Bible Commentary: 1 Chronicles 8

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1 Chronicles 8

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The Benjamite Lineage of Saul

Chapter 8 gives a more detailed lineage of Benjamin than the one in chapter 7, because this one is concerned with showing the descent of Israel's first king, Saul. The Nelson Study Bible notes on verse 32 regarding the mention of Jerusalem: "Since Saul was not yet born at this point in the genealogy, the Jerusalem here is the city of pre-Davidic times. Jerusalem remained under Jebusite control until David conquered it (2 Samuel 5:6-10). Perhaps at this time the Benjamites lived among the Jebusites."

In verse 33, Saul's youngest son is referred to as Esh-Baal, meaning "Man of Baal," perhaps demonstrating Saul's apostasy from God, though Baal, meaning "Lord" or "Master," could sometimes refer to the true God. Notice, however, that this son of Saul is referred to in 2 Samuel and elsewhere as Ishbosheth, which is probably a euphemistic reference by the biblical writers as it means "Man of Shame."

Also note that in 1 Chronicles 8:34 and 1 Chronicles 9:40, Jonathan's son is Meribbaal, possibly meaning "Opponent of Baal," "Loved by Baal" or "Baal Is My Advocate." As Jonathan was apparently faithful to God, the first meaning here seems likely, though again it may be that the name Baal here is used for the true Lord. We should also consider that Saul could have given his grandson this name. Meribbaal's name was later changed to Mephibosheth, meaning "Exterminator of Shame" or "He Scatters Shame," the shame probably referring to idolatry. After Jonathan's death, Mephibosheth was brought by David to his palace to live there as royalty (2 Samuel 9).