1-2 Chronicles

1 Chronicles

1 Chronicles 1:1-2:2

  1. Genealogies from Adam to Saul's Family (1:1-9:44)
    1. Genealogies from Adam to Israel's Family (1:1-2:2)

The descendants of Adam were Seth, Enosh, 2 Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, 3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, 4 and Noah.

The sons of Noah were Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

5 The descendants of Japheth were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech, and Tiras.

6 The descendants of Gomer were Ashkenaz, Riphath, 1:6 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Greek version (see also Gen 10:3); most Hebrew manuscripts read Diphath. and Togarmah.

7 The descendants of Javan were Elishah, Tarshish, Kittim, and Rodanim.

8 The descendants of Ham were Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan.

9 The descendants of Cush were Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, and Sabteca. The descendants of Raamah were Sheba and Dedan. 10 Cush was also the ancestor of Nimrod, who was the first heroic warrior on earth.

11 Mizraim was the ancestor of the Ludites, Anamites, Lehabites, Naphtuhites, 12 Pathrusites, Casluhites, and the Caphtorites, from whom the Philistines came.

13 Canaan's oldest son was Sidon, the ancestor of the Sidonians. Canaan was also the ancestor of the Hittites, 14Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, 15 Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, 16 Arvadites, Zemarites, and Hamathites.

17 The descendants of Shem were Elam, Asshur, Arphaxad, Lud, and Aram.

The descendants of Aram were Uz, Hul, Gether, and Mash.

18 Arphaxad was the father of Shelah.

Shelah was the father of Eber.

19 Eber had two sons. The first was named Peleg (which means "division"), for during his lifetime the people of the world were divided into different language groups. His brother's name was Joktan.

20 Joktan was the ancestor of Almodad, Sheleph, Hazarmaveth, Jerah, 21 Hadoram, Uzal, Diklah, 22 Obal, 1:22 As in some Hebrew manuscripts and Syriac version (see also Gen 10:28); most Hebrew manuscripts read Ebal. Abimael, Sheba, 23 Ophir, Havilah, and Jobab. All these were descendants of Joktan.

24 So this is the family line descended from Shem: Arphaxad, Shelah, 1:24 Some Greek manuscripts read Arphaxad, Cainan, Shelah. See notes on Gen 10:24; 11:12-13. 25 Eber, Peleg, Reu, 26 Serug, Nahor, Terah, 27 and Abram, later known as Abraham.

28 The sons of Abraham were Isaac and Ishmael. 29 These are their genealogical records:

The sons of Ishmael were Nebaioth (the oldest), Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 30 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, 31 Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael.

32 The sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine, were Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

The sons of Jokshan were Sheba and Dedan.

33 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.

All these were descendants of Abraham through his concubine Keturah.

34 Abraham was the father of Isaac. The sons of Isaac were Esau and Israel.

35 The sons of Esau were Eliphaz, Reuel, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

36 The descendants of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, 1:36a As in many Hebrew manuscripts and a few Greek manuscripts (see also Gen 36:11); most Hebrew manuscripts read Zephi. Gatam, Kenaz, and Amalek, who was born to Timna. 1:36b As in some Greek manuscripts (see also Gen 36:12); Hebrew reads Kenaz, Timna, and Amalek.

37 The descendants of Reuel were Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.

38 The descendants of Seir were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.

39 The descendants of Lotan were Hori and Hemam. 1:39 As in parallel text at Gen 36:22; Hebrew reads and Homam. Lotan's sister was named Timna.

40 The descendants of Shobal were Alvan, 1:40a As in many Hebrew manuscripts and a few Greek manuscripts (see also Gen 36:23); most Hebrew manuscripts read Alian. Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, 1:40b As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also Gen 36:23); most Hebrew manuscripts read Shephi. and Onam.

The descendants of Zibeon were Aiah and Anah.

41 The son of Anah was Dishon. The descendants of Dishon were Hemdan, 1:41 As in many Hebrew manuscripts and some Greek manuscripts (see also Gen 36:26); most Hebrew manuscripts read Hamran. Eshban, Ithran, and Keran.

42 The descendants of Ezer were Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 1:42a As in many Hebrew and Greek manuscripts (see also Gen 36:27); most Hebrew manuscripts read Jaakan.

The descendants of Dishan 1:42b Hebrew Dishon; compare 1:38 and parallel text at Gen 36:28. were Uz and Aran.

43 These are the kings who ruled in the land of Edom before any king ruled over the Israelites:

Bela son of Beor, who ruled from his city of Dinhabah.

44 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah became king in his place.

45 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites became king in his place.

