("in evil" or "a gift".)
1. Asher's son, from whom descended "the family of the Beerites" (Genesis 46:17
; Numbers 26:44-45
2. A son of Ephraim, so-called "because it went evil with Ephraim's house" at the time, the men of Gath "born in that land" (Goshen, or else the eastern part of Lower Egypt) having slain his sons in a raid on cattle (1 Chronicles 7:20-23
). if Beriah mean a "gift," he will be regarded as an extraordinary gift from God to Ephraim, now old, to stand "instead of" his sons whom he had lost; such was Seth (Genesis 4:25
margin). The incident perhaps belongs to the time, otherwise unnoticed, between Jacob's death and the Egyptian enslaving of his seed; for Ephraim's sons must, some of them, have been full grown and the Hebrew still free. The men of Gath were children of Philistine settlers in Goshen or the adjoining region. In Joshua 13:2-3
the Sihor, or (Pelusiac branch of) the Nile, is the boundary between Egypt and Canaan; and in Genesis 46:34
the pastoral population in Goshen being an "abomination to the Egyptians," Goshen must have been regarded as non-Egyptian, but a kind of border land between the two countries, Egypt and Canaan.
The men of Gath may have been mercenaries in the Egyptian army, with lands allotted them in that quarter. The bloody attack of Simeon and Levi on Shechem (Genesis 34:25-29
), and Pharaoh's fear lest in war the Israelites should join Egypt's foes and so get up out of the land (Exodus 1), show the possibility of their having been the aggressors, but as "come down" is more applicable to coming into than going from Egypt, probably the men of Gath were the aggressors. Translate therefore "when they came down." Keil thinks that" Ephraim" here is not the patriarch, but his descendant ages after bearing his name. Ezer and Elead his sons went down from mount Ephraim to Gath to carry off the Gittites' cattle and were slain in the attempt. Their father's sorrow for them was alleviated by the birth of Beriah. This view is possible.
3. A Benjamite who, with Shema, his brother, were ancestors of the inhabitants of Aijalon, and "drove away the inhabitants of Gath" (1 Chronicles 8:13
4. A Gershomite Levite (1 Chronicles 23:10-11