Genesis 36:1-37:1 “Esau: Judgment and Hope”

Posted on January 26, 2013. Filed under: Genesis: Answers to Life's Crucial Questions |

Sunday, 01-27-13

Bryan E. Walker


Welcome to Genesis Class


Prayer Requests


Prayer Time


Review of Homework:

Review the take home sheet. I gave some teasers at the end of last week’s class about this weeks class on Esau, and we will get to those as we go throught the study today.


Read Genesis 36:1-14; 37:1

            These are the generations of Esau (that is, Edom). Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. And Adah bore to Esau, Eliphaz; Basemath bore Reuel; and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

            Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household, his livestock, all his beasts, and all his property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan. He went into a land away from his brother Jacob. For their possessions were too great for them to dwell together. The land of their sojournings could not support them because of their livestock. So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir. (Esau is Edom.)

            These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Basemath the wife of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife. These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife. These are the sons of Oholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah……

(Genesis 36:1-14 ESV)


            Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan.

(Genesis 37:1 ESV)



Main Idea/Summary/Gospel Point


            In this passage the Holy Spirit inspires Moses to record the genealogy of Esau in order to show us that God kept his covenant/promise to Abraham to make him the father of many nations and to show how the twin themes of judgment/redemption are contrasted in the lives of Jacob and Esau. Moses is also giving his people a history of Edom with whom they will have to live beside and deal with for centuries. The descendants of Esau play a significant role in the lives of the kings of Israel but the biggest roles the Edomites play are in the New Testament! There we will see both the hatred of the seed of the serpent for the seed of woman, Christ, and the hope the gospel brings to the line of Esau. With Esau we see the tragedy of rejecting the covenant through his marriages with Canaanites and his voluntarily leaving the Promised Land. Although there is much about judgment in this passage, we see the Covenant keeping God blessing Esau and in the rest of scripture we will see the hope of the gospel for Esau’s descendants. This specifically impacts our church and our mission through the Prophet Amos. In Amos 9:11-12 we find some hope: “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its beaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name, declares the LORD who does this.” We see this passage fulfilled in Mark 3:7-8 “Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusaelm and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon.” The descendants of Esau, the Edomites gathered to hear Jesus preach the gospel!

            And in Acts 15:16f James quotes from Amos 9:11-12 during the Jerusalem Council leading to an open acceptance of Gentiles into the faith.

            The main idea for us, here, now, in this church, is that we can be used by the Lord to bring the gospel to those outside the covenant, the lost, the Edomites if you will. We can proclaim our delight in God and his grace to our neighbors and the nations. And God has promised, through His prophet Amos, to bring some of them into the new Israel.



            Why Study this Genealogy?


            When we are reading through the Bible in a year or whichever Bible reading plan you use, what do you do when you come across a genealogy? Do you carefully read it, pausing to sound out all of the difficult, exotic sounding names, researching every name? Or, do you hurriedly glance at it, sigh, and move on to the good stuff?


            Part of what we are doing in this class is teaching you a sound doctrine of the inspiration of the Scriptures and teaching you how to study the Bible. We believe that all of God’s Word is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that we may be competent, equipped for every good work (2Tim.3:16-17). Furthermore we believe what Jesus said in Luke 24:44-45 “that everything written about [Jesus] in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Even this genealogy relates to Jesus in some way and proclaims some portion of the story of judgment and redemption that is the meta-story of the Bible.


            This does not mean that we will labor over every single name mentioned here. We do not have the time to do so detailed of a study, nor do we have the patience that would require! We will hit the highlights, the main ideas, and just a few of the details as we seek to relate this genealogy to the broader story of Genesis, the rest of the Pentateuch, the history of Israel, Jesus, and the mission of our church today.


            Ross (p.586) writes, “I would not expect too many expositors to devote an entire exposition to this chapter unless they had the luxury of time and could include it…But there is a poignant lesson in it, not only for Jacob, but also for all recipients of the promise.”

            Baldwin writes, p.153, “A chapter like this, consisting almost entirely of otherwise unknown names, may seem at first sight to be an interruption of the story; on further reflection it proves that Esau, though he did not receive the birthright, nevertheless prospered and, while Jacob and his family took refuge and eventually became slaves in Egypt, Esau’s clan developed and became organized….By this method Esau’s future could be summarized and dismissed before Genesis resumed the account of Jacob’s son Joseph, around whose story the events of the whole family turned.”


