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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Genesis 25

Verses 1-6

Abraham’s Genealogy With Keturah Genesis 25:1-6 gives us an additional genealogy of Abraham with Keturah, his concubine, and his six sons. Scholars offer several views as to the general time frame of Abraham’s relationship to Keturah. (1) After Sarah’s Death - Because of the placement of this narrative material after the death of Sarah, many scholars believe this event took place after her death, so that this short passage of Scripture gives a brief account of the final thirty-eight years of Abraham’s life. [216] Augustine held this view. [217] This passage of Scripture could show how God empowered Abraham with vigor in his old age as a result of his faithful walk with God, particularly when contrasted with his earlier years patiently awaiting the birth of his son Isaac. (2) During Sarah’s Lifetime Some scholars believe that the events of passage of Scripture could have taken place during the time Sarah was alive. They argue that this passage gives no indication that it took place after Sarah’s death, and that Keturah’s children needed time to grow into adulthood to take a wife and bear Abraham grandchildren. Wenham notes that this passage would be placed at the end of Abraham’s life in order not to distract from the emphasis on the promise of Isaac. [218] This passage of Scripture shows that Isaac became heir to Abraham’s blessings and possessions, while the children of Keturah were sent away without any substantial possessions to become independent nations. However, God has promised Abraham that he would become a father of many nations (Genesis 17:4). As a fulfillment of this promise, many of the sons of Ishmael and Keturah walked in Abraham’s blessings and became nations.

[216] Sarah died at the age of one hundred twenty-seven (127) (Genesis 23:1). Since Abraham was ten years older than Sarah, he was one hundred thirty-seven (137) (Genesis 17:17). He lived another thirty-eight years before his death at the age of one hundred seventy-five (Genesis 25:7).

[217] Augustine writes, “What did Abraham mean by marrying Keturah after Sarah’s death?” (The City of God 16.34) See Augustine, A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, vol. 4: Augustine: The City of God, Christian Doctrine, eds. Henry Wace and Philip Schaff, in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004).

[218] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 2, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on Genesis 25:1-4.

Genesis 17:4, “As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.”

Romans 4:19 implies that Abraham was too old to have children. If this was the case, then God gave Abraham renewed vitality to begin producing seed again.

Romans 4:19, “And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:”

Genesis 25:1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

Genesis 25:1 Word Study on “Keturah” Strong says the Hebrew name “Keturah” “ Qâtuwrah ” ( קְטוּרָה ) (H6989) means, “perfumed.” Keturah is only mentioned in one other passage in the Scriptures, which is a parallel genealogy found in 1 Chronicles 1:32-33.

Genesis 25:2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

Genesis 25:2 Comments - Keturah bare six sons to Abraham, two sons (Jokshan, Midian) of which have their genealogies listed in this passage because their descendants will play a role in God’s redemptive history. The names of the other four sons (Zimran, Medan, Ishbak, Shuah) drop out of biblical history.

1. Word Study on “Zimran” Strong says the Hebrew name “Zimran” “zim-rawn'” ( זִמְרָן ) (H2175) “musical.” Zimran is the eldest son of Abraham and Keturah, who is mentioned only twice in Scriptures within Abraham’s genealogy (Genesis 25:2, 1 Chronicles 1:32). The ISBE says that the tribe of Zimran ( Ζεμραν in the LXX) has been identified with Zabram (Ζαβράμ), located west of Mecca (Ptolemy, Geographia 6.7.5), [219] with the Zamareni in the interior of Arabia (Pliny, Natural History 6 . 28), [220] and with “Zimri” of Jeremiah 25:25. [221]

[219] Carolus F. A. Nobbe, Claudii Ptolemaei Geographia, vol. 2 (Lipsiae: Caroli Tauchnitii, 1845), 98.

[220] “Arabia is reported to take in circuit from Charax to Lenea, about 4870 miles…The Zamareni, with its towns Saiace, Scantate, and Bacascanii…” Pliny’s Natural History, vol. 1, trans. Philemon Holland (London: George Barclay, 1847-48), 151.

[221] David Francis Roberts, “Zimran,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Jeremiah 25:25, “And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes,”

2. Word Study on “Jokshan” Strong says the name “Jokshan” “yok-shawn'” ( יָקְשָׁן ) (H3370) means, “insidious,” being derived from ( יָקשׁ ) (H3369), which means, “to ensnare.” Jokshan is the second son of Abraham and Keturah, who is mentioned only four times in the Scriptures within Abraham’s genealogy (Genesis 25:2-3, 1 Chronicles 1:32). His descendants mentioned in these genealogies make up recognized tribes in Arabia.

3. Word Study on “Medan” Strong says the name “Medan” “med-awn'” ( מְדָן ) (H4091) comes from the primitive root word ( מְדָן ) (H4090), which means, “discord, strife.” Medan is the third son of Abraham and Keturah, who is mentioned only twice in Scriptures within Abraham’s genealogy (Genesis 25:2, 1 Chronicles 1:32). His descendants are not recognized ( ISBE). [222] However, Gordon Wenham says the name does occur in extra-biblical literature. [223]

[222] “Medan,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

[223] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol. 2, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc., 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v. 2.1c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp., 2000-2004), comments on Genesis 25:2.

4. Word Study on “Midian” Strong says the name “Median” “mid-yawn'” ( מִדְיָן ) (H4080) comes from the primitive root word ( מִדְיָן ) (H4079), which means, “brawling, contention.” Median is the fourth son of Abraham and Keturah, who is mentioned 59 times in the Old Testament. Thus, the Midianites play a significant role in Old Testament redemptive history.

5. Word Study on “Ishbak” Strong says the name “Ishbak” “yish-bawk'” ( יִשְׁבָּק ) (H3435) is derived from an unused primitive root word that means, “he will leave.” Ishbak is the fifth son of Abraham and Keturah, who is mentioned only twice in Scriptures within Abraham’s genealogy (Genesis 25:2, 1 Chronicles 1:32). His descendants are not recognized ( ISBE). [224]

[224] “Ishbak,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

6. Word Study on Shuah The name “Shuah” “shoo'-akh” ( שׁוּחַ ) (H7744) comes from the primitive root word ( שׁוּחַ ) (7743), which means, “to sink, to bow down, incline, humble.” Shuah is the sixth son of Abraham and Keturah, who is mentioned only twice in Scriptures within Abraham’s genealogy (Genesis 25:2, 1 Chronicles 1:32). His descendants are not recognized. However, it is suggested by some that Bildad the Shuhite (Job 2:11) is a descendant of Shuah. ( ISBE) [225]

[225] “Shua, Shuah,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008); John Franklin Genung, “Bildad,” in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., c1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v. 1.5.11 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Job 2:11, “Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.”

