1Chronicles 8

1Chronicles 8:1–40


Outline of Chapter 8:

       vv.    1–7        The Line of Benjamin in Egypt and at the Deportation

       vv.    8–28      The Line of Shaharaim

       vv.   29–33a    Saul’s Ancestors

       vv.   33b–40    Saul’s Descendants


       vv.    1–2        A Comparative Survey of the Descendants of Benjamin

       vv.    1–2        The Line of Benjamin, Son of Jacob

       vv.    1–2        Possible Solutions to the Becher Problem

       v.      7           1Chronicles 8:6–7 TEV

       v.     29           Is Saul 100% Jewish?

       v.     29           Possible Renderings for 1Chronicles 8:28–29

       v.     29           Problems with the Interpretations of 1Chronicles 8:28–29

       vv.   30–32      The Line to and from Saul

       v.     33b         Baal vs. Bosheth

       vv.   36–37      Jehoaddah or Jarah?

       v.     40           The Line of Saul through his Son Jonathan

Doctrines Covered

Doctrines Alluded To









I ntroduction: I Chron. 8 returns to the family of Benjamin. Now, you may recall that we covered the family of Benjamin back in I Chron. 7:6–12, so why revisit this family? Barnes suggests: The reason of this return to the genealogy of the Benjamites seems to be the desire to connect the genealogical introduction with the historical body of the work. As the history is to begin with Saul, the genealogical portion is made to end with an account of the family of this Benjamite monarch. Footnote In fact, this desire is so strong, that Saul’s line is repeated word-for-word in I Chron. 9:35–44. I personally believe this to be an addition, which was not intended for the autograph of Chronicles; however, it emphasizes, from a man’s viewpoint, a tie-in between these genealogies and the beginning of the narrative portion of Chronicles. This, no doubt, is a reasonable solution as to why, from the human standpoint, do we have so much time spent on the line of Benjamin (which shows up in I Chron. 7, 8 and 9); but it does not give us a clear reason why we would find this as approved by God the Holy Spirit. That is, why does God place this in Scripture? Why not a short list of descendants in I Chron. 7, buried in between Issachar and Naphtali; and then a continuation in I Chron. 9 to show the ancestors of King Saul, the first true king of Israel? Why do we have I Chron. 8 at all? As I study these various lines, I do find reasons for their inclusion (I have quite frankly gone back to the chapter of Levites again and again when exegeting various portions of Scripture). The first answer that comes to mind as I exegete this chapter is that this is a chapter of grace. We don’t find anything to like in the tribe of Benjamin in Judges 19–21. When we were down to 600 Benjamites, I might have been the one saying, Let’s get rid of the rest of them as well. I lack the graciousness of God, Who preserved the tribe of Benjamin, even though this tribe could not be less deserving. However, grace has nothing to do with merit. The surviving Benjamites perhaps had no merit whatsoever. The Benjamite tribe as a whole blocked an investigation of their most degenerate brothers. It was bad enough that a substantial number of males sought to gang rape a male stranger to their city; and it was deplorable that they raped this man’s mistress until she died from the resulting injuries. However, that the other men of Benjamin would not allow an investigation of this crime; nor would they deal with the crime internally—that shows tremendous degeneracy. The remaining eleven tribes of Israel, recognizing the great cancer formation which was here, realized that serious action was required, and so they almost completely wiped out the tribe of Benjamin. God, in His grace, allowed for this completely undeserving tribe to remain as one of the twelve tribes of Israel, even to the end times (Rev. 7:8). Not only did God allow them to remain on this earth, but He also took Israel’s first king from them. So, the best I can come up with to explain this chapter is the grace of God.

As we have seen in the previous chapter, the line of Benjamin is messtup more than any other line. We should expect this, simply because, in the book of Judges, we find that this line is almost wiped out. Given that, it would be expected that the records of this family would be spread out and incomplete. However, that is different than saying they would be inaccurate. In the original languages, in the autographs, these records should have been completely accurate, even though we may not be able to fully reconcile the present-day genealogies to our own satisfaction. The best we can do is point out why the records are incomplete and that those from different origins might differ in the lines somewhat.

No one, including myself, is able to clearly place all of these lines in time. Selman suggests that, because of the settlements named, that we are dealing mostly with the post-exilic group. However, he also points out that these areas appear to be resettled at the returning of Israel, meaning the locations given do not clearly tie us to a period of time. Footnote

As you see in the chapter outline, I broke this chapter into four parts—it is perhaps more accurate to separate this chapter into two parts, which can afterward be further subdivided. The first half of this chapter deals with the various families of Benjamin (vv. 1, 6, 10, 13, 28) and occasionally they are connected with geographical areas (vv. 6–8, 12–13, 28–29, 32). Although subdividing this half of the chapter is fairly arbitrary, I gave a reasonable subdivision. Selman also splits the chapter in two in the same way—the families of Ehud (vv. 1–7) and the families of Elpaal (vv. 8–27). The second half of I Chron. 8 gives us the genealogical line to and from Saul. Given that, it seemed reasonable to me to split that chapter at Saul. Heads of families and settlements are not really a part of this portion of genealogy.

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The Line of Benjamin in Egypt and at the Deportation

Gen. 46:21–22 Num. 26:38–41 I Chron. 7:6–12

Slavishly literal:


Moderately literal:

And Benjamin fathered Bela, his firstborn; Ashbel, the second; and Aharah, the third; Nohah, the fourth; and Rapha, the fifth.



Now Benjamin was the father of Bela, his firstborn; and of Ashbel his second, Aharah his third, Nohah his fourth, and Rapha his fifth.

First, the other translations:


JPS (Tanakh)                        Benjamin begot Bela his first-born, Ashbel the second, Aharah [Heb., bera‘ah] the third, Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.

NASB                                    And Benjamin became the father of [lit., begot; and so on throughout] Bela his first-born, Ashbel the second, Aharah the third, Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.

NLT                                        The sons of Benjamin, in order of age, included Bela (the oldest), Ashbel, Aharah, Nohah, and Rapha.

The Septuagint                      Now Benjamin begot Bale his first-born, and Asbel his second, Aara his third, Noa the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.

TEV                                       Benjamin had five sons. In order of age they were Bela, Ashbel, Aharah, Nohah, and Rapha.

Young's Updated LT              And Benjamin begat Bela his first-born, Ashbel the second, and Aharah the third, Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth.

When the translation is fairly straightforward, as it is here, we will not spend much time looking at the Hebrew.

As I mentioned in the previous chapter, the line of Benjamin is probably the most confusing of all the lines. Here, we would love to see some disparity with the Greek, so that the Greek might line up more with other passages; however, the Greek is in complete agreement with the Hebrew. The slight differences of spelling are simply because there is no h in the Greek, apart from the rough breathing at the beginning of some words. This particular chapter appears to deal with Benjamin’s line with the most precision, and it is the most recent, so we will cover this line with greater detail here. First, we should do a superficial comparison between the various passages that contain Benjamin’s descendants:

A Comparative Survey of the Descendants of Benjamin

Gen. 46:21

I Chron. 8:1–5 (three generations only)

Hebrew: The sons of Benjamin were Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi*, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim* and Ard.


I.     Bala

       A.    Gera

               1.    Arad

       B.    Nomman, Anchis*, Ros and Mamphim

II.    Bochor

III.   Asbel

BenjaminI.Bela (firstborn) (or, Bale in the Greek)

       A.    Addar, Gera, Abihud (which means, father of Ehud), Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, Huram (Adir, Gera, Abiud, Abessue, Noama, Achia, Gera, Sephupham, Uram in the Greek)

II.    Ashbel (second) (Asbel)

III.   Aharah (third) (Aara)

IV.   Nohah (fourth) (Noama)

V.    Rapha (fifth) (Rapha)

I’ve placed asterisks next to the names which do not have a definite pairing in the other language. In the Genesis line, these are men born to Benjamin (or to his sons) while in the land of Canaan. They moved with him to Egypt. There are obviously big differences between the Hebrew and the Greek, the latter actually laying out relationships.

The line found in I Chron. 8 appears to be the most precise, actually numbering the sons and giving the total number of each group. The biggest problem is where is Becher in Num. 26 and I Chron. 8? The second problem is not a problem. We have more sons listed in I Chron. 8; however, it is reasonable that Benjamin had three sons and assorted descendants move with him to Egypt, and that he sired Aharah, Nohah and Rapha while in Egypt.

Num. 26:38–40

I Chron. 7:6–12


I.     Bela (Bale in the Greek)

       A.    Ard and Naaman (Adar and Noeman in the Greek)

II.    Ashbel (Asyber in Greek)

III.   Ahiram (Jachiran in Greek)

IV.   Shephupham (Sophan in Greek)

V.    Hupham (not found in the Greek)


I.     Bela (Bale, in the Greek)

       A.    Ezbon, Uzzi, Uzziel, Jerimoth (or, Esebon, Ozi, Oziel, Jerimuth in Greek)

       B.    Iri (five) (Uri in Greek)

II.    Becher (Bachir, in Greek)

       A.    Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth, Abijah, Anathoth, and Alemeth (Zemira, Joas, Eliezer, Elitheman, Amaria, Jerimath, Abiud, Anathoth, Eleemeth in Greek)

III.   Jediael (three) (Jediel, in Greek)

       A.    Bilhan (Balaan, Jaüs, Benjamin, Aoth, Chanana, Zæthan, Tharai, Achisaar in Greek)

               1.    Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Chenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish,

               2.    and Ahishahar

IV.   Addendum: Shuppim and Huppim, sons of Ir, Hushim, sons of Aher) (in the Greek, it is Sapphin and Apphin, and sons of Or, Asom, whose son was Aor)

The line in Numbers took into account the families which were prominent soon after the time of the exodus. These were not necessarily Benjamin’s actual sons, but simply his descendants.

This line in I Chron. 7 appears to be precise, giving even the order of birth of the sons of Benjamin. However, the Greek just throws the various lines together, indicating that there could be some serious corruption in this line as well. My thinking is that these are the three major families and their sub-families to come from Benjamin, making this list similar, in content, to the list from Num. 26.

Possible Solutions to the Becher Problem

Now, allow me to offer some solutions to the Becher problem (none of these solutions are found in my source material; they just occurred to me randomly):

1.Becher is a female, and therefore left out of some of the lines. Although this is semi-possible, Becher is grouped with Benjamin’s sons in Gen. 46 and I Chron. 7. Historically, daughters are carefully distinguished as daughters (e.g., Dinah in Jacob’s line in Gen. 30:21; nowhere is she ever grouped with the sons of Jacob).

2.Becher and Bela are twins; therefore, when the sons are put in order of birth, as we find in I Chron. 8, we don’t have a problem with Bela being left out and Ashbel being numbered as the second son. This is sort of a goofy solution and ignores the fact that the Bible generally makes a big deal out of twins.

3.For some reason, Becher dropped out of the I Chron. 8 and Num. 26 lines. The problem with this is: we could certainly allow for a name to drop out of the very ancient and sparse Num. 26 line; but I Chron. 8 appears to be very complete; and it would be more than just Becher being dropped out. All of his descendants (I Chron. 7:8) would have been dropped out as well.

4.Becher is equivalent to someone else in the I Chron. 8 list. The problem with this solution is that it is completely without merit. There is no other line which is similar to Becher’s line; and nowhere do we have an a.k.a. given for Becher.

5.The line of Becher ended in Egypt. He had sons, but eventually his line ended (extinction) or became blurred with intermarriage (lack of distinction). This is possibly the most reasonable solution, which has the problem of the specific counting or numbering of the sons of Benjamin in I Chron. 7:6 and 8:1–2. However, when one son’s line leads nowhere, then it is as though he never existed. Furthermore, the list of names in I Chron. 7 can be seen as the early descendants of Benjamin, whereas the names in I Chron. 8 can be seen as the surviving lines of Benjamin. The problem with that explanation is, the line of Benjamin was almost wiped out completely back in Judges 19–21. It would be remarkable that so many of the original sons of Benjamin could be represented from the meager 600 survivors of the Benjamite massacre. It would be more reasonable for this line of I Chron. 8 to represent those who survived to walk into the Land of Promise. Perhaps that is the thinking in the numbering of Benjamin’s sons? This is the best solution which I can offer, although I am not completely happy with it.

6.The line of Becher stopped at gen X; that is, they had no sons in the generation of promise who lived to take the Land of Promise. This is less likely than the solution directly above (it is possible, but highly unlikely, that a fundamental ancestry line would suddenly end in one generation); and has the same problem as the solution above.

7.Becher is close enough to the word firstborn so that either a passage which reads and Bela, his firstborn should actually read and Bela, Becher; or vice versa—the passages which include Becher really refer to Bela as Benjamin’s firstborn. When this first occurred to me, I thought, that’s it! That explains and fixes all these passages. But, it doesn’t.

a.First of all, the words:

i.In the Hebrew, firstborn is bekôwr (רכ) [pronounced beKOHR]. In our passage, this is spelled bekôr (רֹכ). Also, affixed to the end of the word is the 3rd person masculine singular suffix  (the wâw conjunction is ו). Therefore, one could easily be confounded for the other. Strong’s #1060 BDB #114.

ii.The proper name Becher is beker (ר∵כ∵) [pronounced BEH-ker], which is transliterated Becher. Strong’s #1071 BDB #114. We have the same three primary letters and the vowel points were added over a thousand years later. Therefore, it would be easy to mistakenly have one where the other belonged (recall that we have already had at least one incident where most texts have a proper name, but should read his firstborn).

b.One solution is that there is no son Becher. All that happened was that someone misread firstborn Becher, then moved and confused the 3rd person masculine singular suffix, changing his firstborn to Becher. The problem with this solution is I Chron. 7:6, which says there are three sons of Benjamin, naming Becher as one of these; furthermore, the sons of Becher are named in I Chron. 7:8.

c.The second solution is, when Bela is called Benjamin’s firstborn, the original intention of the text was to read and Becher instead. Here’s the problem with that solution: our passage, I Chron. 8:1–2 counts through each and every one of Benjamin’s sons. It says he has Bela, his firstborn; Ashbel the second, Aharah the third, etc. The counting off and the individual numbering would all be out of whack if we inserted Becher’s name into this list.

