1 Chronicles 8 – “Additional Benjaminite Records”

archery-bow-ancient-archer-arrow1Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
A detailed genealogy of the Benjaminites is given. Particular attention is paid to the militias in Jerusalem and Gibeon.

II. Photo
The Benjaminites were proficient in warfare: “The descendants of Ulam — men of substance, who drew the bow, had many children and grandchildren — one hundred and fifty; all these were Benjaminites.” (v. 40)

III. Important Verses
v. 28: These were the chiefs of the clans, according to their lines. These chiefs dwelt in Jerusalem.
v. 40: The descendants of Ulam — men of substance, who drew the bow, had many children and grandchildren — one hundred and fifty; all these were Benjaminites.

IV. Outline
1-5. The children of Benjamin
6-28. Geneaology of Jerusalem’s chieftains
29-40. Geneaology of the warriors at Gibeon

V. Comment
Like the chapters before it, chapter 8 is a list of genealogies. Scholars categorize genealogies with the following four terms: linear, segmented, ascending, and descending. Braun explains them as follows: “Genealogies may display breadth (“These are the sons of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, . . .” 1 Chr 2:1) and depth (“The sons of Solomon: Rehoboam, Abijah his son, Asa his son, . . .” 1 Chr 3:10). If a genealogy displays depth alone, it is termed linear. It must by definition have a depth of at least two generations… If a genealogy displays breadth as well as depth, it is termed segmented. Due to their more complex nature, segmented genealogies are normally more restricted in depth than are linear genealogies… Genealogies may proceed from parent to child, in which case they are termed descending (cf. 1 Chr 9:39–44), or from child to parent, termed ascending (cf. 1 Chr 9:14–16).” (2-3)

Braun describes two different purposes for genealogies: “Linear and segmented genealogies differ substantially in their function. The linear genealogy commonly seeks to legitimize the position of the lastnamed person by relating him or her to an ancestor whose position is accepted as established; hence the various king lists of the ANE and the OT are uniformly linear in form. The segmented genealogy, on the other hand, has as its primary function the expression of the relationships existing between the various branches of individuals named. As such it points both to a commonality, in that those named are descended from a single individual, and to a divergency, in that respective branches are derived through different intermediate ancestors.” (ibid.)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Braun, Roddy. “1 Chronicles,” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 14 (Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1986).
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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