Genesis 25:3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.

Genesis 25:3 Word Study on “Sheba” Gesenius and Strong do not suggest a meaning for the Hebrew name “Sheba” “sheb-aw” ( שְׁבָא ) (H7614) BDB suggests that the name “Sheba” means, “seven,” or “an oath or covenant.” The Enhanced Strong says it occurs 23 times in the Old Testament, bring translated in the KJV as “Sheba.” There are five different individuals by this name in the Old Testament. In the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:1-32) there are two Sheba’s listed in the genealogies of the sons of Noah. The first Sheba was the son of Raamah the son of Cush who was the son of Ham (Genesis 10:7). However the Sheba referred to in Genesis 10:28 was the son of Joktan son of Eber who was a descendant of Shem. There is also a Sheba and Dedan born from Jokshan, the son of Abraham and Keturah.

Word Study on “Dedan” - Gesenius and Strong do not suggest a meaning for the Hebrew name “Dedan” “ded-awn” ( דְּדָן ) (H1719). BDB suggests that this name means, “low country.” Dedan was the brother of Sheba and the son of Raamah the son of Cush who was the son of Ham. This name is mentioned 15 times in the Old Testament in reference to two different individuals. A reference to this people in Isaiah 21:13 called them inhabitants of Arabia who traveled in caravans. This is one reason why some scholars suggest that Dedan’s brother Sheba the Hamite (Genesis 10:7) is identical with Sheba the Shemite (Genesis 10:28), since Sheba the Shemite clearly inhabited southern Arabia. This name can still be identified on the island of Dadan, on the border of the Persian Gulf. This individual is not to be confused with Dedan the son of Jokshan and grandson of Abraham and Keturah who dwelt in the neighbourhood of Edom.

Keil-Delitzsch notes that it is not possible to distinguish between the descendants of these two sets of individuals (Sheba and Dedan) by the same names (Genesis 10:7; Genesis 25:3). [226]

[226] C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Pentateuch, vol. 1, in Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, trans. James Martin, in P.C. Study Bible, v. 3.1 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc., 1993-2000), comments on Genesis 10:7.

Genesis 25:4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

Genesis 25:5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

Genesis 25:6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

Genesis 25:6 “But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had” Comments - 1 Chronicles 1:32 calls Keturah “Abraham’s concubine.” Thus, the phrase “sons of the concubines” could be referring to Hagar and Keturah.

1 Chronicles 1:32, “Now the sons of Keturah, Abraham's concubine : she bare Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. And the sons of Jokshan; Sheba, and Dedan.”

Genesis 25:6 “Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country” Comments - Evidently, Keturah’s sons received the same status and meager inheritance as did the sons of Ishmael.

Why would Abraham have sent his other sons eastward? Perhaps he did this so that they would not possess the land that God promised to Abraham and Isaac. It would be easy for these sibling tribes to fight for possession of areas of the Promised Land, as did the servants of Abraham and Lot years earlier.

Verses 1-11

The Genealogy of Terah (and of Abraham) The genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have a common structure in that they open with God speaking to a patriarch and giving him a commission and a promise in which to believe. In each of these genealogies, the patriarch’s calling is to believe God’s promise, while this passage of Scripture serves as a witness to God’s faithfulness in fulfilling each promise. Only then does the genealogy come to a close.

Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11 gives the account of the genealogy of Terah and his son Abraham. (Perhaps the reason this genealogy is not exclusively of Abraham, but rather of his father Terah, is because of the importance of Lot and the two tribes descended from him, the Moabites and the Ammonites, who will play a significant role in Israel’s redemptive history.) Hebrews 11:8-19 reveals the central message in this genealogy that stirs our faith in God when it describes Abraham’s acts of faith and obedience to God, culminating in the offering of his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. The genealogy of Abraham opens with God’s promise to him that if he would separate himself from his father and dwell in the land of Canaan, then God would make from him a great nation through his son (Genesis 12:1-3), and it closes with God fulfilling His promise to Abraham by giving Him a son Isaac. However, this genealogy records Abraham’s spiritual journey to maturity in his faith in God, as is typical of each child of God. We find a summary of this genealogy in Hebrews 11:8-19. During the course of Abraham’s calling, God appeared to Abraham a number of times. God reappeared to him and told him that He would make his seed as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5). God later appeared to Abraham and made the covenant of circumcision with him and said, “I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.”(Genesis 17:2) After Abraham offered Isaac his son upon the altar, God reconfirmed His promise that “That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies.” (Genesis 22:17). The event on Mount Moriah serves as a testimony that Abraham fulfilled his part in believing that God would raise up a nation from Isaac, his son of promise. Thus, Abraham fulfilled his calling and destiny for his generation by dwelling in the land of Canaan and believing in God’s promise of the birth of his son Isaac. All of God’s promises to Abraham emphasized the birth of his one seed called Isaac. This genealogy testifies to God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promise of giving Abraham a son and of Abraham’s faith to believe in God’s promises. Romans 9:6-9 reflects the theme of Abraham’s genealogy in that it discusses the son of promise called Isaac.

Abraham’s Faith Perfected (James 2:21-22 ) - Abraham had a promise from God that he would have a son by Sarai his wife. However, when we read the Scriptures in the book of Genesis where God gave Abraham this promise, we see that he did not immediately believe the promise from God (Genesis 17:17-18).

Genesis 17:17-18, “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!”

Instead of agreeing with God's promise, Abraham laughed and suggested that God use Ishmael to fulfill His promise. However, many years later, by the time God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, he was fully persuaded that God was able to use Isaac to make him a father of nations. We see Abraham's faith when he told his son Isaac that God Himself was able to provide a sacrifice, because he knew that God would raise Isaac from the dead, if need be, in order to fulfill His promise (Genesis 22:8).

Genesis 22:8, “And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.”

Hebrews 11:17-19, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

The best illustration of being fully persuaded is when Abraham believed that God would raise up Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His promise. This is truly being fully persuaded and this is what Romans 4:21 is referring to.

