Genealogies are typically long lists of men who fathered sons who fathered sons and so on. This is true of the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles, but a few women made their way in there. Some we know because of prior stories, some are included with exploits, but most are simply named as a mother or sister. Still, there had to be many girls born to these men as well as the boys mentioned here and all the children needed mothers, so what made even those who are only named special?
Most of that information is lost to me, at least for now. Perhaps I’ll get a chance to really spend time researching every name, but for now, I’ll pass them on to you. Some I did recognize and link, others I spent some time looking for successfully or not. Some are probably lost for forever. Regardless, there were definitely women mentioned among the men in the genealogies of Israel.
Most of the information here shouldn’t be new to anyone reading up to this point. Still, just as they bore repeating in the text, they do bring back to mind other names that we may have missed in the beginning.
Keturah – she is the often forgotten third wife or second concubine of Abraham, who bore him six more sons. In this genealogy those sons are mentioned as hers rather than his alone:
The sons of Keturah, Abraham’s concubine: she bore Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. The sons of Jokshan: Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Midian: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the descendants of Keturah.
It would be great that they gave proper credit to a mother for her parentage, but it’s only used here to distance Abraham from these children. They are the descendants of Keturah while not being the descendants of Abraham.
Timna – mentioned as Lotan’s sister and the mother of Eliphaz’s child, but nothing to otherwise signify her importance.
Mehetabel – the last woman named was the wife of one of the kings of Edom.
- Tamar is again mentioned as having born sons to Judah.
- Zeruiah and Abigail are the daughters of Jesse. More notably, they were David’s sisters and this genealogy brings into a better light the crazy family drama that was going on back in 2 Samuel 13-20. It was obviously family drama but I didn’t realize the extent given that I didn’t realize Joab and Amasa were cousins and that they were cousins to Absalom as well. The whole thing was even crazier than I had originally thought.
- Azubah and Jerioth are wives of Caleb, then he marries Ephrath as well.
- Machir who marries Hezron when he was sixty. It’s interesting that she’s mentioned by name but the young wives weren’t.
- Ephrathah is a wife of Hezron’s that Caleb “went in to” and who had a son with him.
- Atarah, who was the wife Jerahmeel and mother of Onam
- Abihail, wife of Abishur and mother of Ahban and Molid
- Ephah and Maacah, concubine’s of Caleb.
- Achsah, Caleb’s daughter
“David’s descendants” and the women who bore them but it isn’t specified that they were all wives of David. Here they are:
- Abigail the Carmelite, who we do know is his wife based on earlier 1 Samuel
- Eglah, who is said to be his wife here
- Bath-shua, who is actually Bathsheba
Tamar is mentioned to be a sister given to him from one of the nameless concubines in Jerusalem.
Shelomith is a random daughter and sister of some names that I don’t recognize.
There were some more random names of wives and sisters in this chapter. This one is supposed to be the descendants of Judah, which hits me strange because we’ve already done the descendants of David. But if the order of things in the Bible made sense, we wouldn’t have to study it so much, so let’s dive in.
- Bithiah, daughter of Pharaoh
Next it goes on to the descendants of Simeon but no women were mentioned.
The chapter begins with the descendants of Reuben but there are no women listed among them, just an explanation of why he was the first born but not given the birth right followed by which son was “carried away into exile”. It continues with womanless accounts of the tribe of Gad and then the half-tribe of Manasseh.
We seriously have to get to the descendants of Levi and therefore Miriam before we get another woman mentioned. You might remember Miriam, she’s Moses’s sister and a prophetess. No other woman is mentioned for the rest of the chapter, but it does go on to say which cities they were given and where they all lived.
We get through the descendants of Issachar, Benjamin, and Naphtali before running into another woman in the descendants of the other half of the tribe of Manasseh.
- an unnamed Aramean concubine who bears sons
- Maacah. There’s no indication, though, that this is the same woman, especially since this Maacah is married to Machir and the other one was married to David, or his concubine.
- the daughters of Zelophehad (you might remember them from Joshua where they stood up for their family and got a piece an allotment despite that Zelophehad had no sons)
- Hammolecheth, Machir’s sister.
- Sheerah, “who built both Lower and Upper Beth-horon”, I’d like to get more of that story
This concludes the genealogies of the original patriarchs of Israel.
This one is introduced as the genealogy of Saul. He comes down from the tribe of Benjamin.
- Maacah, yes, another woman by that name
This is the final chapter of genealogies. It is the genealogy of the Returned Exiles. So the last book had the people freshly exiled and now this is the genealogy of those returning. We still don’t know what happened in the intervening years, but I imagine that will come eventually. Maybe. Maybe not.
The only woman mentioned in the chapter is Maacah, the one from chapter eight. Saul’s genealogy is repeated here after a minute. Also, there’s a history of gatekeepers that had been established by David and Samuel to guard the house of God.