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Wednesday, June 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 25

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name [was] Keturah.

Then again Abraham, … — After Sarah’s death, though Calvin thinks otherwise. His body, dry and dead forty years before, is now, by God’s blessing, made lively and lusty.

Verse 2

And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

No Text for this verse.

Verse 3

And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.

No Text for this verse.

Verse 4

And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these [were] the children of Keturah.

Ephah, and Epher. — These five were, haply, the founders of the families of those five kings of Midian mentioned in Numbers 31:8 .

Verse 5

And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

Abraham gave all, … — So Isaiah 19:25 , Assyria is the work of God’s hand, and Israel his inheritance.

Verse 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.

Abraham gave gifts. — So doth God to reprobates; but they are giftless gifts, better be without them. Eχθρων αδωπα δωπα και οικ ονησιμα - Soph. Saepe Deus dat iratus quod negat propitius. God gives wealth to the wicked, non aliter ac siquis crumenam auto plenam latrinae inieciat. Gasp. Ens. The Turkish empire, saith Luther, as great as it is, is but a crust cast to the dogs by the rich householder, Panis mica quam dives pater familias proiecit canibus. or as Joseph’s cup, …

Eastward, to the east country. — To both the Arabias, which were countries rough but rich; looked rudely, but, searched regularly, afforded great store of fine gold, precious stones, and pleasant odours.

Verse 7

And these [are] the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

!!An hundred threescore and fifteen years. — He was sixty-five when he came out of Haran: a whole hundred years he was a stranger in the land, contenting himself with the bare promise of God, and "dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise." Hebrews 11:9 Salmanticensis giveth him this eulogy: Erat modestus, mimineque invidus, spiritu depresso, animoque humili, et munificus admodum. Beatus ipse, et beati filii eius post eum.

Verse 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.

Gave up the ghost.Deficit; leniter, expiravit. Describit Moses placidam et optatam, quasi, ευθανασιαν; which in Abraham, God’s friend, is no wonder. But how could that apostate, Julian, say, in truth, Vitam reposcenti naturae, tanquam debitor bonae fidei, rediturus, exulto? Sure it was but a copy of his countenance, but not of his dying countenance; for no wicked man alive can look death in the face with blood in his cheeks.

Died in a good old age. — Or, with a good hoar head, after a hundred years’ troublesome pilgrimage in the Promised Land. We, if for one year we suffer hardship, think it a great business. Non quia dura, sed quia molles patimur, saith Seneca.

An old man, and full of years. — The godly have oft a satiety of life: as willing they are to leave the world, as men are wont to be to rise from the board when they have eaten their fill,

Cur non ut plenus vitae conviva recedis?

said the heathen poet: and they feign that when Tithonus might have been made immortal, he would not, because of the miseries of life. This made Plotinus the Platonist account mortality a mercy, Aug., De Civ. Dei., lib. iv. cap. 10. and Cato protest, that if any god would grant him, of old to be made young again, he would seriously refuse it. Siquis Deus mihi largiatur, ut ex hac aetate repuerascam, et in cunis vagiam, valde recusem. - Cato ap. Cic., De Senect. As for me, said Queen Elizabeth, in a certain speech, I see no such great cause why I should be fond to live, or afraid to die. Card. Elisabeth, fol. 325. And again, while I call to mind things past, behold things present, and expect things to come, I hold him happiest that goeth hence soonest.

Verse 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;

And his sons Isaac and Ishmael, … — It is like that Abraham, a little afore his death, sent for his two sons and reconciled them. This joining with Isaac in the burying of Abraham, some take for an argument of his repentance; whereunto also they add, that his whole lifetime is recorded in Holy Scripture, which cannot be showed of any reprobate, and that he is said, when he died, to be gathered to his fathers.