46 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad became king in his place and ruled from the city of Avith. He was the one who destroyed the Midianite army in the land of Moab.

47 When Hadad died, Samlah from the city of Masrekah became king in his place.

48 When Samlah died, Shaul from the city of Rehoboth-on-the-River became king in his place.

49 When Shaul died, Baal-hanan son of Acbor became king in his place.

50 When Baal-hanan died, Hadad became king in his place and ruled from the city of Pau. 1:50 As in many Hebrew manuscripts, some Greek manuscripts, Syriac version, and Latin Vulgate (see also Gen 36:39); most Hebrew manuscripts read Pai. His wife was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred and granddaughter of Me-zahab. 51 Then Hadad died.

The clan leaders of Edom were Timna, Alvah 1:51 As in parallel text at Gen 36:40; Hebrew reads Aliah. Jetheth, 52 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 53 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 54 Magdiel, and Iram. These are the clan leaders of Edom.

Chapter 2

The sons of Israel were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, 2 Dan, Joseph, Benjamin, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.


1:4 and Noah. The sons of Noah were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The Hebrew text does not contain the phrase "The sons of Noah were," but instead continues the list begun in 1:1: "Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth." The NLT (see margin note) follows LXX at this point, versional evidence that may point to a scribal error (the eye skipping from a possibly original first occurrence of the word Noah to a second (in "sons of Noah"), thus leading to the loss of this phrase. While the list in 1:1-3 traces successive generations, the list in 1:4 is restricted to one generation, so that Shem, Ham, Japheth are brothers, not father, son, grandson.

1:10 Nimrod. He is variously identified as god (Ninurta, Marduk), hero (Gilgamesh, Lugalbanda), Mesopotamian archetypal royal, or historical person (Sargon I, Tukulti-Ninurta I, Hammurabi). While likely a historical figure lies behind this description, the lack of any clear connections to known historical figures means that he functions as an archetype. See further details in Gen 10:10-12 and his connection to Assyria and Babylon (ABD 4.1116; Westermann 1984:515-517; G. Wenham 1987:222-223; Walton 2001:367-371; Klein 2006:66).

1:12 Casluhites, and the Caphtorites, from whom the Philistines came. The NLT mg gives the reading from the Hebrew text, which suggests that the Philistines came from the Casluhites, rather than the Caphtorites. The NLT's switch is based on the evidence of Deut 2:23; Jer 47:4; Amos 9:7, each of which claims that the Philistines were related to the Caphtorites, a people group traditionally related to the island of Crete, with the possibility of association with Cyprus. For a defense of the Hebrew reading, see Rendsburg 1987:89-96, who argues that the Casluhites must be Egyptians who migrated to the coastal plain via Crete (ABD 1.877).

1:13-16 Sidonians... Hamathites. Here are eleven peoples listed based on Gen 10:13-18. Lists of Canaanite peoples vary in the OT from six nations in Exodus (Exod 3:8, 17; 33:2; 34:11), to seven in Deuteronomic literature (Deut 7:1; Josh 3:10; 24:11), to ten in Gen 15:19-21.

1:32-33 The sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine. Abraham took Keturah as a concubine late in his life (Gen 25:1-6).


Sources. The Chronicler drew this first chapter from the substantial genealogical material he found in the book of Genesis. At times he summarizes the list, at others he excises historical and geographical material, and at still others he condenses and even slightly rearranges it. Williamson (1982:40-45) identifies the source of 1:1-4 as Genesis 5; 1:5-23 as Genesis 10 ("with the omission of historical and geographical material from 10:5, 9-12, 18b-21, 30-32"); 1:24-27 as Genesis 11:10-26; 1:29-31 as Genesis 25:13-16a; 1:32-33 as Genesis 25:1-4; 1:35-37 as Genesis 36:4-5, 10-14 ("condensed and slightly rearranged"); 1:38-42 as Genesis 36:20-28; 1:43-54 as Genesis 36:31-43 (with "few omissions and very slight changes"); and 2:1-2 as Genesis 35:23-26.

Structure and Content. The Chronicler begins his genealogy with the first human, Adam, and in 1:1-2:2 he traces the generations to the family of Israel (Jacob). This first major section of the genealogy, which stretches from chapters 1 to 9, begins with a linear genealogy that traces a single line from Adam through Seth to Noah (1:1-4). The line of Cain is ignored and unnecessary in light of the fact that Noah would become the founder of a new humanity after the Flood.

