1 Chronicles 5:1

Reuben

1 The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (he was the firstborn, but when he defiled his father’s marriage bed, his rights as firstborn were given to the sons of Joseph son of Israel; so he could not be listed in the genealogical record in accordance with his birthright,

Read 1 Chronicles 5:1 Using Other Translations

Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but, forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright.
The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father's couch, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, so that he could not be enrolled as the oldest son;
The oldest son of Israel was Reuben. But since he dishonored his father by sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, his birthright was given to the sons of his brother Joseph. For this reason, Reuben is not listed in the genealogical records as the firstborn son.

What does 1 Chronicles 5:1 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
1 Chronicles 5:1

Now the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel
Are as follow in ( 1 Chronicles 5:3 ) where the account begins; for what comes between this and that is in a parenthesis:

for he was the firstborn;
of Jacob by his wife Leah; that must be owned, and Jacob allows it, ( Genesis 49:3 ) and yet the genealogy in this book begins not with him, as might on that account be expected; the reason follows:

but forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed:
by lying with Bilhah his concubine:

his birthright was given unto the sons of Joseph the son of Israel;
his beloved son by his beloved wife Rachel and so had a double portion given him; his two sons being equally ranked with the other sons of Jacob, and became distinct tribes, and each had their lot in the land of Canaan, see ( Genesis 48:5 Genesis 48:22 ) compared with ( Deuteronomy 21:17 )

and the genealogy is not to be reckoned after the birthright;
or, "but the genealogy" F15; neither after the birthright of Reuben, which he had by nature, being Jacob's firstborn; nor after the birthright of Joseph, which be had by his father's gift, as it might be thought it should; the reason of which follows.


FOOTNOTES:

F15 "Nee tamen", Tigurine version.
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