because of Joseph’s guidance, Egypt was one of the few countries which was prepared for the famine, and they had set aside a great deal of grain during seven years of prosperity for the upcoming seven lean years.

I should point out that Keil and Delitzsch take the position that the sons of Ephraim went down to raid the cattle of the men of Gath. They give about a third of a page of explanation for their position—however, this didn’t make much sense to me. The Hebrew does not favor one over the other; you simply go for the one which makes the most sense. The position of Keil and Delitzsch is that this incident occurred well after the death of Ephraim and that we are speaking of a different Ephraim (a descendant of Ephraim) in this verse. They spend nearly two pages unsuccessfully arguing this position. What appears to be the crux of their argument is that if Ezer and Elead go down to raid the cattle of Gath, then it would make little sense for them to live in Egypt as they would be going up to the land of Canaan (which is pretty consistent with the terminology used in Scripture). However, it is their position that the sons of Ephraim raided the cattle of the men of Gath that leads them down their illogical path (and it is quite rare for them to take the wrong side of an argument). Footnote

There are two basic positions which can be taken here: either Ephraim was alive and in Egypt when this raid occurred, or this raid occurred hundreds of years later after Israel had settled into the land of Canaan.

The Raid on Ephraim by Gath

Arguments in favor of this occurring in Ephraim’s lifetime

Arguments in favor of this occurring after Israel settled into the land of Canaan

1.    This appears to be speaking of Ephraim, rather than the eponymous use of Ephraim. In v. 23, it says that he went into his wife, which is personal and not eponymous.

2.    The men of Gath could have been roving thieves. They realized that Egypt was prosperous and found an encampment of Egyptians (Israelites who had assimilated into Egyptian culture).

3.    Ephraim did not have to live in Egypt proper. Egypt certainly could have had outposts heading up along the coast to Canaan.

4.    It would be reasonable that we are only speaking of Ezer and Elead and their families here, who are on an outpost of Egypt. This would explain why they are not mentioned elsewhere and why they have no line.

5.    When it says that the men of Gath went down, this would be a reasonable use of a verb to describe going from the land of Canaan, where the men of Gath resided, into, or at least toward, the land of Egypt.

6.    If the immediate family of Ephraim were not being referred to, then we would have simply two more Israelites being killed by some Canaanites. Perhaps not a reason for celebration, but it was not out of the ordinary.

1.    There are seven generations of Ephraim given in the previous verse and a half, which would, by any standard, take us through the period of the 400 years of slavery and into the time of Canaan occupation.

2.    Gath would have been much closer to Ephraim at this time. They would have been only 40 miles away from the middle of Ephraim.

3.    That the descendants of Sheerah built upper and lower Beth-horon is a non-issue. This did not have to occur during the time of this attack; simply afterward.

4.    Joshua ben Non is not equivalent to Joshua ben Nun. The similarity of names is simply a coincidence.

Arguments Against this incident occurring in Ephraim’s lifetime

Arguments against this incident occurring after Israel settled into the land of Canaan

1.    Why do we have this long list of ancestors which represent at least seven generations after Ephraim? Wouldn’t they (or, more reasonably, their ancestors) have been killed in the raid?

2.    Egypt is 200 miles away from Gath. Would the men of Gath actually travel 200 miles for a raid?

1.    Ephraim seems to be referred to as a person in this passage, rather than as a tribe.

2.    Gath would have been traveling through at least two other Israelite states; it would have been reasonable for them to expect trouble had they done this.

3.    The line of the newly born leads to Joshua ben Nun (Non), after seven generations. Whereas, this would be a reasonable number of generations to be named beginning with Ephraim and leading to Joshua, it would not if we began sometime later than Ephraim.

The most reasonable position is that Ephraim had three sons, Shuthelah, Ezer and Elead. Ezer and Elead and their families had a ranch outside of Egypt, near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Philistines of Gath (assuming that they were Philistines) knew of Egypt’s prosperity and attacked this ranch for the cattle (as food; just what they would need during a famine). This attack would wipe out Ezer, Elead and their families, which is why we have no family line given and why they are not mentioned outside of this passage.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

And so mourned Ephraim, their father, days of many, and so came his brothers to comfort him.



So their father, Ephraim, mourned for many days, and his relatives came to comfort him.

Ephraim would be reasonably the actual father of those who were killed—Ezer and Elead—and he would certainly mourn over this situation. Brothers here refers to relatives.

And so went into his woman and so she conceived and so she bore a son and so she called his name Beriah because in evil was his house.



And he had relations with his wife and she conceived and bore him a son whom he named Beriah, because of the misfortune which was in his house.


