In our own families, we all have that relative who goes a different direction than all the others in the family. Some are led by God, but some are led by rebelliousness. They have a strong need to go their own way, following their own mind. Esau, the brother tricked out of his birthright and blessings, was that guy. The hunger of his stomach led him to give his birthright (being born first) to his twin brother Jacob, born seconds later. Jacob and Esau’s mother, Rebekah, helped her favorite twin Jacob devise a plan to deceive Esau out his rightful blessing for life from Isaac, their blind father. Can we say dysfunctional family?
The brothers split up ranks and Jacob left town. Years later, many sons and daughters later, the brothers reunite and make peace. But Esau still must go his own way forming his own family tree. It is important that it is mentioned here for later understanding.
Meanwhile, while Jacob is prospering with his twelve sons after the death and burial of Isaac, brother Esau’s family grows as well. Both brothers acquired so much in possessions that Esau moved farther away so the stock could be supported and his family empire could continue to grow and prosper. Esau, if you remember, did exactly what his father told him NOT to do…marry women of Canaan. His family tree was built by the union of Canaanite women and of Ishmael’s clan (Abraham’s son by Hagar.) The combined clan were called Edomites. This sounds better than Esau-ites, I suppose.
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 DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
Following the death of Isaac (35:28, 29), Moses recorded a long chapter summarizing the fate of Isaac’s older son, Esau. The account contains 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 200 times in the Bible, but “Jacob” and “Israel” are found over 2,000 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).
The next chapter (Gen. 37) takes up the story, not of Esau, but of Jacob! “This is the history of Jacob” (v. 2) is the tenth occasion for a “generation” statement in Genesis, and it introduces the story of Jacob’s favorite son, Joseph. 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.
God’s promises will be fulfilled. We can count on God. How do we respond? In faith believing that what He promises WILL happen. Stay tuned…
You set the stage for us to know how you work in and for your people. And I am one of them. Your promises didn’t stop with Israel, your promise of a Savior who would redeem all of us from our sins begins right here in these scriptures. Thank you, thank you, thank you! To know that you, dear Jesus, is the promise to us planned from the beginning, through all these generations God will display his power in working through His people, changes our perspective. We know that beginning from Adam to Noah, through the sons of Abraham, you will arrive on earth. You will be the difference that will once and for all save humanity. For you so loved…you sent your son. I am grateful.
In Jesus Name, For your Glory, Amen