            Sailhamer writes, p.221 (1990), “In…this chapter, the writer goes to great lengths to show the progress and well being of the line of Esau. He is particularly careful to note that Esau is, in fact, ‘Edom’. …Why such a concern? The solution lies in the future importance of Edom during the later periods of Israel’s history.”


            “As in the book of Obadiah, Edom became a small picture for Israel’s relationship to the other nations at large.”


            Calvin (vol.2, p.252) writes: “Though Esau was an alien from the Church in the sight of God; yet since he also, as a son of Isaac, was favoured with a temporal blessing. Moses celebrates his race, and inscribes a sufficiently lengthened catalogue of the people born from him. This commemoration, however, resembles an honourable sepulture. For although Esau, with his posterity, took the precedence; yet this dignity was like a bubble, which is comprised under the figure of the world, and which quickly perishes….The Holy Spirit designed, indeed to testify that the prophecy which Isaac uttered concerning Esau was not vain; but he has no sooner shown its effect, than he turns away our eyes, as if he had cast a veil over it, that we may confine our attention to the race of Jacob.”


            Context: How does this chapter fit into Genesis, this part of Genesis, the Pentateuch, the Old Testament, and the Whole Bible? Outline.


            Keep in mind that Moses has a clear outline for his book using the toledoths (These are the generations of, or, This is the account of). With this outline we see that our chapter 36:1-37:1 is the 9th  out of 10 toledoths.


Here we see that Esau gets his own separate section. But, is there a problem with this arrangement perhaps? In our chapter aren’t there TWO toledoths? 36:1 and 36:9. We will save that discussion for a while and answer that question when we get to verse 9.


            How does this genealogy of Esau fit into this part of Genesis? What is its role? Moses tends to place a smaller toledoth covering people of lesser importance for his bigger story after key stories and before moving on to the next big story. The account of Esau is very similar to the account of Ishmael for instance (compare 36:1-37:1 with 25:12-18). Both Esau and Ishmael are the eldest sons and neither is the elect son. Ishmael’s story is told immediately after the death of Abraham but prior to the story of Isaac’s sons while Esau’s comes after the death of Isaac and prior to the account of Jacob’s sons. But still we must ask why the Holy Spirit inspired Moses to include the stories of Ishmael and Esau at all?


            What we will see as we study this passage is that Moses includes the account of Esau to show that God’s promises to Abraham (Gen.12:1-3; 17:4-8; 22:15-18), that kings and nations will come from his line, has come to pass. God keeps his covenant with Abraham! Furthermore, Moses is explaining a bit about the background of Amalek, a descendant of Esau, who came out to fight Israel (Ex.17:8-16). Later, in Numbers 20:14-21, Edom denied Israel the right to pass through their land. The kings and prophets of Israel have numerous dealings with Amalekites and Edomites which we will touch on as we go. Presenting a history of Esau’s descendants then, prepares the way for much that is to come in Israel’s history.


            The Amalekites teamed up with the Moabites and Ammonites in Judges 3:13 to attack Israel, and again in 6:3 the Midianites and Amalekites attacked.


Consider 1Samuel 15 where Samuel tells Saul that the LORD wants Saul to “strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” (v.3). But Saul did not follow the instructions and spared the king, Agag, and “the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them,” (v.9).  The LORD then took the kingdom from Saul in vv.22-23 “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has also rejected you from eing king.”

In 1 Sam.31 we see that Saul dies in battle as he falls on his sword after being severely wounded and surrounded. The Philistines find his body and cut off his head. But, in 2 Sam.1 we see that David had been out fighting the Amalekites and he now hears of the death of Saul from an Amalekite who escaped the battle and who claims to have been the one who finished Saul off at Saul’s own request. David orders the man executed for killing the LORD’s anointed. The fighting that began in Rebekah’s womb continues.


