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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. 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 1634) 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 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004).

218] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 2, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [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 25:1Word Study on "Keturah" - Strong says the Hebrew name "Keturah" "Qâtuwrah" ( קְטוּרָה) (H 6989) 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 25:2Comments- 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) (H 2175) "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 675), 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, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [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) (H 3370) means, "insidious," being derived from ( יָקשׁ) (H 3369), 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) (H 4091) comes from the primitive root word ( מְדָן) (H 4090), 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, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

223] Gordon J. Wenham, Genesis 16-50, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD- Romans , vol 2, eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [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) (H 4080) comes from the primitive root word ( מִדְיָן) (H 4079), 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) (H 3435) 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, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

6. Word Study on Shuah - The name "Shuah" "shoo"-akh" ( שׁוּחַ) (H 7744) 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, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [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, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [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 25:3Word Study on "Sheba" - Gesenius and Strong do not suggest a meaning for the Hebrew name "Sheba" "sheb-aw" ( שְׁבָא) (H 7614) BDB suggests that the name "Sheba" means, "seven," or "an oath or covenant." The Enhanced Strong says it occurs 23times 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) (H 1719). 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 31 [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 Song of Solomon , 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 Song of Solomon , 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 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 Prayer of Manasseh , 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 Prayer of Manasseh , 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 25:10Comments- Sarah is still called Abraham"s wife. Keturah is called his concubine. Thus, he was buried with Sarah.

Genesis 25:9-10Comments - 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 Lamentations -Chay Ro"iy be-ayr" ( לַחַי רֹאִי בְּאֵר) (H 883) 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) (H 875) which means, "well, pit, spring" and ( חַי) (H 2416), 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 Song of Solomon , 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) (H 2918) 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 19-29

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 25:20Comments- 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 Song of Solomon , 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 25:22Comments- 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 25:22Comments- 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 25:23Comments - 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 25:23Old 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 25:23Scripture 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 25:25Word Study on "red" - Gesenius says the Hebrew word "red" ( אַדְמוֹנִי) (H 132) 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 25:25Word Study on "Esau" - Strong says the Hebrew name "Esau" (H 6215) means "hairy."

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

Genesis 27:11, "And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy Prayer of Manasseh , 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 25:26Word Study on "Jacob" - Gesenius says the Hebrew name "Jacob" "Ya'aqob" ( יַעֲקֹב) (H 3290) 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) (H 6117), 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 25:26Comments- 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 Prayer of Manasseh , dwelling in tents.

Genesis 25:27Word Study on "plain" - Strong says the Hebrew word "plain" ( תָּם) (H 8535) means, "pious, gentle, dear," being derived from the primitive root ( תָּמַם) (H 8552), which means, "to complete, to accomplish, to cease." The Enhanced Strong says it is used 13times in the Old Testament, being translated in the KJV as "perfect 9, undefiled 2, plain 1, upright 1."

Genesis 25:27Comments- 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 25:30Word Study on "Edom" - Strong says the Hebrew name "Edom" ( אֱדֹום) (H 123) 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."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 25:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/genesis-25.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, September 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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