The New King James Version translates 1 Chronicles 4:9-10:
9 Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 10 And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.
I’m focused this morning on: “that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!”
The name Jabez means pain, sorrow or grief and I’m thinking that he’s already caused his mother pain and he doesn’t want to cause anyone else pain, which would echo verse nine, “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” Desiring to not cause pain and praying to that end would be very honorable.
And God granted his request.
Now, enter the New Living Bible Translation:
9 There was a man named Jabez who was more honorable than any of his brothers. His mother named him Jabez because his birth had been so painful. 10 He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.
“And keep me from all trouble and pain!”
And the American Standard Version:
9And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my border, and that thy hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it be not to my sorrow! And God granted him that which he requested.
“…keep me from evil, that it be not to my sorrow!”
King James Version:
9And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. 10And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!
“… keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!”
Young’s Literal Translations says:
9And Jabez is honoured above his brethren, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I have brought forth with grief.’ 10And Jabez calleth to the God of Israel, saying, ‘If blessing Thou dost bless me, then Thou hast made great my border, and Thy hand hath been with me, and Thou hast kept me from evil—not to grieve me;’ and God bringeth in that which he asked.
“….and Thou hast kept me from evil—not to grieve me.”
Each translation is good, but which one is most like the original text? God speaks to me through each translation, but the bottom line is that Jabez was praying for his life not to reflect his name… Sorrow… Pain… Grief. Jabez did not want to cause sorrow or pain or grief to anyone else, even though he was not responsible for the pain his mother suffered in childbirth. If that were the case, most of us should be named Jabez! Nor did he want his entire life to be lived out in sorrow or pain or grief because of his name.
If God considered Jabez an honorable man, despite his name and God granted his request, that is certainly enough motivation for me to live an honorable life and to pray the prayer of Jabez.
This brings up a question. How do I live an honorable life? Apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there is nothing honorable in me or about me. The only honorable thing I have ever done was to make Jesus Christ the Lord and Master of my life and that, too, came about by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my sin and separation from God. I chose to accept rather than reject Jesus Christ. That is what God sees in me as honorable.
I study His Word… not necessarily honorable. I pray… also, alone, is not necessarily honorable. But my obedience to God’s Word by faith and the guidance that comes when I pray, God sees as honorable when I follow Him in obedience. And without Jesus Christ in my life and the Holy Spirit living within me, I am not capable of being obedient to His Word. Because of Jesus Christ, I and the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit are one.
Victory in Jesus!!
We have a personal testimony regarding the prayer of Jabez. A post for a another date.
I love mornings like this morning. What are your thoughts regarding the prayer of Jabez?