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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Genesis 25

Verses 1-6

Descendants of Abraham and Ketura

Abraham has taken a second extra wife next to Hagar. Scripture is silent about it when that has happened. However, the Holy Spirit does not mention this connection and who came forth from it until now, after the connection between Isaac and Rebekah. In Abraham all the nations of the earth will be blessed (Genesis 12:2-Leviticus :). It has been said several times that his descendants will be like the sand which is on the seashore and like the stars of the heavens, which speaks of an earthly people (sand) and a heavenly people (stars).

Besides Isaac and Ishmael, we now find more sons. They represent the nations of the earth, all of which will also be blessed by what the LORD promised Abraham. The blessing for the whole earth will be enjoyed in the millennial kingdom of peace. That blessing will come through the son of the promise.

Abraham gives everything he has to Isaac, while there are gifts for the others. Thus God has given the Lord Jesus, as Heir of all things, all things into His hands. And He distributes it to others.

The others are sent away “eastward”, which in Genesis indicates being put aside. They are sent away from Isaac here, just like Ishmael before, but with gifts, just like Ishmael also got promises. There is also blessing for them. People who are bound to Israel by carnal bonds will be blessed in the kingdom of peace through Israel.

Verses 7-11

Death and Burial of Abraham

When Abraham dies, he is buried by his two sons, Isaac and Ishmael, next to Sarah. They both, still, wait in the land of promise in the grave for the fulfilment of the promise.

God’s blessing is for Isaac, who dwells at the well Lahai-Roi, the well that speaks of God’s Word and His revelation therein.

Verses 12-18

The Generations of Ishmael

Before the history of Isaac begins, the descendants of Isaac are mentioned first. The natural comes first, then the spiritual (1 Corinthians 15:46). The flesh, nature, always seems to win first, and the Spirit seems to lose. But in the end everything God has promised will be fulfilled. That is what faith relies on.

The descendants of Ishmael live “from Havilah to Sur” which is between Egypt and Assur. These are the greatest enemies of Israel, but ultimately God also takes care of them just as He does of Israel (Isaiah 19:23).

For the record, at the end of this section again the types, what the different persons represent:
1. Abraham represents the principle of faith;
2. Sarah the principle of grace;
3. Hagar the principle of law;
4. Isaac is the Son, died and risen;
5. Ishmael is Israel according to the flesh;
6. Rebekah the church;
7. Ketura the nations.

Verses 19-26

Birth of Esau and Jacob

When the birth of a son lacks with Abraham, he tries to conceive it in the power of the flesh. What is begotten, Ishmael, is not the son of promise. When the birth of a son lacks with Isaac, it leads him to prayer, despite the fact that he knows the promise of God. Infertility must bring the faith into action. The answer to his prayer was still twenty years away. But God is to be entreated. We find that God lets Himself to be entreated several times in the Old Testament (Genesis 25:21; 2 Samuel 24:25; 1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 33:13; 2 Chronicles 33:19; Ezra 8:22-Isaiah :; Isaiah 19:22).

Isaac hath prayed the LORD for his wife. Although God has promised to multiply his descendants, He prays for it. This is an important indication that God’s promises encourage us to pray. God’s promises form the basis of our prayer (Daniel 9:2-Leviticus :). Although Isaac prayed for this blessing for many years and the answer did not come, he did not stop praying. The Lord Jesus exhorts us to pray always and not to become discouraged (Luke 18:1). If we do, we will experience that we are not seeking God’s face in vain (Isaiah 45:19).

Rebekah has her own dealings with the LORD and asks Him why she is expecting twins. She receives an answer from the LORD. The two boys are two peoples, each with their own place on earth, determined by Him.

It is not written here that God hated Esau. That is written in Malachi 1, that is to say, only fourteen hundred years later, after Esau in his descendants has shown his true nature of godlessness and revolt (Malachi 1:2-Leviticus :). If Esau had suited himself in the place God gives him here, even before his birth, he would have received the full blessing of it.

Jacob reveals already at his birth that he wants to master Esau in his own way, that he wants to receive the blessing of God in his own power (Hosea 12:4). Esau, the stronger one, comes out first, but Jacob’s hand holds the heel of Esau. He wants to be as it were ahead of Esau. By doing so, he indicates that he wants to seize the birthright and the related blessing.

The name he gets alludes to this. “Jacob” means “heels holder”, with the thought of holding the heel to bring someone down (cf. Genesis 27:36). This name he would live up to many times in his life through his actions. Jacob is interested in the blessing of God, unlike Esau, but he wants to secure it by tricks.

Verses 27-28

Isaac Chooses Esau; Rebekah Chooses Jacob

Isaac and Rebekah, as parents, do not set a good example. Everyone has their own sweetheart. He is chosen on the basis of their own taste. That is wrong. Children are not there for parents to satisfy their tastes, but parents are there for children to raise them up for the Lord.

We can have more respect for Rebekah than for Isaac. Isaac lets itself be guided by his lusts. Rebekah chooses Jacob and loves him, who indeed is chosen by God in the line of His promises. Esau is a hunter, a killer like Nimrod; Jacob is someone who lives in tents, a pilgrim, a shepherd.

Verses 29-34

Esau Despises the Birthright

The first proof that Esau is an ungodly man and that Jacob himself wants to secure the blessing, is provided in this history with the lentil stew. The difference in character that appears here, will be expressed again and again in their future lives. Esau is only interested in here-and-now. He cares nothing about what God has promised him. He wants an immediate satisfaction of his needs. For later he does not care.

Esau is like all those people who serve their belly and not God. His eyes follow his heart. He wants to eat and when he sees “that red stuff there”, he wants it immediately. The lentil stew is like the wine that “is red when it sparkles in the cup” and glides smoothly down, but “at last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper” (Proverbs 23:31-Jonah :).

In order not to become prey to the lusts of the flesh, it is necessary that we learn to live in self-judgement. This is only possible by looking at Christ and His work for us on the cross. Only then can we keep ourselves dead for sin (Romans 6:10-2 Kings :).

For Esau life is short, he doesn’t care what his children will have. He thinks only of himself. The blessings are of no value to him, nor are his parents. He squanders his birthright for immediate pleasure, why he is also called an “ungodly” (Hebrews 12:16).

Esau never repented this ungodly denial of the birthright. There is no place for this with him (Hebrews 12:17). Nor did he seek repentance, but blessing. Anyone who repents his sins and goes to God will receive forgiveness. However, Esau did not cry later on because he repented that he sold his birthright, but because he lost the blessings belonging to it. He cried, not because he is a sinner, but because he is a loser. Such tears will be in hell.

In short traits his attitude is described in Genesis 25:34: “He ate and drank, and rose and went on his way.” That is his life, like that of more and more people today (1 Corinthians 15:32). There is no room for God. His life is closed for looking upward and focused on what is down on earth. That is the tragedy of many people, especially those who grew up in a family where they heard about God and the Lord Jesus, but consciously rejected it. They have chosen the world and that is their life (Psalms 17:14).

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 25". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/genesis-25.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.