Bible Book List
Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 1–19
Verses 1–19

We have here a short view given us,

I. Of the tribe of Issachar, whom Jacob had compared to a strong ass, couching between two burdens (Gen. 49:14), an industrious tribe, that minded their country business very closely and rejoiced in their tents, Deut. 33:18. And here it appears, 1. That they were a numerous tribe; for they had many wives. So fruitful their country was that they saw no danger of over-stocking the pasture, and so ingenious the people were that they could find work for all hands. Let no people complain of their numbers, provided they suffer none to be idle. 2. That they were a valiant tribe, men of might (1 Chron. 7:2, 5), chief men, 1 Chron. 7:3. Those that were inured to labour and business were of all men the fittest to serve their country when there was occasion, The number of the respective families, as taken in the days of David, is here set down, amounting in the whole to above 145,000 men fit for war. The account, some think, was taken when Joab numbered the people, 2 Sam. 24:1-25 But I rather think it refers to some other computation that was made, perhaps among themselves, because it is said (1 Chron. 27:24) that that account was not inserted in the chronicles of king David, it having offended God.

II. Of the tribe of Benjamin. Some account is here given of this tribe, but much larger in the next chapter. The militia of this tribe scarcely reached to 60,000; but they are said to be mighty men of valour, 1 Chron. 7:7, 9, 11. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf, Gen. 49:27. It was the honour of this tribe that it produced Saul the first king, and more its honour that it adhered to the rightful kings of the house of David when the other tribes revolted. Here is mention (1 Chron. 7:12) of Hushim the sons of Aher. The sons of Dan are said to be Hushim (Gen. 46:23), and therefore some read Aher appellatively, Hushim—the sons of another (that is, another of Jacob’s sons) or the sons of a stranger, which Israelites should not be, but such the Danites were when they set up Micah’s graven and molten image among them.

III. Of the tribe of Naphtali, 1 Chron. 7:13. The first fathers only of that tribe are named, the very same that we shall find, Gen. 46:24; only that Shillem there is Shallum here. None of their descendents are named, perhaps because their genealogies were lost.

IV. Of the tribe of Manasseh, that part of it which was seated within Jordan; for of the other part we had some account before, 1 Chron. 5:23-26 Of this tribe observe, 1. That one of them married an Aramitess, that is, a Syrian, 1 Chron. 7:14. This was during their bondage in Egypt, so early did they begin to mingle with the nations. 2. That, though the father married a Syrian, Machir, the son of that marriage, perhaps seeing the inconvenience of it in his father’s house, took to wife a daughter of Benjamin, 1 Chron. 7:15. It is good for the children to take warning by their father’s mistakes and not stumble at the same stone. 3. Here is mention of Bedan (1 Chron. 7:17), who perhaps is the same with that Bedan who is mentioned as one of Israel’s deliverers, 1 Sam. 12:11. Jair perhaps, who was of Manasseh (Jdg. 10:3), was the man.