1 Chronicles 4:9-10
was an ordinary man who believed in God and is distinguished by the
“more honourable than
his brethren" - it is not
said why the Bible describes him thus, but he might have been a man
of great wealth, or a praying man, a man of God.
The first man to be described like this
is Shechem, Gen 34:19.
He was guilty of defiling Dinah the daughter of Jacob. His honour is
compared to a most ungodly company, but here the description of
Jabez is in contrast to other members belonging to the kingly tribe
person we know nothing but what is mentioned here, nor does the name
occur in any other part of Scripture except in
where it appears to be the name of a place, in all probability
called after him.
appears to have been a child brought into the world with great
difficulty, at the risk of his own life and that of his mother. So
much seemed to be implied in his mother’s statement, "I
bare him with sorrow",
that she gave him a name that must have recalled to her, and later
to his remembrance, the danger to which both their lives were
exposed. She called his name
Sorrow at childbirth is a reminder of the fall,
After her experience of a hard child birth, Rachel named her son (Gen
meaning the "son of my
sorrow". But unlike
Benjamin, Jabez was to carry his name unchanged throughout life.
There are several things in the account of Jabez for our learning:
He must have
been brought up in the fear of God, worshipping the God of Israel,
for he calls upon Him. "O that Thou
would bless me indeed”. He prayed
for three things particularly:
things necessary for the body as well as for the soul. “Enlarge
my coasts" -
grant me as much territory as may support my family; let me have
the necessities, conveniences, and, as far as they may be safely
entrusted to me, the comforts of life! His desire was to enjoy
more of the divine provision of the land which God had given. He
wanted also to be spiritually prosperous, to experience
enrichment from His God. We too must widen our vision, and enjoy
our inheritance of holy fellowship with God, and also bring
others into its enjoyment.
thy hand might be with me!"
May I ever walk with thee, and feel the hand of Thy power to
support me in all the trials, dangers, and difficulties of life;
and Thy hand to supply all my wants in reference to both worlds!
He wanted to have the spiritual presence of God. Man’s true
place is always one of dependence upon His Maker. A Believer’s
place is that like the dependence of sheep upon the Shepherd, a
child upon its Father, or a servant upon his Master.
dreads both sin and suffering, and therefore prays against both:
me from evil, that it may not grieve me"!
These words, "that
it may not grieve me,"
might be more literally rendered, "that
I may have no more sorrow."
He knew that evil would cause him grief. Let me not experience
the grief which my name implies, and which my sins may well
produce. Sin and grief go hand in hand throughout our lives.
Jabez in effect prays, keep me from sin, that I grieve thee not;
and keep me from sin, that I render not myself miserable! We can
never offend God without injuring ourselves; he that sins will
me from evil, that it may not grieve me".
This is a humble recognition of our need. Our Lord testified of
the world that its works were evil, and He died to deliver us
We live in a fallen world filled with sin and it is important to
ask God to keep us safe from the unavoidable evil that comes our
way. But we must also avoid evil motives, desires, and actions
that begin within us. Therefore we must seek God’s protection
from evil, but we must also ask God to guard our thoughts and
actions. We can begin to utilize His protection by filling our
minds with positive thoughts and attitudes.
Jabez did not pray in vain, for God granted him what he requested.
He is a picture of us all in his birth, and is an example to us in
his life. Like every man he was born in “sorrow”. His name meaning
“sorrowful” would suit any of us, for the affect of Adam’s sin is
still with us. May we indeed pray his prayer.