As you well might expect, the name has meaning, and, surprisingly enough, BDB and ZPEB do not offer suggestions here. Both the NASB and the NIV Study Bible suggest misfortune. The explanation is right in this verse: evil (or, misfortune) is the Hebrew word râ׳âh (הָעָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAW], which means evil, misery, distress, disaster, injury. Strong’s #7451 BDB #949. It is preceded by the bêyth preposition, which gives us berâ׳âh (הָעָרב) [pronounced beraw-ĢAW], which means in misfortune, in evil, against disaster, by evil. Beriah’s name is berîy׳âh (הָעי.ר) [pronounced beree-ĢAW], which is transliterated somewhat differently, but sounds very similar to in misfortune. Strong’s #1283 BDB #140.

Understanding this ordering of events and the proper interpretation of Ephraim’s line makes a chart now possible:

The Genealogical Line of Ephraim, Son of Joseph, Son of Jacob

I.     Shuthelah (Num. 26:36 1Chron. 7:20)

       A.    Bered (possibly equivalent to Becher in Num. 26:35) ➔ Tahath ➔ Eleadah ➔ Tahath ➔ Zabad ➔ Shuthelah (1Chron. 7:20–1)

       B.    Eran (Num. 26:36)

II.    Ezer (killed in raid by Gath) 1Chron. 7:21

III.   Elead (killed in raid by Gath) 1Chron. 7:21

IV.   Beriah (1Chron. 7:23)

       A.    Sheerah (a daughter) 1Chron. 7:24

       B.    Rephah (who may be the son of Sheerah) 1Chron. 7:25

       C.    Resheph* ➔ Telah ➔ Tahan (Num. 26:35) ➔ Ladan ➔ Ammihud ➔ Elishama ➔ Non (Nun) ➔ Joshua (1Chron. 26–27)

There are some minor areas where people would disagree with this line, all of which have been duly noted in the line itself.

*In the Septuagint, we find and Resheph, his son in the text, meaning that Resheph should possibly be relocated in the line of Rephah.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

And his daughter [was] Sheerah, and so she built Beth-horon, the tower and the upper and Uzzen-sheerah.



He sired a daughter named Sheerah, whose descendants built Upper and Lower Beth-horon, as well as Uzzen-sheerah.

There are some disagreements in the rendering of this verse, so let me list those below:


NASB                                    And his daughter was Sheerah, who built lower and upper Beth-horon, also Uzzen-sheerah.

The Septuagint                      And his daughter was Saraa, and he was among them that were left, and he built Bæthoron the upper and the lower. And the descendants of Ozan were Seera,...

You will note the major differences at the end of this verse. The NEB and REB, which often follow the Septuagint, do not do so in this verse. There is no Ozan in the Greek text to refer back to. It is simply rendered as a proper noun, just as the Hebrew does. Bear in mind that those who translated the Septuagint were all different types of men. Some wanted to sort of explain what was going on as they translated it and others wanted to translated the Hebrew Old Testament as literally as possible. Therefore, the translation of the Septuagint is uneven and sometimes has unwarranted additions, given with the intention of better explaining a passage. I believe that is what we have here.

Here we have an unusual situation—the woman of the line takes precedence. The reason this would be could be one of two: (1) Sheerah married an Egyptian (or other nationality) who was assimilated into the Jewish society in Egypt; or, (2) Sheerah married a Jew, but from another family, who took up residence with Ephraim.

It is obvious that she herself did not build these cities, but that her descendants, who recognized from whence they came, built these cities. These were cities on the border between Benjamin and Ephraim on a mountain pass, 10 and 12 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Footnote I will cover Upper and Lower Beth Horon in greater detail when we get to 2Chron. 8:5. The city of Uzzen-sheerah is mentioned only in this passage.

Given that Sheerah has this heritage to come, and that her descendants are seen separately from those to follow, in the genealogical line, I placed Rephah as a son of Beriah, as her brother, rather than as her son.

And Rephah, his son, and Resheph and Telah, his son; Ladan, his son; Ammihud, his son; Elishama, his son; Nun, his son; Joshua, his son.



Ephraim was also the ancestor of Rephah and Resheph, and his son, Telah; and his son, Ladan; his son, Ammihud; his son, Elishama; his son Nun; and his son Joshua.

This verse also has a different reading in the Greek.


NASB                                    And Rephah was his son along with Resheph, Telah his son, Tahan his son,...

NEB                                       He also had a son named Rephah; his son was Resheph, his son Telah, his son Tahan,...

The Septuagint                      ...and Raphe his son, Saraph and Thalees his sons, Thaen his son,...