What distinguished Abraham as a man of faith was not his somewhat initial weak reaction to the promises of God in Genesis 17:17-18, but it was his daily obedience to God. Note a reference to Abraham's daily obedience in Hebrews 11:8.

Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed ; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

Abraham was righteous before God because he believed and obeyed God's Words on a daily basis. A good illustration how God considers obedience as an act of righteousness is found in Genesis 19:0. Abraham had prayed for ten righteous people to deliver Sodom from destruction. The angels found only four people who hearkened to their words. These people were considered righteous in God's eyes because they were obedient and left the city as they had been told to do by the angels.

Abraham's ability to stagger not (Romans 4:20) and to be fully persuaded (Romans 4:21) came through time. As he was obedient to God, his faith in God's promise began to take hold of his heart and grow, until he came to a place of conviction that circumstances no longer moved him. Abraham had to learn to be obedient to God when he did not understand the big picture. Romans 5:3-5 teaches us that tribulation produces patience, and patience produces experience, and experience hope. Abraham had to pass through these four phases of faith in order to develop strong faith that is no longer moved by circumstances.

Let us look at Abraham's history of obedience to God. He had first been obedient to follow his father from Ur to Haran.

Genesis 11:31, “And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.”

He was further obedient when he left Haran and went to a land that he did not know.

Genesis 12:1, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:”

He was further obedient for the next twenty-five years in this Promised Land, learning that God was his Shield and his Reward. Note:

Genesis 15:1, “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

God called Himself Abraham's shield and reward because Abraham had come to know Him as a God who protects him and as a God who prospers him. Note that Abraham was living in a land where people believed in many gods, where people believed that there was a god for every area of their lives. God was teaching Abraham that He was an All-sufficient God. This was why God said to Abraham in Genesis 17:1, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” In other words, God was telling Abraham to be obedient. Abraham's role in fulfilling this third promise was to be obedient, and to live a holy life. As Abraham did this, he began to know God as an Almighty God, a God who would be with him in every situation in life. As Abraham fulfilled his role, God fulfilled His divine role in Abraham's life.

God would later test Abraham's faith in Genesis 22:1 to see if Abraham believed that God was Almighty.

Genesis 22:1, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.”

God knew Abraham's heart. However, Abraham was about to learn what was in his heart. For on Mount Moriah, Abraham's heart was fully persuaded that God was able to raise Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill His promise:

Hebrews 11:19, “Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.”

Abraham had to die to his own ways of reasoning out God's plan. He had taken Eliezer of Damascus as his heir as a result of God's first promise. Then, he had conceived Ishmael in an attempt to fulfill God's second promise. Now, Abraham was going to have to learn to totally depend upon God's plan and learn to follow it.

The first promise to Abraham was made to him at the age of 75, when he first entered the Promised Land.

Genesis 12:7, “And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.”

This first promise was simple, that God would give this land to Abraham's seed. So, Abraham took Eliezer of Damascus as his heir. But the second promise was greater in magnitude and more specific.

Genesis 15:4-5, “And, behold, the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

This next promise said that God would give Abraham this land to Abraham's biological child and that his seed would proliferate and multiply as the stars of heaven. So, Abraham has a son, Ishmael, by Hagar, his handmaid in order to fulfill this promise.

The third promise, which came twenty-five years after the first promise, was greater than the first and second promises. God said that Abraham would become a father of many nations through Sarah, his wife. Abraham had seen God be his Shield and protect him from the Canaanites. He had seen God as his Reward, by increasing his wealth (Genesis 15:1). But now, Abraham was to learn that God was Almighty (Genesis 17:1), that with God, all things are possible.

It was on Mount Moriah that Abraham truly died to himself, and learned to live unto God. In the same way, it was at Peniel that Jacob died to his own self and learned to totally depend upon God. After Mount Moriah, Abraham stopped making foolish decisions. There is not a fault to find in Abraham after his experience of sacrificing his son. When Abraham was making wrong decisions, he had the wisdom to build an altar at every place he pitched his tent. It was at these altars that he dealt with his sins and wrong decisions.

At Peniel God called Jacob by the name Israel. Why would God give Jacob this name? Because Jacob must now learn to totally trust in God. His thigh was limp and his physical strength was gone. The only might that he will ever know the rest of his life will be the strength that he finds in trusting God. Jacob was about to meet his brother and for the first time in his life, he was facing a situation that he could not handle in his own strength and cunning. He has been able to get himself out of every other situation in his life, but this time, it was different. He was going to have to trust God or die, and Jacob knew this. His name was now Israel, a mighty one in God. Jacob would have to now find his strength in God, because he had no strength to fight in the flesh. Thus, his name showed him that he could look to God and prevail as a mighty one both with God and with man. After this night, the Scriptures never record a foolish decision that Jacob made. He began to learn how to totally rely upon the Lord as his father Abraham had learned.

After Mount Moriah and Peniel, we read no more of foolish decisions by Abraham and Jacob. We just see men broken to God's will and humble before God's mercy.

Obedience is the key, and total obedience is not learned quickly. I believe that it takes decades, as we see in the life of Abraham, to learn to be obedient to a God whom we know as Almighty. This is not learned over night.

Abraham had a word from God before he left Ur. When he reached Canaan, he received a promise from God. Don't mess with a man and his promise. Pharaoh tried to mess with this man's promise and God judged him. King Abimelech tried to take Abraham's promise, but God judged him.

Like Abraham, we may start the journey making some poor judgments, but God is greater than our errors.

We will first know God as our shield and our reward. He will protect us throughout our ministry. He will reward us. He will prosper our ministry. As we learn to be obedient, we will come to know our God as the Almighty in a way that we have never known Him before.

Do not mess with a man who has laid Isaac on the altar. I have heard Genesis 17:17 taught as the laugh of faith.

Genesis 17:17-18, “Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!”

I see very little faith in Abraham's words in these verses. On the other hand, I have heard other preachers criticize Abraham for his lack of faith at these times in his life; yet, I do not see God criticizing his faith. Abraham was not fully persuaded at this point, but he did not fail God. Abraham simply continued being obedient and living holy until the faith grew in his heart. Every wrong decision that Abraham made brought him that much closer to the right decision. We call this the school of hard knocks. As a result, faith continued to grow in his heart. By Genesis 22:0, Abraham was fully persuaded and strong in faith that God was Almighty.