Keil and Delitzsch explain these lines this way: they consider this line and the Num. 26 line to be equivalent lines, both representing the extent population of that time. That is, these are the existing families of Benjamin. The problem is that the fourth and fifth sons in each line have dramatically different names. Keil and Delitzsch suggest that Nohah and Rapha might be sons or descendants of Shephupham and Hupham (being equivalent seems less likely). What we would have is simply their surviving lines.

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Normally, I don’t go in for subheadings; however, the line of Benjamin is rather confusing; therefore, I will use a few subheadings over the next few pages just to keep our heads above water. Insofar as personal information about these men—there just isn’t any, apart from what we could ascertain from reading between the lines. However, Benjamin’s genealogy is challenging enough when dealing with these men.

The Descendants of Benjamin Who Were Born in Canaan and Moved to Egypt:

I would think that our first and just about our only reasonable deduction would be that Benjamin had a first son whose name was Bela. Apart from these genealogies, we know nothing about him, other than he was born in the land of Canaan to Benjamin and moved with Benjamin to Egypt. Also, he is found in all four genealogies as the firstborn.

Becher (equivalent to Bocher in the Greek) is an anomaly. I originally wanted to equate him with Ashbel, but we cannot do that as both names occur in Gen. 46, in both the Hebrew and the Greek. I don’t want to call him the second son of Benjamin, as I Chron. 8 specifically calls Ashbel that. I doubt that it was a slip of the pen in Chronicles, because the difference is not but one chapter. I would like to then place him as a son of Bela, but he does not show up on the very extensive lists of the sons of Bela. However, given his position in Gen. 46, it is more reasonable to have him either as a son of Bela or a son of Benjamin; however, this does not square with the Greek. In the previous table, I have offered a set of possible solutions to this problem—none of which I am particularly fond of (they all have inherent problems). We find Becher on the Genesis list of those who moved with Benjamin to Egypt; and on the I Chron. 7 list, which appears to be a very early chronology; however, we do not find Becher on the other two lists. The list in Numbers is a part of the census of fighting men of Israel. The list found here leads to Saul and others in the tribe of Benjamin. My guess is that his line did not survive Egypt, whether by distinction or extinction. This would have left him off the Numbers genealogy (which helps in the subdivision of the able-bodied men) and off of this genealogy (which leads eventually to Saul). Why he appears to be the second son of Benjamin on some lists, but not on others, is tough to explain. Making him a grandson is a reasonable choice, except there is nothing in Scripture specifically which would make him that. Could he be a son by a different wife? Possibly. Again, there is nothing specific in any passage which would tell us that. The solution that the line of Becher died out in Egypt is to me the most reasonable. The sum total of ZPEB’s revealed knowledge on the subject: [Becher is] A son of Benjamin. Footnote


Our second (or third) son of Benjamin is Ashbel, who is found on three of the four lists. The Hebrew word associated with Ashbel is shenîy (י.נ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-NEE], which means second, the second. Strong’s #8145 BDB #1041. Although clearly a son of Benjamin, his name is not given in the list of extent families a millennium later. This is neither a contradiction or a real problem.

The third son (on this list) is Aharah, whom most consider to be equivalent to Ahiram from Num. 26:38.

If the Greek of Gen. 46 is accurate (and, at this point, we could question the accuracy of any of these four passages in the Greek and the Hebrew), we have the youngest son of Jacob moving with his sons, grandsons and great grandson to Egypt, while his father, Jacob is yet alive. Benjamin was apparently kept at home and did not travel about with the herds with his older brothers. It would be reasonable to assume that he married early in life, perhaps in his teens. His oldest son could have had a son while in his teens, making Benjamin, say, 36–40 when he moved to Egypt. In other words, we have no contradiction again. The circumstances may be unusual, as he appears to be the only son of Jacob to be bringing grandchildren into Egypt—however, such a scenario is not impossible or even highly unusual. Again, this theory is based only upon the Greek text of Genesis.

The first Gera is not problematic. He was obviously a son of Bela who moved from Canaan to Egypt. Very likely, he was a young father as was his father and grandfather (again, this is according to the Greek text of Genesis only). He did not survive as a distinct family from Egypt, and is not found in the two lists of families (Num. 26 and I Chron. 7). Footnote The second Gera is either a brother or simply a descendant of Bela.

Ard (who is probably Arad in the Greek) is the great grandson of Benjamin, the grandson of Bela, and the son of Gera, putting together the text from Gen. 46 (in the Greek), Num. 26 and I Chron. 7, where he is called Addar (bear in mind that the Hebrew d and r are almost identical and often confounded for one another; a double-d in the Hebrew is simply the addition of a dot, added millenniums after the original text).

Bela’s son Naaman (this is according to the Greek of Gen. 46 and the Greek and Hebrew of both Num. 26 and I Chron. 8) was another descendant of Benjamin’s to be born in Canaan and move to Egypt. During the exodus, the sons of Naaman made up a large family, which is noted in Num. 26; however, this family is not mentioned in I Chron. 7, indicating that it either separated into several branches (unlikely, as Naaman would still be mentioned) or it simply died out and/or became assimilated by other families (That is, if Naaman is not equivalent to Nohah, who is a son of Bela in I Chron. 8).

Ehi is mentioned by that name only in Gen. 46. He might be equivalent to Anchis (in the Greek—recall that there is no h in the Greek in the middle of a word) and Ahiram in Num. 26. He is possibly a son of Bela, if the Greek text of Gen. 46 is to be trusted. He may simply be equivalent to Aharah of I Chron. 8:1, which would make him a son of Benjamin, but not a grandson.

Rosh is clearly equivalent to Ros (in the Greek), as the Greek has no h, per se. In the Greek, he is a son of Bela (in Gen. 46). He is not clearly equivalent to anyone from any of the other passages (the closest name is Rapha, who is a son of Benjamin, but not of Bela). We would expect to find him in I Chron. 8, even if his line died out or became assimilated; however, we do not.

Muppim, from Gen. 46, moved with his family from Canaan to Egypt. He is probably a son of Bela (according to the Greek of Gen. 46). He may be equivalent to Shephupham in Num. 26:39 and to Shephuphan in I Chron. 8:5 (where he is also a son of Bela). However, despite the similarity in names, he is probably not Shuppim in I Chron. 7:12, who seems to be removed by considerable time from Bela.

Muppim appears to have a brother—perhaps, even a twin—in Huppim (Gen. 46:21, but not found in the Greek); who would be Hupham in Num. 26 (also missing from the Greek) and Huram in I Chron. 8:5 (where he is found in the Greek). We do have a mention of a Shuppim and Huppim in I Chron. 7:12, but it is unclear in that context as to their relationship to the rest of the line of Benjamin.

This completes our study of all of those who moved from Canaan to Egypt with Benjamin, as well as the families named in Num. 26.

Additional Sons of Benjamin:

Nohah, as a son of Benjamin, is found only in I Chron. 8:2. He would have been born to Benjamin after his move to Egypt. Benjamin would have been in his 50’s or 60’s by then.

Rapha, like Nohah, is found only in I Chron. 8:2, and would have been born to Benjamin in Egypt.

Now, let me take our line of Benjamin chart from I Chron. 7 and add to it the names from this chapter:

The Line of Benjamin, Son of Jacob

1.Bela (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:38 I Chron. 7:6 8:1), who is clearly the firstborn of Benjamin. I will mostly follow the Greek of Gen. 46 here.

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

i.Ard (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:40) (Possibly equivalent to Addar in I Chron. 8:3). In I Chron. 8:3, Addar, Gera and Abihud are all called sons of Bela, but this does not preclude Ard (or Addar) from being a son of Gera.

ii.Possibly Ehud, who is placed under Abihud below (I Chron. 8:6). I only theorized that Abihud is the father of Ehud (which is the literal meaning of Abihud). If that is not the case, then it is possible that this is the famous Ehud named in Judges 3:12–30.

b.Naaman (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:40 I Chron. 8:4, 7—although v. 7 is probably a different Naaman)

c.Ehi, Rosh, and Muppim (Gen. 46:21). In the Greek, they are Nomman, Anchis, Ros and Mamphim (and only in the Greek are they clearly sons of Bela).

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

e.Iri (I Chron. 7:7)

i.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 I Chron. 7:12

f.Descendants of Bela, but uncertain as through whom (I Chron. 8:3–7):

i.Abihud (I Chron. 8:3)

(1)Ehud (I Chron. 8:6). It is also suggested that Ehud is a son of Gera who is the son of Bela. This does not contradict I Chron. 8; it only contradicts a theory of mine.

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

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

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

2.Ashbel (Gen. 46:21 Num. 26:38 I Chron. 8:1). He is said to be Benjamin’s second born in I Chron. 8:1.

3.Ahiram (Ehi in Gen. 46:21) Num. 26:38 (Aharah in I Chron. 8:1, where he is called the third)*

4.Nohah and Rapha, called the fourth and fifth, respectively, in I Chron. 8:2.

5.Becher (Gen. 46:21 I Chron. 7:6, 8). Becher is called one of Benjamin’s three sons in I Chron. 7:6.

a.Zemirah, Joash, Eliezer, Elioenai, Omri, Jeremoth (I Chron. 7:8)

b.Abijah (I Chron. 7:8). Now, if Abijah (or Abiah in some translations) is equivalent to Aphiah (1Sam. 9:1), then this is where we find the line of Saul.

i.Becorath ➜ Zeror ➜ Jeiel (or Abiel) (1Sam. 8:29 9:1, 35)

(1)Abdon, Zur, Kish1, Baal (I Chron. 8:30 9:36)

(2)Ner (1Sam. 9:1 I Chron. 9:36)

(a)Kish2 (I Chron. 8:33a 9:36, 39)

(i)Saul (1Sam. 9:1–2 14:50–51 I Chron. 8:33a 9:39)

1)Jonathan (1Sam. 14:49 30:2 2Sam. 9:1–4 I Chron. 8:33b34 9:39–40)

a)Merib-baal ➜ Mica (go to The Line From Saul Through Jonathan)

2)Malachi-shua, Abinadab (or Ishvi), Eshbaal (or Ishbosheth), Merib, Michal (1Sam. 14:49 30:2)

(b)Abner (1Sam. 14:50–51)

(3)Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zecher (or Zechariah) (I Chron. 8:30–31 9:36–37)

(4)Mikloth (I Chron. 8:32 9:38)

(a)Shimeah (or Shimeam) (I Chron. 8:32 9:38)

c.Anathoth, Alemeth (I Chron. 7:8)

6.Jediael (I Chron. 7:6, 10)

a.Bilhan (I Chron. 7:10)


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

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

a.Aher (who is a descendant of Benjamin, but we don’t know through whom) I Chron. 7:12

i.Hushim (I Chron. 7:12)

b.Ir (I Chron. 7:12)

i.Shuppim and Huppim (I Chron. 7:12)

8.In the line of Benjamin, possibly through one of Ehud’s descendants (others suggest that he is a descendant of Ahishahar): Shaharaim.

a.Through his wife Hushim (whom he sent away—I Chron. 8:8): Abitub.

b.By his wife Hushim: Elpaal (I Chron. 8:11).

i.Eber, Misham, Shemed (who built Ono and Lod and outlying villages). I Chron. 8:12

ii.Shashak (I Chron. 8:14, 25)

(1)Ishpan, Eber, Elie, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah and Penuel (I Chron. 8:22–25).

iii.Jeroham (I Chron. 8:27), who is possibly equivalent to Jeremoth, a son of Elpaal (I Chron. 8:14).

(1)Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah and Zichri (I Chron. 8:26–27).

iv.Zebadiah, Arad and Eder (I Chron. 8:14–15).

v.Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, Jobab (I Chron. 8:17–18).

vi.Beriah (I Chron. 8:13, 16)

(1)Michael, Ishpah, and Joha (I Chron. 8:16).

vii.Shema (I Chron. 8:13) who is probably equivalent to Shimei in I Chron. 8:21.

(1)Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Elie, Adaiah, Beriah and Shimrath (I Chron. 8:19–21).

c.Through wife Hodesh, Shaharaim’s third wife: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachia, Mirmah (I Chron. 8:9–10).

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. The best explanation that I can come up with, apart from textual corruption, is that Benjamin had several wives, so when three sons are named, it is by one wife; and when more are named it is by all of his wives. That does not explain the exclusion of Becher from the line of Benjamin followed here.

Now, I need to quickly add, that does not mean that we have evidence of textual corruption here. On the contrary, when it comes to variant readings and disagreements as to who is who, there are very few in this chapter.

To a Continuation of the Line to and from Saul

The Line of Saul through his Son Jonathan

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Selman’s Suggested Line for Ehud:



Bela Ashbel Aharah Nohah Rapha Shephuphan(?) Huram(?)



                          Addar                    Gera



Abishua Naaman Ahoah/Ahijah Gera(?) Footnote

You will notice that the primary difference between our lines is that I have Abihud as the father of Ehud (which is what Abihud literally means) and Selman leaves Abihud out. I also suggest that the line might run through Gera and this is how Selman set his line up. Like Shepherd’s Notes, this would allow for the Ehud of this genealogy to be the Ehud of the book of Judges.

And are sons to Bela: Addar and Gera and Abihud and Abishua and Naaman and Ahoah and Gera and Shephuphan and Huram.



And these are the descendants of Bela: Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera 2, Shephuphan and Huram.

Let’s see what other translators did with this first:


JPS (Tanakh)                        And Bela had sons: Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan and Huram.

NASB                                    And Bela had sons: Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram.

NEB                                       The sons of Bela: Addar, Gera father of Ehud [probable reading, compare Judges 3:15; Hebrew is Abihud], Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan and Huram.

The Septuagint                      And the sons of Bale were: Adir and Gera and Abihud, and Abessue and Noama and Achin and Gera and Shephupham and Uram.

