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Genesis 25

25
The death of Abraham
Abraham marries Keturah
1Abraham married Keturah, 2and they had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Later, Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan, and when Dedan grew up, he had three sons: Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4Midian also had five sons: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.
5-6While Abraham was still alive, he gave gifts to the sons of Hagar and Keturah. He also sent their sons to live in the east far from his son Isaac, and when Abraham died, he left everything to Isaac.
The death of Abraham
7-8Abraham died at the ripe old age of one hundred and seventy-five. 9-10His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him east of Hebron#25.9,10 Hebron: See the note at 23.16-18. in Machpelah Cave that was part of the field Abraham had bought from Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. Abraham was buried there beside his wife Sarah.#Gn 23.3-16. 11God blessed Isaac after this, and Isaac moved to a place called “The Well of the Living One who Sees Me”.#25.11 The Well…Sees Me: Or “Beer-Lahai-Roi” (see 16.14).
Ishmael's descendants
12Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the slave woman of Sarah. 13Ishmael had twelve sons, in this order: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16Each of Ishmael's sons was a tribal chief, and a village was named after each of them.
17-18Ishmael had settled in the land east of his brothers, and his sons#25.17,18 sons: Or “descendants”. settled everywhere from Havilah to Shur, east of Egypt on the way to Asshur.#25.17,18 Havilah to Shur…Asshur: The exact location of these places is not known. Ishmael was one hundred and thirty-seven when he died.
Isaac and his family
The birth of Esau and Jacob
19Isaac was the son of Abraham, 20and he was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel. She was also the sister of Laban, the Aramean from northern Syria.#25.20 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
Almost twenty years later, 21Rebekah still had no children. So Isaac asked the LORD to let her have a child, and the LORD answered his prayer.
22Before Rebekah gave birth, she knew she was going to have twins, because she could feel them inside her, fighting each other. She thought, “Why is this happening to me?” Finally, she asked the LORD why her twins were fighting, 23and he told her:#Ro 9.12.
“Your two sons will become
two separate nations.#25.23 two separate nations: Or “two nations always in conflict”.
The younger of the two
will be stronger,
and the elder son
will be his servant.”
24When Rebekah gave birth, 25the first baby was covered with red hair, so he was named Esau.#25.25 Esau: In Hebrew “Esau” sounds like “hairy”. 26The second baby grabbed his brother's heel, so they named him Jacob.#25.26 Jacob: In Hebrew “Jacob” sounds like “heel”. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.
Esau sells his rights as the firstborn son
27As Jacob and Esau grew older, Esau liked the outdoors and became a good hunter, while Jacob settled down and became a shepherd. 28Esau would take the meat of wild animals to his father Isaac, and so Isaac loved him more, but Jacob was his mother's favourite son.
29One day, Jacob was cooking some stew, when Esau came home hungry 30and said, “I'm starving to death! Give me some of that red stew at once!” That's how Esau got the name “Edom”.#25.30 Edom: In Hebrew “Edom” sounds like “red”.
31Jacob replied, “Sell me your rights as the firstborn son.”#25.31 rights…son: The firstborn son inherited the largest amount of property, as well as the leadership of the family.
32“I'm about to die,” Esau answered. “What good will those rights do me?”
33But Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!” And that's what Esau did.#He 12.16. 34Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the firstborn.
25
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.