You will note that the NEB (and the REB) agree with the Septuagint at this point. Since these men are otherwise unknown to us, the disagreement is moot.

In this verse, it actually reads Non, his son; Joshua, his son. The difference between Non and Nun in the Hebrew is the placement of one, tiny dot. We may reasonably assume that this is the very famous and humble Joshua, who functioned as Moses’ personal aide for many years, and then, for a brief time, was the commanding general over all Israel. Please bear in mind, as you read this, that the author of this passage, although certainly using existing genealogical records, is further removed in time from Joshua than we are from the discovering of North America, the Renaissance, and the Reformation. The difference in time between us and the Dark Ages is similar to the difference in time between the author, possibly Ezra, and Joshua, the supergrace hero named here. This is the only place where Joshua’s line is given in any sort of detail. Elsewhere, he is simply known as Joshua ben Nun (Joshua, the son of Nun).

And their possessions and their settlements, Bethel and her towns and to the east, Naaran, and to the west, Gezer and her towns and Shechem and her towns, as far as Ayyah and her towns and to borders of sons of Manasseh—Beth-shean and her towns, Taanach and her towns, Megiddo and her towns, Dor and her towns—in these lived sons of Joseph, son of Israel.



Their possessions and settlements included Bethel in the east, Naaran in the west, Gezer and Shechem, along with their suburbs and fields. Their borders went as far as Ayyah to the sons of Manasseh, and included Beth-shean, Taanach, Megiddo, and Dor, as well as their suburbs and fields. In these lived the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel.

Interestingly enough, in this genealogy, we also have a brief travelogue of Ephraim. In fact, what we have in this passage is essentially a thumbnail sketch of Joshua 16:1–10. Ephraim did not quite stretch from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. It was bordered on the west by Dan (more or less—recall that Dan never properly took possession of its territory) and on the north and east by West Manasseh.

Bethel was an important city to Israel, found throughout the Bible, and I have mentioned it several times in exegeting both Joshua and Judges. We covered it in some depth in Gen. 28.

Naaran is equivalent to Naarah, which is found in Joshua 16:7 as a border town of Ephraim. In describing the border of Ephraim in Joshua 16, we travel along Naarah to Jericho, and then to the Jordan, indicating that the border of Ephraim at that point was running in the southeasterly direction, and that Naarah and Jericho were fairly close to one another. Apparently a small portion of the Jordan River bordered Ephraim, according to Joshua 16:7. The little information that there is about Naarah is to be found in my exegesis of Joshua 16:7.

Some maps show Ephraim extending all of the way to the Mediterranean, and others sandwich the tribe of Dan between them. Actually, what appeared to really be between the Mediterranean and Ephraim were the Philistines. Gezer was a Philistine town, which they apparently controlled prior to the time that Israel moved into the land up until the time of Solomon, when the Egyptian Pharaoh at that time razed it with fire, and then gave it as a dowry to Solomon for Pharaoh’s daughter. When we get to that in 1Kings 9, we will cover Gezer in detail. Gezer would have been the on the western border of Ephraim, between Ephraim and the Mediterranean Sea.

We covered Shechem in Gen. 12:6 and briefly in Joshua 24:1.

Ayyah is a minor problem—this city only occurs here. Some think that it might be Azzah or even Gaza; however, in the case of the latter, it could not be the famous Gaza of the Philistines, because that is simply too far south. Apparently, some Hebrew manuscripts read Gaza or Azzah, as does the Greek. Gaza would take us ¾ths of the way down the coast of Judah, which is simply wrong. Who knows? Perhaps the proximity in this passage with another Philistine town caused a translator of the Septuagint to fudge slightly, as the city was apparently unknown to him as well. What might be a better thought is that some have connected this city with Ai (recall Joshua 8) or with Aija, which is mentioned in Neh. 11:31 (actually, ZPEB suggests that its spelling in Nehemiah is incorrect). Footnote The Western Masorites, along with four early printed editions, have Aiyah, which could reasonably thought to be Ai as well. Another option is that the preposition is actually a part of the name of the city, so that it is not as far as Ayyah but Adazzah or Adaiyah. If this is Ai, then we know the city, and studied it in Joshua 7–8. It is on the border of Ephraim and Benjamin. Such an understanding makes perfect sense in this context. As far as would indicate that we are going to the border of Ephraim, which is where Ai is.

Manasseh is pretty much north of Ephraim, with Shechem as a border city, as well as, probably, Ayyah. Then we have the city of Beth-shean mentioned, along with Taanach, Megiddo and Dor. All but Megiddo were covered in reasonable detail in Joshua 17:11; Megiddo was covered in the Doctrine of Megiddo in Judges 5:19.

