Even while admitting the transferal of Israel's birthright to Joseph, the Chronicler feels compelled to mention that Judah was the strong tribe that produced the leader (nagid) of God's People (verse 2; 2 Samuel 7:8).
Dealing with Reuben's settlements east of the Jordan and Dead Sea (verse 8) apparently prompts the author's mind to remain in that general location and discuss the tribe of Gad (verses 11-17) and the half-tribe of Manasseh (verses 23-24) that settled in Gilead and Bashan. This sequence interrupts the author's pattern of adhering to lists of the sons as they appear in Genesis 46:16 or Numbers 26:15-18.
The mention of Sharon in verse 16 is most mysterious, because the Plain of Sharon in nowhere near that area.
In verse 17 the author traces his source material to a census made in the mid-eighth century.
This chapter has two notices of wars against the Hagrites, Arabians living east of the Jordan, one in the late eleventh century (verse 10) and one at an apparently later period (verses 19-20). The Hagrites, twice defeated, were hardly destroyed. We find them later in the Greek writers Strabo and Ptolemy and the Latin author Pliny.
Some elements in this account suggest a source as early as the ninth century. For example we know that the towns of Aroer, Baalmeon, and Nebo (verse 8) fell under Moabite control during that century.
The chapter's closing verses (25-26) indicate the irony that these eastern tribes, victorious in war by God's favor, nonetheless succumbed to the religion of those whom they defeated. This explains their massive deportation by Tiglath-pileser in 734. (The material here is drawn from 2 Kings 15:19,29; 17:6; 18:11.) Thus, an Assyrian emperor is portrayed as an instrument in the hand of the supreme Lord of History.