Genesis 21-35 The beloved son…Isaac, cont’d.
Genesis 25-39 The father of the nation of Israel (Jacob)
Genesis 25:1-11-Keturah was a concubine (:6, 1 Chronicals 1:32). Abraham had others, as well. While it became a common practice among some of the Hebrews to have concubines…nowhere does God ever command this practice, or say that He will bless it. When the Bible records these matters it is not saying that God was favorable towards it…it is just recording it as a matter of fact. Abraham had children through these concubines…but he deliberately identified Isaac as his primary heir. Abraham died at the age of 175 years old. He was buried in the cave where Sarah was buried. Isaac then lived in Beer-lahai-roi (we are uncertain of this exact site, cf. 16:14). What a wonderful, fitting eulogy God speaks here of Abraham…“breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.” Who could ask for more out of life? Notice that it says, “he was gathered to his people”. This is an indication that people of his time believed in life after death.
Genesis 25:12-18-Ishmael was still in the picture (25:9) and attended the funeral of his father. Just as God had promised (17:20), Ishmael had 12 sons, (princes) who led 12 tribes. He lived to be 137 years old and he died. His sons lived in the area that is north of modern Yemen in central Arabia. And also as God had said…he and his relatives struggled to get along with each other (16:12).
Are all Arabs and Mohammad (prophet of Islam) descendents of Ishmael? See:
For an article explaining the source of animosity that exists between many Jews and Muslims see:
Genesis 25:19-26-Isaac was 40 years old when he and Rebekah were married. He was 60 years old and they had been married for 20 years when Rebekah gave birth to Jacob and Esau (25:20,26). Before they were born, the infants must have moved around so much in her womb that it concerned Rebekah. She prayed and asked God why it was happening and God told her that her sons were struggling with each other in the womb and would continue to do so their entire lives. Eventually, the older one (Esau) would serve the younger (Jacob). When Esau was born he had thick red hair all over his body. The word “hairy” was a word that was similar to “Esau”. In later years, Esau’s tribe would be called “Edom”, which means “red”. “Jacob” means “heel catcher, or trickster, or supplanter” (cf. 27:36)…it is a reference to the fact that Jacob would trick Esau into giving him the blessing and the birthrights of the first-born son.
Genesis 25:27-34-As the two boys grew up Esau was an out-doorsman (“a man of the fields”), an excellent hunter. Jacob was an in-doorsman (“living in tents”), a “peaceful” man…meaning a person who is both handsome and wholesome. The contrast in the nature of these two men is vivid. Esau was a man who lived by his physical strength. Jacob was a man who lived by his mental prowess. Isaac favored Esau for his manly attributes. Rebekah favored Jacob. One day, Esau had been out hunting and came home. Jacob had cooked some stew…it was “red” in color and because of what happened in this very incident Esau’s descendants would later be referred to as “Edom, or Edomites”, meaning “red, or red ones”. Esau tells Jacob that he is starving to death…give him some of the stew. Jacob agrees to do so, but first, Esau had to “sell” him his birthright, the inheritance rights that belong to the first-born son. Esau agrees to do so.
25:31 The birthright of eldest son gave him precedence over his brothers (cf. 43:33) and assured him a double share of his father’s inheritance (cf. Deut. 21:17). It could be forfeited by committing a serious sin (cf. 1 Chron. 5:1) and it could be bartered, as in this instance. The agreement was solemnized by an oath (Genesis 25:33).
The Ryrie Study Bible, Genesis 25:31, footnote, p. 47
- Sell me your birthright was of this day: Jacob knew that the birthright was valuable and he wanted it. Passages like Deuteronomy 21:17 and 1 Chronicles 5:1-2 tell us the birthright involved both a material and a spiritual dynamic. The son of the birthright received a double portion of the inheritance, and he also became the head of the family and the spiritual leader upon the passing of the father. In the case of this family the birthright determined who would inherit the covenant God made with Abraham, the covenant of a land, a nation, and the Messiah.
- I am about to die: Esau's thought isn't that he is so hungry that he will die without food. Instead, the idea is "I will die one day anyway, so what good is this birthright to me?"
- Swear to me as of this day: Was this unfair of Jacob? Certainly, he is acting like a "heel-catcher." He is being a trickster or a rascal in taking advantage of his brother.
- Jacob was guilty of scheming in the flesh to gain something God said was already his. Yet we should remember the far greater blame is placed on Esau, who despised his birthright.
- Luther draws attention to an important fact: this was not a valid transaction, because Jacob was buying what was already his, and Esau was selling something that didn't belong to him. (Leupold)
David Guzik :: Study Guide for Genesis 25,
Esau lived in the moment...he wasn't thoughtful of his actions and their results. It is amazing that he treated his inheritance with such casual disregard. Jacob took advantage of this weakness in his brother.
Genesis 26:1-2-The name “Abimelech” is a title, like “king”. Because of the famine, Isaac took his family and moved to the land of the Philistines and lived in the city of Gerar.
Genesis 26:3-5-God confirms to Isaac that the covenant that He had made with his father (Abraham) would continue through him.
Genesis 26:6-11-Like father, like son! While Isaac may have learned many valuable lessons from his father, he also learned some bad ones. Abimelech discovered that Isaac and Rebekah were really married and warned his people against they were to not touch them.
Genesis 26:12-22-God blessed Isaac so much that the Philistines became jealous of him. In order to keep him from continuing to produce crops and animals they filled in the water wells that were necessary for their survival. They told him to move away so he moved to the valley of Gerar. Still needing water, he dug a well…but the local herdsmen claimed that it belonged to them. So, he named the well “Esek”…which means “contention”. The same thing happened a second time. He named this well “Sitnah”…which means “enmity”. Finally, the third time he dug a well they left him alone and he named it “Rehoboth”…which means “plenty of room”.
Genesis 26:23-25-Isaac moved again and went to Beersheba. That night, the LORD appeared to him and again affirmed His covenant…so he built an altar there.
Genesis 26:26-31-Abimelech shows up and Isaac asks him why he has come since he “hates” him. Abimelech was probably afraid that as time passed Isaac would continue to strengthen and could eventually become a threat to him. So, he took action to make friends with him, ahead of time.
Genesis 26:32-33-That very day Isaac’s servants told him about the well that they had dug, so in memory of the oath that he and Abimelech had made, he named the well “Shibah”….which means “oath”. The city that grew up around the well became named “Beersheba”…”Beer” means well, so the name means the “well of oath”.
Genesis 26:34-35-Esau had an eye for foreign (non-Hebrew) women. He married Judith and Basemath, both Hittites. They didn’t fit in well with Isaac’s family and it caused much grief.
Isaac had the same weakness that his father, Abraham had...he trusted God in so many ways, and yet did not trust Him to protect him and his wife (26:7). It is interesting that adultery was considered a serious sin in the Philistine culture (26:10).
The Philistines recognized that God was blessing Isaac (26:12-14,28)...and yet, instead of turning to the Lord themselves, they first ran Isaac off, and then later they came to him to make a peace covenant out of fear that he might eventually become strong enough to retaliate against them.
Prayer: Lord, You have given Christians so many promises. And yet, we often fail to either know them, or, to live according to them. Please help me to know all that You have promised to me…and, help me to believe them and to live according to them. Don’t let me wait as if I have to go to Heaven before I can experience Your promises. Help me to live as Your child, now.