We must realize that the author of this chapter is not merely summarizing what is found in Joshua 16, but he is giving landmarks and cities known to himself at that time. In other words, these are cities who have survived for a thousand years, or, at least, whose cites are known.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Chart Index


The Descendants of Asher

Sons of Asher: Imnah and Ishvah and Ishvi and Beriah and Serah their sister.



The sons of Asher were Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi and Beriah. Serah was their sister.

Asher is one of those sons of Israel about whom we have little or no personal information. When Jacob’s preferred wife, Rachel, could not have children, she offered him her personal servant, Bilhah, who bore him two children, Dan and Naphtali. Leah, his less favorite wife, then gave to Jacob her personal servant, Zilpah, who bore him Gad and Asher (Gen. 30:3–13). Asher means happy. These were both born to Abraham when they were in Paddan-aram, which is in Mesopotamia (Gen. 35:26). Apparently, there are inscriptions by Egyptian Pharaoh’s Seti I (1303–1290 b.c.) and Rameses II (1290–1234 b.c.) which were thought to mention the tribe of Asher, but that has since been determined to be incorrect.

Jacob’s blessing to Asher is not altogether clear. It is variously translated as, “As for [lit., from] Asher, his food [or, bread] shall be rich [lit., fat]. And he shall yield royal dainties.” (Gen. 49:20—NASB). “Asher’s food will be rich. He will provide delicacies fit for a king.” (NIV). Barnes suggests that the land that the tribe of Asher occupied was particularly fertile.

The tribe of Asher left Egypt with 41,500 fighting men, and, prior to their entrance into the land of Canaan almost forty years later, had increased to 53,400. Moses, in speaking of this tribe, said, “More blessed than sons is Asher—he will be favored by his brothers and he will dip his foot in oil. Your locks will be iron and bronze, and, according to your days, so will your leisurely walk be.” (Deut. 33:24–25). Calling Asher blessed is actually a play on words. It is suggested that his land was rich in copper and iron (which may or may not be true). Asher occupied the northern sea coast of Israel.

As for famous Asherites, there actually weren’t any to mention. No kings or judges came from the line of Asher. Asher never conquered her coastal cities, which were controlled by the Phœnicians. The only Asherite of note was a prophetess named Anna who praised God when Jesus was presented as an eight-day-old child at the Temple of Herod (Luke 2:36–38). This means, as we go through these lists of Asherites, there aren’t going to be any that we recognize from elsewhere in Scripture because there aren’t any elsewhere in Old Testament Scripture.

Quite obviously, we need to look at is the table of Asher’s descendants. Happily, the line of Asher is not nearly as confounding as the previous two lines.

The Line of Asher, Son of Israel

I.     Imnah (Gen. 46:17 Num. 26:44 1Chron. 7:30)

II.    Ishvah (Gen. 46:17 1Chron. 7:30)

III.   Ishvi (Gen. 46:17 Num. 26:44 1Chron. 7:30)

IV.   Beriah (Gen. 46:17 Num. 26:44 1Chron. 7:30)

       A.    Heber (Gen. 46:17 Num. 26:45 1Chron. 7:31)

               1.    Japhlet (1Chron. 7:32)

                       a.    Pasach, Bimhal, Ashvath (1Chron. 7:33)

               2.    Shomer (or, Shemer) 1Chron. 7:32, 34

                       a.    Ahi, Rohgah, Jehubbah and Aram (1Chron. 7:34)

               3.    Malchiel (Gen. 46:17 Num. 26:45)

               4.    Hotham (1Chron. 7:32), who is probably equivalent to Helem in 1Chron. 7:35; the descendants which follow are Helem’s

                       a.    Zophah (1Chron. 7:35)

                               (1)   Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah (1Chron. 7:36–7)

                               (2)   Ithran (1Chron. 7:36–7); Ithran might be equivalent to Jether, below

                               (3)   Jether (who is of uncertain parentage) (1Chron. 7:38)

                                      (a)   Jephunneh, Pispa, Ara (1Chron. 7:38)

                               (4)   Beera (1Chron. 7:36–7)

                               (5)   Ulla (of uncertain parentage—1Chron. 7:39)

                                      (a)   Arah, Hanniel, Rizia (1Chron. 7:39)

                       b.    Imna, Shelesh, and Amal (1Chron. 7:35)

               5.    Shua (1Chron. 7:32)

       B.    Michiel (1Chron. 7:31)

               1.    Birzaith (1Chron. 7:31)

V.    Serah (Gen. 46:17 Num. 26:46 1Chron. 7:30)

Those mentioned next to a Gen. 46:17 reference were born in the land of Canaan and moved to Egypt with their father, Asher. Those mentioned in Numbers had their families in tact at the end of the Egyptian slavery. Serah, the daughter of Asher, is not mentioned as having a family. Those mentioned in 1Chronicles had their line essentially in tact at the time of the northern dispersion.