Even into the New Testament in such places as the nativity and crucifixion of Jesus we see the descendants of Esau at war with Seed of Woman. In Matthew 2 is the story of the visit of the wise men who met with Herod, whom we know from Josephus to be an Idumean, a descendant of Esau from Edom. Herod had been appointed as king of Judea by the Romans and was know for his magnificent public works, like the Temple in Jerusalem, but also for his extreme cruelty. In Matthew 2:16ff Herod attempts to kill the baby Jesus by killing all boys in the area around Bethlehem who were 2 years or younger. The descendant of Esau once again seeking to kill the descendant of Jacob.


In the crucifixion story whom do we find contributing in some small way to the death of Jesus? The son of Herod the Great, Herod Antipas. It was this Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded in Mark 6:14-29. But during Jesus’ trial Pilate realized that Jesus was from Galilee and so he sent him to Herod (Luke 23:6-12). Notice that in Lk.23:11 “And Herod with his soldiers treated him (Jesus) with contempt and mocked him.” This Idumean treated Jesus the same way Ishmael treated Isaac, and Edom treated Israel. With contempt.


This is the big picture of Esau/Edom and his role in Israel’s history and the history of God’s plan of redemption.  There is hope for the descendants of Edom but we will get to that later in our study.


Basic Bible Study- divide into groups and outline the passage, look for key people/names, geography, key words, actions.


            Literary Analysis-

Key Words- What key words/phrases did you find in the passage?


These are the generations of  (vs.1, 9)

Esau– vss.1,2,4,5, 6,8 (2x), 9,10 (3x), 12 (2x), 13, 14 (2x), 15 (2x), 17 (2x), 18 (2x), 19, 40, and 43.

Edom vss. 1, 8, 9, 16, 17, 19, 21, 31, 43 (2x).

Esau took his wives- vs.2, 6

Canaanites/Canaan- vss.2, 5, 6; 37:1

The hill country of Sei/Seirr- vss.8, 9, 20, 21.

Eliphaz- vss. 4, 10, 11, 12 (2x), 15, 16.

Teman/Temanites- vss.11, 15, 34, 42

Amalek- vss. 12, 16.

These are the chiefs of- vss.15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 40, 42. “Chiefs” occurs 17 times in the ESV but over 40 times in Hebrew and is the dominant word in the text.

These are the sons of- vss. 5, 10 (3x), 11, 12, 13 (2x), 14, 15(2x), 16, 17(2x), 19, 20, 21,22, 23, 26,27,28, 32, 33, 35, 38, 39.

Daughter- vss. 2(3x), 3, 6, 14(2x), 18, 25, 39.

Beor- v.32

Midian- v.35

Moab- v.35

Euphrates- 37

Jacob- vv.6; 37:1

Sojournings- vv.7; 37:1.

Land- vss.5, 6(2x), 7, 16, 17, 20, 21, 30, 31, 34, 43; 37:1


Geographical Movement- Does geography play a special role in this text? What places are mentioned and why?

Canaan and Edom/Seir are the key geographical regions. There is movement by Esau’s family from Canaan to Seir that is a key part of the story and makes a key theological point of departing from the covenant land of promise. There is a displacing of the Horites implied by Esau’s arrival in Seir.



            This is one of the longest chapters in Genesis and has two toledoths making it more complex than usual to try to outline. Does Moses intend for this to be One of his 10 toledoths or is this Two separate toledoths? Ross, p.585, writes, “This chapter is complicated and difficult, both in its exegesis and in its exposition. In the first place, the structure is difficult: the chapter begins with the heading toledot with the name Esau, but then this heading is repeated in verse 9 again with the name Esau, as if a second development was added….Not only is the organization difficult, the purpose of this chapter has been the subject of much debate.”

Scholars take different stands on this problem so I will give two outlines.

            Mathews (2005; pp.631-643) takes the position that this is two separate toledoths and his outline presents it this way:

Esau’s Family 36:1-8

  1. Title (36:1)
  2. Esau’s Wives and Sons (36:2-5)
  3. Esau’s Move to Seir (36:6-8)


Esau, Father of the Edomites 36:9-37:1

  1. Title (36:9)
  2. The Sons and Chiefs of Esau (36:10-19)
  3. The Sons and Chiefs of Seir (36:20-30)
  4. The Kings of Edom (36:31-39)
  5. The Chiefs of Edom (36:40-43)
  6. Jacob in Canaan (37:1)


