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Genesis 25

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Chapter 25
Abraham dies
1Abraham then married another woman. Her name was Keturah. 2She gave birth to Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. 3Jokshan later became the father of Sheba and Dedan. The descendants of Dedan were the Asshurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. 4Midian had sons who were called Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Abraham's wife, Keturah. 5When Abraham died, he left everything that belonged to him to Isaac. 6But while he was still alive, he gave gifts to the sons of his slave wives. He sent these sons away to the land of the east. He wanted to keep them far away from Isaac.
7Abraham lived for 175 years. 8He died after a good and long life, when he was very old. He joined his ancestors who had died before him. 9His sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried his body in the cave of Machpelah. That was near Mamre. The cave is in the field that belonged to Zohar's son, Ephron. He was a Hittite. 10Abraham had bought the field from the Hittites.
So they buried Abraham there. It was in the cave where his wife, Sarah, had also been buried.
11After Abraham's death, God blessed his son, Isaac. Isaac was living near Beer Lahai Roi.
Ishmael's family
12This is the report about Abraham's son, Ishmael, and his family.
Sarah's female servant gave birth to Ishmael. Her name was Hagar. She was from Egypt. 13These are the names of Ishmael's sons. The list starts from the firstborn son and ends with the last son. Nebaioth was the first son of Ishmael. Then there were Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16These were all Ishmael's sons. Their names became the names of 12 groups of people. They separated and lived in their own lands. Ishmael's sons ruled over the 12 groups of people. 17Ishmael lived for 137 years then he died. He joined his ancestors who had died before him. 18Ishmael's descendants lived in the lands from Havilah to Shur. These are near Egypt, towards Asshur. They were always at war with each other. #25:18 The Lord told Hagar this in Genesis 16:12.
Jacob and Esau
19This is the report about Abraham's son, Isaac, and his family.
Abraham became the father of Isaac. 20When Isaac was 40 years old, he married Rebekah. Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel. Bethuel was an Aramean from Paddan Aram. She was the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21Rebekah could not have children. So Isaac prayed to the Lord for Rebekah. The Lord did as Isaac asked. And Isaac's wife, Rebekah, became pregnant. 22The babies inside her were fighting with each other. Rebekah said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So Rebekah went to ask the Lord. 23The Lord said to Rebekah, ‘The two children who are in your body will become two separate nations of people. One group will be stronger than the other. The older son will become a servant to the younger son.’ #25:23 In Old Testament times, the youngest son would always be like a servant to the oldest son. But this time, God chose the youngest son to be master over the oldest son.
24The time came for Rebekah to give birth. There were two babies inside her. 25The first baby to come out had a red body. Hair covered the whole of his body. They called him Esau. 26After this, his brother came out. His hand was holding the back of Esau's foot. They called him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27Time passed and the boys grew. Esau became a good hunter, out in the fields. Jacob was a quiet man. He stayed near to the tents. 28Isaac liked to eat the meat from the animals that Esau killed. So he loved Esau. But Rebekah loved Jacob.
29One day, Jacob was cooking a meal. Esau came back from the country. He was very hungry. 30He said to Jacob ‘Quick, let me have some of that red food! I am very hungry.’ (That is why he was also called Edom.) #25:30 Edom means red. 31Jacob said, ‘You must first sell me your birthright.’ #25:31 In the Old Testament, the oldest son had the birthright. This means that he would be the leader of his family when his father died. And he would get two parts of the things that had belonged to his father.
32Esau said, ‘Look, I am so hungry that I will die. Then my birthright will not help me at all!’ #25:32 Esau is not thinking about what will happen in the future. He is only thinking of what he can have now.
33Jacob said, ‘First, make a serious promise to me.’ So Esau promised to sell his birthright to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and the soup made from grains. Esau ate the food and he drank. Then he got up and he left.
In that way, Esau showed that he did not think that his birthright was important. #25:34 Now Jacob had the birthright. Jacob is the younger son. Jacob will receive God's promise that he made with Abraham. This promise passed on to Isaac. When Isaac dies, it will pass to Jacob. This is what God told Rebekah in verse 23.
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Abraham’s Sons by Keturah. 1#As with the story of Terah in 11:27–32, this section lists all the descendants of Abraham as a means of concluding the story. The Jacob story ends similarly with the listing of the twelve sons (35:22–26), the death of Isaac (35:27–29), and the descendants of Esau (chap. 36). Abraham took another wife: though mentioned here, Abraham’s marriage to a “concubine,” or wife of secondary rank, is not to be understood as happening chronologically after the events narrated in the preceding chapter. #1 Chr 1:32–33. Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.#Three of the six names can be identified: the Midianites are a trading people, mentioned in the Bible as dwelling east of the Gulf of Aqaba in northwest Arabia; Ishbak is a north Syrian tribe; Shuah is a city on the right bank of the Middle Euphrates. The other names are probably towns or peoples on the international trade routes. 3Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan. The descendants of Dedan were the Asshurim, the Letushim, and the Leummim.#Is 21:13. 4The descendants of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All of these were descendants of Keturah.
5Abraham gave everything that he owned to his son Isaac.#Amid so many descendants, Abraham takes steps that Isaac will be his favored heir. 6To the sons of his concubines, however, he gave gifts while he was still living, as he sent them away eastward, to the land of Kedem,#The land of Kedem: or “the country of the East,” the region inhabited by the Kedemites or Easterners (29:1; Jgs 6:3, 33; Jb 1:3; Is 11:14). The names mentioned in vv. 2–4, as far as they can be identified, are those of tribes in the Arabian desert. away from his son Isaac.