Watch out, lest you criticize a man learning to walk in his promise. He may look foolish at times, but do not look on the outward appearance. You either run with him, or get out of the way, but don't get in the way.

When I left Seminary and a Master's degree, I was given a job driving a garbage truck while learning to pastor a Charismatic church. I was learning to walk in a promise from God. I will never forget riding on the back of these garbage trucks in my hometown, while the church members who had given money to send me to Seminary watched me in disbelief.

God does not measure a man by the size of his ministry, but by the size of his heart. When Jimmy Swaggart fell into sin, Alethia Fellowship Church was one of his partners, so this church was receiving his monthly ministry tapes during this period in his ministry. In a cassette tape immediately after his fall, he gave a testimony of how he told the Lord that he had failed. The Lord replied to him that he had not failed; rather the Lord had to get some things out of his life. [170] That word from God gave him the courage to go on in the midst of failure. You see, God was more pleased with Jimmy Swaggart living a godly life in fellowship with Him than preaching in great crusades while living in sin.

[170] Jimmy Swaggart, “Monthly Partner Cassette Tape,” (Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Jimmy Swaggart Ministries, February 1988), audiocassette.

Joyce Meyer said that if God measured our success by the way the world measured us, He would have called us “achievers” and not “believers.” [171] Abraham was justified by faith and not by his works. Our work is to believe, not to achieve.

[171] Joyce Meyer, Life in the Word (Fenton, Missouri: Joyce Meyer Ministries), on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Santa Ana, California), television program.

Many of my church friends and relatives criticized me as a failure. However, I knew somehow that the walk of faith was obedience to the Word of God, and not a walk of pleasing man. I obviously did not spend much time with people who thought that I was nuts. Instead, I spent so much time in my bedroom studying my Bible that I looked dysfunctional. Yet, the Lord strengthened me. I will never forget, after riding the garbage truck during the day, and hiding in God's Word in the night. One night, I laid down about 1:00 a.m. and the glory of God filled my room until 5:00 a.m. in the morning. It was during these most difficult times that the Lord strengthened me the most.

The Lord strengthened Abraham in the midst of his questions and errors. If you will just stay obedient, God will see His Word come to pass through you, as did Abraham learn to see God as Almighty.

Genesis 11:27 Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.

Genesis 11:28 And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity, in Ur of the Chaldees.

Genesis 11:28 “Ur of the Chaldees” Comments - We can find some history of an individual named Ur in The Book of Jubilees, who built for himself a city named Ara of the Chaldees and named it after himself. Thus, we have a record of the origin of Ur of the Chaldees.

“And in the thirty-fifth jubilee, in the third week, in the first year [1681 A.M.] thereof, Reu took to himself a wife, and her name was 'Ora, the daughter of 'Ur, the son of Kesed, and she bare him a son, and he called his name Seroh, in the seventh year of this week in this jubilee…. And 'Ur, the son of Kesed, built the city of 'Ara of the Chaldees, and called its name after his own name and the name of his father. And they made for themselves molten images, and they worshipped each the idol, the molten image which they had made for themselves, and they began to make graven images and unclean simulacra, and malignant spirits assisted and seduced (them) into committing transgression and uncleanness.” ( The Book of Jubilees 11.1-5)

Genesis 11:29 And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai; and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah.

Genesis 11:29 “And Abram and Nahor took them wives: the name of Abram's wife was Sarai” Comments - Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister (Genesis 20:12).

Genesis 20:12, “And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife.”

Compare the comments in Genesis 11:29 where Nahor, Abraham’s brother, took his niece, the daughter of Haran, as his wife.

Genesis 11:29 “and the name of Nahor's wife, Milcah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milcah, and the father of Iscah” - Word Study on “Milcah” Gesenius tells us that by Chaldean usage the Hebrew name “Milcah” “Milkah” ( מִלְכָּה ) (H4435) means “counsel.” Strong tells us that the name means, “queen.” PTW tells us it means, “counsel.” She is daughter of Haran and sister to Lot and Iscah. She married her uncle named Nahor and bare him eight children. She is first mentioned in Genesis 11:29 in the genealogy of Terah. She is mentioned a second time in Scripture Genesis 22:20-24, where Nahor’s genealogy is given. Her name is mentioned on a third occasion in the chapter where Isaac takes Rebekah as his bride (Genesis 24:15; Genesis 24:24; Genesis 24:47). She is mentioned no more in the Scriptures.

Word Study on “Iscah” Gesenius says the Hebrew name “Iscah” “Yickah” ( יִסְכָּה ) (H3252) means, “one who beholds, looks out” from ( סְכָח ). Strong tells us that it comes from an unused word meaning “to watch.” PTW tells us it means, “Jehovah is looking” or “who looks.” Iscah was the sister to Milcah and Lot. Nothing more is mentioned of this person in the Scriptures, her significance being her relationship to her siblings, of whom Lot is the best known.

Genesis 11:30 But Sarai was barren; she had no child.

Genesis 11:30 Comments - When we see such close marriages with relatives within a clan, we can suggest that this may have been the cause of such infertility for this clan. We see this problem in the lives of Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel.

Genesis 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son's son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

Genesis 11:31 Comments - Terah intended to go to Canaan, but he did not make it. This is also stated in The Book of Jubilees that after Abraham destroyed the house of his father’s idols, Terah fled with his family with the intend of dwelling in the land of Canaan.

“And Terah went forth from Ur of the Chaldees, he and his sons, to go into the land of Lebanon and into the land of Canaan, and he dwelt in the land of Haran, and Abram dwelt with Terah his father in Haran two weeks of years.” ( The Book of Jubilees 12.15-16)

However, Acts 7:1-4 says that it was Abraham who moved out from Ur due to a Word from the Lord.

Acts 7:1-4, “Then said the high priest, Are these things so? And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran, And said unto him, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and come into the land which I shall shew thee. Then came he out of the land of the Chaldaeans, and dwelt in Charran: and from thence, when his father was dead, he removed him into this land, wherein ye now dwell.”

Genesis 11:31 Scripture References - Note:

Joshua 24:2, “And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah , the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.”

Genesis 11:32 And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran.