Young's Literal Translation    And there are sons to Bela: Addar, and Gera, and Abihud, and Abishua, and Naaman, and Ahoah, and Gera, and Shephuphan, and Huram.

Let’s continue with the subtitles to try to iron out this line:

The Descendants of Bela:

Recall that Bela is just about our only sure thing in the line of Benjamin. All hands agree that he is Benjamin’s firstborn. We have already dealt with Addar, Gera, Naaman Shephuphan and Huram. The only thing which is unusual about their mention is this passage is that Addar is placed before Gera, where it appears as though he is a son of Gera in the Greek of Gen. 46:21 (however, Ard is not called a son of Gera anywhere else). And, again, Ard (or Arad) is not necessarily equivalent to Addar (although that is a very reasonable assumption).

Abihud could mean father of Ehud, as Abishua could mean father of Joshua. Therefore, this could read Gera father of Ehud, as the NEB points out. However, in both the Greek and Hebrew, Abihud is preceded by a wâw conjunction. Interestingly enough, the NEB footnotes this interpretation, but the REB does not (although their translations are the same).

Now, although all of these could be sons of Bela, it is also reasonable that we are looking at a list of descendants rather than sons, per se. Now, there are three names in this list which more or less match up with those who were already named as sons (or grandsons) of Bela. My guess is that these were heads of families which came from the house of Bela, three of whom may date back to the days of Egypt; the others may have come along hundreds of years later.

Ahoah is found only here, although ZPEB suggests that he could be an error for Ahijah in v. 7 (they are the same name in the Greek). Abihud, Abishua, Gera2, Shephuphan and Huram are all found only here.

Beginning in the next verse and all the way through to v. 28, we will have a line of the descendants of Benjamin which is unique to Scripture.

And these sons of Ehud; these, [even] they [were] heads of fathers to those inhabiting Geba and so they cause to remove them unto Manahath.



These are the sons of Ehud and they were the primary ancestors to the inhabitants of Geba and they exiled them to the city of Manahath.

It might be best if we look at a couple of translations here:


JPS (Tanakh)                        These were the sons of Ehud—they were chiefs of clans of the inhabitants of Geba, and they were exiled to Manahath:...

NASB                                    And these are the sons of Ehud: these are the heads of fathers’ households of the inhabitants of Geba, and they carried them into exile to Manahath.

NLT                                        The sons of Ehud, leaders of the clans living at Geba, were driven out and moved to Manahath.

The Septuagint                      These were the sons of Aod: these are the heads of families to them that dwell in Gabee, and they removed them to Machanathi;...

Young's Literal Translation    And these are sons of Ehud: they are heads of fathers to the inhabitants of Geba, and they remove them unto Manahath;...

It is unclear as to who these refer to. My thinking is that a portion of vv. 3–5 were descendants of Ehud, perhaps after Abihud (which means, father of Ehud). Now, why might someone be named the father of Ehud, when you don’t even know if he is going to have children and you certainly don’t know if he will name any of them Ehud? My thinking is the Ehud could have been very well-known, so that, when one would point out his father, he would say, “Hey, isn’t that Ehud’s dad?” It could be that Ehud came along much later as a descendant; however, since he was well-known, his line was simply traced back to Ehud’s father. Perhaps it was clear to the writer that this was the cut off point between far and near descendants of Bela.


Barnes suggests that perhaps Ehud is equivalent to Ahoah from v. 4. In the Hebrew, Ehud is êchûwd (דח̤א) [pronounced ay-KHOOD], which is transliterated Ehud. Strong's #261 BDB #26. Ahoah is ăchôwach (-חחֲא) [pronounced uh-KHOH-ahkh]. Strong’s #265 BDB #29. However, it is far more likely that Ahoah is equivalent to Ahijah in the next verse. Ahijah, by the way, is ăchôyyâh (הָ̣חֲא) [pronounced uh-KHEE-yaw]. Strong’s #281 BDB #26. Given that Ahijah and Ahoah are so close in the Hebrew, and given the context of their names (Ahoah is found with Naaman and Gera in vv. 3–4 of this chapter; while Ahijah is listed with Naaman and Gera in v. 7 (and in the same order); we can confidently assert their equivalency. Again, naming Ehud and Ahoah as equivalent, and then showing that this is not the case helps us to correctly interpret Benjamin’s line.

There is another theory about this Ehud floating around. It is suggested by Shepherd’s Notes that this is the famous Ehud found in Judges 3:12–30. Footnote This theory is by no means inferior to mine. Ehud is not clearly tied to anyone in this passage and it may have been taken for granted by the original recorders of these records that he was the son of Gera, as this would have been well-known. What follows with regards to families being carried off into exile would have been under the itinerant Canaanites who oppressed Israel for 20 years (Judges 4:1–3; of course, it could refer to a later oppressor as well).

Geba was a city in Benjamin which we will cover in detail in 1Sam. 13. It was one of the cities which had been assigned to the Levites (Joshua 21:17 I Chron. 6:60), but was obviously (like the other Levitical cities) shared by those who occupied that area. After being exiled, the Benjamites will return to this city to live.

The second biggest problem Footnote that we face in the line of Benjamin is, when do these lines occur? Here, these are first inhabitants of Geba, one of the many famous Benjamite cities. Neh. 11:31 tells us that when the exiles returned in Nehemiah’s day, the inhabitants of Geba went to the more northern city of Michmash (see also 1Sam. 14:5 and Isa. 10:29). That would mean that this took place prior to that population movement.


The verb is the 3rd person masculine plural, with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix, Hiphil imperfect of gâlâh (הָלָ) [pronounced gaw-LAW], which means, in the Qal, to uncover, to remove. In the Piel, it means to uncover, to disclose, to discover, to lay bare. In the Hiphil, it means to cause to be removed, to cause to be carried away. Strong’s #1540 BDB #162. This is followed by unto Manahath, giving us: And these [are] sons of Ehud; these [even] they [were] heads of fathers to those inhabiting Geba. And so they caused them to be removed unto Manahath:

Now we need to deal with the city of Manahath. No one, first of all, knows for certain where this city is. Certainly, since we are in the line of Benjamin, we would assume this is within the territory of Benjamin—however, that is not necessarily the situation—particularly because it appears as though these Benjamites were exiled to Manahath. The name Manahath goes way back to Gen. 36:23. Esau originally settled the land of Edom, which was given him by God. To set up a parallel, Esau is to Edom as Abraham is to Israel. Seir, a Hurrian (also known as a Horite) apparently was one of the survivors remaining when Esau took Edom (Esau conquered the Horites much like Israel conquered the land of Canaan). Manahath was a descendant of Shobal, who himself was a descendant of Seir, a Hurrian (see also I Chron. 1:40). Being that Manahath is mentioned so early in the Bible, it would be reasonable to suppose that he might found a city of his name (this is pure conjecture, mind you). Footnote Given that deportation seems to be the issue here, and given that there is probably a city in Edom with the name Manahath; we might suppose that some of the exiles were moved into that city. It is nearby, yet still outside of Israel.

Now, it appears as though we are speaking of the deportation of the men of Israel, which takes us all the way from Egypt (some of the sons of Bela mentioned were born to him in Israel prior to moving to Egypt) suddenly through hundreds of years to the great dispersion of Israel. Given that we have a ton of names to continue with, this seems unlikely. We frankly do not know to what this refers. During the time of the judges, the tribe of Benjamin is almost wiped out; however, they are not said to have been moved anywhere. What Barnes supposes is that some time very early on as Israel moved into the land of Canaan, that some men of Benjamin moved from one city to another within the actual territory of Benjamin. This would simply suggest that they moved from the city of Geba to the city of Manahath and that Gera (v. 7) somehow orchestrated this. With regards to the actual period of time that this occurred, we have no real clue. There is a lot of history of Israel that we don’t know much about, so we should not become too disturbed if an unfamiliar incident is referred to now and again.

And, I could be making something out of nothing. It could be as simple as Abihud, Ehud, Addar and Gera moving their families from one city to another. If Manahath is in Edom, then it would not be difficult to imagine part of this family then moving to Moab (v. 8). It is possible that we are simply following a line of Benjamin as descendants travel south to Edom and then northeast to Moab. Footnote

And Naaman and Ahijah and Gera, these he caused to remove. And he fathered of Uzza and Ahihud.



It was the families of Naaman, Ahijah and Gera who were deported. And he fathered Uzza and Ahihud.

First, let’s see what others have done here:


JPS (Tanakh)                        ...Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera—he exiled them and begot Uzza and Ahihud.

NASB                                    ...namely, Naaman, Ahijah and Gera—he carried them into exile; and he became the father of Uzza and Ahihud.

The Septuagint                      ...and Nooma, and Achia and Gera; he removed them and he sired Aza and Jachicho.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Naaman, and Ahiah, and Gera, he removed them, and sired Uzza and Ahihud.

The writer, realizing perhaps that it would not be obvious many years from now which families he was speaking of, says that these are the families of Naaman, Ahijah (Ahoah, from v. 4) and Gera.

It is unclear who the father of Uzza and Ahihud was in this verse. In any case, Uzza and Ahihud are found only here. It’s not just me—ZPEB points out that the text here is difficult and/or corrupt, Footnote making it near impossible to determine just who is who. The Greek text reads pretty much the same.

Like many modern translations, TEV combines verses, such as vv. 6–7 into one verse:

1Chronicles 8:6–7 TEV

The descendants of Ehud were Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera. They were heads of families that lived in Geba, but which were forced out and went to live in Manahath. Gera, the father of Uzza and Ahihud, led them in this move.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with combining two verses in order to make one or two good English sentences. The verse separation were added a long time after the Bible was written.

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The Line of Shaharaim

And Shaharaim had sired [sons] in a field of Moab from his sending them [away], Hushim and Baara, his wives.



Then Shaharaim sired sons in the country of Moab after his sending them away, even his wives, Hushim and Baara.

I mentioned that this line was the most difficult of all the lines of Israel—here is another example. Out of nowhere, this Shaharaim dude pops up. We assume that he is a Benjamite because he is in the chapter dealing with the line of Benjamin; however, we have no idea where he came from. Some suggest that he is the son of (I Chron. 7:10), which would give us this ancestry line: Benjamin ➔ Jediael ➔ Bilhan ➔ Ahishahar ➔ Shaharaim. However, we have no real reason for making such a supposition, apart from the similarity of names (Abishahar, not Ahishahar, means father of Shahar).

The line of Benjamin becomes a bit easier from hereon in, mostly because these are the only records of this branch (until v. 29). Therefore, there is nothing that can contradict what we have.

Let's see what others have done with this verse:


Barnes                                   And Shaharaim fathered children in the country of Moab after he had divorced his wives, Hushim and Baara.

Complete Jewish Bible          Shacharayim fathered children on the plains of Mo’av; after sending away his wives Hushim and Ba‘ara,...

JPS (Tanakh)                        And Shaharaim had sons in the country of Moab after he had sent away Hushim and Baara his wives.

NASB                                    And Shaharaim became the father of children in the country [lit., field] of Moab, after he had sent away [lit., sent them away] Hushim and Baara his wives.

REB                                       Shaharaim had sons born to him in Moabite country, after putting away his wives Mahasham and Baara.

The Septuagint                      And Saarin sired [children] in the plain of Moab, after that he had sent away Osin and Baada his wives.

Young's Updated LT              And Shaharaim sired in the field of Moab, after his sending them away; Hushim and Baara are his wives.

I've got to admit that, after glancing at the succinctness of this chapter in the Tanakh, that it is so tempting to simply list these names and move on.


Shaharaim is unconnected to anyone in the line of Benjamin. We know that he is in the line of Benjamin by virtue of the fact that he shows up in this chapter. we don't know much else about him because this is the only place where we find him. We actually begin this verse with a wâw consecutive followed by the 3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect of yâlad (ד ַלָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD], which means to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget. With a male, and in the Hiphil, or causative stem, this would be better rendered sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of. Strong’s #3205 BDB #408. We would expect a direct object at this point, but we don’t have one. We have the bêyth preposition and the masculine singular construct of sâdeh (ה∵דָ) [pronounced saw-DEH], which means field, land, open field, open country. Strong’s #7704 BDB #961. This is affixed to the proper noun Moab. What this suggests is that he is siring sons while the people of Israel are moving from wherever they spent their 38½ years in the desert wilderness along the east side of the Dead Sea, along the border of Moab. Given Israel’s association with Moab over hundreds of years, this is one possibility. Then Shaharaim sired [sons] in the open country of Moab... However, that possibility changes how we interpret the previous passage (where is Manahath and who moved whom to Manahath?). Manahath is even closer to the Israelites and their 38½ year stay in the desert; however, it is not clear why a family would simply remove themselves from the rest of Israel. Footnote What appears to be the most likely scenario is that Ehud moved his family to Manahath in Edom and that a descendant of his, Shaharaim, later moved to Moab from there. And it is much more likely that all of this occurred much later in Israel’s history. Selman suggests that this may parallel David’s conquests of Moab (I Chron. 18:2), which makes better sense. My own feeling is that we have a line of Benjamin which is followed as they move south to Edom and then north, up to Moab, on the other side of the Dead Sea from Israel.


Then we have the min preposition, which is ן ̣מ in the Hebrew and pronounced min. Min denotes separation (away from, out from, out of from); however, with an infinitive, it has a set of other related meanings: ➊ because, because that, on account of; ➋ from that, after that; so that not, lest. Strong's #4480 BDB #577. This is followed by the Piel infinitive construct of shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAHKH], which means to send, to send for, to send forth, to send away, to dismiss, to deploy. The Piel is simply the accomplished state of the verb or the intensive meaning of a verb. Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018. Affixed to this is the 3rd person masculine singular suffix. Then we have the sign of the direct object affixed to 3rd person masculine plural suffix. This gives us: ...from his sending them away...