With Noah the Chronicler then begins employing a segmented genealogical structure, one that traces more than one subunit of a family in turn. Thus, 1:4b identifies Shem, Ham, and Japheth as the three sons of Noah, and this is followed by a listing of the descendants of these three sons in reverse order: Japheth (1:5-7), Ham (1:8-16), and Shem (1:17-26). This trend of using reverse order can be seen in each of these Noahic subfamilies. Japheth's sons are listed in 1:5, and then 1:6-7 lists the genealogies of two of these sons (Gomer and Javan). As can be seen with Japheth, Ham, and Shem, not all the subfamilies established by the sons of a father are traced: for Japheth, only Gomer and Javan; for Ham, only Cush, Egypt (Mizraim), and Canaan; and for Shem, only Aram and Arphaxad.

One can discern a structuring principle that first limits the descendant lines but also identifies the last lineage mentioned as having in each case greater relevance to the genealogist, as well as in some cases being the line that will be traced further.For instance, in Noah's family it is Shem's line that is traced last because it will be traced throughout the rest of chapters 1-9. With the Noahic line of Japheth, it is not surprising that the descendants of Javan (Dan 8:21; 10:20; 11:2; Zech 9:13) are traced last, since their connections to the Greek world were so important in the Chronicler's day. Similarly with the line of Ham, the descendants of Canaan are traced last, since the Israelites would replace them in the land. For Shem, the descendants of Aram are traced before those of Arphaxad, and when his grandson Eber has two sons, Peleg and Joktan, it is Joktan who is reviewed first so that the Chronicler can move on to Peleg's line, from which came Abraham. So important is Abraham's line that the Chronicler incorporates a linear genealogy that moves methodically through Shem's line from Arphaxad to Abraham. With Arphaxad's line there is the employment of a closing formula for the non-chosen line, so Joktan's list ends in 1:23 with "all these were descendants of Joktan."

Similar principles can be discerned in the rest of the chapter. The sons of Abraham are listed (Isaac and Ishmael), before Ishmael is traced, followed by the "sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine." The connection to Abraham for the latter sons is minimized by the Chronicler as he copied his source in Genesis 25:1-4, omitting the words "to him" (NASB) in Genesis 25:2 and clarifying the status of Keturah ("wife" in Gen 25:1) as concubine (based on Gen 25:5-6). A terminal formula brings closure to these two non-chosen lines in 1:31 ("these were the sons of Ishmael") and 1:33b ("All these were descendants of Abraham through his concubine Keturah"). Following this, the Chronicler identifies the continuance of the line through Isaac's sons Esau and Israel.

While five sons are listed for Esau in 1:35, the families of only two of these sons are listed in detail (Eliphaz and Reuel). At this point the Chronicler has included other genealogical material related to the family of Esau; first, in 1:38-42 a segmented genealogy of the "sons of Seir"; second, in 1:43-51a a linear genealogy of the Edomite kings; and finally, a list of Edomite clan leaders in 1:51b-54. Exodus 15:15 suggests that Edom was ruled by chiefs (cf. literal rendering), while 1 Kings 11:14-15 shows it was ruled by a dynastic royal house. Klein (2006:77) notes that this non-dynastic royal list in chapter 1 "would fit typologically between these two types of government." The Chronicler has slightly changed the transition at the beginning of the chieftain list in 1:51, suggesting that the chieftains followed the royal rule (see further below). These chieftains are pictured more like the premonarchial judges of Israel and probably ruled over parts of the territory of Edom. The signal that Esau's line is not chosen and that this final list of clan leaders brings closure to the genealogy of Esau is evident in the terminal formula in 1:54b: "These are the clan leaders of Edom." In summary, the chapter's overall structure is as follows:

1:1-4 From Adam to the sons of Noah
1:5-7 Descendants of Japheth
1:8-16 Descendants of Ham
1:17-23 Descendants of Shem
1:24-28 From Shem to the sons of Abraham
1:29-33 Descendants of Abraham
1:34 From Abraham to the sons of Isaac
1:35-37 Descendants of Esau
1:38-42 Descendants of Seir
1:43-51a Kings of Edom
1:51b-54 Clan leaders of Edom

As expected, 2:1-2 identifies the one whose line will be traced further, namely, Israel (Jacob) and his 12 sons. The remainder of the genealogy in chapters 2-9 will unpack the lineage of the descendants of this family in 2:1-2. These two verses thus function as the conclusion to 1:1-2:2 and the introduction to chapters 2-9.

While the chapter is dominated by segmented genealogies, at three points in the chapter linear genealogies break through: 1:1-4 (tracing from Adam to Noah's family), 1:24-28 (from Shem to Abraham's family), and finally 1:34 (from Abraham to Isaac's family). At these three junctures in the first chapter a focusing summary statement picks up where the previous summary statement left off. This helps orient the reader and keeps the focus on the scarlet thread that moves from Adam to Israel.