Most other scholars I have read do Not separate the chapter into TWO toledoths. The reason to keep them united is that they cover some of the same material and the second toledoth may be an addition after Moses, by none other than David who conquered Edom. Whatever the source of vss.9-43, I believe the Holy Spirit intended them to be there. I will go with a more simple outline that unifies the chapter:


  1. I.                   Esau’s Canaanite Family and His Departure from the Promised Land, 36:1-8
    1. A.     Title, vs.1
    2. B.     Esau’s Canaanite Family, vss.2-5
    3. C.     Esau Departs from the Promised Land, vss.6-8
  2. II.                The Blessings of God Upon Esau’s Descendants, 36:9-43
    1. A.     The Family of Esau to the Third Generation, 36:9-14
    2. B.     The Chiefs of Esau’s Family, 36:15-19
    3. C.     The Horites, 36:20-30
    4. D.    The Kings of Edom, 31-39
    5. E.     The Chiefs of Esau’s Family, 40-43
  3. III.             Jacob Remained in the Promised Land, 37:1

A.   Jacob Lived in the Land, 37:1



Exposition: Understanding and Application

  1. I.                   Esau’s Canaanite Family and His Departure from the Promised Land, 36:1-8
    1. A.     Title, toledoth, vs.1
      1. 1.        These are the generations of Esau- Waltke, p.482, “this is better translated, ‘This is the account of Esau’s descendants’”. It is the story of God’s keeping his promise to Abraham in 17:4-8 “…my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations…I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you…” When the events recorded in this chapter are happening, Jacob’s descendants are but slaves in Egypt while Esau’s line is prospering and forging a kingdom with many kings listed. We have previously seen God keeping his covenant with Abraham by blessing Ishmael in 25:12-18 with Ishmael having 12 princes.
      2. 2.        The prophecy in the birth narrative of the twins in 25:23 includes “Two nations are in your womb and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” In ch.36 we see the fulfillment of the first lines- Esau’s line does become a nation and as he leaves the Promised Land for Seir the two peoples are divided.
      3. 3.        Mathews writes, p.631, “The Esau toledot sections show that the expectations of an Edomite nation were met. God had promised that Ishamel would produce a ‘great nation’ (17:20; cf. 21:13,18). Genesis does not offer the same explicit promise to Esau, but the inclusion of his descendants and their ascendancy as rulers (36:9-43) imply that Edom’s rise was also the consequence of God’s blessing. That Esau dwelt securely in Seir (32:3-4) implied that the Lord would establish his descendant in the land (36:30-31)….”
      4. 4.        As we consider Esau and the Edomites we need to remember that Esau/Edom is the twin brother of Jacob/Israel and they have the same parents. Ishmael had the same father as Isaac, but an Egyptian wife. The Ammonites and Moabites were only the children of Abraham’s nephew Lot. Therefore, the Edomites are to be considered as close kin, as Deut.23:7 says, “You shall not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother…Children born to them in the third generation may enter the assembly of the LORD.”
      5. 5.        Esau (that is, Edom)- The association of Esau with Edom goes back to 25:29-34 when Esau came in from the field exhausted and hungry. Jacob had some “red stuff”, red stew, which Esau immediately craved and sold his birthright in order to eat. “Red stuff” and Edom are very similar in root and sound therefore the name stuck to Esau. Every time we see the name Edom, then, we are forced to recall that Esau, its founder, sold his birthright for a pot of red stew.
      6. 6.        This transfer of Esau’s nickname Edom to the nation he founded is matched and balanced by Jacob’s nation taking on his second, God given name (32:28), Israel.


