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JAIR (jā'ẽr, Heb. yā’îr, he enlightens)

A son of Manasseh and a leading warrior in the conquest of Gilead by Moses (Num.32.40-Num.32.41).One of the judges, a Gileadite who served twenty years (Judg.10.3-Judg.10.5).A Bethlehemite and the father of Elhanan, who killed Lahmi, brother of Goliath the Gittite (1Chr.20.5). The name is given as Jaare-Oregim in 2Sam.21.19 (niv).The father of Mordecai (Esth.2.5).


JAIR jā’ ər (יָאִֽיר, He enlightens). 1. A son of Manasseh (Num 32:41; Deut 3:14; Josh 13:30; 1 Kings 4:13; 1 Chron 2:22). At the time of the conquest of Canaan he occupied a number of villages in Gilead and in the region of Argob. His father was said to be Segub of Judah (1 Chron 2:22). He prob., therefore, was a descendant of Manasseh.

2. A Gileadite who judged Israel for twenty-two years (Judg 10:3, 5). Each of his thirty sons rode on an ass and ruled over a city. He may have belonged to the family of 1, or even have been the same person as 1.

3. A Benjamite, the ancestor or the father of Mordecai, the guardian of Esther (Esth 2:5).

4. The father of Elhanan who killed the brother of Goliath (1 Chron 20:5). In 2 Samuel 21:19 it is said that he killed Goliath himself.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) Jair (ya’ir, "he enlightens" or "one giving light"):

(a) Son, i.e. descendant of Manasseh (Nu 32:41; De 3:14; Jos 13:30; 1Ki 4:13; 1Ch 2:22 f). According to 1Ch 2:21 f he was the son of ScRub, son of Hezron, a descendant of Judah, who married the daughter of Machir, son of Manasseh. He was thus descended both from Judah and Manasseh. At the time of the conquest he distinguished himself by taking the tent-villages HAVVOTH-JAIR (which see). The accounts of his exploit are difficult to harmonize (see ICC on above passages). Some would identify him with the Jair of Jud 10:3, holding that Manasseh’s settlement in Northern Gilead and Bashan took place, not before Israel’s passage of the Jordan, but after the settlement of the tribe on the West. For a criticism of this view see HGHL, 577, note

(b) One of the judges. He is said to have had 30 sons, who rode on 30 ass colts, and who had as many cities, known as Havvoth-jair (Jud 10:3,4). One tradition identifies (a) and (b). Others reconcile the two narratives by interpreting the word "son" in a non-literal sense.

(c) The father of Mordecai (Es 2:5). In the Apocrypha (Additions to Esther 11:2) his name is given as "Jairus" (Iaeiros).

(2) Jair (Qere: ya`ir, "he arouses"; Kethibh: ya`ur; a different name from (1) above): The father of Elhanan, the giant-slayer (1Ch 20:5). In the parallel passage (2Sa 21:19) his name is given as "Jaare-oregim," but the text should be corrected to Jair, "oregim" (’oreghim) having crept in from the line below through a copyist’s error.