Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” 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. 1 Chronicles 4:9-10
Nothing is really known of his genealogy. He is not previously mentioned anywhere in scripture. It’s truly difficult to define what period of Israel’s history he lived but I believe it after the conquest of Canaan for sure; whether in the time of the judges or the kings is unclear to me. I do believe he is of the lineage of Judah.
Evidently, his birth was tough on his mom so she named as a reminder of that pain. Imagine being called You-Give-Me-Pain all your life. Every time mom calls you for supper it’s a reminder of her painful birth.
Despite his name, Jabez was more honorable than his brothers!
Perhaps “honorable” meant he recognized the God of Israel as the source of blessing and salvation. I can think of no more honorable act than seeking God when no one else is.
His prayer contains five simple requests of the Lord God.
1. That You would bless me indeed.
2. Enlarge my territory.
3. That Your hand would be with me.
4. You would keep me from evil.
5. That I may not cause pain.
I gather from the last one that his painful name was a daily reminder to him. Yet, that request was last.
He sought first the blessing of God. There is no need in moving forward without God. Your life’s work amounts to nothing without Him.
He asks God to enlarge his territory. That is probably actual land but you could ask for a greater ministry or more opportunities to present the Gospel.
He did not want God to just grant his petition and then withdraw from him. He wanted God’s direction at all times. I agree. I need God every minute of the day.
In order to receive God’s blessing and do His will, he prayed for God’s help in staying away from evil. Jesus told the disciples to include this thought in their prayers.
Finally, after so many years of reminders of what a pain he was, he asks not to cause pain to anyone else. Perhaps you cause pain to others. Did you ever hurt someone’s feelings? Then pray for understanding and a more encouraging attitude toward others.