  1. B.     Esau’s Canaanite Family, vss.2-5
    1. 1.        Esau took his wives from the Canaanites- this phrase should be translated as the NIV “the women of Canaan” which points us back to 28:1,6 where Isaac told Jacob “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women”. This present verse then, reminds us that Esau’s choice of wives in 26:34f. Also, this phrase points us back to Dinah in 34:1 who “went out to see the women in the land” and ended up getting raped. Waltke says, p.483, “This is a derogatory expression….”
    2. 2.        The phrase goes further back to 24:3f where Abraham ordered his servant “swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and God of the earth, that you will not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell, but will go to my country and to my kindred, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
    3. 3.        The main idea here is that Esau, by his choices, cut himself off from the covenant line of blessing. To be sure, he received many temporal blessings as Calvin stated above, but his choice to marry Canaanites demonstrates where his heart is.
    4. 4.        For Moses’ people, the message was to not make covenants with the inhabitants of the land (Canaanites, etc.) and do not “take of their daughters for your sons” Exodus 34:10-16, esp. v.16. Deut.7:3 “You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons.” What was the purpose of this prohibition against intermarrying with the Canaanites? The last part of v.16 says, “and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.”
    5. 5.        APPLY: For God’s people under the New Covenant today the message is the same, “do not be unequally yoked with  unbelievers”. While the context in which the phrase appears in 2 Cor.6:14 is Not talking about marriage, it can certainly reach there. Solomon’s many foreign wives would be another example from 1Kings 11. The GOSPEL link here is more precisely what Paul was speaking of in 2Cor.6:14 which continues on, “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial?” The idea then, is that Believers must not become so linked with, or covenanted with, those who are opposed to Christ that we become compromised in our faith. If we hold the Canaanites too closely, we risk losing our faith. Samson and Delilah would be an example from Judges 16.
    6. 6.        APPLY: In what ways have we “taken wives from the Canaanites”? Have we, like the seed in Mark 4, allowed thorns to grow close and so choke ourselves?
    7. 7.        Adah…Oholibamah…Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter- There are clearly some problems with the text here as this passage does not, on the surface, square with 26:34. There are several ways to rectify the surface problem including the possible death of a wife, the changing of names (as done with Sarai to Sarah), Esau having more than three wives, some with the same name, etc. This is an in-depth technical study for which we do not have time nor space. What is interesting, however, is that we see that Esau marries into the line of Ishmael. The first wife listed is Adah, which name appears earlier as a wife of Lamech in 4:23. this could be a subtle linking of Esau to the seed of the serpent (Waltke, ibid.)
    8. 8.        Adah bore to Esau Eliphaz- the name means El is pure gold. He would become a tribal chief in vv.10-12, 15-16. His son’s name is Teman (v.11) which points us in a curious direction- the book of Job. In Job 2:11 one of Job’s three friends is named Eliphaz the Temanite. Teman is a city in northeastern Edom. This poses the question, are the two Eliphazes the same person? There is no definitive answer either in the Bible or in history but I cannot think of this as a mere coincidence.


  1. C.     Esau Departs from the Promised Land, vv.6-8
    1. 1.        Then Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the members of his household…and all his property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan. He went into a land away from his brother Jacob- Back in 32:3 we saw that Esau was already living in Seir and very prosperous as he came to Jacob with 400 men (32:6). He very well could have had a home in both Canaan and Seir until Jacob returned.
    2. 2.        Here we see the contrast with Jacob in that Jacob had been an outcast/exile living in the ancestral homeland of Paddan Aram but by faith was coming back to the land of Promise while Esau, who could have stayed in the land of promise, freely chose to leave, thus exiling himself from the covenant.
    3. 3.        Waltke, p.488, “Likewise, after Israel’s exile in Babylon, the true seed return and possess the land. The church, the chosen today (1Peter 2:9-10), is scattered abroad, but it will possess the Promised Land that never passes away (1Peter 1:1-9).
    4. 4.        For their possessions were too great for them to dwell together- What (or who) does this sound like from Genesis lessons in the past? Moses is here directly comparing Esau with Lot in Gen.13 especially 13:6.
    5. 5.        So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir. (Esau is Edom)- step by step Esau chooses to disassociate himself from the covenant, rejecting his birthright for a pot of stew, marrying outside the faith, now moving from the Land of Promise and settling in Seir.
    6. 6.        The word for settled is wayyeseb and is used of Jacob in 37:1. Similarly the word for sojournings magor appears in v.7 and 37:1. These words form the bookends of the unit.
    7. 7.        What we see then is that God has kept his covenant with Abraham by blessing Esau and he has kept covenant with Jacob by removing Esau from the scene. Judgment and Salvation are being demonstrated as God prepares the way for the family that will become the nation which shall bring forth God’s Son, Jesus, at the appointed time.
    8. 8.        APPLY- I think of the story Jesus told of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. Esau left of his own free will. We have all known someone who, like Esau, gave up a spiritual birthright, left a godly home, left the church, and seemed to prosper! Perhaps you made a similar choice earlier in your life but God graciously brought back to the covenant.


