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Genesis 25

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.
25
1Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Le-ummim. 4The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. 5Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.
7These are the days of the years of Abraham's life, a hundred and seventy-five years. 8Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. 9Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Mach-pelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, 10the field which Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with Sarah his wife. 11After the death of Abraham God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac dwelt at Beer-lahai-roi.
12These are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's maid, bore to Abraham. 13#1 Chron 1.29-31. These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the first-born of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17(These are the years of the life of Ishmael, a hundred and thirty-seven years; he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kindred.) 18They dwelt from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria; he settled#25.18 Heb fell over against all his people.
19These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, 20and Isaac was forty years old when he took to wife Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is thus, why do I live?”#25.22 Syr: Heb obscure So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23And the Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples, born of you, shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the elder shall serve the younger.”
24When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25The first came forth red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they called his name Esau. 26Afterward his brother came forth, and his hand had taken hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob.#25.26 That is He takes by the heel or He supplants Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28Isaac loved Esau, because he ate of his game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29Once when Jacob was boiling pottage, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red pottage, for I am famished!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.#25.30 That is Red ) 31Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” 32Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33Jacob said, “Swear to me first.”#25.33 Heb today So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.