Genesis 12:1-3 God’s Divine Calling to Abraham - Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 50:26 will place emphasis upon the second phase of God’s plan of redemption for mankind, which is His divine calling to fulfill His purpose of multiplying and filling the earth with righteousness. God will implement phase two of His divine plan of redemption by calling one man named Abraham to depart unto the Promised Land (Genesis 12:1-3), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch. Isaac’s calling can also be found at the beginning of his genealogy, where God commands him to dwell in the Promised Land (Genesis 26:1-6), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch Isaac. Jacob’s calling was fulfilled as he bore twelve sons and took them into Egypt where they multiplied into a nation. The opening passage of Jacob’s genealogy reveals that his destiny would be fulfilled through the dream of his son Joseph (Genesis 37:1-11), which took place in the land of Egypt. Perhaps Jacob did not receive such a clear calling as Abraham and Isaac because his early life was one of deceit, rather than of righteousness obedience to God; so the Lord had to reveal His plan for Jacob through his righteous son Joseph. In a similar way, God spoke to righteous kings of Israel, and was silent to those who did not serve Him. Thus, the three patriarchs of Israel received a divine calling, which they fulfilled in order for the nation of Israel to become established in the land of Egypt. Perhaps the reason the Lord sent Jacob and the seventy souls into Egypt to multiply rather than leaving them in the Promised Land is that the Israelites would have intermarried with the cultic nations around them and failed to produce a nation of righteousness. God’s ways are always perfect.

Verses 1-34

The Calling of the Patriarchs of Israel We can find two major divisions within the book of Genesis that reveal God’s foreknowledge in designing a plan of redemption to establish a righteous people upon earth. Paul reveals this four-fold plan in Romans 8:29-30: predestination, calling, justification, and glorification.

Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

The book of Genesis will reflect the first two phase of redemption, which are predestination and calling. We find in the first division in Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 emphasizing predestination. The Creation Story gives us God’s predestined plan for mankind, which is to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with righteous offspring. The second major division is found in Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 50:25, which gives us ten genealogies, in which God calls men of righteousness to play a role in His divine plan of redemption.

The foundational theme of Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 11:26 is the divine calling for mankind to be fruitful and multiply, which commission was given to Adam prior to the Flood (Genesis 1:28-29), and to Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:1). The establishment of the seventy nations prepares us for the calling out of Abraham and his sons, which story fills the rest of the book of Genesis. Thus, God’s calling through His divine foreknowledge (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26) will focus the calling of Abraham and his descendants to establish the nation of Israel. God will call the patriarchs to fulfill the original purpose and intent of creation, which is to multiply into a righteous nation, for which mankind was originally predestined to fulfill.

The generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob take up a large portion of the book of Genesis. These genealogies have a common structure in that they all begin with God revealing Himself to a patriarch and giving him a divine commission, and they close with God fulfilling His promise to each of them because of their faith in His promise. God promised Abraham a son through Sarah his wife that would multiply into a nation, and Abraham demonstrated his faith in this promise on Mount Moriah. God promised Isaac two sons, with the younger receiving the first-born blessing, and this was fulfilled when Jacob deceived his father and received the blessing above his brother Esau. Jacob’s son Joseph received two dreams of ruling over his brothers, and Jacob testified to his faith in this promise by following Joseph into the land of Egypt. Thus, these three genealogies emphasize God’s call and commission to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their response of faith in seeing God fulfill His word to each of them.

1. The Generations of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

2. The Generations Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

3. The Generations of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

4. The Generations of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

5. The Generations of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

The Origin of the Nation of Israel After Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 9:29 takes us through the origin of the heavens and the earth as we know them today, and Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:26 explains the origin of the seventy nations (Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:26), we see that the rest of the book of Genesis focuses upon the origin of the nation of Israel (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26). Thus, each of these major divisions serves as a foundation upon which the next division is built.

Paul the apostle reveals the four phases of God the Father’s plan of redemption for mankind through His divine foreknowledge of all things in Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Predestination - Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 11:26 emphasizes the theme of God the Father’s predestined purpose of the earth, which was to serve mankind, and of mankind, which was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with righteousness. Calling - Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26 will place emphasis upon the second phase of God’s plan of redemption for mankind, which is His divine calling to fulfill His purpose of multiplying and filling the earth with righteousness. (The additional two phases of Justification and Glorification will unfold within the rest of the books of the Pentateuch.) This second section of Genesis can be divided into five genealogies. The three genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob begin with a divine calling to a patriarch. The two shorter genealogies of Ishmael and Esau are given simply because they inherit a measure of divine blessings as descendants of Abraham, but they will not play a central role in God’s redemptive plan for mankind. God will implement phase two of His divine plan of redemption by calling one man named Abraham to depart unto the Promised Land (Genesis 12:1-3), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch. Isaac’s calling can also be found at the beginning of his genealogy, where God commands him to dwell in the Promised Land (Genesis 26:1-6), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch Isaac. Jacob’s calling was fulfilled as he bore twelve sons and took them into Egypt where they multiplied into a nation. The opening passage of Jacob’s genealogy reveals that his destiny would be fulfilled through the dream of his son Joseph (Genesis 37:1-11), which took place in the land of Egypt. Perhaps Jacob did not receive such a clear calling as Abraham and Isaac because his early life was one of deceit, rather than of righteousness obedience to God; so the Lord had to reveal His plan for Jacob through his righteous son Joseph. In a similar way, God spoke to righteous kings of Israel, and was silent to those who did not serve Him. Thus, the three patriarchs of Israel received a divine calling, which they fulfilled in order for the nation of Israel to become established in the land of Egypt. Perhaps the reason the Lord sent the Jacob and the seventy souls into Egypt to multiply rather than leaving them in the Promised Land is that the Israelites would have intermarried the cultic nations around them and failed to produce a nation of righteousness. God’s ways are always perfect.

1. The Generations of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

2. The Generations Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

3. The Generations of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

4. The Generations of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

5. The Generations of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

Divine Miracles It is important to note that up until now the Scriptures record no miracles in the lives of men. Thus, we will observe that divine miracles begin with Abraham and the children of Israel. Testimonies reveal today that the Jews are still recipients of God’s miracles as He divinely intervenes in this nation to fulfill His purpose and plan for His people. Yes, God is working miracles through His New Testament Church, but miracles had their beginning with the nation of Israel.

Verses 1-34

The Calling of the Patriarchs of Israel We can find two major divisions within the book of Genesis that reveal God’s foreknowledge in designing a plan of redemption to establish a righteous people upon earth. Paul reveals this four-fold plan in Romans 8:29-30: predestination, calling, justification, and glorification.

Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”

The book of Genesis will reflect the first two phase of redemption, which are predestination and calling. We find in the first division in Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 2:3 emphasizing predestination. The Creation Story gives us God’s predestined plan for mankind, which is to be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth with righteous offspring. The second major division is found in Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 50:25, which gives us ten genealogies, in which God calls men of righteousness to play a role in His divine plan of redemption.

The foundational theme of Genesis 2:4 to Genesis 11:26 is the divine calling for mankind to be fruitful and multiply, which commission was given to Adam prior to the Flood (Genesis 1:28-29), and to Noah after the Flood (Genesis 9:1). The establishment of the seventy nations prepares us for the calling out of Abraham and his sons, which story fills the rest of the book of Genesis. Thus, God’s calling through His divine foreknowledge (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26) will focus the calling of Abraham and his descendants to establish the nation of Israel. God will call the patriarchs to fulfill the original purpose and intent of creation, which is to multiply into a righteous nation, for which mankind was originally predestined to fulfill.

The generations of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob take up a large portion of the book of Genesis. These genealogies have a common structure in that they all begin with God revealing Himself to a patriarch and giving him a divine commission, and they close with God fulfilling His promise to each of them because of their faith in His promise. God promised Abraham a son through Sarah his wife that would multiply into a nation, and Abraham demonstrated his faith in this promise on Mount Moriah. God promised Isaac two sons, with the younger receiving the first-born blessing, and this was fulfilled when Jacob deceived his father and received the blessing above his brother Esau. Jacob’s son Joseph received two dreams of ruling over his brothers, and Jacob testified to his faith in this promise by following Joseph into the land of Egypt. Thus, these three genealogies emphasize God’s call and commission to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their response of faith in seeing God fulfill His word to each of them.

1. The Generations of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

2. The Generations Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

3. The Generations of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

4. The Generations of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

5. The Generations of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

The Origin of the Nation of Israel After Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 9:29 takes us through the origin of the heavens and the earth as we know them today, and Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:26 explains the origin of the seventy nations (Genesis 10:1 to Genesis 11:26), we see that the rest of the book of Genesis focuses upon the origin of the nation of Israel (Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26). Thus, each of these major divisions serves as a foundation upon which the next division is built.

Paul the apostle reveals the four phases of God the Father’s plan of redemption for mankind through His divine foreknowledge of all things in Romans 8:29-30, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Predestination - Genesis 1:1 to Genesis 11:26 emphasizes the theme of God the Father’s predestined purpose of the earth, which was to serve mankind, and of mankind, which was to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth with righteousness. Calling - Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 50:26 will place emphasis upon the second phase of God’s plan of redemption for mankind, which is His divine calling to fulfill His purpose of multiplying and filling the earth with righteousness. (The additional two phases of Justification and Glorification will unfold within the rest of the books of the Pentateuch.) This second section of Genesis can be divided into five genealogies. The three genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob begin with a divine calling to a patriarch. The two shorter genealogies of Ishmael and Esau are given simply because they inherit a measure of divine blessings as descendants of Abraham, but they will not play a central role in God’s redemptive plan for mankind. God will implement phase two of His divine plan of redemption by calling one man named Abraham to depart unto the Promised Land (Genesis 12:1-3), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch. Isaac’s calling can also be found at the beginning of his genealogy, where God commands him to dwell in the Promised Land (Genesis 26:1-6), and this calling was fulfilled by the patriarch Isaac. Jacob’s calling was fulfilled as he bore twelve sons and took them into Egypt where they multiplied into a nation. The opening passage of Jacob’s genealogy reveals that his destiny would be fulfilled through the dream of his son Joseph (Genesis 37:1-11), which took place in the land of Egypt. Perhaps Jacob did not receive such a clear calling as Abraham and Isaac because his early life was one of deceit, rather than of righteousness obedience to God; so the Lord had to reveal His plan for Jacob through his righteous son Joseph. In a similar way, God spoke to righteous kings of Israel, and was silent to those who did not serve Him. Thus, the three patriarchs of Israel received a divine calling, which they fulfilled in order for the nation of Israel to become established in the land of Egypt. Perhaps the reason the Lord sent the Jacob and the seventy souls into Egypt to multiply rather than leaving them in the Promised Land is that the Israelites would have intermarried the cultic nations around them and failed to produce a nation of righteousness. God’s ways are always perfect.

1. The Generations of Terah (& Abraham) Genesis 11:27 to Genesis 25:11

2. The Generations Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18

3. The Generations of Isaac Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29

4. The Generations of Esau Genesis 36:1-43

5. The Generations of Jacob Genesis 37:1 to Genesis 50:26

Divine Miracles It is important to note that up until now the Scriptures record no miracles in the lives of men. Thus, we will observe that divine miracles begin with Abraham and the children of Israel. Testimonies reveal today that the Jews are still recipients of God’s miracles as He divinely intervenes in this nation to fulfill His purpose and plan for His people. Yes, God is working miracles through His New Testament Church, but miracles had their beginning with the nation of Israel.

Verses 7-11

Epilogue to the Genealogy of Terah (and Abraham) Genesis 25:7-11 gives us the closing epilogue of the genealogy of Abraham. It simply gives us the dates of his life and tells us that he died in peace at an old age. When the Scriptures tell us that a patriarch dies in a ripe old age in peace, it implies that this person fulfilled the destiny that God had given him. I believe that we can see this in epilogues to the genealogies of the lives of Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and in the life of Joseph.

Genesis 25:7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

Genesis 25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

Genesis 25:8 “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years” Comments - Abraham did not die of sickness or disease. He died by simply giving up his spirit unto the Lord. The Scriptures use the phrase “gave up the ghost” for others who died: Ishmael (Genesis 25:17), Isaac (Genesis 35:29), and Jesus (Mark 15:37; Mark 15:39). However, it is used in a negative context of divine judgment: Ananias (Acts 5:5), Herod Agrippa (Acts 12:23).

“was gathered to his people” - Comments - The NAB says, “and he was taken to his kinsmen.” It literally means that he joined his ancestors. It suggests that there is an afterlife, and people whom he would join, which we understand in the new covenant as Heaven. This phrase is used of other men in the Bible also. Note:

Genesis 15:15, “And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.”

Genesis 25:17, “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael , an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people .”

Genesis 35:29, “And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people , being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”

Genesis 49:33, “And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people .”