  1. II.                The Blessings of God Upon Esau’s Descendants, 36:9-43
    1. A.      The Family of Esau to the Third Generation, 36:9-14
      1. 1.      These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir- this toledoth gets a bit more detailed than vs.1 in that it specifically says Esau is the father of the Edomites and links him directly to Seir. The following list of sons and grandsons is given to parallel that of Ishmael and Isaac who each had twelve sons, princes. Esau here will have twelve grandsons. Amalek, as the son of a concubine does not count as part of the 12.
      2. 2.      This toledoth may be inserted here during the time of David because of what we see in 2Sam.8:11-14 where David subdued Edom and Amalek, establishing a garrison in Edom, “and all the Edomites became David’s servants” v.14. This passage fulfills the prophecy made by Isaac in Gen.27:40 “and you shall serve your brother.” However, this toledoth may have been part of Moses’ original plan as well. It does seem to break his pattern and we have no good answer as to why.
      3. 3.      Vs12 “Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.- Amalek, as has already been discussed, would become a perennial problem for Israel.


  1. B.      The Chiefs of Esau’s Family, 36:15-19
    1. 1.      Chiefs- allup– tribal chiefs. The terms “chiefs” and “sons of Esau” in v.19 frame this section of our text and indicate that Esau’s sons became chiefs of separate, though linked, tribes, much as Israel would later.


  1. C.      The Horites, 36:20-30
    1. 1.      These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land- Notice seven sons of Seir are listed, indicating a perfect number of sons. This verse clearly places the Horites as being in the land of Seir prior to the migration of Esau’s family and transitioning to Edom. This passage indicates that Esau’s family dispossessed Seir from the land either through conquest or marriage. This again fulfills the prophecy made by Isaac that his son would “By your sword you shall live” (Gen.27:40).
    2. 2.      Deut. 2:12 “The Horites also lived in Seir formerly, but the people of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, as Israel did to the land of their possession, which the LORD gave to them.”
    3. 3.      The main point of this part of the text is that Edom became a powerful people and took a land beforeIsrael. Again, this is part of the promise from God to Abraham, Isaac.
    4. 4.      God has a plan for using nations that are not in the covenant!
    5. 5.      Notice in v.25 that Oholibamah is listed as a daughter of Anah and in v.24 Anah is a son of Zibeon, who is a son of Seir in v.20. This is the wife of Esau in v.2, therefore showing that he did marry into as well as conquer the Horites.
    6. 6.      A son of Anah, Oholibamah’s brother, Dishon, appears in v.28 again as the father of Uz. QQ: where else do you hear of Uz? Job 1:1. This is now the THIRD link between the Esau/Edom story and the book of Job.
    7. 7.      Mathews, p.655, “Job’s home was ‘in the land of Uz’ (Job 1:1), whose location is disputed, though Edom is preferable (italics mine)”.


  1. D.      The Kings of Edom, 36:31-39
    1. 1.      These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites- this is the title, or superscription, introducing the next major part of the chapter. There are eight kings listed and they are not dynastic (father to son). The comment “before any king reigned over the Israelites” could be an insertion from David’s day since he conquered Edom, or it could be a prophetic utterance from Moses.
    2. 2.      Beor, v.32 this man is most likely NOT the Beor of Numbers 22, the father of the prophet Balaam.


  1. E.       The Chiefs of Esau’s Family, 36:40-43
    1. 1.      There are only 11 chiefs listed in this list. Some of the names overlap with the list in vv.10-14 and some do not.


  1. III.             Jacob Remained in the Promised Land, 37:1
    1. A.      Jacob Lived in the Land, 37:1
      1. 1.      Jacob lived in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. The contrast is huge and makes the MAJOR point: God’s promise to Abraham for BOTH Land and Descendants is being kept! At this point it appears that Esau has all the descendants, but Jacob has the land. God is not finished with Jacob’s family by any means. Though they be few now, they will grow into a nation.



