Divrei Hayamim I – Four: Jabez

More and more and more names, these from the tribe of Judah, and each more random than the last. Some mention women, others don’t, and I’m at a bit of a loss for why any of them deserved to be canonized in the most sacred of texts. One name that intrigued me was Jabez. “Now Jabez was more esteemed than his brothers, and his mother named him Jabez, saying, ‘For I bore him in sadness (Chronicles I 4:9).'” I have no memory of having heard of this guy before, so it’s interesting in the first place that he gets a mention and an explanation like this. Each clause of the verse is also full of questions. Regarding the former, we have so many examples of strife between brothers in Tanakh, so I’m wondering if this is just one of many or if it’s a standout example somehow. And why does his relationship with his brothers have anything to do with how he was named and why? Why would his mother have had sadness, to the point that she immortalized that emotion in the name of her son? Does it have to do with his brothers, or is it a totally separate issue? I wonder if the commentators delved into all of this, or if this is all just an aside towards the end of Tanakh, and Jabez is someone who is ultimately lost to history?

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