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Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 25

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-4


Verses 1-4:

Some suggest Abraham may have married Keturah prior to Sarah’s death. This does not appear likely. Keturah was possibly a servant in the household, as Hagar had been.

That Abraham fathered at least six sons following Sarah’s death indicates he retained his youthful vigor long after the birth of Isaac.

Abraham’s sons by Keturah settled primarily in the region bounded on the west by the Red Sea, and on the east by the Persian Gulf.

Verses 5-10

Verses 5-10:

Abraham appointed Isaac as his chief heir. This was as God had instructed. It is not clear at what point in time Abraham distributed the "gifts" to his other children and sent them away. One purpose of this separation of Abraham’s sons was to preserve Isaac and his seed as Abraham’s chief heir and the recipient of the Covenant blessings.

The sibling rivalry between Isaac and Ishmael was evidently settled before Abraham’s death. Both sons were present at the funeral and burial of their father. Abraham was buried in the same burial plot as his beloved Sarah.

Verse 11

Verse 11:

Lahairoi means "him that liveth and seeth me." It appears first in Ge 16:14, as the site of God’s encounter with Hagar. Isaac likely lived here for quite some time.

Verses 12-18

Verses 12-18:

God had promised to bless Ishmael (Ge 21:13) and make of his seed a mighty people, because Abraham was his father. Twelve sons were born to Ishmael. Each became the father of a tribe or nation. Ishmael’s descendants inhabited the wild expanses and mountains of the Arabian Peninsula. Part of their territory overlapped that of Keturah’s descendants. The region includes modern Syria, Jordan, portions of Saudi Arabia, and other areas along the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Suez.

"Castles," verse 16, tirah, means tower, or stronghold. Use of this term implies the warlike nature of Ishmael’s descendants.

Verses 19-23

Verses 19-23:

The chronological chart affirms that Isaac married Rebekah three years after his mother’s death. Although Bethuel was a descendant of Arphaxad just as was Isaac, he is here designated as a Syrian or Aramaean because of the country where he lived.

Rebekah was barren during the early years of her marriage to Isaac. This was a cause of concern to Isaac, so he interceded on her behalf with the Lord (Jehovah). Jehovah heard his prayer, and Rebekah conceived. During her pregnancy, Rebekah became acutely aware of a conflict within her womb. When she enquired of Jehovah as to the meaning of this, the Lord revealed that there were in reality two nations within her womb. There was rivalry before birth, and this rivalry would continue for ages to come. The present-day conflict between Jew and Arab (some of whom are descendants of Esau) confirms this Divine revelation.

Verses 24-28

Verses 24-28:

Rebekah gave birth to twin boys. The first was of unusual appearance, covered with reddish-colored hair. Thus, he was given the name Esau, which means "red."

The second of the twins clutched the heel of his elder brother. Thus he was named Jacob, which means "heel-catcher," or trickster, or supplanter.

The names given the two sons of Isaac and Rebekah were indicative of their natural characteristics later in life. This is a reminder that names (in the Bible) have significance.

The Scripture narrative hurriedly passes over the early life of Isaac’s twin sons. A summary of this period indicates the divergent nature of the two. Esau was a rugged outdoorsman. He loved to hunt, and his father Isaac became very fond of the savory venison he prepared for him. Esau became his father’s favorite. By contrast, Jacob had no interest in outdoor activities. He was content to remain in the camp, caring for the things there. He became the favorite of his mother Rebekah. This situation caused conflict, which would later erupt into sorrow for Isaac’s entire family.

Verses 29-34

Verses 29-34:

Jacob "sod pottage," literally "cooked something cooked." This was likely a dish of boiled lentiles. Esau came in from a hunting trip, weary and hungry. He smelled the aroma of the meal Jacob was preparing, and his desire for food overrode everything else. The broth in the cooking pot was red, and Esau asked Jacob, "Feed me, the red one, with that red one." For this request, Esau became known also as Edom, "red."

Jacob recognized an opportunity to get what he wanted. He offered to trade a bowl of the pottage for Esau’s birthright, his rights as the firstborn son. Esau reasoned that he was about to die, and his birthright would be of no value to him if he were dead. So he traded away his birthright for a bowl of pottage. He considered the fulfillment of the immediate needs of the flesh of greater value than the future benefits of his birthright. Esau "despised," bazah, his birthright; that is, he treated it lightly, with contempt, as a thing of little lasting value. For a spiritual application of this, see Heb 12:14-17.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Genesis 25". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/genesis-25.html. 1985.
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