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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on 1 Chronicles

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1.1–22 . From the first person to Israel: a universal genealogy.

Drawing upon numerous lineages in Genesis, the author traces the development of and interrelationships among a variety of nations, ending with Israel—the focal point of his interest.

1–4 :

The ten names represent ten generations, beginning with Adam and ending with Noah. The Chronicler's tally is a marvel of condensation, having been culled from the much longer and more detailed narrative lineage of Adam in Gen 5.1–32 .

4 :

Each of Noah's three sons can be associated with a relatively large geographic area: Shem (peoples to the east of ancient Israel); Ham (peoples to the south and southwest); Japheth (peoples to the north and west). Although most modern scholars believe that Canaan was ethnically and linguistically Semitic, and thus should be descended from Shem, in the Hebrew Bible Canaan is descended from Ham, perhaps because of Canaan's long political relationship to Egypt.

1.5–23 : Descendants of Noah.

These verses are largely drawn from Gen 10.1–29 , the “Table of Nations,” which enumerates some seventy descendants of Noah's sons, symbolizing seventy peoples of the world. This creates both a genealogical tree and map by which all the world's nations are related to each other through a common ancestor, Noah.

5–7 :

The sons of Japheth include Anatolia (e.g., Togarmah, Tubal, Meshech), Asia Minor including Greek settlements (Javan), and islands in the Mediterranean Sea, such as Elishah (Cyprus), Kittim (Caphtor and other isles), and Rodanim (Rhodes).

5 :

Ham's children represent peoples and areas in the Egyptian political sphere: Cush to the south of Egypt (Sudan or Ethiopia), Egypt, Put to the west (Libya), and Canaan to the north.


These lists of Egypt's and Canaan's descendants closely follow Gen 10.13–18 .

11 :

Philistines, see Jer 47.4; Am 9.7 .

13–15 :

The sons of Canaan inhabit Sidon (the Phoenician coast) and include the traditional inhabitants of the land of Canaan (Heth [the Hittites] and those in v. 14 ), and those of coastal (Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites) and inland (Hamathites) Syria.

17 :

Located in Mesopotamia (Elam, Asshur, Arpachshad), Asia Minor (Lud and Meshech), Syria (Aram); others cannot be identified.

17–18 :

Although in v. 8 Canaan is descended from Ham, Eber, after whom the Hebrews (gentilic “ՙibri”) are named, is a descendant of Shem, indicating Israelite feelings of kinship to the Semitic peoples of the east.

19 :

The earth was divided, the Hebrew puns on Peleg's name, which is derived from a verb meaning “to divide, split.”

20 :

Joktan's descendants inhabit the Arabian peninsula.

1.24–27 : Shem's genealogy

is extracted from Gen 11.10–26 .

27 :

Abram, this begins the second major unit in the Chronicler's universal genealogy; the first was dominated by the descendants of Noah (1 Chr 1.4b–23 ).

28 :

For Isaac and Ishmael, the Chronicler fashions a very brief genealogy from narrative materials in Genesis (16.11; 17.18–19; 25.9). Ishmael is associated with the northern part of the Sinai peninsula and northwestern Arabia (Gen 16.10–12; 17.20; 21.13 ), as are the descendants of Keturah (vv. 32–33 ).

29–31 :

Drawn from the Ishmaelite genealogy in Gen 25.12–18 .

32–33 :

In the source text (Gen 25.1–13 ), Keturah appears as Abraham's second wife, taken sometime after the death of Sarah (Gen 25.1–3 ). The Chronicler's reference to her as a concubine may be based on his reading of Gen 25.1–2 in light of Gen 25.5–6 .

34–37 :

The genealogy of Sarah and Abraham draws upon Gen 25.19–26 and Gen 36.2–14 . The Chronicler always refers to Jacob as Israel (see Gen 32.22–32 ).

38–42 :

The sons of Seir, abridged and adapted from Gen 36.20–28 .

43–54 :

The lists of Edomite monarchs ( 1.43–51a ) and Edomite chieftains ( 1.51b–54 ) are adapted and slightly abridged from Gen 36.31–39 and Gen 36.40–43 , respectively. The Chronicler presents the history of Edom in capsule form up to the time of the inception of the Israelite monarchy, the beginning of his own narrative history (ch 10 ).

2.1–2 :

This list of Israel's descendants is the natural continuation of the progeny of Abraham ( 1.28–33 ) and Isaac ( 1.34–37 ) and serves as the introduction to the lineages of Israel's twelve sons, which follows in 2.3–9.1 .

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