Counting the Men

The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puah, Jashub, and Shimron, four. The sons of Tola: Uzzi, Rephaiah, Jeriel, Jahmai, Ibsam, and Shemuel, heads of their fathers’ houses, namely of Tola, mighty warriors of their generations, their number in the days of David being 22,600. The son of Uzzi: Izrahiah. And the sons of Izrahiah: Michael, Obadiah, Joel, and Isshiah, all five of them were chief men. And along with them, by their generations, according to their fathers’ houses, were units of the army for war, 36,000, for they had many wives and sons. Their kinsmen belonging to all the clans of Issachar were in all 87,000 mighty warriors, enrolled by genealogy. 1 Chronicles 7:1-5.

I can think of a couple of reasons why only the men are counted, and neither of those reasons are because women were treated like herd animals. The first is that a people’s fighting force was it’s most important asset. Brute strength and heavy weapons were the order of the day, and if your people were not a force to be reckoned with, some other people who were would kill you, and start fathering the children of your widows and daughters. And now someone could protect them.

Another reason is that naming the families after the men was a convenient filing system. A man named Uzzi might have three wives, but all those sons were the sons of Uzzi. Women didn’t have three husbands. That would make a woman part of the commons. Today we are familiar with “the tragedy of the commons”: if nobody owns you, nobody loves you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.