We have the wâw conjunction used as an emphatic; and the direct object followed by the proper nouns Hushim and Baara, followed by his women (or, wives), giving us: ...even his wives, Hushim and Baara. We don’t know the circumstances here. We might suppose that under the pressure of moving toward the land, with war imminent, that there was some anxiety which resulted in this polygamous divorce. In any case, Shaharaim did have sons by Hushim, who will be mentioned in v. 11. Footnote This is the only mention of Baara. Also, the REB went along with Lucian’s edition of the Septuagint, which has Mahasham as one of his wives rather than Hushim (not that this makes much difference). Footnote

And so he sired [sons] from Hodesh his woman: Jobab and Zibia and Mesha and Malcam and Jeuz and Sachia and Mirmah. These his sons, heads of fathers.



Then he fathered [sons] by Hodesh, his wife: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachia and Mirmah—these [are] his descendants, heads of families [lit., fathers].

What others have done:


JPS (Tanakh)                        He had sons by Hodesh his wife: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachiah, and Mirmah.

NASB                                    And by Hodesh his wife he became the father of Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachia, Mirmah. These were his sons, heads of fathers’ households.

The Septuagint                      And he fathered [children] from his wife Ada, Jolab, and Sebia, and Misa and Melchas, and Jebus, and Zabia, and Marma; these [were] heads of families.

Young's Updated LT              And he fathered by Hodesh his wife, Jobab, and Zibia, and Mesha, and Malcam, and Jeuz, and Shachiah, and Mirmah. These are his sons, heads of fathers.

We begin this verse with the wâw consecutive and the 3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect of yârad (to bear, to give birth to, to sire, to father) again. What is odd is that this verb is found 21 times in this chapter in the Hiphil perfect (which we would expect) and only once in the imperfect (our passage). Then we have the min preposition once again (which can mean from, out from) followed by the proper noun Hodesh; followed by the designation his woman (or, wife). And he fathered by Hodesh his wife... What will follow will not be necessarily his sons as we know them through Hodesh, but heads of families. The reason we have min used rather than bêyth is that we are speaking of descendants who came through or from this one particular wife. The sons named are found only here. However, there are several Jobab’s, Mesha’s and two Malcam’s Footnote in Scripture.


The second phrase begins with the plural demonstrative adjective followed by his sons followed by the masculine plural construct of rôsh (ש אֹר) [pronounced roshe], which means head, top, chief, front, choicest. Strong's #7218 BDB #910. These sons (or, descendants) were heads of the masculine plural noun âbv (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv], which means father, both as the head of a household or the head of a clan. Strong’s #1 BDB #3. Since they are the heads of fathers, it simply indicates that they are the chief ancestors for the various family groupings found in the tribe of Benjamin. These descendants [were] heads of fathers.

And from Hushim he sired [sons]: Abitub and Elpaal.



He sired [two sons] by Hushim: Abitub and Elpaal.

I offer the other translations here just for the alternate spellings:


NASB                                    And by Hushim he became the father of Abitub and Elpaal.

NEB                                       By Mahasham he had had Abitub and Elpaal.

The Septuagint                      And of Osin, he sired Abitol and Alphaal.

Hushim was one of the two wives that Shaharaim sent away. He did have two sons by her; sons who are found only here. Again, the REB and NEB follow Lucian’s edition of the Septuagint and have Mahasham rather than Hushim.

And sons of Elpaal: Eber and Misham and Shemed—he [even] he had built Ono and Lod and her towns; and Beriah and Shema—they [were] heads of the fathers to inhabitants of Aijalon—they [even] they had put to flight inhabitants of Gath.



And the sons of Elpaal were Eber, Misham and Shemed (who built Ono, Lod and their towns); and Beriah and Shema, who were the heads of the families in Aijalon; they had even put the inhabitants of Gath to flight.

What we have is this particular line of Benjamin has spent a lot of time outside of Benjamite territory. They first went to Manahath, which is probably in Edom. Then they came up back north, but on the other side of the Dead Sea, to Moab. And here we have various Benjamite descendants occupying cities which are outside Benjamin (the fact that they have lived in several other places outside Israel should make it seem reasonable that we would have several large settlements of Benjamites in Israel but outside their specific territory). Also, recall that the Danites essentially abandoned their territory, which is where Aijalon is. These Benjamites not only were able to settle in Aijalon, but they were also successful in their conflicts with the nearby Philistines. It is not clear whether they drove the Philistines out of Aijalon back to Gath or whether the Philistines moved toward them aggressively and were repulsed. In any case, these Benjamites were successful where the Danites were not (in Judges 1:35, we are told that Israel was unable to expel the Amorites from Aijalon, but that the sons of Joseph were able to eventually enslave them).

Let’s see what others have done, as we have a little narrative in here:


JPS (Tanakh)                        The sons of Elpaal: Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod with its dependencies, and Beriah and Shema—they were chiefs of clans of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who put to flight the inhabitants of Gath.

NASB                                    And the sons of Elpaal were Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod, with its towns; and Beriah and Shema, who were heads of fathers’ households of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who put to flight the inhabitants of Gath.

NKJV                                     The sons of Elpaal were Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod with its towns; and Beriah and Shema, who were heads of their fathers’ houses of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who drove out the inhabitants of Gath.

The Septuagint                      And the sons of Alphaal: Oed, Missal, Semmer—he built Ona and Lod and its towns. And Beria, and Shema—these were heads of families among the dwellers in Elam and they drove out the inhabitants of Geth.

TEV                                       Elpaal had three sons: Eber, Misham, and Shemed. It was Shemed who built the cities of Ono and Lod and the surrounding villages. Beriah and Shema were heads of families that settled in the city of Aijalon and drove out the people who lived in the city of Gath. [TEV begins a new paragraph with v. 13]

Young's Updated LT              And sons of Elpaal: Eber, and Misheam, and Shamer, (he built Ono and Lod and its small towns), and Beriah and Shema, (they are the heads of fathers to the inhabitants of Aijalon—they caused to flee the inhabitants of Gath),...

We begin this verse with and sons of Elpaal, which is followed by the proper nouns Eber, Misham and Shemed, all interspersed with wâw conjunction’s. These men are mentioned nowhere else. And sons of Elpaal: Eber and Misham and Shemed... The Septuagint and the Syriac codices have Shemer rather than Shemed.


Then we have the 3rd person masculine singular personal pronoun (used for emphasis) followed by the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect of bânâh (ה ָנ ָ) [pronounced baw-NAWH], which means to build, to rebuild, to restore. Strong’s #1129 BDB #124. Then we have the sign of the direct object and two proper nouns connected by a wâw conjunction. The first is Ono, which is actually mentioned several times in Scripture, but mostly in association with the return of the exiles. Here we have it being built (or possibly rebuilt), although we have no idea as to the time frame. We have already discussed that we could be anywhere from being in the exodus generation to the generation of deportees.

Ono is mentioned in Ezra 2:33, where 725 exiles return to Lod, Hadid and Ono. They are called sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, which implies that they (or their parents) were from this cities and they were returning to these cities. There are 721 who are said to return according to Neh. 7:37 (I don’t know why there is a discrepancy—perhaps 725 were scheduled to return to those cities and 4 went elsewhere?). Footnote Lod and Ono are clearly associated with the tribe of Benjamin upon their return to the land (Neh. 11:31–35). It appears as though these cities were found in the valley of the craftsmen (same passage). The plain of Ono is associated with the Chephirim (which might mean one of the villages) in Neh. 6:2. Nowhere in Scripture is this city mentioned prior to the return of the sons of Israel to the land; however, in the Karnak list of [Egyptian’s] Thutmose III, Ono appears as ́Unu. Footnote This is a list of the various possessions of Egypt, including various Asiatic cities, called the Karnak list because it is found on the wall of the Amon Temple at Karnak. Footnote Lod is also on that list. In the Mishna (in ́Arak 9:6), Ono is described as a walled city since the days of Joshua. Footnote This is the only clear mention of Ono around the time of Joshua. This is surprising that we do not find Lod (or, Lydda) mentioned in the book of Joshua, as it has a strategic position ten miles south of Joppa on the two highways that lead from Egypt to Babylon and from Joppa to Jerusalem. Footnote

Josephus mentions Lod (or, Lydda) several times in his Antiquities. When Syria ruled over the Land of Promise, Lod was a part of Samaria. In I Maccabees 11:34 tells us that the Jews reclaimed Lydda 145 b.c. Later, Julius Cæsar had given this town over to the Jews and to the descendants of John Hyrcanus (Antiquities XIV, 208). After Cæsar had been assassinated, and there was the political fight for power between Octavius and Mark Antony (36–31 b.c.), Antigonus, an Asiatic ally of Antony, quartered his troops in Lydda. Footnote Near the close of this century, Quadratus traveled to Lydda in order to mediate the war between the Jews and the Samaritans, and said that Lydda was not inferior in size to any other city. Footnote It is interesting that only a handful of cities mentioned in the Old Testament are also found in the New. Lydda is mentioned in Acts 9:32–35 when Peter is traveling through to minister to the saints there. He cures a man there who has been paralyzed for eight years. Lydda’s proximity to Joppa is reaffirmed in Acts 9:38. Lydda had been known as a center for rabbinic studies prior to the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 a.d. Footnote Nero was blamed for burning Lydda down; he blamed the Christians. It is likely that neither set the fire. Afterward, Lydda, apparently rebuilt (none of my sources reference a rebuilding of the city and only one mentions the fire), became center of Christian activity. In the 3rd century, Lydda became known as Diospolis and was the center of trade in purple dye during this time period. Footnote St. George was martyred in Lydda in 303 a.d. (King Richard, during the 3rd crusade, was fascinated by this story of George that King Edward III by edict made him a saint). Lydda later was renamed Ludd and then Lod again. Lydda actually has a rich history which extends all the way from Thutmose III even until today, where it again serves travelers between the east and the west as there is an airport there.


In the next verse, we have Beriah and Shema mentioned. They are called heads of the fathers in v. 13. This is followed by the lâmed preposition and the masculine plural construct, Qal active participle of yâshabv (ב ַש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV], which means to remain, to inhabit, to sit, to dwell. In the Qal participle, masculine plural, it should be rendered those inhabiting, those dwelling in, the inhabitants of, the ones dwelling in, dwellers of, those sitting [here], the ones sitting. Strong's #3427 BDB #442. Then we have the city Aijalon, which was covered in great detail in Joshua 19:42–43. This was originally a city which belonged to the tribe of Dan, who failed to fully take the city. Then the Ephraimites lived there (I Chron. 6:66–69) and then the Benjamites (our passage). When Israel becomes a divided kingdom, Aijalon will belong to Judah (2Chron. 11:10). The idea is that these two sons of Elpaal will head the families who inhabit Aijalon.


Then we have the 3rd person masculine plural pronoun followed by the 3rd person plural, Hiphil perfect of bârach (ח-רָ) [pronounced baw-RAHKH], and it means to go through, to flee. The Hiphil means that they caused to put to flight. Strong’s #1272 BDB #137. Then we have the sign of the direct object, followed by [the] inhabitants of Gath. This is an incident about which we know nothing. Gath was one of the eastern-most cities of Philistia and it was one of the many cities that the Philistines held within Israel (their were five chief cities and they had, from time to time, control of many more). Since we do not known what time period we are in, we have a difficult speculating as to what this family had done in order to put to flight the inhabitants of Gath. There is almost 40 miles between Gath and Benjamin, indicating that this would have during a time of Philistine aggression. Somme have pointed out that the Ephraimites had trouble with the Gathites in I Chron. 7:21 and have therefore tried to make these the same or related incidents. Whereas that is a possibility, Israel had repeated conflicts with the Philistines; and, since, Gath was so close to Israeli territory, we should not be surprised to hear of dozens of conflicts between the men of Gath and the men of Israel.

And his brothers, Shashak and Jeremoth and Zebadiah and Arad and Eder.



...and his brothers Shashak, Jeremoth, Zebadiah, Arad and Eber.

Let’s see how other translators deal with this verse:


God’s Word™                         Their brothers were Shashak and Jeremoth. Beriah’s sons were Zebadiah, Arad, Eder,...

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth. Zebadiah, Arad, Eder,...

NASB                                    And Ahio [or, his brothers], Shashak, And Jeremoth. And Zebadiah, Arad, Eder,...

The Septuagint                      And his brothers were Sosec and Arimoth and Zabadia and Ored and Eder...

Young's Updated LT              ...and Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth and Zebadiah, and Arad, and Ader,...


Although others deal with the fact that Ahio means his brothers, I will actually continue with these, the sons of Elpaal, whose descendants are found in vv. 12–15, to an end with Eder, as Eder is in the pausal form. Footnote That is, vv. 14–15 continue vv. 12–13. V. 16 begins another line. The sons of Beriah will actually begin in the next verse. You see, if Ahio were a proper name, we would expect it to be followed by a wâw conjunction. However, the next name immediately follows, which is standard in the English, but not in the Hebrew. Therefore, there is no dude named Ahio in this verse. In the Hebrew, the word is âch (חָא) [pronounced awhk], which means brother, kinsman or close relative. It is in the plural form with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix. Strong's #251 BDB #26.

Shashak is found here and in v. 25, where he is the father of eleven children (actually, there are eleven well-known descendants from him).

Then other men mentioned in this verse are found nowhere else. Arad is a man who came along much later than the city of Arad, which is mentioned four times between Numbers and Judges. There are a slew of Jeremoth’s and Jerimoth’s in Scripture. This one is found only here (but possibly is identical to Jeroham in v. 27). There are four Eder’s in Scripture—two refer to places and two refer to people.

I ended with this verse because Eder is in the pausal form.

Now, you may wonder why—if Eder is in the pausal form and if we have and his brothers without being followed by a wâw conjunction—the other translations did not follow my format. Zebadiah is the reason. He is found here, in v. 15 by my interpretation as a son of Elpaal rather than as a son of Beriah (which is how most have rendered this verse). This is because a different Zebadiah will be mentioned in v. 17 also as a son of Elpaal. This is also because the pausal form does not guarantee us that we will end one branch and begin another (Heber, in v. 17, is in the pausal form). However, this does not mean that Elpaal messed up and named two of his sons Zebadiah (even though a very well-known boxer named all of his boys George Foreman). Sons means descendants. We would expect there to be a name or two which is carried on. Many men bear the same names as their uncles.

