I Chronicles – Chapter 1

Timna Who?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

The first chapter of Chronicles traces the ten generations from Adam to Noah, then the descendants of Noah’s sons, including the progenitors of the 70 nations of the world. (These include Mitzrayim, Cush and Yavan – better known in English as Egypt, Ethiopia and Greece.) Verse 10 pauses to tell us that Nimrod was the world’s first monarch.

One of Noah’s three sons was Shem. Among Shem’s descendants was Abraham; the narrative then focuses on Abraham’s descendants, from Isaac, Ishmael and the sons of Keturah. We are given a list of their descendants, including Esau and Israel (Jacob).

The last section of the chapter concerns itself with the kings and leaders of Edom that preceded the monarchy in Israel (see the parallel text in Genesis 36:31).

An example of the type of apparent discrepancy between this chapter and the genealogies in Genesis occurs in verse 36, which names Timna as a son of Elifaz. We have two questions on this: (1) We know from Genesis that Timna was the concubine of Elifaz and (2) Another son of Elifaz, Korach, is missing from the list altogether. One explanation is that Elifaz had a young son named Timna, but he changed his name to Korach when he married Timna the concubine. After all, it would hardly do to have a concubine and a son with the same name!

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