1 Chronicles 4:1–7 (ESV)

1 The sons of Judah: Perez, Hezron, Carmi, Hur, and Shobal.

The Chronicler expected his readers to recognize (from 1 Chronicles 2:5, 1 Chronicles 2:18, 1 Chronicles 2:50) that the five descendants of Judah, from Perez to Shobal, were not brothers but successive generations. In 1 Chronicles 4:1,

Carmi is named as a son of Hezron when it should actually be Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:9). This could be due to a scribal error,1 though Japhet believes this is another variation of the name Caleb, as we find in 1 Chronicles 2:9 (Chelubai), as well as Caleb in 1 Chronicles 2:18, 1 Chronicles 2:42 and perhaps Chelub in 1 Chronicles 4:11.2

Shobal was the son of Hur through Ephrathah (see 1 Chronicles 2:50, 1 Chronicles 2:52), but the list is somewhat expanded to explain the origin of the Zorathites. Zorah was one of several border cities fortified by Rehoboam when the Hebrew united monarchy split into the northern and southern kingdoms (2 Chronicles 11:5–10).3

The genealogy of Etam (1 Chronicles 4:3–4) appears to be an unrelated intrusion in the registers of Hur and Shobal. These verses present another list of the sons of Hur but again there are several textual problems. The MT reads, These were the father of Etam. The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) and the Latin Vulgate are probably right in the rendering, These were the sons of Etam. Roddy Braun has suggested that these verses preserve the names of the descendants of Hur’s third son Hareph (see 1 Chronicles 2:51). Like the city of Zorah, Etam (1 Chronicles 4:3) and Tekoa (1 Chronicles 4:5) were also among the cities of Judah militarized by Rehoboam when the unified Israel was split into rival kingdoms (2 Chronicles 11:5–10).4

The mention of Hazzelelponi is a curiosity but should be regarded as original to the text. It fits in with the Chronicler’s purpose to mention women throughout his genealogical record. The formula the name of their sister was reappears in 1 Chronicles 7:15.

As has already been mentioned, the formula was the father of (for example, Penuel was the father of Gedor; see 1 Chronicles 4:4) may be understood in terms of the ancestor, settler or founding father of a town or village.

It is therefore quite possible that Penuel (1 Chronicles 4:4) and Jered (1 Chronicles 4:18) were co-founders of Gedor. The name Hushah is attached to the town of Hushan which lies a few kilometres west of Jerusalem. Two Hushahites are named as members of David's elite guard (2 Samuel 21:18; 2 Samuel 23:27; see also 1 Chronicles 11:29; 1 Chronicles 20:4; 1 Chronicles 27:11).5

The genealogy of Ashhur (1 Chronicles 4:4–8) presents another problem when compared with the genealogy of Caleb, son of Hezron in 1 Chronicles 2:18–24. The former identifies Hur as the son of Caleb and Ashhur as the son of Hur (1 Chronicles 4:4–5), while the latter suggests Ashhur is the son of Hezron and Hur is the son of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:19, 1 Chronicles 2:24). 1 Chronicles 2:19 must be compared with 1 Chronicles 2:24 (in agreement with 1 Chronicles 2:19 and supported by the LXX and the Vulgate). The former states, When Azubah died, Caleb married Ephrath, who bore him Hur while the latter states After the death of Hezron, Caleb went in to Ephrathah…and she bore him Ashhur, the father of Tekoa. The conclusion, therefore, is that Ashhur was the younger brother of Hur.