Archive

Donations

wait
wait

 

The first king of Israel was Saul, the son of Kish. Most Bible readers know that, but who was his grandfather? Abiel or Ner as the SAB critic suggests, or even Jeiel, which he seemed to have forgotten? Let’s present the four relevant texts and give our evaluations.

 

SAB Contradiction 274

 

The forefathers of Kish, Saul’s father
Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor.
1 Samuel 9:1  NASB

– The father of Kish is called Abiel, moreover Kish is said to be a man of influence (valor) an important man at his time.

 

Saul’s uncle Ner
The name of Saul’s wife was Ahinoam the daughter of Ahimaaz. And the name of the captain of his army was Abner the son of Ner, Saul’s uncle.
1 Samuel 14:50  NASB

– It is clearly stated that Saul had an uncle named Ner. As we will see later: this Ner was a brother of Kish, Saul’s father. Abner means: (My) father is an (oil) lamp.   
The question that arises is: in other texts Ner is the grandfather of Saul (see below) and not his uncle, so: What's wrong with Ner?

 

Family Tree:

              Abiel            –   Grandfather of Saul, (there were more names.)
        |                  |
     Kish             Ner   –   Brother of Kish
        |                  |
     Saul           Abner  –  Nephew and captain of Saul

 

First genealogy of Saul, Ner as grandfather
29 Now in Gibeon, (Jeiel), the father of Gibeon lived, and his wife’s name was Maacah;
30 and his firstborn son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Nadab,
31 Gedor, Ahio and Zecher.
32 Mikloth became the father of Shimeah. And they also lived with their relatives in Jerusalem opposite their other relatives.
33 Ner became the father of Kish, and Kish became the father of Saul, and Saul became the father of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Eshbaal.

1 Chronicles 8:29-33  NASB

Two remarks.
(1) It starts with ‘the father of Gibeon’, we would say the Mayor of the town Gibeon. The name Jeiel is not in the Hebrew text.
(2) From verse 33 we learn that the name of the father of Gibeon was Ner (Lamp)! That was the father of Kish, or Saul’s grandfather!

 

Second genealogy of Saul, Jeiel as grandfather
35 In Gibeon Jeiel the father of Gibeon lived, and his wife’s name was Maacah,
36 and his firstborn son was Abdon, then Zur, Kish, Baal, Ner, Nadab,
37 Gedor, Ahio, Zechariah and Mikloth.
38 Mikloth became the father of Shimeam. And they also lived with their relatives in Jerusalem opposite their other relatives.
39 Ner became the father of Kish, and Kish became the father of Saul, and Saul became the father of Jonathan, Malchi-shua, Abinadab and Eshbaal.

1 Chronicles 9:35-39  NASB

Again two remarks

(1) The second genealogy of Saul is substantially the same as the first one. It’s only more complete concerning two names: Jeiel (prob. Treasurer of God) and Ner (Lamp) as a brother of Kish.
(2) What was the reason for the author of the book of Chronicles to present two nearly identical genealogies?

 

Solving the mystery

The book of Chronicles was composed shortly after the Babylonian Captivity (ca. 500-400 BC). The golden rule for the composer was to not change existing documents in presenting the holy history of Israel. He did not omit Saul’s genealogy of chapter 8. However, to be complete he incorporated a second genealogy with the name Ner as a brother of Kish.

Why this circumstantial method? Well, in this way the composer could show that Ner, the brother of Kish, was born out of wedlock. And that (probably his mother) gave him the same name as his father Ner! The first genealogy shows that the illegitimate son was kept secret for a long time; the second shows that only later he was accepted in the family and into the genealogy. (If he was only an adoptive son, he would not have been presented in the second genealogy.) Without one of the genealogies this state of affairs did not become clear. 
 

Family Tree:

            Abiel, Jeiel, Ner        –   Grandfather of Saul (several  names)
        |                             |
     Kish                        Ner   –   Brother of Kish (illegitimate child)
        |                             |
     Saul                      Abner  –  Nephew and captain of Saul

 

Conclusion

The father of Kish had the name Abiel (My father is God). He also was named Jeiel (prob. Treasurer of God) and also Ner (Lamp). At least one was a nickname, he got as Mayor of Gibeon. Sometimes two names were given at the birth of a child, one by the father and one by the mother (especially kings had two names; one of each parent). This may have occurred also with Saul’s grandfather.

 

No Bible Contradiction

 

Additional
It seems that Abner, being the son of a bastard, suffered latent discrimination in the family. Once Abner was accused of a misstep concerning a woman by Ish-bosheth who had succeeded his father Saul. It made Abner exceptionally angry. For this word Abner declared to Ish-bosheth to bring David on the throne of Israel: “…  to transfer the kingdom from the house of Saul and to establish the throne of David over Israel and over Judah, from Dan even to Beersheba.” (2 Samuel 3:10) Apparently Ish-bosheth had touched Abner on the raw with his accusation.