Which is beside Mamre. — Where, seventy-six years before, he had entertained the Lord Christ, and heard from his mouth the promise of the Messiah. Wherefore, in remembrance of that most amiable apparition, and for love and honour of the divine promise there uttered, he would there be buried, in full hope of a glorious resurrection; and that his posterity might take notice that he even died upon the promise. As that brave Roman captain Xiphilinus. told his soldiers, that if they could not conquer Britain, yet they would get possession of it by laying their bones in it.

Verse 10

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

The field.See Trapp on " Genesis 23:17 " See Trapp on " Genesis 23:18 "

Verse 11

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

Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi. — This had been his oratory, where he had formerly found God; Genesis 24:62 and he loved it the better ever after.

Verse 12

Now these [are] the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

These are the generations of Ishmael. — Who became the progenitor of twelve princes, according to the promise. Genesis 17:20

Verse 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,

These are the names of the sons of Ishmael. — When Isaac was twenty years married, and had no child; and afterwards, no so many as Ishmael, nor so great in the world. This is God’s usual way of dealing forth his favours: saints suffer; wicked prosper. This made Pompey deny Divine Providence; Brutus cry out, W τλημων αρετν: Oh miserable virtue, slave of fortune, … Dογος ορ ησθα αλλως εγω δε σε ως εργον ησκουν ου δ απ εδουλευες τυχη . - Dio Cassius. The Athenians, in Thucydides, Aνδρα ορωντες θεοφιλη, ουδενος επεικεστερα τυχη χρησθαι των κακιστως . - Thucyd. when they had lost Nicias their good general, who, together with his whole army perished in Sicily, were at a great stand, and much offended; seeing so pious a person fare nothing better than those that were far worse. And what wonder, when Jeremiah and David stumbled at the same stone, ran upon the same rock, and were well-nigh shipwrecked? Jeremiah 12:1 Psalms 73:3-4 Neither they only, but many other of God’s dear servants, as it is in the same Psalm Psalms 73:10 , "Therefore his people return hither"; that is, are every whit as wise (or rather, as foolish) as I have been, to miscensure and misconstrue God’s dealings on this manner; to repent me of my repentance, and to condemn the generation of the just, "because waters of a full cup are wrung out to the wicked." When David went into God’s sanctuary, and there consulted his Word, he was better resolved: then he saw that the sunshine of prosperity doth but ripen the sin of the wicked, and so fits them for destruction: Hosea 14:9 as fatted ware are but fitted for the slaughter. What good is there in having a fine suit with the plague in it? Poison in wine works more seriously than in water. Had Haman known the danger of Esther’s banquet, he would not have been so brag of it. The prosperity of the wicked hath ever plus deceptionis, quam delectortonis, saith one; more deceit than delight; able to entice, and ready to kill the entangled. As cunning to do that, as the spirit that seduced Ahab; and as willing to do the other, as the ghost that met Brutus at the battle of Philippi. In which respect, David having spoken of these "men of God’s hand, that have their portion in this life," Psalms 17:14 …, wishes them make them merry with it, and subjoins, "As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Psalms 17:15 As who should say, I neither envy nor covet their happiness, but long after a glorious resurrection, and have, in the meanwhile, that which is sufficient to sustain me; "I shall behold thy face in righteousness," that is, Beshechinah, in Christ, as Rabbi Menachem Menach. on Levit. x. expounds it. And one good look of God is worth all the world. It is better to feel his favour one hour, than to sit whole ages, as these Ishmaelites did, under the world’s warmest sunshine.

