1 Chronicles 8

1 Chronicles 8 returns to the tribe of Benjamin and gives us a much more detailed list than we saw in the last chapter.  That history begins with the family of Saul. He was the first king of Israel and he was a descendant of Benjamin.  But here we go all the way back to Benjamin and move forward.  It is likely that the writer elaborates on this family again, not simply because of the significance of King Saul and his family, because it continues a dozen generations after him, but primarily because of the importance of Benjamin as a tribe.

One thing about these lists of names is the fact that in some cases, they had multiple names.  For example, Saul’s grandfather Ner is also called Abiel (1 Samuel 9:1). The Hebrew tells us that his proper name was Abiel; and that he was called Ner – that is, a lamp or torch – because he outshone in holiness.  We also see often that names mean something in Old Testament times.  Ner was a godly man that gave a foundation for the first king of Israel to come from.

Another man on the list that has a couple names is Jonathan’s son Merib-Baal.  Remember that David took care of him as part of his promise to Jonathan.  He was crippled and lived with David in his palace.  His name was changed to Mephi-bosheth; for as the Israelites detested Baal, which signifies ‘lord’, they changed it into ‘bosheth’, which signifies shame or reproach.  This is not an uncommon occurrence during Old Testament times and makes tracking a bit more challenging.  A good commentary is required at times to follow along.

The other man of note here is Ulam and his sons.  “The sons of Ulam were men who were mighty warriors, bowmen, having many sons and grandsons, 150”.  First of all his family was prolific with 150 offspring noted.  But beyond that, his line were fighters.  And they had a particular skill with archery.  The Hebrew word here for bowmen or archers is in Hebrew, ‘that tread the bow’; for the bows of steel, which these men used, required great strength to bend them; which therefore they did by treading the bow with their feet, and pulling the string with both their hands.  A very unique skill indeed.

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