The books of Chronicles are, in a great measure, repetitions of what is in the books of Samuel and of the Kings, yet there are some excellent useful things in them which we find not elsewhere. The FIRST BOOK traces the rise of the Jewish people from Adam, and afterward gives an account of the reign of David. In the SECOND BOOK the narrative is continued, and relates the progress and end of the kingdom of Judah; also it notices the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity. Jerome says, that whoever supposes himself to have knowledge of the Scriptures without being acquainted with the books of Chronicles, deceives himself. Historical facts passed over elsewhere, names, and the connexion of passages are to be found here, and many questions concerning the gospel are explained.
Genealogies, Adam to Abraham. (1-27) The descendants of Abraham. (28-54)
Verses 1-27 This chapter, and many that follow, repeat the genealogies, or lists of fathers and children in the Bible history, and put them together, with many added. When compared with other places, there are some differences found; yet we must not therefore stumble at the word, but bless God that the things necessary to salvation are plain enough. The original of the Jewish nation is here traced from the first man that God created, and is thereby distinguished from the obscure, fabulous, and absurd origins assigned to other nations. But the nations now are all so mingled with one another, that no one nation, nor the greatest part of any, is descended entirely from any of one nation, nor the greatest part of any, is descended entirely from any of these fountains. Only this we are sure of, that God has created of one blood all nations of men; they are all descended from one Adam, one Noah. Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? ( Malachi 2:10 ) .
Verses 28-54 The genealogy is from hence confined to the posterity of Abraham. Let us take occasion from reading these lists of names, to think of the multitudes that have gone through this world, have done their parts in it, and then quitted it. As one generation, even of sinful men, passes away, another comes. Ec. 1:4 ; Nu. 32:14 , and will do so while the earth remains. Short is our passage through time into eternity. May we be distinguished as the Lord's people.
1 Chronicles 1:1-23 . ADAM'S LINE TO NOAH.
1. Adam, &c.--"Begat" must be understood. Only that one member of the family is mentioned, who came in the direct order of succession.
4-23. Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth--The three sons of this patriarch are enumerated, partly because they were the founders of the new world, and partly because the fulfilment of Noah's prophecy ( Genesis 9:25-27 ) could not otherwise appear to have been verified.
12. Casluhim (of whom came the Philistines), and Caphtorim--a better rendering is, "and Casluhim, of whom came the Philistim and Caphtorim." They were brethren, the sons of Casluhim, and at first dwelt together, whence their names are used interchangeably. The Caphtorim are described as inhabiting Azzah, or Gaza, the seat of the Philistines.
14-17. the Jebusite, &c.--At 1 Chronicles 1:14-17 the names are not those of individuals, but of people who all sprang from Canaan; and as several of them became extinct or were amalgamated with their brethren, their national appellations are given instead of the personal names of their ancestors.
17. Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech--or, "Mash"; these were the children of Aram, and grandsons of Shem ( Genesis 10:23 ).
18. Arphaxad begat Shelah--Cainan, the father's name, is omitted here. (See Luke 3:36 ).
22. Ebal--or, "Obal" ( Genesis 10:28 ).
1 Chronicles 1:24-28 . SHEM'S LINE TO ABRAHAM.
24-27. Shem, &c.--This comprises a list of ten, inclusive of Abraham.
1 Chronicles 1:29-31 . SONS OF ISHMAEL.
29. These are their generations--the heads of his twelve tribes. The great northern desert of Arabia, including the entire neck, was colonized by these tribes; and if we can recover, in the modern geography of this part of the country, Arab tribes bearing the names of those patriarchs, that is, names corresponding with those preserved in the original catalogue of Scripture, we obtain at once so many evidences, not of mere similarity, but of absolute identification [FORSTER].
Nebaioth--gave rise to the Nabathæans of the classic, and the Beni Nabat of Oriental writers.
Kedar--the Arab tribe, El Khedeyre, on the coast of Hedgar.
Abdeel--Abdilla, the name of a tribe in Yemen.
30. Dumah--Dumah and Tema, the great Arab tribes of Beni Teman. Thus this writer [Historical Geography of Arabia] traces the names of all the heads of the twelve tribes of Ishmael as perpetuated in the clans or tribes of the Arabs in the present day.
1 Chronicles 1:32 1 Chronicles 1:33 . SONS OF KETURAH.
32. sons of Keturah--These became founders of nomadic tribes in the north of Arabia and Syria, as Midian of the Midianites ( Genesis 36:35 , Judges 6:2 ).
and Shuah--from whom Bildad sprang ( Job 2:11 ).
1 Chronicles 1:34-42 . POSTERITY OF ABRAHAM BY ESAU.
36. sons of Eliphaz--the tribe Adites, in the center country of the Saracens, so called from his mother, Adah ( Genesis 36:10 ).
Teman--gave rise to the land of Teman, near the head of the Red Sea.
Omar--the tribe Beni-Amma, settled at the northern point of Djebel Shera (Mount Seir).
Zephi--the tribe Dzaf.
Gatam--Katam, inhabited by the tribe Al Saruat, or "people of Sarah."
Kenaz--the tribe Aenezes, a tribe whose settlement lies in the neighborhood of Syria.
Amalek--the Beni Malak of Zohran, and the Beni Maledj of the Shat el Arab.
37. Reuel--a powerful branch of the great Aeneze tribe, the Rowalla Arabs.
Shammah--the great tribe Beni Shammar. In the same way, the names of the other kings and dukes are traced in the modern tribes of Arabia. But it is unnecessary to mention any more of these obscure nomads, except to notice that Jobab ( 1 Chronicles 1:44 ), one of the kings of Edom, is considered to be Job, and that his seat was in the royal city of Dinahab ( Genesis 36:32 , 1 Chronicles 1:43 ), identified with O'Daeb, a well-known town in the center of Al Dahna, a great northern desert in the direction of Chaldea and the Euphrates [FORSTER].