And Michael and Ishpah and Joha—sons of Beriah.



Michael, Ishpah and Joha [were] the sons of Beriah.

Let’s see how this fairs in the various translations:


JPS (Tanakh)                        ...Michael, Ishpah, and Joha were sons of Beriah.

NASB                                    ...Michael, Ishpah, and Joha were the sons of Beriah.

The Septuagint                      ...and Michael and Jespha and Joda—the sons of Beria.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Michael, and Ispah, and Joha, sons of Beriah,...

Beriah was a son of Shaharaim (whose connection to the line of Benjamin is obscure) He headed one of the clans which put the inhabitants of Gath to flight. His descendants—Michael, Ishpah and Joha—are mentioned only in this chapter of Chronicles. There are a dozen Michael’s in the Bible; two unrelated Joha’s; and Ishpah is unique to this verse.

And Zebadiah and Meshullam and Hizki and Heber and Ishmerai and Izliah and Jobab [are] sons of Elpaal.



Furthermore, Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah and Jobab were also descendants of Elpaal.

The other translations:


JPS (Tanakh)                        Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab were the sons of Elpaal.

NASB                                    And Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab were the sons of Elpaal.

The Septuagint                      ...and Zabadia, and Mosollam, and Azaki, and Abar, and Isamari, and Jexlias, and Jobab, the sons of Elpaal;...

TEV                                       Elpaal’s descendants included Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab.

Young's Literal Translation    ...and Zebadiah, and Meshullam, and Hezeki, and Heber, and Ishmerai, and Jezliah, and Jobab, sons of Elpaal;...

Again, we have another list of names of those who were descended from Elpaal. None of these men are found elsewhere in Scripture. There are 9 Zebadiah’s, 20 Meshullam’s (a very popular name around the time of the exile), 4 or 5 Heber’s (one is Eber, but spelled Heber in the KJV), and five Jobab’s; but only one Hizki, Ishmerai and Izliah. Because of where this list is located, I would be more tempted to say that the Elpaal mentioned here is another descendant of Elpaal, as this general portion of Scripture centers on the sons of the sons of Elpaal. However, we do not have any other reason for suggesting this. If this were simply a list of a few more descendants of Elpaal who are not found in the other families, I would think that it would be placed at the end of the lists of the families of the sons of Elpaal.

And Jakim and Zichri and Zabdi and Elienai and Zillethai and Eliel and Adaiah and Beraiah and Shimrath, sons of Shimei.



Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah and Shimrath, sons of Shimei.

The other translations:


JPS (Tanakh)                        Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath were the sons of Shimei.

NASB                                    And Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath were the sons of Elpaal.

The Septuagint                      ...and Jakim, and Zachri, and Zabdi, and Elionai, and Salathi, and Elieli, and Adaia, and Baraia, and Samarath, sons of Samaith;...

Young's Literal Translation    And Jakim, and Zichri, and Zabdi, and Elienai, and Zillethai, and Eliel, and Adaiah, and Beraiah, and Shimrath, sons of Shimei.


Let’s start with the last name first, which is, in the Hebrew, shime׳îy (י.עמ̣ש) [pronounced shime-ĢEE], which means hear me and is transliterated Shimei. Strong’s #8096 BDB #1035. We have surprisingly few readings which are in disagreement throughout this chapter. Even the Greek is pretty much in sync with the Hebrew. This is one of the few places where most exegetes equate Shimei with Shema from v. 13. Shema, by the way is shema׳ (ע-מ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-MAHĢ], which means to hear and is transliterated Shema. Strong’s #8087 BDB #1034. This would make a great deal of contextual sense, as vv. 16, 22–25, and 26–27 are lists of the sons of the sons of Elpaal. You will note the gap of vv. 17–18, which is another list of the sons of Elpaal.

Again, this is a list of people whose names we find only here in these genealogies. There are a dozen Zichri’s in Scripture, 3 of them found in this chapter alone. There are 4 Zabdi’s, a couple Zillethai’s, 2 Jakim’s, an Elienai, 9 Adaiah’s, 1 Beraiah, a Shimrath and 10 Eliel’s (up to four in the tribe of Benjamin alone—I Chron. 8:20, 22 11:46–47). ZPEB, although I do not know why, places the time period of these men as around the time of David. Footnote This would suggest that the Eliel’s listed here may be the two mighty men of David mentioned in I Chron. 11:46–47 (actually, only one of them could be, as the other is called a Mahavite).

And Ishpan and Eber and Eliel and Abdon and Zichri and Hanan and Hananiah and Elam and Anthothijah and Iphdeiah and Penuel, sons of Shashak.



Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah and Penuel [were] the sons of Shashak.

The translations:


JPS (Tanakh)                        Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothiah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel were the sons of Shashak.

NASB                                    And Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel were the sons of Shashak.

The Septuagint                      ...and Jesphan and Obed and Eliel and Abdon and Zechri and Anan and Anania and Ambri and Ælam [and] Anathoth and Jathin and Jephadias and Phannel, the sons of Sosee;...

Young's Literal Translation    And Ishpan, and Heber, and Eliel, and Abdon, and Zichri, and Hanan, and Hananiah, and Elam, and Antothijah, and Iphedeiah, and Penuel, sons of Shashak.

Shashak, as we have seen, is a descendant of Elpaal (v. 14). He is the only man who bears this name.

You will note that the Septuagint has two bonus names: Ambri and Jathin.

Among his sons, their names are found throughout Scripture as follows: there are a dozen Zichri’s, three of whom are found in this chapter alone; there are four men with the name Abdon (ZPEB places him during the time of Nehemiah Footnote ); there is only one Anthothijah, who is mentioned only here; there are five Eber’s in Scripture, Footnote the uncle of this Eber having been already mentioned in v. 12; Footnote ten Eliel’s; six Elam’s; six Hanan’s (one of which is also one of David’s mighty men—however, they cannot be equivalent because the parentage is different); fourteen Hananiah’s; uno Ishpan y uno Iphdeiah y dos Penuel’s. Footnote

And Shamsherai and Shehariah and Athaliah and Jaareshiah and Elijah and Zichri, sons of Jeroham.



Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah and Zichri [were] the sons of Jeroham.

Other translations:


JPS (Tanakh)                        Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah, and Zichri were the sons of Jeroham.

NASB                                    And Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah, and Zichri were the sons of Jeroham.

The Septuagint                      ...and Samsari and Saarias and Gotholia and Jarasin and erin and Zechri, son of Iroam.

Young's Literal Translation    And Shamsherai, and Shehariah, and Athaliah, and Jaareshiah, and Eliah, and Zichri, sons of Jeroham.


Let’s deal with the dad first: Jeroham, in the Hebrew, is actually yerôchâm (םָחֹרי) [pronounced yeroh-KHAWM], which is transliterated Jeroham, even by the JPS. It means may he be compassionate. Strong’s #3395 BDB #934. Some suggest that this is equivalent to Jeremoth from v. 14, which is yerêmôwth (תמ̤רי) [pronounced yeray-MOHTH], and transliterated Jeremoth. There are two variations in spelling of this proper noun, both of which add a yohd after the resh (and there is also a slight change of the vowel point there as well). Strong’s #3406 BDB #438. Although there are reasons that these proper names could be confounded for one another, the suggestion made is that one is a nickname for the other. Since most of this passage has dealt with the various sons of Elpaal, some sort of equivalency between the two names would make sense.

As for the sons—we find them only in this verse; and the three whose names are shared with others could not be those other people.

These heads of fathers to their generations—heads, these dwelt in Jerusalem.



These [men were] leaders of their fathers’ [descendants]; chief men, these lived in Jerusalem.

First, what others have done:


JPS (Tanakh)                        These were the chiefs of the clans, according to their lines. These chiefs dwelt in Jerusalem.

NASB                                    These were heads of the fathers’ households according to their generations, chief men, who [lit., these] lived in Jerusalem.

NKJV                                     These were heads of the fathers’ houses by their generations, chief men. These dwelt in Jerusalem.

The Septuagint                      These were heads of families, chiefs according to their generations: these dwelt in Jerusalem.

TEV                                       These were the ancestral heads of families and their principal descendants who lived in Jerusalem.

Young's Literal Translation    These are heads of fathers, by their generations, heads; these dwelt in Jerusalem.


Here we have one of the very few typo’s found in the NASB: it is their practice to italicize words which are not found in the original; here, they forgot to do this with were. We begin with the plural demonstrative adjective these followed by the masculine plural construct of heads (or, chiefs), which is closely associated with the masculine plural noun fathers. Now, this expression does not mean that they were heads of [their] fathers as in heads over their fathers but that heads, leaders or chiefs over their father’s descendants. They were leaders who were of or from their fathers. The fathers refer to Jeroham, Shashak, Shimei, Elpaal and Beriah. Then we have the lâmed preposition followed by the feminine plural noun tôwledôwth (תדל) [pronounced tohle-DOHTH], which means generations. This word is used a great deal in genealogies (e.g., Gen. 5:1 6:9 Ex. 6:16). Strong’s #8435 BDB #410. These [were] leaders from their fathers according to their generations. In these genealogies, these men were leaders in the Benjamite clan.

With the repetition of the masculine plural noun heads we begin a new, but related thought. This is followed by the demonstrative adjective these which is followed by the 3rd person plural, Qal perfect of to live, to dwell followed by in Jerusalem. These leaders lived in Jerusalem. Recall once again that the clan of the Benjamites was almost wiped out back in the time of the judges. Benjamin, although a tribe which became very degenerate in the times of the judges, will produce the first king of Israel. Furthermore, although the territory of Benjamin is relatively small (the territories of Benjamin, Dan, Issachar and Zebulun were the four smallest territories of Israel), the cities of Benjamin were among the most notable cities in Israel’s history: Geba, Gibeon, Mizpah, Jericho, Bethel, Ai, Gilgal and Jerusalem. Most of these cities were on the border of Benjamin and were inhabited by significant populations of other clans of Israel as well. It is interesting that the tribe of Benjamin has this background of incredible degeneracy, yet its cities are among the most renowned in Israel. We have a tribe which veered off into incredible degeneracy, whose population was reduced at one time to 600 males—and from this seed comes the first king over all Israel. The reason for this is simply grace: God blesses even the most obvious of us who are totally undeserving (and He also blesses those who do not appear to be undeserving, but in reality are).

We do not know exactly how far back this verse reaches. That is, how many of these families actually lived in Jerusalem? Recall that we have had this travelogue thing going on where these various families of Benjamin have found their ways to Edom, Moab, Aijalon (a city in Dan); and, with this verse, we are in Jerusalem, which is a Benjamite city. Obviously, this verse refers to those who are heads of families in Jerusalem, but exactly who is not clear. I would take this back to v. 14 to Shashak and those who follow his name. Since none of the men between vv. 14–27 are identified with any particular area, I would place them in Jerusalem. Now, according to Barnes (and I haven’t checked this out thoroughly), even though Jerusalem belonged to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:16, 20, 28), we have no record of them occupying that territory until after the return from captivity (I Chron. 9:1–3 Neh. 11:4). Therefore, we may want to conclude that these lines are those who returned from captivity. The problem with that approach is that those who are named from the tribe of Benjamin (Neh. 11:7–9) do not match any of these names. This is not a contradiction, as we are simply exploring some points in time when these men were alive. Just because men from the tribe of Benjamin are not directly tied to Jerusalem by any particular incident or in any line which clearly preceded the captivity, does not mean that they did not occupy Jerusalem at some time previous to the return from captivity. In fact, given the small number of men who returned from captivity, it would not make sense for Benjamites to move into Jerusalem unless they had previously occupied that territory. Of course, it would be neater to find a few families mentioned in this passage and tie them to those mentioned in Nehemiah; however, we don’t have that. Should we expect that? Not really. What we will have in the remainder of this passage is the line to Saul and the line from Saul. Those who returned from captivity did not necessarily need to come from the line of Saul.

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Saul’s Ancestors

I Chron. 9:35–44

Before we move on into the next section, we need to discuss I Chron. 9:35–44; the passage before us and that portion of I Chron. 9 match one another almost word-for-word. I Chron. 9 seems to have fewer mistakes than I Chron. 8; but its location and repetition seem to make little or no sense. I think the big problem is I Chron. 9:1–34, which appears to be misplaced. This passage covers some of the lines of those who returned from captivity. It appears to have be stuck in here and then the line of Saul repeated, making me think that the repetition of Saul’s line is a mistake and that it should have been found only here. Therefore, I am going to keep an eye to I Chron. 9:35–44 and translate these as though they were the same passage found in different versions of Scripture. In other words, I am going to treat I Chron. 8:29–40 as equivalent to 9:35–44, which will have some affect on my interpretation thereof. I should point out that Keil and Delitzsch disagree and believe that these two passages were put together from a different set of records. Footnote Because the verbiage in both passages is almost identical, these could not have come from different records. A difference here or there is not indicative of these having different sources, but of an error which had crept into one passage or the other.

 And in Gibeon they lived. Jeiel, a father of Gibeon and a name of his woman, Maacah;...



And [these] lived in Gibeon: Jeiel, a founder of Gibeon; and the name of his wife [was] Maacah;...

This is an interesting verse for several reasons. First of all, we are not given the name of the father of Gibeon (although, see below) but we are told the name of his wife, which is quite unusual. 99% of the lines mentioned are males. Only once in a great while does is a female mentioned (the husband’s name is given as Jeiel in I Chron. 9:35 and was probably just dropped out of the text here). Footnote Still, the inclusion of his wife’s name is unusual. There are some conclusions that we will draw based upon her inclusion.

