A Genealogy of Saul
8 Benjamin fathered Bela his firstborn, Ashbel the second, Aharah the third, Nohah the fourth, and Rapha the fifth. And Bela had sons: Addar, Gera, Abihud, Abishua, Naaman, Ahoah, Gera, Shephuphan, and Huram. These are the sons of Ehud (they were heads of fathers’ houses of the inhabitants of Geba, and they were carried into exile to Manahath): Naaman, Ahijah, and Gera, that is, Heglam, who fathered Uzza and Ahihud. And Shaharaim fathered sons in the country of Moab after he had sent away Hushim and Baara his wives. He fathered sons by Hodesh his wife: Jobab, Zibia, Mesha, Malcam, Jeuz, Sachia, and Mirmah. These were his sons, heads of fathers’ houses. He also fathered sons by Hushim: Abitub and Elpaal. The sons of Elpaal: Eber, Misham, and Shemed, who built Ono and Lod with its towns, and Beriah and Shema (they were heads of fathers’ houses of the inhabitants of Aijalon, who caused the inhabitants of Gath to flee); and Ahio, Shashak, and Jeremoth. Zebadiah, Arad, Eder, Michael, Ishpah, and Joha were sons of Beriah. Zebadiah, Meshullam, Hizki, Heber, Ishmerai, Izliah, and Jobab were the sons of Elpaal. Jakim, Zichri, Zabdi, Elienai, Zillethai, Eliel, Adaiah, Beraiah, and Shimrath were the sons of Shimei. Ishpan, Eber, Eliel, Abdon, Zichri, Hanan, Hananiah, Elam, Anthothijah, Iphdeiah, and Penuel were the sons of Shashak. Shamsherai, Shehariah, Athaliah, Jaareshiah, Elijah, and Zichri were the sons of Jeroham. These were the heads of fathers’ houses, according to their generations, chief men. These lived in Jerusalem.
Jeiel the father of Gibeon lived in Gibeon, and the name of his wife was Maacah. His firstborn son: Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab, Gedor, Ahio, Zecher, and Mikloth (he fathered Shimeah). Now these also lived opposite their kinsmen in Jerusalem, with their kinsmen. Ner was the father of Kish, Kish of Saul, Saul of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Eshbaal; and the son of Jonathan was Merib-baal; and Merib-baal was the father of Micah. The sons of Micah: Pithon, Melech, Tarea, and Ahaz. Ahaz fathered Jehoaddah, and Jehoaddah fathered Alemeth, Azmaveth, and Zimri. Zimri fathered Moza. Moza fathered Binea; Raphah was his son, Eleasah his son, Azel his son. Azel had six sons, and these are their names: Azrikam, Bocheru, Ishmael, Sheariah, Obadiah, and Hanan. All these were the sons of Azel. The sons of Eshek his brother: Ulam his firstborn, Jeush the second, and Eliphelet the third. The sons of Ulam were men who were mighty warriors, bowmen, having many sons and grandsons, 150. All these were Benjaminites.
1 Chronicles 8 Commentary
by Hank Workman
The tribe of Benjamin played an important role in the life of Israel. It would be from this tribe warriors rose, the first king came and even a Queen in captivity would be from. The fascinating thing about this tribe is it had it’s dark and light sides which is so common with our own human nature.
The tribe got it’s original beginnings back in Genesis 49 when Jacob was about to die. Bringing his sons before him he blessed each which would become part of the 12 tribes. Benjamin was the last to receive this blessing. His blessing sounded a bit, well odd. “He’s a ravenous wolf. In the morning he will devour his prey and at night divide his spoil.” (Genesis 49:27) This tribe would become known for their ability in war.
The Bible records at least 4 great people who came from this tribe: Ehud, a warrior in Judges, Saul, the first King of Israel, Queen Esther would come from this tribe and the Apostle Paul.
But make no mistake, this tribe also had a dark side. Being war driven early on they fought against their other brothers (tribes) in a civil war. As the crazy and horrific stories found in the book of Judges this would be the tribe that through the story of the Levite who chopped up his concubine and sent her body parts to the 11 tribes, they were almost wiped out because of their refusal to give up the perpetrators. They embraced their sinful ways and almost were obliterated.
This tribe shows some amazing things about us as people. Considering the prophecy given over the tribe God saw a warrior, a fighter deep inside of those to follow. He may have been the youngest of all the brothers but God saw more. Outside appearances even with his birth placement meant nothing to Him who sees the heart.
From this however simply consider the 2 Saul’s who came from this tribe. One truly had all the markings of a man in sin. His human nature was at war with God throughout his story. He lived in rebellion at the end. The flip side is Saul or Paul as we know him. Here was a man who condoned murder, was on a rampage against the ways of God in his self-righteousness but through a powerful encounter with Jesus that trajectory was changed forever. The impact of Paul’s life is still echoing through eternity through his writings and letters.
There truly is a war within each of us just like this tribe had. It’s part of our human nature to fight against God and embrace our own ideologies and ways. We must sacrifice our human nature daily to be the warrior God sees within. Honestly, the 2 Saul’s are sobering examples of people who either bend to their own will or to the will of the Father.
1 Chronicles 8 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Within the tribe of Benjamin, we are reminded of Israel’s first king. He was the best looking man in all of Israel. He towered above all of his fellow Israelites. He seemed to be the right choice but eventually rejected God with his disobedience. In 1 Samuel 9, we read the story about Saul being chosen as king.
And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.1 Samuel 9:2 ESV
Although Saul would lead Israel to many military victories, his habitual and blatant disobedience to what God had commanded is one of the saddest stories in the Bible. Here in the genealogy of Benjamin, we get a small taste of just how far off Saul journeyed from God.
Ner was the father of Kish, Kish of Saul, Saul of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Eshbaal;1 Chronicles 8:33 ESV
We read that Saul’s youngest son was named Eshbaal. It is a pagan name that means “fire of Baal.” After Saul’s death, and a five-year period where Abner was in charge, Eshbaal would take over as king of the northern kingdom. If you read the story of this in 2 Samuel, you will notice that the author lists his youngest son’s name as Ishbosheth. Most scholars agree this was an intentional name change which sought to disconnect the pagan association with Eshbaal’s name. Ishbosheth means “man of shame.”
Regardless, the consequences of Saul’s disobedience affected so many people around him. It’s a depressing but sobering example of how the path of others can be dramatically shifted by our choice to disregard God’s Word. It stands as an example for us to pursue holiness through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.