Numbers 20:24, “ Aaron shall be gathered unto his people : for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.”

Deuteronomy 32:50, “And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people ; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:”

Judges 2:10, “And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers : and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

Genesis 25:9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

Genesis 25:10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

Genesis 25:10 Comments - Sarah is still called Abraham's wife. Keturah is called his concubine. Thus, he was buried with Sarah.

Genesis 25:9-10 Comments The Purchase of Abraham’s Burial Site - The purchase of this burial site is recorded in Genesis 23:1-20. Abraham bought it from the local inhabitants in order to bury Sarah.

Genesis 25:11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.

Genesis 25:11 “And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac” - Comments - The blessing of Abraham is inherited by Isaac. The God of Abraham becomes the God of Isaac. The Lord personally watches over Isaac as He did Abraham. Within this blessing is embedded the precious seed of the Messiah, the promise of hope for mankind’s redemption.

Genesis 25:11 “and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi” - Word Study on “the well Lahairoi” Gesenius says the Hebrew name “well Lahairoi,” or “Beerlahairoi,” “beer la-Chay Ro'iy be-ayr” ( לַחַי רֹאִי בְּאֵר ) (H883) means, “well of the life of vision.” Strong says it means, “well of the Living One my Seer,” and is derived from two Hebrew words, ( בְּאֵר ) (H875) which means, “well, pit, spring” and ( חַי ) (H2416), which means, “living, alive.” This is the same well that Hagar met an angel when she had been driven from the presence of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 16:13-14), and where Isaac had been dwelling at this time of his marriage to Rebekah (Genesis 24:62).

Genesis 16:13-14, “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me? Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered.”

Genesis 24:62, “And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country.”

Verses 12-18

The Genealogy of Ishmael Genesis 25:12-18 gives the account of the genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. The book of Genesis lists the genealogies of the Abraham’s two first-born sons Ishmael and Isaac, but as with Esau and Jacob, only the second-born would carry the seed of righteousness. Because God loved Abraham, and because Ishmael was his firstborn, God promised to bless him also with twelve sons to become a nation (Genesis 17:20; Genesis 21:13). Ishmael saw his father Abraham’s faith and knew about his God; yet, he chose not to serve him. There is no record of Ishmael building an altar and worshipping the God of his father Abraham. Therefore, this genealogy records no event of God giving Ishmael a divine commission, since Ishmael did not seek the Lord, and the Lord knew that his heart was not set on fulfilling it. Because of his wicked heart, Ishmael failed to receive a divine commission as a part of redemptive history. He and his offspring did not produce a righteous offspring, but rather persecuted Isaac and his offspring. Therefore, Ishmael’s genealogy is only briefly listed in the book of Genesis because of its prophetic role in God’s plan of redemption. The descendants of Ismael did not contribute to the propagation of God’s plan of redemption for mankind, rather, they hindered it; yet, his seed contained a promise from God that would be fulfilled, as recorded in Ishmael’s genealogy. The angel of the Lord promised Hagar that God would make a nation from the loins of Ishmael (Genesis 21:9-21), and the fulfillment of this divine promise is revealed within this genealogy, just as God’s promise is fulfilled within the other genealogies recorded in the book of Genesis.

Genesis 17:20, “And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.”

Genesis 21:13, “And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.”

The fact that God records the names of the twelve sons of Ishmael testifies to the honor that God has given Ishmael as the son of Abraham. Such a list of names may be compared to the acknowledgments that an author often includes in a book by listing the names of those who contributed to the work in an effort to honor them.

Genesis 25:12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

Genesis 25:13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

Genesis 25:14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

Genesis 25:15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

Genesis 25:16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

Genesis 25:16 “by their castles” Word Study on “castles” BDB says the Hebrew word “castles” ( טִירָה ) (H2918) means, “encampment (especially of circular encampment of nomadic tribes), battlement.”

Genesis 25:17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.

Genesis 25:18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.

Verses 19-34

The Genealogy of Isaac The genealogies of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob have a common structure in that they open with God speaking to a patriarch and giving him a commission and a promise in which to believe. In each of these genealogies, the patriarch’s calling is to believe God’s promise, while this passage of Scripture serves as a witness to God’s faithfulness in fulfilling each promise. Only then does the genealogy come to a close.

We find in Genesis 25:19 to Genesis 35:29 the genealogy of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Hebrews 11:20 reveals the central message in this genealogy that stirs our faith in God when Isaac gave his sons redemptive prophecies, saying, “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.” As Abraham’s genealogy begins with a divine commission when God told him to leave Ur and to go Canaan (Genesis 12:1), so does Isaac’s genealogy begin with a divine commission predicting him as the father of two nations, with the elder serving the younger (Genesis 25:23), with both nations playing roles in redemptive history, Jacob playing the major role. The first event in Isaac’s genealogy has to do with a God speaking to his wife regarding the two sons in her womb, saying that these two sons would multiply into two nations. Since his wife Rebekah was barren, Isaac interceded to God and the Lord granted his request. The Lord then told Rebekah that two nations were in her womb, and the younger would prevail over the elder (Genesis 25:21-23). Isaac, whose name means laughter (Genesis 21:6), was called to establish himself in the land of Canaan after his father Abraham, and to believe in God’s promise regarding his son Jacob. During the course of his life, Isaac’s genealogy testifies of how he overcame obstacles and the enemy that resisted God’s plan for him. Thus, we see Isaac’s destiny was to be faithful and dwell in the land and father two nations. God’s promise to Isaac, that the elder will serve the younger, is fulfilled when Jacob deceives his father and receives the blessings of the first-born. The fact that Isaac died in a ripe old age testifies that he fulfilled his destiny as did Abraham his father. Romans 9:10-13 reflects the theme of Isaac’s genealogy in that it discusses the election of Jacob over Isaac. We read in Hebrews 11:20 how Isaac expressed his faith in God’s promise of two nations being born through Rebekah because he blessed his sons regarding these future promises.

Genesis 12:1, “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee:”

Genesis 21:6, “And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.”

Genesis 25:23, “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”

Genesis 25:19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac:

Genesis 25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

Genesis 25:20 Comments - The story of Isaac taking Rebekah as his wife is recorded in Genesis 2:1-25.

Genesis 25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

Genesis 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.

Genesis 25:22 “And the children struggled together within her” Comments - Hosea 12:3 says that Jacob entered two struggles in his life.