Also interesting is that Jeiel is the father (or, founder) of Gibeon mentioned. Do you recall that Gibeon was mentioned back in Joshua 9—these were heathen who lived in the land prior to Israel’s invasion and, after hearing what Israel had done to Jericho and Ai, they pretended to be embassies from afar. They were on Israel’s short list of cities to attack in the near future. The Gibeonites secured Israel’s alliance and then Israel found out that they were among the heathen that they were suppose to destroy. Since they could not go back on their word, Israel kept their treaty with Gibeon, even to the point of defending Gibeon from an attack (Joshua 10). Now, being upset that the men of Gibeon had misrepresented themselves, Joshua made them do menial labor to serve Israel (Joshua 9:27). A little over 300 years later, Saul is born. If you glance at his line, given below, you will see that Jeiel is at least Saul’s great grandfather Footnote ; and yet he is called the father of Gibeon. You will also note that he is not tied to anyone else in the line of Benjamin going backwards. What I suspect, although I have no proof other than the evidence found in this paragraph, is that Jeiel is not necessarily Jewish but his wife is. In fact, Barnes suggests that Maacah is the daughter or granddaughter of Caleb, Footnote although Maacah is his mistress (I Chron. 2:48) and I cannot find a Maacah who is otherwise related to either Caleb. Footnote Therefore, her name is given as a part of this line leading to Saul. Let me add, however, the Jeiel is a name which is given to several Jews, which would, of course, suggest that Jeiel is Jewish (and he could have adopted that name). Also, I should add that, if I Chron. 8:29–40 and 9:35–44 are equivalent, which is the most reasonable approach, then his name does belong in this verse. However, the fact that he neither is tied to a previous descendant of Benjamin is significant and possibly does mean that one or the other is not Jewish but a Gibeonite. Now, if Jeiel is equivalent to Abiel, as several exegetes suggest, then he is clearly a Benjamite.

Is Saul 100% Jewish?





1.    Jeiel, Saul’s great grandfather, is a common Jewish name.

2.    No one in this line is called a gentile.

3.    Even though this line is not traced back to Benjamin, there is a line going back from Saul to Kish to Benjamin in 1Sam. 9:1.

4.    Saul’s vicious attack on the Gibeonites (2Sam. 21:1–14) reveals a deep-seated prejudice which could go back to his great grandfather would founded (or, re-founded) Gibeon. Living side-by-side the Gibeonites could have resulted in the prejudice manifested by King Saul.

1.    Jeiel could have adopted that name to fit in.

2.    Rahab and Ruth are not called gentile women in Matt. 1:5 (but they clearly are the Old Testament).

3.    It is likely, given a family raised side-by-side with gentiles (Gibeonites) that there would be some mixture.

4.    Just because Saul attacked and killed a great many Gibeonites out of prejudice does not mean that he could not be part-Gibeonite. Prejudice is an irrational judgment over people one does not know.


1.    Saul’s great grandfather, Jeiel, is called the father of Gibeon, suggesting close ties to the Gibeonites.

2.    Jeiel’s wife’s name is given but Jeiel’s is not in this passage. The two women whose names are given in the line of Jesus are Gentile women. This would suggest that either Jeiel or his wife could be Gentiles (usually, when a wife’s name is given in the genealogy, then there is more than one wife).

3.    These two connections: Saul’s great grandfather being called the father of Gibeon and his mother’s name being given in this line are both classic ways of telling us that Saul is ⅛ th Gibeonite.

4.    We would reasonably assume that some intermarriage took place among the Gibeonites and the Israelites.

1.    The original Gibeonites were essentially made slaves to the Israelites. Any Israelite family could have moved to Gibeon and founded it.

2.    Occasionally, a woman’s name is found in a genealogy; that Jeiel’s is not given here is probably insignificant and very possibly an copyist’s error. We are clearly told that a wife of Moses was not Jewish; we know that about Ruth as well. Here, the background of Jeiel and Maacah can be reasonably assumed as Jewish, since we are not told otherwise. Maacah is also a very common Jewish name.

3.    Not necessarily so.

4.    We have no clear statement confirming that, however (whereas it is clear that Ruth and Rahab are gentile women).

I mention this only as a matter of interest. Saul will, as king over Israel, murder a number of Gibeonites, an act of prejudice which clearly fell outside of the plan of God (2Sam. 21:1–14 Footnote ). It is not unreasonable that he may have had some Gibeonite in his family line. The fact that his great grandmother is mentioned in this verse indicates that she is possibly the Jewish member of the family, and that her husband, the father or founder of Gibeon, is the Canaanite (Gibeonite). Selman also mused that Saul may not be 100% Jewish as well. Footnote

Now, we do have one minor problem here—it would be difficult for Abiel (or Jeiel) to be the father or father of Gibeon and a Gibeonite; and to also be the great grandfather of Saul. The Gibeonites settled Gibeon prior to Joshua’s march on the Land of Promise almost 400 years earlier. It would be reasonable that the founding of Gibeon occurred nearly 500 years prior to Saul’s birth. And, with a few exceptions, the life expectancy during the time of Joshua was 70–100 years. Therefore, the one who founded Gibeon originally could not have been Saul’s great grandfather. Another option is that Gibeon was re-established or re-founded centuries after the alliance between Joshua and the Gibeonites (Joshua 13–14). Even though Joshua had assigned stations in life equivalent to slavery to the Gibeonites, during the period of the judges when Israel fell under the control of this nation and that, it is possible that the Gibeonites, while retaining their ties to Israel, returned to Gibeon and founded this city again as a Gibeonite-Israeli shared territory. In any case, this is all ancient history which falls outside the realm of revealed truth.

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Here is what others have done with v. 29:


1Chron. 9:35 (literally)           And in Gibeon they lived—a father of Gibeon, Jeiel, and [the] name of his woman, Maacah.

CEV                                       Jeiel settled the town of Gibeon. He and his wife Maacah lived there...

JPS (Tanakh)                        The father of Gibeon dwelt in Gibeon, and the name of his wife was Maacah.

NASB                                    Now in Gibeon, Jeiel, the father of Gibeon lived, and his wife’s name was Maacah.

NLT                                        Jeiel (the father of [or, the founder of] Gibeon) lived in Gibeon. His wife’s name was Maacah,...

The Septuagint                      And the father of Gabaon dwelt in Gabaon; and his wife’s name was Moacha,...

TEV                                       Jeiel founded the city of Gibeon and lived there. His wife was named Maacah,...

Young's Updated LT              And in Gibeon has the father of Gibeon dwelt, and the name of his wife is Maacha;...


The first problem with this text is the missing name of the father, Jeiel (which is found in 1Sam. 9:35). Although it is possible that this name dropped out of the text, it would have had to have been very early on, as his name is not even found in some versions of the Greek Septuagint (apparently, it is found in some versions of the Septuagint, according to the NEB Footnote , NLT Footnote and the NIV Footnote ). Gods’s Word™ tells us the we find Jeiel in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Greek, the Targum and in the Latin. Footnote Jeiel is thought to be equivalent to Abiel, who is found in 1Sam. 9:1 14:51. In the Hebrew, Abiel is ăbvîyel (ל∵אי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-EL], which means El (God) is [my] father. Strong’s #22 BDB #3. Jeiel is ye׳îyel (ל∵אי.עי) [pronounced ye-ģee-EL], which means possibly God benefits or God collects. Strong’s #3262 & #3273 BDB #418. These words rhyme, but one would not be confused for the other. The only way these would be equivalent is if one were the nickname for the other; or if Jeiel was also known as Abiel.


Also, I have looked at most of my translations, and none acknowledges another problem in the original text. We begin with the wâw conjunction, which looks like this: . Then we have the bêyth preposition followed by the proper noun Gibeon. Then we have the 3rd person plural, Qal perfect of to dwell, to live. The vocabulary form of the Hebrew word is yâshabv (ב ַש ָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]. Strong's #3427 BDB #442. To make this into a plural without gender, all we do is add this to the end of the word: . Then we have a father of Gibeon followed by and a name of his woman, Maacah. Do you see the problem? We could take the  to mean that the verb is plural, which doesn’t make sense with a singular subject; or we could take the  to mean that we are beginning a new thought with the wâw conjunction—but we would not do that in between the main verb and the subject of the verb. Either way, there are problems. Pretty much every translation ignores this . They do not translate is as an and (it wouldn’t make sense) and they do not translate it so that it would make the verb plural. What we expect to occur with a father of Gibeon is a 3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect verb. The literal rendering of this verse is: And in Gibeon they lived. A father of Gibeon and a name of his wife, Maacah. Now, that Jeiel is called a father of Gibeon does not mean that he named one of his sons Gibeon. If you will note, his actual sons are named in v. 36. In the English, we often find two completely different Hebrew words translated almost identically. The word found most often in this chapter which means was a father of (or, sired or fathered) is the Hiphil of the verb yâlad (ד ַלָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD], which means to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget. Generally, the Hiphil is used with a male, the Hiphil being the causative stem. Therefore, this would be reasonably rendered sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of. Strong’s #3205 BDB #408. However, what we find here is the masculine noun âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv], which means father, both as the head of a household or the head of a clan. However, it can also mean founder, civil leader or military leader. In this chapter, âb is never used in a genealogical way (see vv. 6, 10, 13, 28, 29). That is, we never find Bob I was the father (âb) of Bob II); we always find the verb (vv. 1, 7–9, 11, 32–34, 36–40, 42, 43). Strong’s #1 BDB #3.

A very reasonable question, at this point is, what is meant by calling Jeiel a father of Gibeon? By 1Chron. 9:35–39, it appears that Jeiel is the great grandfather of Saul and that we have no intervening generations. This would place him during the latter third of the time of the judges. If you will recall, early on during the time of the judges, the tribe of Benjamin was decimated and only a handful of them remained. This means that they would have to repopulate their various cities. A most reasonable guess is that Jeiel repopulated the Jewish population in Gibeon. Because the Gibeonite population is still around during the time of Saul, we would assume that they continued to live in Gibeon throughout the destruction of the degenerate Benjamites. The most reasonable hypothesis is that a century or so after the tribe of Benjamin was decimated, Jeiel moved to Gibeon and established himself and his family there. There were very likely Gibeonites still living there when Jeiel moved there.

Possible Renderings for 1Chronicles 8:28–29

Literal rendering #1:

These [were the] heads of fathers to their generations, leaders. These lived in Jerusalem and they lived in Gibeon. A father of Gibeon and a name of his woman [was] Maacah.

Literal rendering #2:

These [were the] heads of fathers to their generations, leaders. These lived in Jerusalem. And [these] lived in Gibeon: a father of Gibeon. And a name of his woman [was] Maacah.

Absolute literal rendering #1:

These heads of fathers to their generations, heads. These lived in Jerusalem. They lived in Gibeon. A father of Gibeon and a name of his wife, Maacah.

Now, you may not see the difference or see the problem, but in either interpretation, we have problems.

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Problems with the Interpretations of 1Chronicles 8:28–29


Problems with this Interpretation

they lived in Gibeon belongs with v. 28:

1.    No one interprets it this way.

2.    What follows they lived in Gibeon should be a wâw conjunction, which is typical of Hebrew grammar. Almost every Hebrew sentence begins with a wâw conjunction.

they lived in Gibeon belongs in v. 29:

1.    We have a plural verb and a masculine singular subject. Maacah and the descendants are not a part of the subject.

2.    If we take the  as a wâw conjunction, then we have placed a wâw conjunction between the main verb and its subject, which just is not done in the Hebrew.

3.    Most of the time, even when they is a plural subject which is a list of two or more people; often, the first person on the list is associated with the verb (which is then in the masculine singular) and the others are associated with the verb by being associated with the first person named.

Now let’s step back, and see if that will allow us to interpret the placement of v. 29a. We have a long list of descendants of Benjamin and have concentrated primarily on the descendants of Elpaal (who was the actual son of Shaharaim who was a descendant of Benjamin). Now, is it reasonable for this extended family to live in Jerusalem and in Gibeon? Certainly. There is no problem with that. Would it then be reasonable to mention the family of the one who founded Gibeon? Certainly, that is a natural flow.

On the other hand, it is also quite natural for that extended family to live in Jerusalem and for the Jerusalem records to focus just on the Jerusalem ancestors. Then the compiler of this chapter also takes some genealogical records from Gibeon and lists them as well, particularly because they relate to Saul, Israel’s first king. So, either interpretation makes sense. However, all that being said, the next passage straightens this out for us:

And her son the firstborn Abdon, and Zur and Kish and Baal [and Ner] and Nadab and Fedor and Ahio and Zecher and Mikloth. And Mikloth sired Shimeah. And, in fact, they, opposite their brothers, lived in Jerusalem with their brothers.



And her firstborn son was Abdon, [followed by] Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, Fedor, Ahio, Zecker and Mikloth. Also Mikloth was the father of Shimeah. In fact, these lived with their relatives opposite their kinsmen in Jerusalem.

Let’s see what others have done with this passage:


1Chron. 9:36–38 (literally)      ...and his son the firstborn, Abdon and Zur and Kish and Baal and Ner and Nadab and Gedor and Ahio and Zechariah and Mikloth. And Mikloth sired Shimeam and, in fact they, opposite their brothers, lived in Jerusalem with their brothers.

CEV                                       ...along with their sons, who were born in the following order: Abdon, Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zecher, and Mikloth the father of Shimeah. Some of them went to live in Jerusalem near their relatives.

The Emphasized Bible           ...and his firstborn son, Abdon, and Zur and Kish, and Baal and Ner and Nadah,— and Gedor, and Ahio, and Zecher. And ║Mikloth║ begot Shimeah, —moreover also ║they║ <over against their brethren> did dwell in Jerusalem, with their own brethren.

JPS (Tanakh)                        His first-born son: Abdon; then Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zecher. Mikloth begot Shimeah. And they dwelt in Jerusalem opposite their kinsmen, with their kinsmen.

NASB                                    ...and his first-born son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, and Zecher. And Mikloth became the father of Shimeah [In ch. 9:38, Shimeam]. And they also lived with their relatives [lit., brothers] in Jerusalem opposite their other relatives [lit., brothers].

NLT                                        ...and his oldest son was named Abdon. Jeiel’s other sons were Zur, Kish, baal, Ner, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah [as in parallel text at 9:38, Hebrew reads Zecker, a variant name for Zechariah], and Mikloth, who was the father of Shimeam [as in parallel text at 9:38; Hebrew reads Shimeah, a variant name for Shimeam]. All these families lived near each other in Jerusalem.

