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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 36

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-8

Esau Settles in Seir

v. 1. Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.

v. 2. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan: Adah, the daughter of Elon, the Hittite, and Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon, the Hivite, Genesis 26:34 ;

v. 3. and Bashemath, Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth, Genesis 28:9. It was just as common for a woman to have several names as for a man, it being customary to change the names at some important event in life. Although there are apparent discrepancies in the entire Chapter, they involve no contradiction.

v. 4. And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz, 1 Chronicles 1:35; and Bashemath bare Reuel, 1 Chronicles 1:35;

v. 5. and Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah; these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan, before his removal to the country in the neighborhood of Mount Hor.

v. 6. And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, all the servants of his household, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went in to the country (of Seir) from the face of his brother Jacob. Esau had, even before this, made an expedition into the country of the Horites for the purpose of conquest, Genesis 32:3, and he now definitely removed to Seir with his entire establishment. He knew that the domain of Canaan belonged to Jacob, and it was clear, moreover, that the flocks of the brothers had grown so large as to prohibit their dwelling together.

v. 7. For their riches, especially in herds and flocks, were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. The story of Abraham and Lot might thus have been repeated, and this was not Esau's intention, since he was at peace with his brother.

v. 8. Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir; Esau is Edom. Idumea, with the mountain range known as Seir, whose highest peak was Mount Hor, was between the Dead Sea and the Aelanitic Gulf.

Verses 9-14

Esau's Sons and Grandsons

v. 9. And these are the generations of Esau, the father of the Edomites in Mount Seir:

v. 10. These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz, the son of Adah, the wife of Esau; Reuel, the son of Bashemath, the wife of Esau.

v. 11. And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho (or Zephi, 1 Chronicles 1:36), and Gatam, and Kenaz.

v. 12. And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz, Esau's son, having probably been adopted for that purpose by Adah; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek; these were the sons of Adah, Esau's wife. If this is the Amalek that was the ancestor of the Amalekites who afterward were such bitter enemies of the children of Israel, it was probably due to the fact that Amalek separated himself from his brethren at an early date and grew into an independent people, his descendants occupying the country immediately south of Canaan and spreading from there to the very boundaries of the Promised Land.

v. 13. And these are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah; these were the sons of Bashemath, Esau's wife.

v. 14. And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon, Esau's wife; and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah. In the case of Aholibamah, therefore, the sons, in the case of the other wives, the grandsons perpetuated the name of Edom and were considered the fathers of the tribes. The sons of Eliphaz continued the Canaanitic line, those of Reuel the Ishmaelitic, and the three sons of Aholibamah the Horite line.

Verses 15-19

The Dukes of the House of Esau

v. 15. These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz, the first-born son of Esau: Duke Teman, Duke Omar, Duke Zepho, Duke Kenaz,

v. 16. Duke Korah, Duke Gatam, and Duke Amalek; these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah. Fully half the Edomite princes were thus the descendants of Adah, the Hivite, or, in a wider sense, the Hittite woman.

v. 17. And these are the sons of Reuel, Esau's son: Duke Nahath, Duke Zerah, Duke Shammah, Duke Mizzah; these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Bashemath, Esau's wife, in whose descendants the strains of Ishmael and of Esau were mingled.

v. 18. And these are the sons of Aholibamah, Esau's wife: Duke Jeush, Duke Jaalam, Duke Korah; these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah, Esau's wife.

v. 19. These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes. The descendants of these desert princes established themselves geographically within more or less fixed limits as bands or tribes.

Verses 20-30

The Horites

v. 20. These are the sons of Seir, the Horite, who inhabited the land; after him the country was named, and with his descendants those of Edom mingled: Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah (this name being both masculine and feminine),

v. 21. and Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan; these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir, in the land of Edom. The Horites, or descendants of Seir, the original inhabitants of the wilderness of Zin, were cave-dwellers arid shared the many caves in that country with their herds and flocks.

v. 22. And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam (or Homam, 1 Chronicles 1:39); and Lotan's sister was Timna.

v. 23. And the children of Shobal were these: Alvan (or Alian, 1 Chronicles 1:40), and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho (or Shephi, 1 Chronicles 1:40), and Onam.

v. 24. And these are the children of Zibeon: both Ajah, and Anah; this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon, his father. While he had charge of his father's asses in the wilderness, he discovered some warm springs, a number of which are found in that country to this day.

v. 25. And the children of Anah were these: Dishon, and Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah.

v. 26. And these are the children of Dishon: Hemdan (or Amram, 1 Chronicles 1:41), and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran.

v. 27. The children of Ezer are these: Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan (or Jakan, 1 Chronicles 1:42).

v. 28. The children of Dishan are these: Uz, and Aran.

v. 29. These are the dukes that came of the Horites: Duke Lotan, Duke Shobal, Duke Zibeon, Duke Anah,

v. 30. Duke Dishon, Duke Ezer, Duke Dishan; these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir. These were all descendants of Seir, the Horite, as they were divided and called after their individual princes.

Verses 31-43

The Kings of Edom

v. 31. And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel, up to the time that the children of Israel began the conquest of Canaan, for it was at that time that Moses wrote this account.

v. 32. And Bela, the son of Beor, reigned in Edom; and the name of his city was Dinhabah.

v. 33. And Bela died, and Jobab, the son of Zerah of Bozrah, reigned in his stead. This city was very important, being considered one of the capitals of the Edomites, Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 63:1.

v. 34. And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. This land, according to Jerome, was a region in Southern Idumea, not far from the city of Petra.

v. 35. And Husham died, and Hadad, the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead; and the name of his city was Avith. At his time the kingdom must have been very powerful.

v. 36. And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead.

v. 37. And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. This may indicate that Saul was a stranger from the Euphrates, but it is more probable that Rehoboth was a city on the Zered, which flows into the Dead Sea.

v. 38. And Saul died, and Baalhanan, the son of Achbor, reigned in his stead.

v. 39. And Baalhanan, the son of Achbor, died, and Hadar reigned in his stead; and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife's name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. Since the relatives of Hadar are noted so carefully and his death is not mentioned, he seems to have been king at the time of Israel's sojourn in the wilderness. It was Hadar, then, who refused the children of Israel passage through his land, Numbers 20:14-21. It appears from the list of kings that the monarchy in Edom was limited and that it was not hereditary, but elective, the tribal princes very likely choosing a king out of their midst whenever a vacancy occurred.

v. 40. And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names: Duke Timnah, Duke Alvah, Duke Jetheth,

v. 41. Duke Aholibamah, Duke Elah, Duke Pinon,

v. 42. Duke Kenaz, Duke Teman, Duke Mibzar,

v. 43. Duke Magdiel, Duke Iram; these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession; he is Esau, the father of the Edomites. This list gives the geographical position of the original personal tribe-princes, for it was a hereditary aristocracy that obtained in the land of Edom, and the princes formed the electoral college whenever a new king was to be chosen. The history of Esau is herewith brought to an end.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Genesis 36". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/genesis-36.html. 1921-23.
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