1 Chronicles 7 – “The Geneaologies of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher”

gallery-cattle-crosswaterHebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The genealogies of Issachar, Benjamin, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Asher are set forth.

II. Photo
A brief narrative interrupts the genealogy of Ephraim: “… The men of Gath, born in the land, killed them because they had gone down to take their cattle.” (v. 21)

III. Important Verses
vv. 14-15: The sons of Manasseh: Asriel, whom his Aramean concubine bore; she bore Machir the father of Gilead. And Machir took wives for Huppim and for Shuppim. The name of his sister was Maacah. And the name of the second was Zelophehad; and Zelophehad had daughters.
vv. 20-23: The sons of Ephraim: Shuthelah, his son Bered, his son Tahath, his son Eleadah, his son Tahath, his son Zabad, his son Shuthelah, also Ezer and Elead. The men of Gath, born in the land, killed them because they had gone down to take their cattle. And Ephraim their father mourned many days, and his brothers came to comfort him. He cohabited with his wife, who conceived and bore a son; and she named him Beriah, because it occurred when there was misfortune in his house.

IV. Outline
1-5. The families of Issachar
6-12. The families of Benjamin
13. The families of Naphtali
14-19. The families of Manasseh
20-29. The families of Ephraim
30-40. The families of Asher

V. Comment
Chapter 7 introduces the genealogies of six tribes, and chapter 8 will grant the tribe of Benjamin greater attention. As opposed to the lengthy and detailed genealogical lists of the previous chapters, scholars categorize the brief lists of our chapter as “muster calls.” De Vries writes in regards to vv. 1-5: “This is another muster roll – apparently the only sort of tribal record available to our genealogist… The muster roll has lost its original function. In [the chronicler’s] era Issachar probably no longer existed as a separate tribe, and certainly no longer maintained either a muster roll or a body of men to fill it. For [the chronicler] it does two important things: (1) maintains a place for Issachar as an ethnic unit within ‘ideal israel,’ and (2) presents the ideal of a skeleton force as part of the organization needed to maintain its claim to Israel’s land.” (73-74)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
De Vries, Simon J. “1 and 2 Chronicles,” The Forms of Old Testament Literature vol. 11 (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989).
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