The Septuagint                      And her firstborn son was Abdon, and Sur, and Kis, and Baal, and Nadab, and Ner, and Bedur and his brother, and Zacchur, and Makeloth. And Makeloth begot Samaa; for these dwelt in Jerusalem in the presence of their brothers with their brothers.

TEV                                       ...and his oldest son, Abdon. His other sons were Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah, and Mikloth, the father of Shimeah. Their descendants lived in Jerusalem near other families of their clan.

Young's Updated LT              ...and his son, the first-born is Abdon, and Zur, and Kish, and Baal, and Nadab, and Gedor, and Ahio, and Zecher; and Mikloth fathered Shimeah. And they also over-against their brothers dwelt in Jerusalem with their brothers.

We notice quite a difference between the Septuagint and the Hebrew—the firstborn is called her son in the Greek. Recall that the Septuagint is a translation made from manuscripts which pre-date our present manuscripts by over a millennium. However, the Septuagint is an uneven translation, sometimes paraphrasing to a point where the original meaning is lost. However, in this book, the translation is reasonable and a difference in gender I believe is significant. I believe that there is a built-in prejudice in favor of men over women and would not be surprised that her was changed to his sometime after the Septuagint had been assembled. The use of the possessive pronoun her would be in line with the mention of the wife Maacah in the previous verse and the lack of one Jeiel. Then we have her [or, his] son of the firstborn followed by the proper noun Abdon. We then have a series of wâw conjunction’s followed by proper nouns. Recall the name Ahio? It also means his brother. We find that here as well, but it is preceded and followed by a wâw conjunction, meaning that it is probably a proper name. The proper names continue to the end of v. 31, which ends with Zecher in the pausal form. These men are only found in this genealogical list and the one which is found in 1Sam. 9:35–44. In that list, however, Zecher is Zechariah. Although there are two Kish’s named in 1Sam. 9:36–39 passage, there is only one here. The one named here is not Saul’s father, but his Great Uncle. Also, we typically associate Baal with the Canaanite deity (as well we should). However, the word also means owner, master, lord or husband; therefore, it is not necessarily a problem that a Hebrew so named his son.

One name which shows up in the Greek but not in the Hebrew is Ner. His name is found in 1Chron. 9:36 as well, and therefore belongs here. His name also continues this line (see v. 33a). Otherwise, it just shows up out of nowhere. Also what appears to have dropped out from the Hebrew text is and Mikloth (his name is found in the Greek). There are several differences between the Hebrew and the Greek in this passage, and what is found in the Greek appears to be the most reasonable. Although the REB, NEB, NAB and NJB all included the addition of and Mikloth in their translations, none of them rendered the possessive pronoun gender as feminine. Many listed the name Mikloth once, followed by, [who was] the father of Shimeah. Footnote Such a rendering is half-way between the Greek and the Hebrew.

The Line to and from Saul

1.Benjamin ➔ Aphiah ➔ Becorath ➔ Zeror (1Sam. 9:1)

a.Jeiel, the founder of Gibeon, possibly a descendant of Benjamin, whose wife was Maacah (1Chron. 8:29 9:35). Possibly known also as Abiel (1Sam. 9:1 14:51).

i.Abdon, Zur (1Chron. 8:30 9:36)

ii.Kish1 (1Chron. 8:30 9:36)

(1)Shimei ➜ Jair ➜ Mordecai (Esther 2:5)

iii.Baal (1Chron. 8:30 9:36)

iv.Ner (1Sam. 14:51 1Chron. 8:33 9:36, 39 and the Greek of 1Chron. 8:30)

(1)Kish2 (1Sam. 9:1 14:51 1Chron. 8:33 9:39)

(a)Saul (1Sam. 9:2 14:51 1Chron. 8:33 9:39). Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, daughter of Ahinmaaz (1Sam. 14:50) Saul’s line will be continued in 1Chron. 8:40

(i)Jonathan (1Sam. 14:49 1Chron. 8:33b 9:39–40)

1)Merib-baal (Saul’s line will be continued for eleven generations in 1Chron. 8:40). He is also known as Mephibosheth (2Sam. 9:1–4)

a)Mica (2Sam. 9:12)

(ii)Malchi-shua, Abinadab (who is probably equivalent to Ishvi—1Sam. 14:49) and Eshbaal (who is equivalent to Ishbosheth—2Sam. 2:8). 1Sam. 14:49 1Chron. 8:33b 9:39

(iii)His two daughters, Merib and Michal (1Sam. 14:49).

(2)Abner (1Sam. 14:51).*

v.Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zecher (1Chron. 9:36–37)

vi.Mikloth (1Chron. 8:32 9:37–38).

(1)Shimeah (or, Shimeam) 1Chron. 8:32 9:38

*There is some disagreement as to Abner and Ner’s exact relationship to Saul. 1Sam. 14:50 reads: And the name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam, the daughter of Ahinmaaz. And the name of the captain of his army was Abner the son of Ner (or Abner ben Ner), Saul’s uncle. In our passage, Ner is clearly Saul’s grandfather, making Abner Saul’s uncle. This is not in conflict with 1Sam. 14:50, where the designation Sauls uncle could just as easily apply to Abner as is does to Ner. Footnote

When Critics Ask had a short piece on Ner and just exactly where did Ner fit into the line of Saul. I must admit that I studied and studied their explanation, which required having two different Ner’s, and I did not see the reason for requiring two Ner’s. Then I realized, the difference between Geisler and Howe’s approach was that they only had one Kish. Part of their problem was they failed to note that 1Chron. 8:30 should have included Ner (see 1Chron. 9:36), making the family line easier to follow. I’ve include their chart on the off-chance you see a similar one elsewhere. However, my genealogy is in line with 1Chron. 9:35–36, 39 and theirs is not. In those passages, we have Kish1 and Ner being brothers and sons of Jeiel (vv. 35–36) and Ner being the father of Kish, the father of Saul (v. 39).



┌─────────── ┴──────────┐

     Kish                                    Ner2


     Saul                                    Abner Footnote

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The Line of Saul through his Son Jonathan

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In the final line of v. 32, we have the wâw conjunction followed by the conjunction aph (ף ַא) [pronounced ahf ] and it means in fact, furthermore, also, yea, even, indeed. Strong’s #637 BDB #64. This is followed by the masculine plural of the personal pronoun hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh], which means they, these. Strong’s #1992 (And #2007?) BDB #241. This is followed by the proposition neged (דגנ) [pronounced NEH-ged], which means, as a substantive, what is conspicuous; and, as a preposition, in front of, in the sight of, opposite to, before (in the sense of being in front of). Strong’s #5048 BDB #617. This is followed by their brothers which is followed by 3rd person plural, Qal perfect of to inhabit, to dwell, to sit; which is followed by in Jerusalem. Then we have with their brothers, giving us: And, in fact, they lived opposite their brothers in Jerusalem with their brothers. We might render this: In fact, these lived with their relatives opposite their kinsmen in Jerusalem. The idea is that they lived in Gibeon with their own relatives opposite their relatives who lived in Jerusalem. In other words, this particular line lived primarily in Jerusalem and in Gibeon.

And Ner was a father of Kish and Kish was a father of Saul...



Now, Ner sired Kish and Kish sired Saul.

First, what others have done:


1Chron. 9:39a (literally)         And Ner sired Kish and Kish sired Saul...

The Amplified Bible                Ner was the father of Kish, and Kish of [King] Saul...

JPS (Tanakh)                        Ner begot Kish, Kish begot Saul,...

NASB                                    And Ner became the father of Kish, and Kish became the father of Saul,...

The Septuagint                      And Ner begot Kis, and Kis begot Saul,...

Young's Updated LT              And Ner fathered Kish, and Kish fathered Saul,...


The verb which is repeated in this verse is the 3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect of yâlad (ד ַלָי) [pronounced yaw-LAHD], which means to give birth, to bear, to be born, to bear, to bring forth, to beget. With a male, and in the Hiphil, or causative stem, this would be better rendered sired, fathered, became the father of, became the ancestor of. Strong’s #3205 BDB #408. The literal rendering of this verse is: And Ner was a father of Kish and Kish was a father of Saul and Saul was a father of Jonathan and Malchishua and Abinadab and Eshbaal.

Saul, of course, was the first king over all Israel.

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Saul’s Descendants

And Saul was a father of Jonathan and Malchishua and Abinadab and Eshbaal.



Now, Saul was the father of Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab and Eshbaal.

First, what others have done:


1Chron. 9:39b (literally)         ...and Saul sired Jonathan and Malchishua and Abinadab and Eshbaal.

The Amplified Bible                ...the father of Jonathan, Malchishua, Abinadab, and Esh-baal (Ishbosheth).

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...Saul begot Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal;...

NASB                                    ...and Saul became the father of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab, and Eshbaal.

The Septuagint                      ...and Saul begot Jonathan, and Melchisue and Aminadab, and Asabal.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Saul fathered Jonathan, and Malchi-Shua, and Abinadab, and Esh-Baal.

Saul’s son Jonathan had a marvelous bond with David. Abinadab is possibly equivalent to Ishvi in 1Sam. 14:49, where Ishvi is mentioned, but Abinadab is not. Another possibility, offered by Barnes, is that Ishvi is the second son who died early on. Footnote He bases this on the order given in 1Sam. 14:49 (which is Jonathan, Ishvi and Malchi-shua) and the order given here, which is Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Esh-baal. Leaving off Abinadab and Eshbaal was not an oversight in that passage, but indicative of when the passage was originally written—after the birth of Malchi-shua and prior to the birth of Abinadab and Eshbaal. This passage, written long after all of their births (and deaths) looks back on the adult sons of Saul, which apparently did not include Ishvi. Eshbaal is definitely equivalent to Ishbosheth, who is named in 2Sam. 2:8. Footnote Several times in Scripture, Bosheth will be substituted for Baal so that there is no connection between the heathen deity and the person whose name ends in Baal.

Baal vs. Bosheth

Baal (a Canaanite Deity)

Bosheth (which means shame)

Eshbaal, the fourth son of Saul (1Chron. 8:33 9:39), who is the only son not mentioned as dying in battle with Saul (1Sam. 31:2 1Chron. 10:2).

Ishbosheth, also a son of Saul (2Sam. 2:8–11 4:5, 8)

Merib-baal, a son of Jonathan (1Chron. 8:34 9:40).

Known as Mephib-bosheth in the book of Samuel (2Sam. 4:4 9:6, 10–13 16:1, 4 19:24–25, 30 21:7)

Beeiada, a son of David’s in 1Chron. 14:7.

Called Eliada in 2Sam. 5:16 1Chron. 3:8. We would have expected the name Beeiada in 1Chronicles, but it is possible that his name was taken from the same list in 2Samuel and in 1Chronicles.

Baal was apparently not an uncommon name in the line of Benjamin (1Chron. 8:30, 33, 34). However, the person who wrote Samuel was loath to use the term baal, so he used instead bosheth (which means shame in the Hebrew). This will be discussed in greater detail in 2Sam. 4:4.

Barnes gives more of a lengthy explanation here. Footnote Until the worship of the Phœnician god Baal, introduced by Ahab (who would rule about 200 years after Saul), the name baal was not a name with strong negative connotations in Israel. It also meant God, master in Hebrew. Esh-baal would mean man of God. A possibly problem with this explanation is that Samuel (at least 1Samuel) was written long before Chronicles. We would expect Chronicles, in retrospect, to list the names correctly. However, it is possible that 2Samuel was written during the time when baal worship was at its most repugnant stage to a man of God.

Now, this raises a question: just what exactly is a man’s name? That is, even if the name Eshbaal is repugnant to a particular author, does he have the right to change that name in Scripture? Does a writer of Scripture have the option of writing in a new name for those he finds disdainful? In this portion of Scripture, we are merely examining records which were compiled by a particular author. It is likely that the author of Samuel gathered his information from a variety of sources. What appears to be the case is that, years later, Merib-baal was known to Israelites as Mephib-bosheth. If the author of Samuel had used Merib-baal, contemporaries and those a few generations removed from him would not know about whom he spoke. Or, in the alternative, they would think that these men were given names that glorified Baal, the god of the Phœnicians. What we have is not quite a nickname (like Honest Abe for Abraham Lincoln), but something akin to that.

You may ask, if Ishbosheth and Mephibosheth are their original names, what father would name his sons by such names? Mephibosheth means he scatters shame and Ishbosheth means a man of shame. When it was clear to Saul that Jonathan was allied with David, he told Jonathan that he was a shame to their family (1Sam. 20:30). Therefore, Jonathan may have named his son Mephibosheth as the scattering of his seed (i.e., for procreation) was a scattering of shame (at least according to his father). I don’t, however, have a reason why Saul would have named his youngest son a man of shame. This does not mean that there was no reason for this name—it may simply mean that we don’t know what Saul was thinking at the time.

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In this family line of Benjamin, these are the first ones about whom the Bible has something to say; however, we will reserve the details for when we delve deeper into the book of Samuel.

Saul had two daughters as well, both mentioned in 1Sam. 14:49: Merib and Michal. One of Saul’s plots to kill David revolved around these two women. He first offered David Merib to wife, implying that even though David did not have a dowry great enough to put down for a king’s daughter, that his continued success against the Philistines could count toward that (Saul had hoped that David would die in battle against the Philistines). David declined the offer (1Sam. 18:6–19). Michal, Saul’s younger daughter, fell in love with David, and Saul offered her to David for the dowry of 100 Philistines foreskins, believing David would die in the process of collecting these foreskins. David accepted this offer and gathered double the number of foreskins required (1Sam. 18:20–29).

And a son of Jonathan, Merib-baal; and Merib-baal fathered Micah.



Jonathan fathered Merib-baal, who was the father of Micah.

Here is how others rendered this verse:


1Chron. 9:40 (literally)           And a son of Jonathan, Merib-baal and Meri-Baal sired Micah.