The Gospel in Genesis


            We have seen the judgment portion of this text all throughout: Esau married into pagan Canaanite and Horite families against the will of his parents and the intent of Abraham. Esau willingly departed from the land of Promise and conquered the Horites, thus living by the sword. We have shown that the later sons of Edom, the Amalekites and Edomites afflicted Israel at different times and even had a role to play in the New Testament as Herod the Great, an Idumean-descendant of Esau- tried to kill baby Jesus and Herod’s son, Herod Antipas, consented to the crucifixion of Jesus.


            But where is the hope? In Amos 9:11-12 we find some hope: “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its beaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name, declares the LORD who does this.” In this passage we see the hope for the future of Edom as they get absorbed into the new Israel along with all the nations!


            We see this passage fulfilled in Mark 3:7-8 “Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusaelm and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon.” The descendants of Esau, the Edomites gathered to hear Jesus preach the gospel!

            And in Acts 15:16f James quotes from Amos 9:11-12 during the Jerusalem Council leading to an open acceptance of Gentiles into the faith.


            Waltke, p.489, writes, “In spite of Esau’s unbelief, his descendants have a future. Under God they too have a story (cf.Deut.23:7: ‘Do not abhor an Edomite, for he is your brother’). Today, in Christ, the remnant of Edom has been reconciled to his brother and has become a member of Christ’s kingdom.”


            Although Paul writes in Romans 9:13 “As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated’” quoting from Malachi 1:2-3, he also writes in Romans 11 of the fullness of the Gentiles within the context of “they also may now receive mercy”.


            Rev.7:9 “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the Throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’” We have hope that members of Esau’s race, the Edomites, will be in heaven praising the Lord Jesus for the salvation He has given them!



Small Group/Take Home Application/Discussion-

            In what ways might we be tempted, like Esau, to forsake the faith of our fathers? Does it seem just to you that God blesses the unbelievers with great material blessings? How would you deal with your child if he/she wants to leave the covenant community?


Next Week:

In this chapter, what ways is Joseph like Christ? Although the NT does not directly say that Joseph was a type of Christ, he fits that description in many ways.

  • Matthew 3:17 and Genesis 37:3
  • John 15:25 and Genesis 37:4
  • Luke 19:14 and Genesis 37:8
  • Mark 15:10 and Genesis 37:11
  • Matthew 27:1 and Genesis 37:18
  • Matthew 27:28 and Genesis 37:23
  • Matthew 26:15 and Genesis 37:28



Baldwin, Joyce G. The Message of Genesis 12-50, in The Bible Speaks Today series. InterVarsity Press: Leicester, England, 1986, (pp.152-154).


Boice, James Montgomery. Genesis: An Expositional Commentary, Vol.2. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, MI 1985 (pp.352-364).


Calvin, John. Genesis, The Geneva Series of Commentaries. Translated and edited by John King; two volumes in one. Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh, 1965 (Originally published in Latin, 1554. Pp. 249-254 in vol.2)


Hughes, R. Kent. Genesis, Beginning & Blessing. Crossway Books: Wheaton, Ill. 2004 (pp.427-434).


Luther, Martin. Luther’s Works, Volume 6, Lectures on Genesis 31-37, translated by Paul D. Pahl, edited by Jaroslav Pelikan. Concordia Publishing House: St. Louis, MO 1970, originally published in approximately 1544 (pp.282-311).


Mathews, Kenneth A. The New American Commentary1B, Genesis 11:27-50:26.      Broadman&Holman: Nashville, TN 2005 (pp.631-660).


Ross, Allen P. Creation & Blessing, A Guide to the Study and Exposition of Genesis. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, MI 1996 (pp.585-588).


Sailhamer, John H. “Genesis” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 2, Frank E. Gaebelein, editor. Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, MI 1990 (pp.220-225).


Tenny, Merrill C., editor. The Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary, “Herod”, by E.M. Blaiklock. Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, MI 1967 (pp.348-352).


Waltke, Bruce K. Genesis, A Commentary. Zondervan: Grand Rapids, 2001 (pp.481-489).


Wenham, Gordon. Word Biblical Commentary, Volume2, Genesis 16-50. Word Books: Dallas, Texas 1994 (pp.332-342).




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    This blog exists to study the bi-vocational ministry, explore the Bible & Theology, and look at current events, history and other world religions through scripture, and have fun doing it!


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