Ja'bez (Heb. Yabets', יִעבֵּוֹ, according to 1Ch 4:9, affliction, sc. to his mother, apparently by transposition from the root עָצִב; Sept. Ι᾿γαβής and Γαβής or Γάβης), the name of a man and also of a place.
1. A descendant of Judah (B.C. post 1612), but of what particular family is not apparent, although we have this remarkable account of him inserted among a series of bare pedigrees: "And Jabez was more honorable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow (עֹצֶב). And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldst bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldst keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me (צָצבַּי, otsbi')! And God granted him that which he requested" (1Ch 4:9-10). It is very doubtful whether any connection exists between this genealogy and that in 2:50-55. Several names appear in both Hur, Ephratah, Bethlehem, Zareathites (in A.V. 4:2 inaccurately "Zorathites"), Joab, Caleb; — and there is much similarity between others, as Rechab and Rechah, Eshton and Eshtaulites; but any positive connection seems undemonstrable. The Targum identifies Jabez and Othniel. For the traditionary notices of this person and his character, see Clarke's Comnnent. ad loc.
2. A place described as being inhabited by several families of the scribes descended from the Kenites, and allied to the Rechabites (1 Chronicles 2, 55). It occurs in a notice of the progeny of Salma, who was of Judah, and closely connected with Bethlehem (ver. 51), possibly the father of Boaz-; and also-though how is not clear — with Joab. The Targum states some curious particulars, which, however, do not much elucidate the difficulty, and which are probably a mixture of trustworthy tradition and of mere invention based on philological grounds. Rechab is there identified with Rechabiah, the son of Eliezer, Moses's younger son (1Ch 26:25), and Jabez with Othniel the Kenezite, who bore the name of Jabez "because he founded by his counsel (עֵיצָה) a school (תִּרבַּיצָא) of disciples called Tirathites, Shimeathites, and Sucathites." See also the quotations from Talmud. Tem urah, in Buxtorfs Lex. col. 966, where a similar deviation is given. As the place appears to have been situated within the territory of Judah, it may have been settled by the numerous posterity of the above person by the same name (comp. "the men of Rechah," 1Ch 4:12). The associated names would seem to indicate a locality near, if not identical with Kirjath-jearim (comp. in the same region Kirjath- sepher, or book-town, implying the literary avocation of its inhabitants), where some of the same families appear to have dwelt (1 Chronicles 2, 53), e.g. the Ithrites =Kenites, the Shumathites = Simeathites.