The Amplified Bible                The son of Jonathan was Merib-baal (Mephibosheth), the father of Micah.

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal; and Merib-baal begot Micah.

NASB                                    And the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal, and Merib-baal became the father of Micah.

The Septuagint                      And the son of Jonathan, Meribaal; and Meribaal fathered Micha.

Young's Updated LT              And a son of Jonathan is Merib-Baal, and Merib-Baal fathered Micah.

This is the first difference between 1Chron. 8 and 9 which I have caught. The letter bêyth was left off of Merib-baal’s name in 1Chron. 9:40 the second time it is found in v. 40. Obviously a scribal error.

The Hebrew is, literally, And a son of Jonathan, Merib-baal; and Merib-baal fathered Micah. Merib-baal (which means striver with Baal—he was also known as Mephibosheth) was apparently dropped by his nanny when fleeing (or he tripped and fell himself). In any case, he was crippled in both feet (2Sam. 4:4 9:3, 13). When David came to the throne, most of Saul’s descendants were murdered (not necessarily all by David or by his command). Because of this, David sought any descendant of Saul’s to whom he could show grace. Apparently, the only remaining descendant of Saul was Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan and grandson of Saul. David brought him into his home for meals and restored all of Saul’s land and servants to him (2Sam. 9). Mephibosheth fathers Mica (2Sam. 9:12). We will examine the meanings of Merib-baal’s name when we get to that point in 2Samuel.

And sons of Micah: Pithon and Melech and Tarea and Ahaz.



And the sons of Micah were Pithon, Melech, Tarea and Ahaz.

We’ll quickly look at a couple translations:


1Chron. 9:41 (literally)           And sons of Micah: Pithon and Melech and Tahrea.

The Septuagint                      And the sons of Micha: Phithon and Melach and Tharach and Achaz.

Young’s Literal Translation   And sons of Micah: Pithon, and Melech, and Tarea, and Ahaz.

Here we have the second difference between 8:33–40 and 9:35–44: the name of Ahaz is left out of 1Chron. 9 (although it will appear in the next verse).

Mephibosheth apparently had a young son, Micah, when he was blessed by David (2Sam. 9:5–13). Apart from this mention in Scripture, and the line given here and in 1Chron. 9, we know nothing more about this genealogy or any of these particular people. In 1Sam. 9:41, Tarea is Tahrea.

And Ahaz fathered Jehoaddah and Jehoaddah fathered Alemeth and Azmaveth and Zimri. And Zimri fathered Moza and Moza fathered Binea. Raphah, his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son.



Then Ahaz fathered Jehoaddah, who fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth and Zimri. Zimri fathered Moza and Moza fathered Binea. His son was Raphah, Raphah’s son was Eleasah and Eleasah’s son was Azel.

First, we’ll look at a couple of translations:


1Chron. 9:42–43 (literally)      And Ahaz sired Jarah and Jarah sired Alemeth and Azmaveth and Zimri and Zimri sired Moza and Moza sired Binea. And Raphah, his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son.

The Septuagint                      And Achaz fathered Jada and Jada fathered Salæmath and Asmoth and Zambri; and Zambri fathered Mæsa; and Mæsa fathered Baana: Rhaphæa his, Elasa his son, Esel his son.

Young's Updated LT              ...and Ahaz fathered Jehoadah, and Jehoadah fathered Alemeth, and Azmaveth, and Zimri; and Zimri fathered Moza, and Moza fathered Binea, Raphah is his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son.

It is here where we have one of the greatest differences between the line in 1Chron. 8 and 1Chron. 9. That’s with the name of Jehoaddah. Therefore, the chart below is apropos:

Jehoaddah or Jarah?







yehôw׳addâh (הָ-עהי) [pronounced yehoh-ģahd-DAW]. Strong’s #3085 BDB #221.

ya׳erâh (הָרע-י) [pronounced yaģ-RAW]. Strong’s #3294 BDB #421.

̓Ιαδά (transliterated Iada)

̓Ιαδά (transliterated Iada)

You will note that the Greek is identical. The differences between 8:36 and 9:42 in the Hebrew are fewer than you might think. There was the addition of ה in 8:36 and the common mixup between the resh and the dâhleth (a single dot in the middle of a letter generally doubles that consonant).

Interestingly enough, the Hebrew manuscript that the Greeks used must have read ya׳edâh rather than ya׳erâh, which matches neither Hebrew reading (although the difference is simply between the resh and the dâhleth again). Since there is no equivalent in the Greek to the ׳ayin or to the , these letters are left out. The iota often replaced the Greek yodh.

Jehoaddah, Alemeth, Zimri, Moza, Binea, Raphah and Azel are found only here, as we have come to expect. Azmaveth is too far down the line of Saul to be equivalent to the Azmaveth found in 2Sam. 23:31 1Chron. 11:33 12:3—these are men (or possibly one man) who are associated with David’s fighting forces. In 1Chron. 9:43, Raphah is Rephaiah (in the Greek, the difference is a mark which I don’t recognize—like a sideways colon over the iota in the second passage).

The third difference is that we have a wâw conjunction prior to Rephaiah in 1Chron. 9 ( a difference found in the Greek as well), indicating that this difference predates 100 b.c.).

And to Azel six sons: and these [are] their names: Azrikam, Bocheru, and Ishmael and Sheariah and Obadiah and Hanan—all of these [were the] sons of Azel.



And these are the names of Azel’s six sons: Azrikam, his firstborn; Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, Hanan and Asa—all of these were sons of Azel.

Again, we’ll only look at a couple translations:


1Chron. 9:44 (literally)           And to Azel six sons and these [are] their names: Azrikam, Bocheru [or, Azrikam, his firstborn] and Ishmael and Sheariah and Obadiah and Hanan—these sons of Azel.

The Septuagint                      And Esel six sons, and these their names: Ezricain his first-born, and Ismael and Saraia and Abdia and Anan and Asa.

Young's Updated LT              And to Azel are six sons, and these are their names: Azrikam, Bocher, and Ishmael, and Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. All these are sons of Azel.

Again, the difference between the two Hebrew passages is slight: all of is not found in 1Chron. 9:44.

There are, again, obvious differences between the Greek and the Hebrew. The Greek has his firstborn (which is Bocher); and the Greek has the additional name Asa, which apparently dropped out of the Hebrew over the next millennium. Since there is no wâw conjunction between Azrikam and Bocher, it is more likely that we should interpret this as does the Septuagint. You will note that I followed the Hebrew with my first translation, and the Greek with the second (the parallel verse in the Hebrew of 1Chron. 9:44 matches this verse; the parallel verse in the Greek of 1Chron. 9:44 matches the Greek of this passage). As ususal, none of these men are found elsewhere in Scripture.

And sons of Eshek, his brother: Ulam, his firstborn; Jeush, the second; and Eliphelet, the third.



And the sons of his brother Eshek were Ulam, his firstborn, Jeush the second and Eliphelet the third.

There is no parallel to this passage in 1Chron. 9. However, you have noted each minor difference which I have pointed out, and none of these differences amount to anything more than a slip of the pen (and, in at least one case, this slip of the pen goes back over 2000 years). Here is what others have done:


The Septuagint                      And the sons of Asel his brother: Ælam, his firstborn, and Jas the second, and Eliphelet the third.

Young's Literal Translation    And sons of Eshek his brother: Ulam his first-born, Jeush the second, and Eliphelet the third.

Eshek would be the brother of Azel, mentioned twice in the previous verse. He and his sons are found only here; they are not even found in 1Chron. 9. However, Ulam’s line is given mention in the next and final verse of this chapter:

And so are sons of Ulam men—warriors of might, [the] benders of bow. And causing to multiply sons and sons of sons, one hundred and fifty.

All these from sons of Benjamin.



And the sons of Ulam were men—tough soldiers, archers. There were 150 sons and descendants of Ulam alive at one time.

All these men were sons of Benjamin.

Let’s see what others have done:


JPS (Tanakh)                        The descendants of Ulam—men of substance, who drew the bow, had many children and grandchildren—one hundred and fifty; all these were Benjamites.

NASB                                    And the sons of Ulam were mighty men of valor, archers, and had many sons and grandsons, 150 of them. All these were of the sons of Benjamin.

The Septuagint                      And the sons of Ælam were mighty men, bending the bow, and multiplying sons and grandsons, a hundred and fifty. All these were of the sons of Benjamin.

TEV                                       Ulam’s sons were outstanding soldiers and archers. He had hundred and fifty sons and grandsons in all. All those named above were members of the tribe of Benjamin.

Young's Updated LT              And the sons of Ulam are men mighty in valour, treading bow, and multiplying sons and sons’s sons, a hundred and fifty. All these are of the sons of Benjamin.


We begin with and are sons of Ulam, men... Ulam takes us out 13 generations from Saul, which possibly makes him or his sons contemporaries of Hezekiah, who is 13 generations removed from David (1Chron. 4:41). Then we have a common phrase in the Hebrew, which begins with the masculine plural construct of gibbôwr (ר  ̣) [pronounced gib-BOAR], which means strong men, mighty men, soldiers. Strong’s #1368 BDB #150. This is affixed to the masculine singular noun chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil ] and it means efficiency, army, strength, valour, power, might. Strong’s #2428 BDB #298. And the sons of Ulam are men, soldiers of valour...


Then we have the masculine plural construct, Qal active participle of dârake ( ַר ָ) [pronounced daw-RAHKe], which means to march, to tread over. When use in conjunction with a bow, it means to bend (1Chron. 5:18 Psalm 7:12 58:7 Jer. 51:3). Strong’s #1869 BDB #201. This is affixed to the feminine singular noun qesheth (ת∵ש∵ק) [pronounced KEH-sheth], the very commonly used noun for bow. Strong’s #7198 BDB #905. ...benders of the bow...


We then have the wâw conjunction followed by the masculine plural, Hiphil participle of râbvâh (ה ָב ָר) [pronounced rawb-VAWH], which means to become much, to become many, to multiply, to increase in population and in whatever else. In the Hiphil, it means to cause to become many, to make much, to multiply, to increase, to enlarge, to cause to greatly increase. Strong’s #7235 BDB #915. This is followed by the masculine plural noun sons and sons of sons. Then we have 150, giving us: ...and they multiplied sons and grandsons—150.

The final line closes out not this verse but this chapter. We have the masculine singular construct all, which is followed by these. Then we have the min preposition, the masculine plural construct sons and the proper noun Benjamin. All of these [are the] sons of Benjamin.

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The Line of Saul through his Son Jonathan

The Sons (and Daughters) of Saul Through his Wife Ahinoam

1.    Jonathan (1Chron. 8:33, 34 9:39–40)

       a.    Merib-baal (1Chron. 8:34, 35 9:40), known as Mephibosheth in the book of Samuel (2Sam. 4:4 9:3, 6, 10–13).

               i.      Mica (or, Micah) (2Sam. 9:12 1Chron. 8:34, 35 9:40–41)

                       (1)   Pithon, Melech, Tarea (or, Tahrea) (1Chron. 8:35 9:41)

                       (2)   Ahaz (1Chron. 8:35, 36 9:42)

                               (a)   Jehoaddah (or, Jarah) (1Chron. 8:36 9:42)

                                      (i)    Alemeth, Azmaveth (1Chron. 8:36 9:42)

                                      (ii)   Zimri (1Chron. 8:36 9:42)

                                              1)    Moza ➔ Binea ➔ Rephaiah ➔ Eleasah (1Chron. 8:36–37 9:42–43)

                                                      a)    Azel (1Chron. 8:37, 38 9:44)

                                                              i)     Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, Hanan (1Chron. 8:38 9:44)

                                                      b)    Eshek

                                                              i)     Ulam, Jeush and Eliphelet (1Chron. 8:39)

       b.    Ishvi, Malchi-shua (1Sam. 14:49), Abinadab (possibly equivalent to Ishvi in 1Sam. 14:49), Eshbaal (1Chron. 8:33 9:39–40) who was also known as Ishbosheth (2Sam. 2:8).

       c.     Daughter Merib (1Sam. 14:49)

               i.      Merib had five sons by Adriel the Meholathite, who were given to the Gibeonites because Saul had sought to exterminate them (2Sam. 21:8).

       d.    Daughter Michal (1Sam. 14:49), who married David.

2.    Saul also had a mistress, Mizpah, who apparently bore him two sons (2Sam. 21:8–11).

       a.    Armoni and Mephibosheth (2Sam. 21:8). These were two of the seven men offered to the Gibeonites because of Saul’s attempt at racial cleansing. Certainly, prior to us getting to this passage, you may wonder about this incident. My educated guess is that these seven were accomplices in this evil plot of Saul’s (the incident to which this passage refers is not actually recorded in Scripture).

There are several opinions as to how far into time this list goes. Although that might be an important issue, I don’t see why right now. Keil and Delitzsch place the end of this generation about 100 years prior to the Babylonian exile while Bertheau places them after the exile. While Keil and Delitzsch are able to carefully trace this line to Merib-baal, who was 5 when his father Jonathan and grandfather Saul died together in battle, then it boils down to, do you assign 25 or 30 years to each generation? Furthermore, what if a generation is skipped (or several). Footnote Given this information, I don’t really see how we could place these lines in time based upon what is given to us here. We can rest assured that the end of the line were alive when these records for Chronicles were written.

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The Line to and from Saul

We have spent a great deal of time mentioning hundreds of names, the vast majority of whom are never mentioned in Scripture. There are, at any given time in the world, millions of believers. All of their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This Book of Life is a roster of all those who have believed in Christ Jesus. Some of them are men who are known only by their name, which signifies that they believed in Christ Jesus. There are others whose lives meant something, and more than just their name is recorded. Would you prefer to leave a legacy like David, Solomon and Jephthah? Or like Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah and Hanan? We have the freedom in God’s plan to either have a legacy or not.

At this point, we may want to go to 1Chron. 9:35–44, which we have covered in part in this chapter, and which deals with the genealogy of Saul. Then we will return to 1Sam. 9:2, from whence we came.

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