Verse 14

And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massah. — Out of these three names - which signify hearing, silence, and suffering - the Masorites gather the three principal duties of man, in common conversation; viz., to hear, to keep silence, and bear: these, say they, make a quiet and good life. Sustine et abstine, is the philosopher’s Aνεχου και απεχου . Epictet. counsel. Video, Taceo, "I see, and say nothing," was Queen Elizabeth’s Cared. Elisab. motto: and "I am for peace," Psalms 120:7 was David’s; or, as the Hebrew hath it, "I am peace." He "heard the slander of many, fear was on every side"; Psalms 31:13 but he "as a deaf man heard not, and as a dumb man, so he opened not his mouth". Psalms 38:13 Facile est in me dicere, cum non sim responsurus, said one once, to another that reviled him; thou shalt fight without an adversary, for I will hear and bear, and say nothing. The best answer to words of scorn and petulancy, saith learned Hooker, is Isaac’s apology to his brother Ishmael, patience and silence, no apology. Pασιν, απολογεισθαι θεραπευτικον . A man would not be bound to such a slavery as to answer every calumny. Qui nescit ferre calumnias, convitia, iniurias, nescit vivere, saith Chytraeus. He that cannot patiently bear reproaches and injuries, may make up his pack, and get him out of the world; for here is no being for him. Vitus Theodorus sent to advise with Melancthon, what he should do when Osiander preached against him: Melancthon per Deum obtestatur, ut taceret, et se ira gereret, quasi non audiret: Melancthon besought him, for God’s sake, to say nothing in that case, but to carry himself so as if he heard not. Vitus writes back, that this was very hard; yet he would obey. Melch. Adam. It is hard to swallow down physical pills: but better swallow them whole, then chaw them between the teeth.

Verse 15

Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

Naphish, and Kedemah. — Twelve in all, princes of their tribes, as was promised. Genesis 17:20 See, saith one, B. Babington. here, what God can do for a poor boy sent out with a bottle of water on his back. God "setteth the solitary in families"; Psalms 68:6 "he raiseth the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set him among princes," … 1 Samuel 2:8

Verse 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.

These are their names by their towns. — Which they called after their own names, as Cain did, that first built the city Enoch, after his son’s name; that he might be styled "Lord Enoch of Enoch." So, the many Alexandrias, Caesareas, Augustas, … See Psalms 49:11 .

Verse 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.

And he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered, — sc., to "the congregation house of all living," as the grave is called, Job 30:23 and, for aught we know, to "the congregation house ( πανηγυρις ) of the firstborn," as heaven is called. Hebrews 12:23 Abraham prayed that Ishmael might live in God’s sight: Ishmael joined with his brother Isaac in burying their father Abraham. Genesis 25:9 Here he hath his whole lifetime recorded, the like whereof cannot be showed of any reprobate; and at his death, he is said gently to "give up the ghost," or yield up the spirit (as Abraham also did, Genesis 25:8 ), and to be "gathered to his people," as he. These are probable arguments, that, however he lived, yet he died in the faith of his father Abraham. He runs far, we say, that never turns. Nunquam sere si serio.

Verse 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.

And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur. — A large tract and territory; but nothing so large as his posterity the Saracens’, called more rightly Hagarenes, Psalms 83:6 proved to be; whose name and empire notwithstanding is now swallowed up in the greatness of the Turkish empire; which laboureth with nothing more, than with the weightiness of itself. Turk. Hist.

And he died. — Or, dwelt, as some read it. Compare Genesis 16:12 .

Verse 19

And these [are] the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:

And these are the generations. — That is, the affairs and occurrences.

Verse 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.

And Isaac was forty years old. — He was not overhasty to marry in the heat of his youth: but by hard labour, ardent prayers, and pious meditations, kept under his body, and brought it into subjection, as St Paul likewise did. 1 Corinthians 9:27 "We are not debtors to the flesh"; Romans 8:12 we owe it nothing but stripes, nothing but the blue eye, that the apostle gave it.

Verse 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.

And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife. — He did it constantly and instantly, as the word òúø signifies; he multiplied prayer, which (as those arrows of deliverance, 2 Kings 13:19 ) must be often iterated, ere the mercy can be obtained.

And the Lord was entreated of him. — Though it were long first, even full twenty years. God knows how to commend his mercies to us, and therefore holds us long in suspense. Cito data, vilescunt. Manna, lightly come by, was as lightly set by.

Verse 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.

