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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 25

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-11

CHAPTER 25:1-11 Abraham’s Posterity From Keturah and His Death

1. Abraham’s offspring from Keturah (Genesis 25:1-4 )

2. Isaac the heir (Genesis 25:5-6 )

3. Abraham’s death and burial (Genesis 25:7-11 )

Abraham’s marriage to Keturah and the offspring from her concludes the history of this remarkable character. That this took place after Isaac’s marriage (typifying the marriage of the Lamb) makes it very interesting. After the church is completed and the present age ends the seed of Abraham will be blessed for the nations of the earth and nations will be born and walk in the light. This will be the result after Israel’s restoration. Then all the families of the earth will be blessed in Abraham’s seed. Abraham’s posterity from Keturah stands for the millennial nations.

And Isaac is seen above all these. He still dwelt at Lahai-roi. He alone is the heir and the others received only gifts. So Christ is the Heir of God and His church will be with him far above all the earthly blessings of the age to come. Abraham died 175 years old, which means, he lived till Jacob and Esau were 15 years old. The phrase “gathered to his people” is used only of six persons. Of Abraham (Genesis 25:8 ); Ishmael (Genesis 25:17 ); Isaac (Genesis 35:29 ); Jacob (Genesis 49:29-33 ); Aaron (Numbers 20:24 ); and Moses (Deuteronomy 32:50 ). Here we add a few words translated from the German and written by Dr. Kurtz, late professor of the University of Dorpat:

The human race has had four ancestral heads, to each of whom the divine blessing is granted: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Of these, Abraham is the third; for he, too, is the head and founder of a new race, or of a new development. The direct reference of that blessing, in the case of the first and second, is to descendants after the flesh; in the case of the fourth, Christ (see Psalms 22:30 --110:3; Isaiah 53:10 ), to a spiritual seed, but in the case of Abraham, to both; for his spiritual seed was appointed to be manifested through the medium of his seed according to the flesh, agreeably to the promise: “In thee and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” The children of Abraham, according to the flesh, are countless in number. Nations have arisen and disappeared, but his descendants proceed onward, through all ages, unmixed and unchanged. Their history is not yet closed; the blessing given to his seed, still preserves them unharmed, under every pressure of the nations around them, and amid all the ravages of time. But the peculiar feature which distinguishes Abraham does not, properly, belong to him naturally, as a member of the human family, or as an individual of a particular nation, but is found in his spiritual character. Where this character, which is faith, is manifested, we find the true children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7 ; Galatians 3:29 ; Romans 9:6-8 ). Faith was the polar star, the very soul, of his life. The ancient record, anticipating a development of two thousand years, remarked of him, first of all: “He believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 ); and after these two thousand years had elapsed, Christ said of him: “Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad” (John 8:56 ). Abraham’s true position and importance cannot, therefore, be fully appreciated, until we recognize in him the father of them that believe (Romans 4:11 ); and innumerable as the stars of heaven, and glorious as they are, are his spiritual children, the children of his faith.

Verses 12-18


1. Ishmael and his sons (Genesis 25:12-16 )

2. The death of Ishmael (Genesis 25:17-18 )

In chapter 16:12 we find the prediction that Ishmael should dwell in the presence of his brethren. In Genesis 25:18 we find the fulfilment. The names we find here may be traced in other Scriptures. For instance in Isaiah 60:0 , the great chapter of the millennial kingdom, we have Nebajoth and Kedar mentioned (Isaiah 60:7 ). The number twelve, twelve princes, links Ishmael closely with Israel. When Israel is blest in the future and receives the promised Land for his glorious possession, the posterity of Ishmael will not be forgotten.

Verses 19-34


CHAPTER 25:19-34 Esau and Jacob

1. Rebekah barren and the answered prayer (Genesis 25:19-22 )

2. The birth of Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:23-26 )

3. The growth of the boys (Genesis 25:27-28 )

4. Esau sells his birthright (Genesis 25:29-34 )

It was 25 years after Abraham entered Canaan before Isaac was born. It was 20 years after Isaac’s marriage before the birth of Esau and Jacob. The barren condition of Rebekah led Isaac to exercise faith and to cast himself upon the Lord for help. And He answered him. God delights to take up what is weak and barren and manifest His power in answer to prayer. Before the children were born the Lord had declared, “the elder shall serve the younger.” The struggle in Rebekah’s womb reminds us of the struggle between the two seeds (Ishmael and Isaac) in Abraham’s household. God’s sovereignty is here solemnly made known. He knew them before they were born and He made His choice according to His own sovereign will and purpose. “And not only this; but when Rebekah also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born, neither having done good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him that calleth), it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger, as it is written, Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:11-13 ). That this does not refer to any unconditional and eternal condemnation is clear. It must be noticed that the statement “Esau have I hated” does not appear in Genesis, but in the last book of the Old Testament. Then the character and defiance of Edom had become fully established. In Genesis the Lord speaks only of having chosen Jacob and what creature of the dust can challenge His right to do so.

Then Esau sold his birthright. It fully brought out the defiance of his wicked heart (Hebrews 12:16-17 ). The blessings of the birthright he sold consisted in three things: 1. The father’s blessing and the place of head of the family; 2. The honor of being in the direct line of the promised One--Shem-Abraham-Isaac; 3. The exercise of the domestic priesthood. All this Esau despised for a carnal gratification. How numerous are his followers in our days who might have greater blessings, but they are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Genesis 25". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/genesis-25.html. 1913-1922.
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