Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The genealogy of Adam to Noah, Ch1 1:1-3. Of Noah to Abraham, vv. 4-27. The sons of Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac, Ch1 1:28. The sons of Ishmael, Ch1 1:29, Ch1 1:33. The sons of Esau, Ch1 1:34-42. A list of the kings of Edom, Ch1 1:43-50. A list of the dukes of Edom, Ch1 1:51-54.
1 Chronicles 1:1
Adam, Sheth, Enosh - That is, Adam was the father of Sheth or Seth. Seth was the father of Enosh, Enosh the father of Kenan, and so on. No notice is taken of Cain and Abel, or of any of the other sons of Adam. One line of patriarchs, from Adam to Noah, is what the historian intended to give; and to have mentioned the posterity of Cain or Abel would have been useless, as Noah was not the immediate descendant of either. Besides, all their posterity had perished in the deluge, none remaining of the Adamic family but Noah and his children; and from these all the nations of the earth sprang.
How learned must those men be who can take for a text "The first verse of the first chapter of the first book of Chronicles." and find a mystery in each name; which, in the aggregate, amounts to a full view of the original perfection, subsequent fall, consequent misery, and final restoration, of Man! O ye profound illustrators of the names of men and cities! why do ye not give us the key of your wisdom, write comments, and enlighten the world?
1 Chronicles 1:5
After Tiras, the Targum adds, "And the names of their countries were Africa, and Germany, and Media, and Macedonia, Bithynia, and Maesia, and Thrace." And in another copy, "Germany, Getia, and Media, and Ephesus, Bithynia, and Maesia, and Thrace."
1 Chronicles 1:6
To this verse the Targum adds, "And the names of their countries were Asia, and Persia, and Barbary.
1 Chronicles 1:7
The sons of Javan - "But the sons of Macedon, Alsu, and Tarsus, Ilation, and Dardania, or, according to others, Elisha, Alam, Titsas, Achzavia, and Dardania, Ridom, and Chamen, and Antioch." So says this Targum, which I shall henceforth designate by the letter T.
1 Chronicles 1:8
The sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim - "Arabia and Egypt." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:9
Seba, and Havilah - "Sindi and Hindi, and Semadaei, and Libyes and the Zingitae; but the sons of the Mauritanians, Demargad and Mesag." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:10
He began to be mighty upon the earth - "He began to be bold in sin, a murderer of the innocent, and a rebel before the Lord." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:11
Ludim, etc. - "The Nivitaei, the Mariotaei, the Libakaei, and the Pentaskenaei." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:12
Caphthorim - "The Cappadocians." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:13
Canaan begat Zidon - "Canaan begat Bothniam, his first-born, who built Sidon." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:19
The name of the one was Peleg - "Because in his days the inhabitants of the earth were divided according to their languages. And the name of his brother was Joktan, because in his days the years of men began to be shortened, on account of their iniquities." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:20
Joktan begat Almodad - "He divided and measured the earth by lines. Sheleph; he assigned rivers to be boundaries. Hazarmaveth; he prepared a place of snares to kill by the highways. Jerah; he built inns, and when any person came to eat and drink, he gave him deadly poison, and so took his property." - T.
According to these traditions, the two first were geographers; the third, a public robber; and the fourth, an unprincipled innkeeper, who gave poison to his rich guests, that he might get their property. Such things have been done even in modern times.
1 Chronicles 1:23
And Ophir - "Whence gold is brought." And Havilah; "whence pearls are brought." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:24
Shem - "The great priest." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:32
Keturah, Abraham's concubine - Abraham's pilegesh, or wife of the second rank; she was neither whore, harlot, nor concubine, in our sense of these words.
1 Chronicles 1:43
Before any king reigned over - Israel - See Gen 36:31 (note), etc., where the same verses occur, as I have supposed borrowed from this place; and see the notes there.
Bela the son of Beor - "Balaam the impious son of Beor, the same as Laban the Syrian, who formed a confederacy with the sons of Esau, to destroy Jacob and his children; and he studied to destroy them utterly. Afterwards he reigned in Sodom; and the name of his royal city was Dinhabah, because it was undeservedly given to him." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:44
Bela was dead - "Being killed by Phineas, in the wilderness." - T.
Jobab the son of Zerah - Supposed by some to be the same as Job, whose book forms a part of the canon of Scripture. But in their names there is no similarity; Job being written איוב aiyob; Jobab, יובב yobab. See the notes on Job, and the parallel place in Genesis.
1 Chronicles 1:46
Smote Midian - Nothing is known of this war.
1 Chronicles 1:48
By the river - "Shaul of Plathiutha, a great city, built on the banks of the Euphrates." - T.
1 Chronicles 1:50
Daughter of Mezahab - This word מי זהב mey zahab, is literally the golden waters; or What is gold? The Targumist paraphrases thus: "Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, was so earnest and diligent in business that she became immensely rich; but when she was converted, she said, What is this silver, and What is this gold? That is, They are of no real worth.
1 Chronicles 1:51
Hadad died - "And his kingdom ended; for his land was subdued by the children of Esau, and the dukes of Edom ruled in the land of Gebala." - T.
For various particulars in this chapter, see Genesis 10 (note) and Genesis 36 (note), and the parallel places.