Genesis – First, God
Jacob’s brother Esau now has the limelight in our continuation of the family saga. Esau and Jacob have come together to bury their father, Isaac. Because Esau and Jacob are both blessed by God in family, livestock and wealth there is not room to grow, much less sustain life for all they have acquired. One of them has to leave the area so Esau does just that.
One stays as directed by God. The other brother gathers all he has and heads for the hills of Seir, a considerable distance away.
We trust that Isaac and Jacob experienced a complete reconciliation and that the old patriarch died “full of years” as did his father (25:8). Esau came from Mount Seir to pay his respects to his father and to assist Isaac in burying him in the cave of Machpelah (49:29-32).
Esau was a man of the world and not a child of the covenant, but he was still Isaac’s son and Jacob’s brother, and he had every right to be there. Death is a human experience that brings human pain to our hearts, and caring for the dead is a responsibility for all the family–believers and unbelievers.
Genesis 36, The Message
This is the family tree of Esau, who is also called Edom.
2-3 Esau married women of Canaan: Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite;
Oholibamah, daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; and Basemath, daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.
4 Adah gave Esau Eliphaz;
Basemath had Reuel;
5 Oholibamah had Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.
6-8 Esau gathered up his wives, sons and daughters, and everybody in his household, along with all his livestock—all the animals and possessions he had gotten in Canaan—and moved a considerable distance away from his brother Jacob. The brothers had too many possessions to live together in the same place; the land couldn’t support their combined herds of livestock. So Esau ended up settling in the hill country of Seir (Esau and Edom are the same).
9-10 So this is the family tree of Esau, ancestor of the people of Edom, in the hill country of Seir. The names of Esau’s sons:
Eliphaz, son of Esau’s wife Adah;
Reuel, son of Esau’s wife Basemath.
11-12 The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. (Eliphaz also had a concubine Timna, who had Amalek.) These are the grandsons of Esau’s wife Adah.
13 And these are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah—grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
14 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah the son of Zibeon. She gave Esau his sons Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
15-16 These are the chieftains in Esau’s family tree. From the sons of Eliphaz, Esau’s firstborn, came the chieftains Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, Korah, Gatam, and Amalek—the chieftains of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; all of them sons of Adah.
17 From the sons of Esau’s son Reuel came the chieftains Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the chieftains of Reuel in the land of Edom; all these were sons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
18 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: the chieftains Jeush, Jalam, and Korah—chieftains born of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah.
19 These are the sons of Esau, that is, Edom, and these are their chieftains.
20-21 This is the family tree of Seir the Horite, who were native to that land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. These are the chieftains of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom.
22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Homam; Lotan’s sister was Timna.
23 The sons of Shobal were Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.
24 The sons of Zibeon were Aiah and Anah—this is the same Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness while herding his father Zibeon’s donkeys.
25 The children of Anah were Dishon and his daughter Oholibamah.
26 The sons of Dishon were Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Keran.
27 The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.
28 The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
29-30 And these were the Horite chieftains: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan—the Horite chieftains clan by clan in the land of Seir.
31-39 And these are the kings who ruled in Edom before there was a king in Israel: Bela son of Beor was the king of Edom; the name of his city was Dinhabah. When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah became the next king. When Jobab died, he was followed by Hushan from the land of the Temanites. When Hushan died, he was followed by Hadad son of Bedad; he was the king who defeated the Midianites in Moab; the name of his city was Avith. When Hadad died, Samlah of Masrekah became the next king. When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth-on-the-River became king. When Shaul died, he was followed by Baal-Hanan son of Acbor. When Baal-Hanan son of Acbor died, Hadad became king; the name of his city was Pau; his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, daughter of Me-Zahab.
40-43 And these are the chieftains from the line of Esau, clan by clan, region by region: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram—the chieftains of Edom as they occupied their various regions.
This accounts for the family tree of Esau, ancestor of all Edomites.
WHAT WE LEARN
Isaac’s death changed Jacob’s status: He was now the head of the family and the heir of the covenant blessings. He not only acquired Isaac’s great wealth, but he also inherited all that was involved in the Abrahamic covenant. His God would be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
There’s quite a contrast between the record of Jacob’s family in 35:23-26, listing four wives and twelve sons, and the long list of people who belonged to Esau, recorded in this chapter.
There are six lists of names, including sons (vv. 1-14, 20-28), chiefs (vv. 15-19, 29-30, 40-43), and kings (vv. 31-39); and there appears to be duplication. (Compare vv. 10-14 with 15-19, and 20-28 with 29-30.)
Esau had his share of material blessings, but Jacob possessed the covenant blessings from the Lord.
Genesis 36 is a long chapter containing many names, but it’s the end of the story as far as Esau is concerned! The Edomites are named in the Old Testament only because they’re a part of the story of Israel.
“Esau” and “Edom,” the avowed enemies of the Jews, are mentioned over two hundred times in the Bible, but “Jacob” and “Israel” are found over two thousand times! Esau’s son Eliphaz was the father of Amalek, and the Amalekites were also Israel’s enemies (Ex. 17:8-16; Num. 14:39-45; Deut. 25:17-19; 1 Sam. 15).
Twin brothers. One believes and follows God. One does not.
As God told his parents while the boys were still in the womb, the older will serve the younger. The younger will serve God.
With all their weaknesses and faults, the sons of Jacob will carry on the work of God on earth and fulfill the covenant promises God made to Abraham.
Jacob and Esau buried their father, Isaac, together. How do you think each of them looked back on his life at that time?
How have the trials and losses in your life drawn your attention toward or away from the Lord?
Dear Heavenly Father,
To this day, it seems in every family, there are those completed devoted to You and some who are not. We pray for the lost souls of our family. We pray for heart change with a new desire to come to you in relationship with you. We pray that you will snatch them from evil’s hold with worldly, selfish thinking and help them to see you and follow in your ways. Bring them back. Bring them home to you. There is room for all of us in Your Kingdom!
In Jesus Name, and By His Power, Amen