And the children struggled together. — Heb., Jithrotsatsu . They ran at tilt, as it were, and jostled one against another, even to bruising and hurting. Esau, that he might lose no time, began to set against Jacob before he was born.

If it be so, why am I thus? — A passionate abrupt speech: q.d., Better no children, than so troubled with them. See Trapp on " Genesis 27:46 " See Trapp on " Genesis 3:16 " "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception." This she should have borne more patiently: but she presently bethought her of the best course; for "she went to inquire of the Lord": she got into a corner, and prayed, and was answered. She prayed down her passions, as a man sleeps out his drunkenness, and set to work lustily, and so got the ensuing oracle.

Verse 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.

And the Lord said unto her. — Either by an angel, or a prophet, or some divine answer in her own heart.

Two nations are in thy womb. — So, what can a man "see in the Shulamite," in every sanctified soul, but "as it were the company of two armies"? Song of Solomon 6:13 Every good man is a divided man; every new man, two men.

Verse 24

And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, [there were] twins in her womb.

And when her days to be delivered. — Which fell out fifteen years before Abraham’s death, to his great comfort, no doubt. God doth for his, his best at last.

There were twins in her womb. — See Song of Solomon 4:2 ,Isaiah 66:8 .

Verse 25

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

And the first came out red. — Red and rough, cruel and crafty, as that red old dragon Revelation 12:3 who inhabited in him, and both acted and agitated him. Ephesians 2:2 Ab ascensore suo daemone perurgebatur, saith Bernard. And so are those Romish Edomites, Esauites, Jesuites, …

And they called his name Esau.Factus et perrictus pilis, a bearded man, one that had everything more like a man than a babe; a manly child.

Verse 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.

And after that came his brother out. — God could have brought Jacob out first, for it is he that "takes us out of the womb"; Psalms 22:9 but he suffereth Esau for a time to enjoy the first birthright, till his own time came to set things to rights. God "waits to be gracious; for he is a God of judgment". Isaiah 30:18

And his hand took hold on Esau’s heel. — As if he would have turned up his heels, and got to the goal before him.

And his name was called Jacob.Calcanearius , a heel catcher, or supplanter, as he afterwards proved to Esau, who hit him also in the teeth with it. Genesis 27:36

“Conveniunt rebus nomina saepe suis.”

And Isaac was threescore years old. — He lived twice threescore years after this, being a hundred and eighty when he died. Genesis 35:28 Five years longer he lived than his father Abraham, Genesis 25:17 being blind for the last forty. Genesis 27:1

Verse 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.

And the boys grew. — Nature, art, grace, all proceed from less perfect to more perfect. "Grow in grace," saith Peter: 2 Peter 3:18 grow "unto a perfect man," even "unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ," saith Paul. Ephesians 4:13

And Esau was a cunning hunter. — Like Nimrod and Ishmael, whom he chose to imitate, rather than Abraham, and those holy patriarchs that had lived before him.

A plain man. — Sept., Aπλαστος , without welt or gard, guile or gall. Gregory hereby notes the diverse dispositions of worldly and godly men.

Verse 28

And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of [his] venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

And Isaac loved Esau, … — Here, as likewise in Manoah’s wife, more grace appears in the woman than in the man; whose blind and misplaced love, for carnal ends, commends and illustrates the divine adoption.

Verse 29

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he [was] faint:

And Jacob sod pottage. — Pottage of lentiles, which was a kind of pulse much like to vetches or small peas: so frugal and sparing was the diet of those precious patriarchs, to the shame of our luxury. Quicquid avium volitat, quicquid piscium natat, quicquid ferarum discurrit, nostris sepelitur ventribus. Seneca. We devour the wealth of earth, air, and sea. Kακιστον θνριον η γαστηρ .

Esau came from the feld, and he was faint.Labor est etiam ipsa voluptas. Of carnal pleasures, a man may break his neck sooner than his fast. Nor is it want of variety in them, but inward weakness, or the curse of unsatisfyingness, that lies upon them. The creature is now as the husk without the grain, the shell without the kernel, full of nothing but emptiness; and so may faint us, but not fill us.

