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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Genesis 36

Verses 1-14

The Genealogy of Esau We find in Genesis 36:14 a list of the sons of Esau.

Genesis 36:6 Comments - Esau had three wives and five sons.

Genesis 36:7 Comments - The statement of Esau’s and Jacob’s separation due to prosperity is similar to Abraham and Lot separating in Genesis 13:6; Genesis 13:11.

Genesis 13:6, “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.”

Genesis 13:11, “Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other.”

Genesis 36:12 Comments - Amalek will become an enemy against the nation of Israel in the generations to come (Exodus 17:8).

Exodus 17:8, “Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.”

Verses 1-43

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 1-43

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 15-19

The Dukes of Edom We find in Genesis 36:15-19 a list of the “dukes,” or “chiefs,” that came from the sons of Esau.

Genesis 36:15 Word Study on “duke” - Strong says the Hebrew word “duke” “alluwph” (H441) ( אַלּוּף ) means, “a “friend, gentle,” or “a chieftain.” Strong says it comes from the primitive root “aw-lof” ( אָלַף ) (H502), which means, “to associate with, to learn, to teach.” The Enhanced Strong says this word is used 69 times in the Old Testament, being translated “duke 57, guide 4, friends 2, governors 2, captains 1, governor 1, ox 2.”

Verses 20-30

The Sons of the Seir the Horite We find in Genesis 36:20-30 the genealogy of Seir the Horite. This genealogy is unique in that it is a genealogy of people recorded in the book of Genesis who are not related to Abraham. All other genealogies in Genesis are either his ancestors or descendants. One must ask the question why such a genealogy exists in the Scriptures. One answer may lie in the fact that there was quite a bit of history between the sons of Esau and of Seir in their battles to occupy the land of Edom.

Genesis 36:20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah,

Genesis 36:20 Word Study on “Seir” Strong says the Hebrew name “Seir” ( שֵׂעִיר ) (H8165) means, “rough.” He was the patriarch of the Horites, the inhabitants of Edom before the descendants of Esau, the Edomites ( ISBE). [245]

[245] W. Ewing, “Seir,” 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).

Genesis 36:20 Word Study on “the Horite” - Strong says the Hebrew name “Horite” ( חֹרִי ) (H2752) means, “cave-dweller, or troglodyte; a Chorite or aboriginal Idumæan.” He says this name is derived from ( חוֹר ) (2356), meaning, “cave.” BDB says it means, “cave dweller.” The ISBE says that the name literally means, “white,” and refers to a white race of people that inhabited this region. [246] The Horites were the ancient inhabitants of the land of Edom before the sons of Esau took dominion (Deuteronomy 2:12). It is used 6 times in the Old Testament being translated “Horite 4, Horims 2.”

[246] A. H. Sayce, “Horite,” 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).

Deuteronomy 2:12, “The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them.”

Genesis 36:20 “These are the sons of Seir the Horite” Comments - Note Genesis 14:6, “And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.”

Genesis 36:24 Word Study on “the mules” Gesenius says the Hebrew word “mules” “imim” ( יֵמִם ) (H3222) probably means, “hot springs.” Strong says it means either “warm spring” or “mule.” This Hebrew word is only used one time in the entire Old Testament. Most modern translations render it as “hot springs,” which can be found in this region of the desert ( AmpBible, ASV, ESV, Keil-Delitzsch , NASB, NCV, NET, NLT, NIV, RSV). The VgClem reads “aquas calidas.” Gesenius says some Jewish writers, the Talmud and Martin Luther conjectured from the context that the word means “mules,” and thus the KJV follows this tradition. A few translations simply transliterate the Hebrew word into “ Ιαμιν ” ( LXX) and “Imim” ( YLT). Gesenius says it is translated “Emims or giants” in the Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch.

Gesenius tells us that in the Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch the words are “he fell upon Emims,” or “giants,” and so this is understood by Onkelos and Pesudo-Jonathan. If we compare the similarities of “Imim” ( יֵמִם ) (H3222) to the Hebrew word “Emim” ( אֵימִים ) (H368), which means “giant,” it becomes easier to understand this definition. We find “Emim” used in Deuteronomy 2:10-11 in reference to giants.

Deuteronomy 2:10-11, “The Emims dwelt therein in times past, a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakims; Which also were accounted giants, as the Anakims; but the Moabites call them Emims.”

In light of the similarity of the Hebrew word “Emim” ( אֵימִים ), I believe the word “giant” or the broader meaning, “monster,” to be the more accurate meaning of the word “Imim.”

Verses 31-39

The Kings of Edom We find in Genesis 36:31-39 a lineage of kings who reigned over the land of Edom.

Verses 40-43

The Chiefs of Edom Genesis 36:40-43 gives us the list of the eleven dukes that came from the loins of Esau and ruled the land of Edom.

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 36". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/genesis-36.html. 2013.