Significance. The use of both linear and segmented forms of genealogical lists in this chapter reveals the multidimensional character of the chapter's function in the book of Chronicles. Its horizontal dimension (tracing at times contemporary subfamilies) establishes the relationship between Israel and its surrounding world. Israel shared some form of family connection with those who preceded them in the land of Canaan (1:13-16), with those who were their enemies in that land (1:11-12, 17, 34-54), and with those superpowers who would abuse them (1:5-7, 9-11, 17). The list thus offers information that reveals the web of ethnic relationships across the known world, showing that Israel had vested interest in the history of the world before and around them, but also that the nations of the world had vested interest in the story of Israel.

Klein (2006:81) highlights the positive aspect of these global relationships, noting how the "chapter implies the diversity and unity of the world; this suggests that Israel understood its role within the family of nations and as a witness to all humanity. While Johnstone (1998:107) is aware of this positive aspect ("Israel is to realize on behalf of humankind what humankind as a whole cannot"), he accentuates a negative implication: "But lurking in the background stands the world of the nations from which Israel springs and to which it is kin. Israel's pursuit of the ideal is constantly threatened by reversion to that 'wilderness of the nations,' from which it took its origins, or by invasion from these destructive nations."

The list's vertical dimension (tracing succeeding generations) grants it an orderly forward motion, moving the reader subtly from Adam to Israel. In general terms this serves a narrative role, initiating a plot that will end with the genealogy of Saul (9:35-44) to set up the narrative that will comprise the bulk of the book (ch 10-2 Chr 36). In this way chapter 1 makes possible the claim of Jerome that Chronicles is a "Chronicle of All Divine History." It is also the beginning of a plot that will end with the list of those who returned to the land after exile (ch 9). Selman (1994a:87) argues that this shows that the genealogy is "not intended to be a historian's delight" but rather is designed for its relevance to the writer's contemporary context. In this way not only the story of Israel's kingdoms but also the story of Israel's remnant is rooted in the broader global story.

Although there is always a vertical dimension to a segmented genealogy, this dimension is accentuated (by ignoring the horizontal) in the linear form of genealogy that breaks through in 1:1-4, 24-28, 34. This highlights the selective purpose of this genealogy, that is, it functions to identify the chosen character of a particular line out of the nations of the world and rehearses this line at these three points so that it is not missed. Williamson (1982:40-41) wisely notes that the Chronicler emphasizes Israel (Jacob) as the founder of the nation more so than Abraham, probably foreshadowing the Chronicler's "stress on the full complement of twelve tribes as 'all Israel.'" This selective purpose is also seen in the structuring principle of dealing first with the families unrelated to the ongoing list of the genealogy, a principle that echoes the emphasis of the linear genealogies by following the line relevant to Israel. So Klein (2006:80) has aptly written, "Israel is to understand itself within the circle of all the nations, at whose center Israel stands."

Although the Chronicler has removed most of the anecdotal notes from his sources in Genesis, four remain (1:10, 12, 19 and 43). The reference to Nimrod (1:10) is abridged significantly from the source in Genesis 10, but the association with Assyria and Babylon was firmly established in Hebrew tradition. Johnstone (1997:1.30) argues that Nimrod and Nebuchadnezzar form a bracket of powerful Babylonian kings around the book of Chronicles. This connection to Babylon may also explain the note in 1:19 referring to the division of the world. The special note on the Philistines in 1:12 and the note on the Edomite kings in 1:43 highlight the role of the genealogies as a whole to provide a foundation for the emergence of the Davidic kingdom. The transitional note about the death of Hadad and the rise of clan leaders that the Chronicler inserts at 1:51 may also be designed to foreshadow the rise of the Davidic kingdom because Hadad is mentioned in 1 Kings 11:14-22 in a story of David's defeat of Edom and as an opponent who arose against Solomon. The Chronicler's report of his death suggests that Hadad was an unsuccessful adversary.

The opening genealogy in Chronicles sets Israel in the midst of the nations, revealing that Israel's significance is inextricably linked with the nations. This echoes the narrative shape of the Chronicler's source in Genesis, which begins with the story of creation and the development of nations (Gen 1-11) before the figure of Abram appears (Gen 12). Yahweh's speech to Abram in Genesis 12:1-3 reminds Israel that their destiny is to bring blessing to all the nations of the earth. The New Testament will apply this blessing to the gospel of Christ, which will spread from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.