Michiel, the son of Beriah, who was the son of Asher, has a family which is extant after the Egyptian slavery; however, we do not find his family mentioned after this.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart Index

Sons of Beriah, Heber and Malchiel—he [was] a father of Birzaith and Heber fathered Japhlet and Shomer and Hotham and Shua their sister.



The sons of Beriah were Heber and Malchiel; Malchiel was the father of Birzaith and Heber was the father of Japhlet, Shomer, Hotham and Shua (their sister).

We do not know who these people are, apart from this genealogy.

Sons of Japhlet: Pasach and Bimhal and Ashvath—these, sons of Japhlet.



Japhlet’s sons were Pasach, Bimhal and Ashvath—these were all the sons of Japhlet.

These men are only known in this genealogy.

And sons of Shemer, Ahi and Rohgah and Jehubbah and Aram.



The sons of Shemer were Ahi, Rohgah, Jehubbah and Aram.

There are only a couple problems with this genealogy, and this is one of them. Let’s see how others have rendered this verse:


NASB                                    And the sons of Shemer [or, Shomer] were Ahi and Rohgah, Jehubbah and Aram.

Owen's Translation                The sons of Shemer, the brother of Rohgah and Jehubbah and Aram.

The Septuagint                      And the sons of Semmer: Achir and Booga and Jaba and Aram.


As you see, the problem is whether we translate or transliterate the word âch (חָא) [pronounced awhk], which means brother, kinsman or close relative. Strong's #251 BDB #26. Here, it is actually ăchîy (י.חֲא) [pronounced UH-khee], which is transliterated Ahi or Achi, but which means, obviously, brother of. Strong’s #277 BDB #26. Our only real problem is, why would you name the firstborn brother? Other than that, it is followed by a wâw conjunction, which would be out of place if this were translated.

And a son of Helem, his brother, Zophah and Imna and Shelesh and Amal.



The sons of Helem, Shemer’s brother, were Zophah, Imna, Shelesh and Amal.

This is also a minor problem verse; therefore, let’s see what others have done with it:


NASB                                    And the sons [lit., son] of his brother Helem were Zophah, Imna, Shelesh, and Amal.

The Septuagint                      And the sons of Elam his brother: Sopha and Imana and Selles and Amal.

Young’s Literal Translation   And son of Helem, his brother: Zophah, and Imna, and Shelesh, and Amal.

We would expect to find sons rather than son in this verse. Then we have the problem of determining who Helem is. Most exegetes have taken Helem to be Heber of v. 32, and his brother is Shemer (v. 34), called Shomer in v. 32. These equivalences would allow this to make perfect sense, apart from the singular son. Even so, we have no other knowledge of these people.

Sons of Zophah: Suah and Harnepher and Shual and Beri and Imrah, Bezer and Hod and Shamma and Shilshah and Ithran and Beera.



The descendants of Zophah were: Suah, Harnepher, Shual, Beri, Imrah, Bezer, Hod, Shamma, Shilshah, Ithran and Beera.

It this point, the chronicler names the primary families known in his time who were descended from Zophah. As usual, these are names which mean nothing to us.

And sons of Jether, Jephunneh and Pispa and Ara.



And the sons of Jether were Jephunneh, Pispa and Ara.

Jether seems to come out of nowhere in this verse. We do not know from whom he is descended. The only other Jephunneh in Scripture is the father of Caleb.

And sons of Ulla, Arah and Hanniel and Rizia.



And the sons of Ulla were Arah, Hanniel and Rizia.

Ulla, like Jether, pops out from nowhere. Therefore, we do not know where to place these short genealogical lines.

All of these sons of Asher, heads of a house of the fathers, chosen, soldiers of might, heads of the princes, and enrolled by genealogies to the army of war. Their number of men, 26,000.



All of these were the sons of Asher, who were heads over the house of their fathers, chosen men, valiant soldiers, heads over princes, and enrolled by their genealogies in the service of war for their country. They number 26,000.


One of the words used to describe these men of Asher is the masculine plural, Qal passive participle of bârar (ר-רָ) [pronounced baw-RAHR], which means to separate, to sever, to choose, to select, to separate and remove [i.e., to cleanse], to explore, to search out, to prove. As a participle, it means chosen. Strong’s #1305 BDB #140.

Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines

Go to Chronicles Index

Go to Exegesis Listings