HISTORICAL CIRCUMSTANCES CANNOT COMPROMISE GOD’S KINGDOM AGENDA – WHICH INCLUDES THE FORGOTTEN TRIBE OF SIMEON
Frederick Mabie: The second half of ch. 4 (vv.24–43) provides the genealogical summary of the tribe of Simeon, whose history was intertwined with that of Judah, given that Simeon’s tribal territory was located within the tribal territory of Judah (cf. Jos 19:1–9).
J. Barton Payne: Simeon, with Levi, was scattered among the tribes because of the massacre of Shechem (Gen 34:24-30; 49:5-7).
Andrew Hill: The sources for the Chronicler’s genealogy of Simeon include the records pertaining to Israel’s (i.e., Jacob) second son by Leah found in Genesis 46:10; Exodus 6:15; Numbers 26:12–14; and Joshua 19:2–8. The lists of descendants in Genesis 46:10 and Exodus 6:15 name six sons of Simeon, while Numbers 26:12–14 and 1 Chronicles 4:24 omit the name Ohad and cite only five sons. The Chronicler is unique among all the biblical sources in naming the third son Jarib instead of Jachin. . .
The genealogy demonstrates both breadth (the listing of a single generation of descendants from a common ancestor, e.g., 4:24) and depth (the listing of successive generations, e.g., 4:25–27). The passage reflects a three-part structure typical of the genealogical records of the lesser Hebrew tribes:
– the genealogy proper (4:24–27),
– settlements (4:28–33), and
– leaders and conquests (4:34–43).
Numerous subfeatures of the genealogy have been identified:
– the name list (a catalog of proper names, whether person or places, e.g., 4:28–31),
– the muster roll (a list of fighting men, e.g., 4:34–37) and
– tally (a cardinal number attached to the genealogical record, e.g., 4:42), and
– a battle report (a summary of a military encounter, e.g., 4:41–43). . .
The record of Israel’s past serves as a barometer of sorts, indicating the full measure of covenant blessings God is capable of bestowing on the current generation of Jews.
August Konkel: Simeon was partner with Judah when the settlement in Canaan began (Judg 1:1–3). The settlements of Simeon were located within territory of Judah (cf. Josh 19:1), in the southern regions. Simeon did not proliferate as did the other tribes (1 Chron 4:27). The history of Simeon was necessarily included with that of Judah, but the people of Simeon were distinguished from the divinely chosen tribe of royalty. Simeon therefore is first in the numeration of the tribes following the history of the royal family.
Thomas Constable: This section can be subdivided as follows:
(1) the five founding families of Simeon (vv. 24-27; cf. Gen. 49:10; Exod. 6:15; Num. 26:12-14),
(2) the 18 towns of Simeon (vv. 28-33; cf. Josh. 19:2-6), and
(3) the emigrations of Simeonite families into other districts (vv. 34-43).
I. (:24-27) GENEALOGICAL SURVEY OF SIMEON
Frederick Mabie: Following a brief genealogical sketch of the Simeonites (vv.24–27) that includes a brief notation on the small size of Simeon vis-à-vis Judah (v.27), the Chronicler enumerates the towns that were settled by the descendants of Simeon (cf. Jos 19:1–9). The tribal territory of Simeon occupied a small area completely surrounded by the tribal territory of Judah. Over the course of time Simeon was effectively subsumed into Judah and ceased to be a distinct tribal entity. This near landlessness of Simeon together with that of Levi reflects the prophetic “blessing” of Jacob on his sons, which includes the scattering of Levi and Simeon (Ge 49:5–7) in the light of their response to the situation with their sister Dinah (cf. Ge 34). The Chronicler’s inclusion of the descendants of Simeon along with their long-lost tribal inheritance may be intended to instill hope that God’s covenantal promises (land and otherwise) still have significance for his people.
