Genesis
1-8 Esau Goes Away from Jacob 9-14 The Sons of Esau 15-19 The Chiefs 20-30 The Sons of Seir 31-39 Kings in Edom 40-43 The Chiefs
Esau Goes Away from Jacob

1Now these are [the records of] the generations of Esau (that is, Edom). 2Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3also Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, the sister of Nebaioth. 4Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, 5and Oholibamah bore Jeush and Jalam and Korah. These are the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan. 6Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to [another] land away from his brother Jacob. 7For their property had become too great for them to live together, and the land where they sojourned could not sustain them because of their livestock. 8So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.

When Isaac has died, history continues with his sons. First the oldest is mentioned, the son who does not follow the line of faith. The death of his father reveals what lives in the heart of Esau. It has not made a lasting impression on him. His heart has not changed: he goes away from his brother (verse 66Then Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his goods which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to [another] land away from his brother Jacob.), with which he indicates that he wants to have nothing to do with the line of God’s thoughts. He has his own plans and follows his own path.

Esau has three wives. The sons they give birth to are all born in Canaan, while the sons of Jacob, except Benjamin, were all born outside the land. And while Jacob enters the land, Esau leaves it to live in the hill country of Seir.

Esau is Edom, the father of the Edomites, so it says several times in this chapter (verses 1,8,9,19,431Now these are [the records of] the generations of Esau (that is, Edom).8So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.9These then are [the records of] the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.19These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs.43chief Magdiel, chief Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of the Edomites), according to their habitations in the land of their possession.). This people will reveal themselves as Israel’s most bitter enemy. The judgment of them is written down by the prophet Obadiah.

Yet in this generation of curse, also an example of grace is present. In verse 1515These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau, are chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz, we read about Kenaz. Caleb, about whom we read in Joshua 14, is called “the Kenizzite” (Jos 14:66Then the sons of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know the word which the LORD spoke to Moses the man of God concerning you and me in Kadesh-barnea.). Kaleb is a descendant of Kenaz. Being born as an Edomite is therefore not hopeless (Jdg 3:99When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.).


The Sons of Esau

9These then are [the records of] the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. 10These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Esau’s wife Adah, Reuel the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. 11The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho and Gatam and Kenaz. 12Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah. 13These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath and Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 14These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah and the granddaughter of Zibeon: she bore to Esau, Jeush and Jalam and Korah.

These generations built the Edomite people in the hill country of Seir. In the names mentioned here, we see a piece of God’s accountancy. Nothing escapes Him. Among these almost all unknown names, a name like “Amalek” (verse 1212Timna was a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Esau’s wife Adah.) stands out. This name we encounter more often in the course of the history of Israel (Exo 17:8-168Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.9So Moses said to Joshua, “Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.”10Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.11So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed.12But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.13So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.14Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”15Moses built an altar and named it The LORD is My Banner;16and he said, “The LORD has sworn; the LORD will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.”; Deu 25:17-2017“Remember what Amalek did to you along the way when you came out from Egypt,18how he met you along the way and attacked among you all the stragglers at your rear when you were faint and weary; and he did not fear God.19Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.). It is the declared enemy of God’s people, a picture of the flesh of the believer. This cannot be otherwise as a descendant of Esau.

All these names are about the persons, not about their history or their actions. God calls their names because of the connection that exists between the generation of Esau and His people. Unfortunately not as friends, but as enemies.


The Chiefs

15These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau, are chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz, 16chief Korah, chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These are the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Adah. 17These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shammah, chief Mizzah. These are the chiefs descended from Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath. 18These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These are the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs.

It seems that the Edomites, like the Israelites, are divided into tribes, after the names of the sons.


The Sons of Seir

20These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan and Shobal and Zibeon and Anah, 21and Dishon and Ezer and Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23These are the sons of Shobal: Alvan and Manahath and Ebal, Shepho and Onam. 24These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah—he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. 25These are the children of Anah: Dishon, and Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 26These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan and Eshban and Ithran and Cheran. 27These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan and Zaavan and Akan. 28These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. 29These are the chiefs descended from the Horites: chief Lotan, chief Shobal, chief Zibeon, chief Anah, 30chief Dishon, chief Ezer, chief Dishan. These are the chiefs descended from the Horites, according to their [various] chiefs in the land of Seir.

Of the sons of Seir, the inhabitants of the land to which Esau went, the chiefs are mentioned. They live there, before Esau comes there (Deu 2:12,2212The Horites formerly lived in Seir, but the sons of Esau dispossessed them and destroyed them from before them and settled in their place, just as Israel did to the land of their possession which the LORD gave to them.)22just as He did for the sons of Esau, who live in Seir, when He destroyed the Horites from before them; they dispossessed them and settled in their place even to this day.).

Sometimes a particular event is mentioned between the enumeration of the names. This may have to do with a find (verse 2424These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah—he is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness when he was pasturing the donkeys of his father Zibeon.) or a military act (verse 3535Then Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the field of Moab, became king in his place; and the name of his city was Avith.). Ana is mentioned as making a special discovery: he finds hot springs in the wilderness. In a hot desert, the discovery of a spring promises refreshment and life. However, if hot water comes from that source, it worsens the condition of the thirsty desert traveler. Finding a warm spring in a desert indicates the experience of great disillusionment, while a great pleasure was expected.

Inventors and politically influential figures have shaped mankind without God. They always promise to improve living conditions. The people believe in it and therefore choose them as their leaders, but time and again it turns out to be a bitter disappointment.


Kings in Edom

31Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel. 32Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33Then Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah became king in his place. 34Then Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites became king in his place. 35Then Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the field of Moab, became king in his place; and the name of his city was Avith. 36Then Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah became king in his place. 37Then Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the [Euphrates] Jdgver became king in his place. 38Then Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor became king in his place. 39Then Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar became king in his place; and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.

It seems as if Esau is more successful in life than his brother. In his posterity honorable men are mentioned sooner than in the descendants of Jacob (verse 3131Now these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the sons of Israel.). With the Edomites everything goes much faster. But God deals with their entire history in one chapter. The history of Jacob is seen from Genesis 37 onwards in connection with Joseph. In that history we see how suffering precedes glory.


The Chiefs

40Now these are the names of the chiefs descended from Esau, according to their families [and] their localities, by their names: chief Timna, chief Alvah, chief Jetheth, 41chief Oholibamah, chief Elah, chief Pinon, 42chief Kenaz, chief Teman, chief Mibzar, 43chief Magdiel, chief Iram. These are the chiefs of Edom (that is, Esau, the father of the Edomites), according to their habitations in the land of their possession.

Here again the same persons are mentioned that we have also seen in verses 15-1915These are the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau, are chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz,16chief Korah, chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These are the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Adah.17These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shammah, chief Mizzah. These are the chiefs descended from Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Esau’s wife Basemath.18These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These are the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah.19These are the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs.. Only there the names of the persons are mentioned, while here their localities are mentioned.


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