Verse 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.

Feed me, I pray thee, with that red, red. — He doubleth it, and could not, for haste and hunger, tell what to call it, to show his greediness. Geminatio indicat vehementiam appetitus - Pareus. And saith, "Feed me," or let me swallow at once; as camels are fed by casting gobbets into their mouth. He thought he should never have enough Our proverb is, As hungry as a hunter: but this hunter hath no he with him, and is therefore branded for a "profane" Hebrews 12:16 sensualist, Edom. The word used for a glutton, Deuteronomy 21:20 is used for a vile person, or a worthless person. Jeremiah 15:19

Verse 31

And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

Sell me this day thy birthright. — Which he knew, by the instruction of his mother, to be his by God’s appointment; and therefore takes this opportunity to get it. A well chosen season is the greatest advantage of any action.

Verse 32

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

What profit shall this birthright, …Pluris facio pulticulam bonam, quam titulam inahem. Sensualists look only at the present pleasure, and sell their souls for it. Earthly things are present and pleasant, therefore we so cleave to them; striving, like the toad, who shall fall asleep with most earth in his paws.

Verse 33

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

Swear to me. — With fickle men, make all firm and fast.

“Quo teneam vultus mutantem Protea nodo?” - Horat.

And he sold his birthright to Jacob. — And, with it, heaven also, as the Jerusalem Paraphrast addeth, whereof the birthright was a type and pledge. So his sin was in unthankfulness for such a dignity; in limiting it to this life; in selling it so very cheap; but especially, in his profane parting with a spiritual blessing for a temporal. Such a foolish bargain makes every impenitent person in the sale of his soul for a thing of nought; which Christ, who only went to the price of a soul, saith is more worth than a world. "Let there be no fornicator," as every worldling is, James 4:4 "or profane person among us, as Esau". Hebrews 12:16 And that there may not, let not men take pleasure in pleasure, spend too much time in it, shoot their affections too far into it. It is no wisdom, to go as far as we may. It was not simply a sin in Esau to go a hunting: but yet the more he used it the more profane he grew by it, and came at length to condemn his birthright. Adrian Dio in Vita. the emperor was a great hunter; broke his leg in hunting; called a city that he built in Mysia, by the name of Adrian’s huntings: but how little care he took for his poor soul, that Animula vagula blandula of his, abundantly testifieth. The maddest hunter that ever I read of was Mithridates; who was so set upon it, that he came not into any house, either of city or country for seven years together. Adeo venandi rubie percitus ut septem continuis annis, nec urbis, nec ruris tecto sit usua. To lawful delights and recreations, God allows men to stoop, for their bodies’ sake; as the eagle to the prey, or as Gideon’s soldiers, to soop their handful, not to gorge their bellyful. An honest man’s heart is where his calling is: such a one, when he is elsewhere, is like a fish in the air, whereunto if it leap for recreation or necessity, yet it soon returns to its own element.

Verse 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.

He did eat and drink, and rose up, …Hac verborum congeri, impoenitentia Esaui deseribitur. Piscator. Away he went, without showing the least remorse or regret for what he had done. Lysimachus soon repented him for parting with his crown for a draught of cold water, in his extreme thirst. O dii, quam brevis voluptatis gratia ex rege me feci servum! Wine is a prohibited ware among Turks; which makes some drink with scruple, others with danger. The baser sort, when taken drunk, are often caned on the soles of their bare feet. And I have seen some, saith mine author, Blount’s Voyage, p. 105. after a fit of drunkenness, lie a whole night, crying and praying to Mohammed for intercession, that I could not sleep near them; so strong is conscience, even where the foundation is but imaginary, to the shame of many profligate professors - cauterised Christians.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Genesis 25". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/genesis-25.html. 1865-1868.
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