A. (:24-26) Sons of Simeon
“The sons of Simeon were Nemuel and Jamin, Jarib, Zerah, Shaul; 25 Shallum his son, Mibsam his son, Mishma his son. 26 And the sons of Mishma were Hammuel his son, Zaccur his son, Shimei his son.”
B. (:27) Comparison between Simeon and Judah
“Now Shimei had sixteen sons and six daughters; but his brothers did not have many sons, nor did all their family multiply like the sons of Judah.”
David Guzik: The census data both at the beginning and the end of the Book of Numbers indicates that the population of the tribe of Simeon decreased radically during the wilderness years of the exodus. They were among the largest tribes at the beginning and among the smallest tribes at the end.
II. (:28-33) GEOGRAPHICAL SETTLEMENTS OF SIMEON
(CITIES AND VILLAGES)
“And they lived at Beersheba, Moladah, and Hazar-shual, 29 at Bilhah, Ezem, Tolad, 30 Bethuel, Hormah, Ziklag, 31 Beth-marcaboth, Hazar-susim, Beth-biri, and Shaaraim. These were their cities until the reign of David. 32 And their villages were Etam, Ain, Rimmon, Tochen, and Ashan, five cities; 33 and all their villages that were around the same cities as far as Baal. These were their settlements, and they have their genealogy.”
August Konkel: In Joshua these cities are presented as an inheritance (vv. 1, 9), but in Chronicles they are described as native dwellings of the Levites. The Chronicler presents an alternate perspective of settlement, unrelated to the conquest, which appears to have been present in his sources (Japhet 1979). This was God’s design for his people to accomplish his purpose. The Chronicler interrupts the Joshua source to point out that this was the situation when David came to reign (1 Chron 4:31). This chronological notation is critical to the purpose of his history. The reign of David and Solomon becomes the ideal of the kingdom of God. Historically, the nation has had opportunity to return to this dominion of God. This is the essence of what the nation of Israel was meant to be. In the viewpoint of the Chronicler, Israel may yet be what it is.
John Schultz: These are cities in southern Canaan that are mentioned in Joshua.
1) Beesheba – Jos. 15:28; 19:2
2) Moladah – Jos. 15:26; 19:2; Neh. 11:26
3) Hazar-shual – Jos. 15:28; 19:3; Neh. 11:27
4) Bilhah – Jos. 19:3 (“Balah”)
5) Ezrem – only here
6) Tolad – only here
7) Bethuel – only here, but possibly
a. the “Bethul” of Jos. 19:4
b. the “Bethel” of 1 Sam. 30:27
8) Hormah – Jos. 12:14; 15:30; 19:4 (changed to “Zephath”)
9) Ziklag – Jos. 15:31; 19:5
10) Beth-marcaboth – Jos. 19:5
11) Hazar-susim (or “susal”) – Jos. 15:28; 19:5
12) Beth-biri – Jos. 19:6 (Beth-lehaoth)
13) Shaaraim – Jos. 15:36; 1 Sam. 17:52
III. (:34-43) GROWING EXPANSION
Frederick Mabie: Following a list of Simeonite clan leaders (vv.34–38), the Chronicler summarizes the successful tribal expansion of Simeon to the west (vv.39–41) and to the east/southeast (vv.42–43). The description of this expansion is reminiscent of the Danite tribal migration noted in Judges 17–18 (compare Jdg 18:7, 27–28 with vv.39–41 above). The exact location of the Hamites (vv.40–41; cf. 1Ch 1:8–16; Ge 10:6–20) is unknown, but their association with the Arabian Meunites (v.41) might imply the western or southwestern Negev region. The Meunites are also associated with the southern region of Transjordan and parts of the Sinai.
A. (:34-38) Clan Leaders and the Numeric Expansion of Their Households
“And Meshobab and Jamlech and Joshah the son of Amaziah, 35 and Joel and Jehu the son of Joshibiah, the son of Seraiah, the son of Asiel, 36 and Elioenai, Jaakobah, Jeshohaiah, Asaiah, Adiel, Jesimiel, Benaiah, 37 Ziza the son of Shiphi, the son of Allon, the son of Jedaiah, the son of Shimri, the son of Shemaiah; 38 these mentioned by name were leaders in their families; and their fathers’ houses increased greatly.”
