1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel, (for he was the firstborn; but forasmuch as he defiled his father's bed, (Cp. Gen. 35:22; 49:4) his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel: and the genealogy is not to be enrolled in the place of the firstborn. (See Gen. 25:41)
2 For Judah prevailed above his brethren, (p. Gen. 49:8, referring to inter-tribal precedence) and of him is the chief ruler; (referring to the regal line, and the coming of Messiah) but the birthright was Joseph's:)
3 The sons, I say, of Reuben the firstborn of Israel were, Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
4 The sons of Joel; Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, Shimei his son,
5 Micah his son, Reaia his son, Baal his son,
6 Beerah his son, whom Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria carried away captive: (this was the 1st carrying away, and took place in 654 B.C.. Cp. v.25. The 2nd was by Tilgath-Pilsear [= Pul] in the reign of Pekah [649-629 B.C.]This was the Galilee-Naphtali carrying away [2 Kings 15:29. Isa. 9:1] referring to Matt. 4:15. The 3rd was the Samaria deportation in the 9th year of Hoshea and the 6th of Hezekiah [611 B.C.], and ended the kingdom of Israel [2 Kings 17:3-23; 18:9-12]. It was begun by Shalmaneser and ended by Sargon [613-611 B.C.]) he was prince of the Reubenites.
7 And his brethren by their families, when the genealogy of their generations was reckoned, were the chief, Jeiel, and Zechariah,
8 And Bela the son of Azaz, the son of Shema, the son of Joel, who dwelt in Aroer, even to Nebo and Baalmeon: (All east of the Dead Sea. See Num. 32:43,35. Deut. 2:36)
9 And eastward he inhabited to the entering in of the wilderness from the river Euphrates: because their cattle were multiplied in the land of Gilead.
10 And in the days of Saul they made war with the Hagarites, (tracing their descent from Hagar through Ishmael. Cp. v.16 with 1:31, and Ps. 83:6) who fell by their hand: and they dwelt in their tents throughout all the east land of Gilead.
11 And the sons of Gad dwelt over against them, in the land of Bashan to Salcah:
12 Joel the chief, and Shapham the next, and Jaanai, and Shaphat in Bashan.
13 And their brethren of the house of their fathers were, Michael, and Meshullam, and Sheba, and Jorai, and Jachan, and Zia, and Heber, seven.
14 These are the children of Abihail the son of Huri, the son of Jaroah, the son of Gilead, the son of Michael, the son of Jeshishai, the son of Jahdo, the son of Buz;
15 Ahi the son of Abdiel, the son of Guni, chief of the house of their fathers.
16 And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, (i.e. part of it, other parts having been alloted to the half-tribes of Ruebenites and Manassies [Num. 32:39-40. Deut. 3:13. Josh. 13:31]) and in her towns, and in all the suburbs of Sharon, upon their borders.
17 All these were reckoned by genealogies in the days of Jotham king of Judah, (647-631 B.C.) and in the days of Jeroboam II king of Israel. (728-687 B.C. Consequently, the statement here refers to consensuses at different times)
18 The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of sons valor, (these two and a half tribes, east of Jordan, chose their own portions, but were nearest to the enemy, and were the 1st to be carried away. Cp. Lot, Gen. 13:10,11, with 14:11,12. Better to have our "lot" chosen for us by Yahaveh [Gen. 13:14,15]) men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skillful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.
19 And they made war with the Hagarites, with Jetur, and Nephish, and Nodab.
20 And they were helped against them, (i.e. by God [2 Chron. 26:17. Ps. 28:7]. This victory should have shown them that there could have been no captivity had they obeyed God[ see 4:43]) and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that were with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their trust in Him.
21 And they took away their cattle; of their camels fifty thousand, and of sheep two hundred and fifty thousand, and of asses two thousand, and of men an hundred thousand.
22 For there fell down many slain, because the war was of God. And they dwelt in their steads until the captivity. (Cp. 2 Kings 15:29; 17::6; 18:9-12: i.e. that of Tiglath-pilsear)
23 And the children of the half tribe of Manasseh dwelt in the land: (i.e. the half beyond Jordan) they increased from Bashan to Baalhermon and Senir, and to mount Hermon.
24 And these were the heads of the house of their fathers, even Epher, and Ishi, and Eliel, and Azriel, and Jeremiah, and Hodaviah, and Jahdiel, mighty men of valor, famous men, and heads of the house of their fathers.
25 And they acted faithlessly against the God of their fathers, and went a whoring after the gods of the peoples of the land, whom God destroyed before them.
about 651 B.C.
26 And the God (Elohim, not Yahaveh, as dealing with Gentiles; but Israel, as not forgetting His covenant-relation though stiring up enemies) of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, (2 names for 1 person: Pul the original and official name in Babylon of this usurper; Tilgath, his official name in Assyria, which he assumed from an earlier king. Cp. 2 Kings 15:19) and he carried them away, even the Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them to Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the river Gozan, unto this day.