Death of Abraham. 7The whole span of Abraham’s life was one hundred and seventy-five years. 8Then he breathed his last, dying at a ripe old age, grown old after a full life; and he was gathered to his people. 9His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, son of Zohar the Hittite, which faces Mamre,#Gn 23:3–20. 10the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; there he was buried next to his wife Sarah. 11After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived near Beer-lahai-roi.
Descendants of Ishmael. 12#Like the conclusion of the Jacob story (chap. 36), where the numerous descendants of the rejected Esau are listed, the descendants of the rejected Ishmael conclude the story. These are the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave, bore to Abraham. 13#1 Chr 1:29–31. These are the names of Ishmael’s sons, listed in the order of their birth: Ishmael’s firstborn Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,#Is 60:7. 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16These are the sons of Ishmael, their names by their villages and encampments; twelve chieftains of as many tribal groups.#Gn 17:20.
17The span of Ishmael’s life was one hundred and thirty-seven years. After he had breathed his last and died, he was gathered to his people. 18The Ishmaelites ranged from Havilah, by Shur, which is on the border of Egypt, all the way to Asshur; and they pitched camp#Pitched camp: lit., “fell”; the same Hebrew verb is used in Jgs 7:12 in regard to the hostile encampment of desert tribes. The present passage shows the fulfillment of the prediction contained in Gn 16:12. alongside their various kindred.#Gn 16:12.
Birth of Esau and Jacob. 19#25:19–36:43] The Jacob cycle is introduced as the family history of Isaac (Jacob’s father), just as the Abraham stories were introduced as the record of the descendants of Terah (Abraham’s father, 11:27). The cycle, made up of varied stories, is given unity by several recurring themes: birth, blessing and inheritance, which are developed through the basic contrasts of barrenness/fertility, non-blessing/blessing, and inheritance/exile/homeland. The large story has an envelope structure in which Jacob’s youth is spent in Canaan striving with his older brother Esau (25:19–28:22), his early adulthood in Paddan-aram building a family and striving with his brother-in-law Laban (chaps. 29–31), and his later years back in Canaan (chaps. 32–36). These are the descendants of Isaac, son of Abraham; Abraham begot Isaac. 20Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram#Paddan-aram: the name used by the Priestly tradition for the northwest region of Mesopotamia, between the Habur and the Euphrates rivers. In Assyrian, padana is a road or a garden, and Aram refers to the people or the land of the Arameans. The equivalent geographical term in the Yahwist source is Aram Naharaim, “Aram between two rivers.” and the sister of Laban the Aramean.#Gn 24:67. 21Isaac entreated the Lord on behalf of his wife, since she was sterile. The Lord heard his entreaty, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22But the children jostled each other in the womb so much that she exclaimed, “If it is like this,#If it is like this: in Hebrew, the phrase lamah zeh is capable of several meanings; it occurs again in v. 32 (“What good…?”), 32:30 (“Why do you want…?”), and 33:15 (“For what reason?”). It is one of several words and motifs that run through the story, suggesting that a divine pattern (unknown to the actors) is at work. why go on living!” She went to consult the Lord, 23and the Lord answered her:
Two nations are in your womb,
two peoples are separating while still within you;
But one will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.#The older will serve the younger: Rebekah now knows something that no one else knows, that God favors Jacob over Esau. The text does not say if she shared this knowledge with anyone or kept it to herself, but, from their actions, it seems unlikely that either Isaac or Esau knew. That fact must be borne in mind in assessing Rebekah’s role in chap. 27, the theft of Esau’s blessing. #Gn 27:29; Nm 24:18; Mal 1:2–5; Rom 9:10–13.
24When the time of her delivery came, there were twins in her womb.#Hos 12:4. 25The first to emerge was reddish,#Reddish: in Hebrew, ’admoni, a reference to Edom, another name for Esau (v. 30; 36:1). Edom was also the name of the country south of Moab (southeast of the Dead Sea) where the descendants of Esau lived. It was called the “red” country because of its reddish sandstone. Moreover, “red” points ahead to the red stew in the next scene. Hairy: in Hebrew, se‘ar, a reference to Seir, another name for Edom (36:8). and his whole body was like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26Next his brother came out, gripping Esau’s heel;#Heel: in Hebrew ‘aqeb, a wordplay on the name Jacob; cf. 27:36. The first of three scenes of striving with Esau. The second is vv. 27–34, and the third, chap. 27. In all the scenes, Jacob values the blessing more than his ardent but unreflective brother Esau does. so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.#Mt 1:2.
27When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country; whereas Jacob was a simple#Simple: the Hebrew word denotes soundness, integrity, health, none of which fit here. Whatever its precise meaning, it must be opposite to the qualities of Esau. man, who stayed among the tents.#Gn 27:6–7. 28Isaac preferred Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah preferred Jacob. 29Once, when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30He said to Jacob, “Let me gulp down some of that red stuff;#Red stuff: in Hebrew, ’adom; another play on the word Edom, the “red” land. I am famished.” That is why he was called Edom. 31But Jacob replied, “First sell me your right as firstborn.”#Right as firstborn: the privilege that entitled the firstborn son to a position of honor in the family and to a double share in the possessions inherited from the father. There is a persistent wordplay between bekorah, “right of the firstborn,” and berakah, “the blessing.” Contrary to custom, the preference here is for the younger son, as it was in the choice of Isaac over Ishmael. #Dt 21:17. 32“Look,” said Esau, “I am on the point of dying. What good is the right as firstborn to me?” 33But Jacob said, “Swear to me first!” So he sold Jacob his right as firstborn under oath.#Heb 12:16. 34Jacob then gave him some bread and the lentil stew; and Esau ate, drank, got up, and went his way. So Esau treated his right as firstborn with disdain.