August Konkel: Enrollment in a genealogical record is an indication of notable rank: families are remembered by their leading representatives. A “chieftain” may be the leader of a tribe or a military leader (cf. Num 1:4, 16), but the term is used as the title of a respected and exalted individual (Gen 23:6; 34:2).
Mark Boda: These descendants are seen as enjoying great success as “the house of their fathers exploded greatly” (NLT, “their families grew”) a verb that is used in relation to an explosion of human population (Gen 28:14; Exod 1:12; 2 Chr 11:23; Isa 54:3; Hos 4:10) as well as of material wealth (Gen 30:30, 43; Job 1:10).
B. (:39-43) Tribal Geographic Expansion to Secure Adequate Pastureland
Iain Duguid: Some Simeonites expanded westward in successful search for pasture, possibly at the time of Hezekiah’s campaign in Philistine territory (4:34–41;3 2 Kings 18:8). Yet another group went eastward into the region of Edom, remaining separate from Judah (1 Chron. 4:42–43). The Simeonites are included among those who “were residing” with Judah and Benjamin at the time of Asa (2 Chron. 15:9). The tribe may not have been strong, but they did occupy the land they were given, experiencing provision and victory as they expanded.
Andrew Hill: The example of geographical expansion is a reminder of the reality that territorial boundaries were always shifting, given the rise and fall of political fortunes in the ancient world. In the past the nation of Israel prospered materially and expanded geographically in accordance with her collective obedience to the stipulations of Yahweh’s covenant. The Chronicler understands that the earth is the Lord’s (Ps. 24:1) and that as owner of the land, God can restore to Israel what he once gave them (e.g., Deut. 1:8; 3:18; 8:10). Likewise, Israel has received the land as a divine gift by faith in Yahweh’s covenant promises, and so by means of covenant renewal Israel can again be restored in the land of her ancestors (cf. Neh. 9:36–37; 10:28–39).
1. (39-41) Expansion to the West
“And they went to the entrance of Gedor, even to the east side of the valley, to seek pasture for their flocks. 40 And they found rich and good pasture, and the land was broad and quiet and peaceful; for those who lived there formerly were Hamites. 41 And these, recorded by name, came in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and attacked their tents, and the Meunites who were found there, and destroyed them utterly to this day, and lived in their place; because there was pasture there for their flocks.”
2. (:42-43) Expansion to East/Southeast
“And from them, from the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to Mount Seir, with Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah, and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, as their leaders. 43 And they destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day.”
August Konkel: The Chronicler also knows of a later expansion to the east into the territory of Edom (1 Chron 4:42–43). The traditional Mount Seir is located to the southeast of the Dead Sea. A military force of five hundred Simeonites was involved in the raid; David’s soldiers numbered four hundred (1 Sam 22:2) or six hundred (23:13). The Amalekites were decimated in wars with Saul (1 Sam 14:48; 15:2–3) and David (1 Sam 30:1; 2 Sam 8:12). The Simeonites attacked at a time when the Amalekites were weakened after a military disaster. While other tribes expanded peacefully, the Simeonites were legendary for their violent ways (Gen 34:25–29; 49:5–7). The Chronicler reports the Simeonites as living in these areas until this day. It is possible that this is not just the time in which the record was written, but to the time of the Chronicler himself. The Babylonian exile never deported all of the Israelite peoples.
J. Barton Payne: For after the division of Solomon’s kingdom in 930 B.C., elements of Simeon either moved to the north or at least adopted its religious practices (cf. the inclusion of Beersheba along with the shrines of Ephraim that are condemned in Amos 5:5).… Other Simeonites carried on in a seminomadic life in isolated areas that they could occupy, such as those noted at the close of this chapter.