Hosea 12:3, “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:”

1. At his natural birth in the womb with his brother:

Genesis 25:26, “And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.”

2. At his “spiritual” birth with an angel:

Genesis 32:24, “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.”

Genesis 25:22 Comments - Any mother who has given birth to children understands the importance of the child’s continual kicks within her womb. Although painful at times, these kicks serve to assure the mother that the baby is alive and healthy. When these kicks cease for a few days a mother naturally becomes worried, but in the case of Rebekah the very opposite was true. There was too much kicking to the point that she besought the Lord in prayer. It was her beseeching God rather than her husband because a pregnant mother is much more focused upon these issues.

Genesis 25:22 Comments - Why did Jacob and Esau struggle within their mother’s womb? One pastor suggests that they were struggling for the birthright by becoming the firstborn, which struggle was played out during the course of their lives.

Genesis 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Genesis 25:23 “and the elder shall serve the younger” Comments - F. F. Bruce tells us that it is not so much the individuals that are prophetically referred to here in Genesis 25:23 as it is the two nations that will descend from Jacob and Esau. The Scriptures reveal that Esau himself never served Jacob during their lifetimes. However, during the long stretch of biblical history, the Edomites did in fact serve the nation of Israel a number of times.

In the same sense, the prophecy in Malachi 1:2-3 is not so much about the two individual sons of Jacob as it is a prophecy of two nations. In other words, God loved the nation of Israel and hated the nation of Edom.

Malachi 1:2-3, “I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

Bruce goes on to explain that the Hebrew thought and speech is making an extreme contrast of love and hate in these passages for the sake of emphasis. He uses Luke 14:26 to illustrate this Hebrew way of saying that someone must love God far more than his earthly family. [227]

[227] F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963), 46-47.

Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

This is exactly what the parallel passage in Matthew 10:37 says when Jesus tells us that we must love Him more than our parents or children.

Matthew 10:37, “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Thus, God was saying that He loved Jacob far more than He loved Jacob’s closest blood kin. This statement is meant to place emphasis upon the immeasurable love that God has for His people.

Genesis 25:23 Comments The genealogy of Isaac begins with a divine commission promising Isaac that he would father two nations, one mightier than the other, and both playing important roles in redemptive history. Genesis 25:23 records this divine commission to Isaac and Rebecca, which is the first recorded event of the Lord speaking to Isaac or his wife.

Genesis 25:23 Old Testament Quotes in the New Testament - Note that the phrase “and the elder shall serve the younger” is quoted in the New Testament.

Romans 9:11-13, “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any 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.”

Genesis 25:23 Scripture References - Note a reference to Jacob's favour over Esau in Malachi 1:1-3.

Malachi 1:1-3, “The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob, And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.”

Genesis 25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

Genesis 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

Genesis 25:25 Word Study on “red” Gesenius says the Hebrew word “red” ( אַדְמוֹנִי ) (H132) means, “red, i.e. red-haired.” This word occurs three times in the Old Testament. This same word is used to describe David (1 Samuel 16:17; 1 Samuel 17:42).

1 Samuel 16:17, “And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.”

1 Samuel 17:42, “And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was but a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance.”

Genesis 25:25 Word Study on “Esau” Strong says the Hebrew name “Esau” (H6215) means “hairy.”

Genesis 25:25 Comments - Esau was a hairy man, while Jacob was not (Genesis 27:11).

Genesis 27:11, “And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:”

Genesis 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

Genesis 25:26 Word Study on “Jacob” Gesenius says the Hebrew name “Jacob” “Ya’aqob” ( יַעֲקֹב ) (H3290) means, “taking hold of the heel, supplanter, layer of snares.” Strong says it means, “heel-catcher, supplanter.” Strong says it comes from the primitive root ( עָקַב ) (H6117), which means, “to seize by the heel, to circumvent.” One Hebrew derivative ( עָקֵב ) (6119) means, “heel, (figuratively) the last of anything.”

One pastor suggests that Jacob’s name means “hand upon the heel” because this is what his parents saw when he was born. He uses the Hebrew word “yod” ( י) as a symbol of a hand, with the root word ( עקב ) meaning “heel.”

Genesis 25:26 Comments - We know that Jacob and Esau struggled together in the womb. Why did Jacob grab his brother’s heel? One pastor suggests that he was trying to stop Esau from crushing his head. He refers to Genesis 3:15 as the prophecy to explain this suggestion. The seed of woman was going to crush the head of Satan. We know that according to Jewish tradition Cain, who was of the evil one, struck Abel on the head and killed him. So it appears that Satan was trying to reverse this prophecy by crushing the head of the woman’s seed. Perhaps Esau was trying to crush the head of Jacob while in the womb.

Genesis 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

Genesis 25:27 Word Study on “plain” Strong says the Hebrew word “plain” ( תָּם ) (H8535) means, “pious, gentle, dear,” being derived from the primitive root ( תָּמַם ) (H8552), which means, “to complete, to accomplish, to cease.” The Enhanced Strong says it is used 13 times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as “perfect 9, undefiled 2, plain 1, upright 1.”

Genesis 25:27 Comments - There will eventually arise between Esau and Jacob a similar competition that took place between Cain and Abel. Esau did eventually attempt to kill Jacob, but was protected by divine providence.

Genesis 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Verses 29-34

The Story of Esau Selling His Birthright Genesis 25:29-34 gives the account of Esau selling his birthright to his brother Jacob.

The Importance of the Birthright - The birthright meant headship of the family and a double share of the inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17).

Deuteronomy 21:17, “But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

Genesis 25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

Genesis 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

Genesis 25:30 Word Study on “Edom” Strong says the Hebrew name “Edom” ( אֱדֹום ) (H123) literally means, “red.”

Genesis 25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

Genesis 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

Genesis 25:32 “what profit shall this birthright do to me” - Comments - Esau had no faith in God for blessing his future. His concern was for the present, not for any hope in the coming of Abraham blessings. He in a sense rejected his future salvation, God's promises and he rejected in faith in God's eternal promises.

Genesis 25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

Genesis 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Genesis 25:34 “Esau despised his birthright” - Comments - The book of Hebrews calls Esau profane, which means godless. Esau did not serve God nor did he have a concern for eternal things in his heart.

Hebrews 12:16-17, “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 25". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/genesis-25.html. 2013.