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Genesis 25

25
Abraham and Keturah’s Descendants
1Now Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. # 25:1 It is not clear when Abraham took Keturah to be his wife. It is possible this happened after the death of Sarah. This would mean that he married her when he was more than one hundred and thirty-seven years old. (Sarah died at age one hundred and twenty-seven, and Abraham was ten years older than Sarah.) The six sons would have been born when Abraham was between the ages of one hundred and thirty-seven and one hundred and seventy-five. Another possibility is that Abraham had taken Keturah while Sarah was still living. The name Keturah may be a variant of a word referring to the smoke from a sacrifice or from incense (“sweet smelling smoke” or “sweet incense”). Jewish tradition states that Keturah was actually Hagar who returned from her exile and married Abraham, who changed her name to Keturah. 2She and Abraham had sons named Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. 4Dedan’s sons were the Ashurites, the Letushites, and the Leummites. Midian’s sons were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, # 25:4 Or “Enoch.” Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the descendants of Keturah. # 25:4 See 1 Chron. 1:32–33.
5Abraham gave all that he possessed to Isaac, 6but to his sons by his concubines he gave gifts while he was still living. # 25:6 These gifts may have included jewels, precious metals, animals, slaves, or combinations of these. It is unlikely that he gave them land, for he wanted these sons to have a legal settlement that would enable them to begin life on their own, away from Isaac. He sent them all away eastward, separating them from his son Isaac.
The Death of Abraham
7Abraham lived a total of one hundred and seventy-five years. 8Abraham took his final breath, dying at a good old age. After having lived a full, content life, he joined his ancestors. 9His sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field which had belonged to Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre. 10They buried him next to his wife Sarah, in the same field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. 11After Abraham had passed, God greatly blessed his son Isaac, and Isaac settled near the well named the Well of the Living One Who Watches Over Me. # 25:11 Isaac was a man of the well (see Gen. 26:18–25). Isaac lived near Beer-Lahai-Roi, which means “The Well of the Living One Who Watches Over Me.” This is where Hagar once cried out for deliverance and God heard her. In a time of desperation Ishmael drank from this well of grace. It is the place where God sees our problems and provides a well of mercy and satisfaction. Isaac did not visit there; he lived there, making the all-seeing God his source of supply. He saw a realm where the Living One sees all things. It was a well of perpetual revelation and grace.
The Descendants of Ishmael
12This is the account of the descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael, # 25:12 See 1 Chron. 1:29–31. whom Sarah’s servant, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
13The names of Ishmael’s sons in their birth order are: Nebaioth the firstborn; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16These twelve sons of Ishmael became princes # 25:16 Or “tribal chieftains.” of twelve tribes that were named after them, listed by the places they settled and camped. 17-18They occupied the land from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt, in the direction of Assyria. And Ishmael lived in hostility toward all of his people. At the age of one hundred and thirty-seven, Ishmael breathed his last and died # 25:17–18 The Hebrew word for “died” is gava‘, the word commonly used for the death of a righteous person. The Semitic origin of the word gava‘ is “to hunger,” “to be empty,” or “to have a longing to be filled with something.” The famed Jewish sage, Rashi, translated this as “Ishmael died [as a righteous man] still hungering for righteousness.” and was joined to his ancestors.
The Birth of Jacob and Esau
19This is how the story of Isaac begins. He was the beloved son of Abraham # 25:19 Or “Abraham became the father of Isaac.” The redundancy of Abraham in this verse is a literary device for showing the promise given to Abraham was passed on to his son. and the successor of Abraham’s blessing.
20When he was forty, he married Rebekah. She was the daughter of Bethuel and the sister of Laban. Both her father and brother were Arameans from Paddan-Aram. # 25:20 Paddan-Aram is also called “Aram Naharaim,” which means “Aram of the two rivers” (see Gen. 24:10). It is another name for Mesopotamia, the area between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in modern Iraq. 21Now, Rebekah was unable to have children, but Isaac pleaded with Yahweh on behalf of his wife because she was barren—and she did get pregnant, for Yahweh responded to Isaac’s prayer. # 25:21 During their twenty-year wait for children, there is no mention that Isaac fathered children with his handmaiden, as his father Abraham did. Isaac loved Rebekah and was patient and prayerful until the miracle happened. 22During her pregnancy, Rebekah could feel twins thrashing and struggling # 25:22 The Hebrew is literally “they crushed each other.” It was an intense struggle going on inside of Rebekah. with each other inside her womb. So she went to inquire of Yahweh, saying, “Why do I have to live with this?” 23And Yahweh answered her, # 25:23 We do not know how God answered her. It could have been by an audible voice or in a dream. saying,
“The two sons in your womb will become two nations,
and the two peoples within you will become rivals. # 25:23 Or “divided,” a Hebrew word used for a river dividing into branches (see Gen. 2:10).
One people will become stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
24And when the time came for Rebekah to give birth, sure enough, she had twins! 25The first one came out reddish and covered with hair like a hairy garment; # 25:25 Or “a mantle.” so they named him Esau. # 25:25 Esau is a wordplay on the Hebrew word se‘ar meaning “hairy.” 26And his brother came out with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so, they named him Jacob. # 25:26 The Hebrew word for “Jacob” sounds like the words for “heel” and “cheat” (see Gen. 27:36). Jacob can be translated “heel grabber” or “supplanter.” Even in the womb, Jacob was jostling for the right of the firstborn. Isaac was sixty when the twins were born. # 25:26 Isaac waited twenty years for God to fulfill the promise of a child. God’s promises are worth waiting for.
Esau Sells His Birthright
27When the boys grew up, Esau became a rugged outdoorsman and a hardy hunter, but Jacob was more contemplative, # 25:27 Although the Hebrew word tam can mean “blameless” (see Job 1:1), it is better translated “meditative,” “tranquil,” “quiet,” or “contemplative.” content to stay close to home. 28Isaac loved Esau because he was fond of eating wild game, but Rebekah dearly loved Jacob.
29One day, when Jacob was cooking a stew, # 25:29 Jewish sages state that Abraham, Jacob and Esau’s grandfather, had just died, and the stew Jacob was cooking was fulfilling a cultural obligation to cook and was related to the prescribed season of mourning. See Bava Basra 16b. Esau returned from hunting, # 25:29 Or “from the field.” and he was famished. 30Smelling the aroma of food, Esau said to Jacob, “I’m starving! Let me eat some of that red stuff you’re cooking.” (This is why he is also called Edom.) # 25:30 Edom sounds like the Hebrew word for “red.”
31“Yes, but first you must trade me your birthright,” # 25:31 The birthright refers to the right of the firstborn to inherit from the father a double portion—twice as much as the younger siblings inherit. Jacob now rightfully possessed the rights and blessings of the firstborn, which included authority, headship, a double portion of the inheritance, and the right to be the priest of the family. God identifies himself as the “God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Ex. 3:6). The God of Abraham is God of Promises Fulfilled. The God of Isaac is the God of Inheritance and Miracles. The God of Jacob is the God of Transformation, for Jacob would become Israel, a prince with God. God gives us the promise, but the promise requires a miracle to perform it. This miracle-promise releases true transformation within the heart of man. This is the revelation of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Jacob replied.
32“Can’t you see I’m dying of hunger?” Esau said. “What good is the birthright if I’m dead?”
33But Jacob insisted, “First, swear to me that you’ll give it to me.” So, Esau swore an oath and surrendered his birthright to Jacob.
34Then Jacob gave Esau some lentil stew and bread. When Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and walked away. Esau cared nothing about his own birthright. # 25:34 See Heb. 12:16.

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