August 12, 2017

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe

 

PART IV: JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN (Gen. 37:1-50:26)

Topic #E: THE MIGRATION INTO EGYPT. (Gen. 46:1-47:21)                                                                                                               

Lesson IV.E.5: Offspring of Bilhah. (Genesis 46:23-25)                                     

 

Genesis 46:23-25 (KJV)

23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim.

24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.

25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.


Commentary

23 And the sons of Dan; Hushim.

24 And the sons of Naphtali; Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.

25 These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter, and she bare these unto Jacob: all the souls were seven.

 

“And the sons of Dan, Hushim.” 

“Dan” had only one son, but why does it say here, “sons of Dan?” Why has the plural been used instead of the singular?” A couple of explanations have been offered:

1)    Aben Ezra thinks he had two sons, and that one of them was dead, and therefore not mentioned.

2)    The historian may have intended to express this thought: as for “the sons of Dan,” there was only one, whose name was “Hushim.” Dan was a son of Jacob by Bilhah, Rachel's maid, and “Naphtali” was another. But the first explanation seems to me to be the best.

 

“Hushim,” is called Shuham in Numbers 26:42. No genealogy of this tribe is given in Chronicles.

 

Except for Benjamin, the other genealogies do not offer any great difficulties; for variations in the spelling of names are too common to cause surprise, and names would be omitted whenever in later times the family had ceased to have a representative. If that is what happened, then probably, no member of the tribe of Dan returned from the Captivity with an authenticated genealogy, and therefore no mention of them is made in the book of Chronicles. The utter confusion in the genealogy of Benjamin is the natural result of the ruinous war narrated in Judges 20, 21; but when that tribe produced a king, the utmost care would be taken to remedy, as far as possible, the destruction of documents caused by that struggle; and the genealogy in 1 Chronicles 8 is the royal pedigree of King Saul.

 

“And the sons of Naphtali, Jahzeel, and Guni, and Jezer, and Shillem.” 

The last is called Shallum in 1 Chronicles 7:13.

 

“These are the sons of Bilhah, which Laban gave unto Rachel his daughter,”.... to be her maid, when she was married to Jacob:

 

“and she bare these unto Jacob, all the souls were seven”; does NOT mean that she bare seven sons to Jacob, for she bore only two, Dan and Naphtali; but the children of these two men along with them made seven, one of Dan's, and four of Naphtali's, who went down with Jacob into Egypt.

 

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