Thru The Word Ministries

Genesis 33-36


1 - Then Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and beheld Esau coming, and with four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel, and among the two maidservants.

Time for Jacob to get to work. He wastes no time, it would appear, in doing what he feels he has to do.

2 - Then he put the maidservants and their children first, and Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Jacob behind them.

He begins to ‘layer’ the members of his entourage between his would-be enemy and he and his wife. He really believes he has it all figured out and that he’s prepared himself for the worst.

3 - And he passed over in front of them and bowed down on the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

But in case that’s not enough, Jacob bows seven times as he approaches Esau. The Tel-el Amarna tablets, recovered in the late 1800s in the ruins of Amarna, tell us it was customary for one to bow seven times as they were approaching a king. “This was not intended as an acknowledgment of servility on Jacob’s part, but as a token of respect and recognition of Esau as ruler of the region.” Then it became more than either of them could bear. The end result is found in our next verse.

4 - Then Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.

5 - And he lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, and said, “Who [are] these with you?” And he said, “The children [by] which God has shown favor to your servant.”

Notice the words, “your servant.” This is not a contradiction of the quote from above, but rather a further acknowledgment that Jacob was willing to do whatever it took to seek reconciliation. This is typical of someone who ‘gets’ the doctrine of grace. When one is so grateful to have such a gift bestowed upon them, there is an obligation on their part to pass that gift on to others. This is what we have here.

6 - Then the maidservants drew near, they and their children, and they bowed down.

7 - And Leah also drew near with her children, and they bowed down.

8 - Now Esau said, “To whom does this company belong that I have met?” And he said, “[These are] to find favor in the eyes of my lord.”

It is an ancient far east custom for the one seeking reconciliation with another to have their gifts accepted by the other party. Notice Jacob has to work to get it done…

9 - But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother. Keep that which belongs to you.”

10 - And Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your eyes, then take my gift from my hand, seeming as to how I have seen your face; as if I had seen the face of Elohim and you were pleased with me.

11 - “Please take the blessing that has been brought to you, because Elohim has shown favor toward me, and because I have everything.” So he coerced him and he took [it].

Let’s key in on this dialogue. Jacob is seeking reconciliation with his brother. In order to do this Jacob feels his brother must accept his gifts. Esau’s response is, “I have enough; don’t worry about it.” As a result, he is a type of the worldly church member who believes his ‘fire insurance’ is all he or she needs. Jacob’s comeback is, in our vernacular, “Hey man, I’ve got it all!” That’s the force of this Hebrew word kol that he uses to ‘close the deal’ with his brother.

When we, as Esau, believe we have it all, we eventually see that it’s what we think we have. If each of us is the child of God we claim to be, He will not let that attitude stand in our lives. He will bring each of us to the point where He shows our lives and what we have based them on (meaning material possessions) to be the wood, hay, and stubble they are. On the other hand, the one who has embraced Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord has embraced grace. Jacob serves as a type of the Spirit-filled believer, who knows in Whom their inheritance is rooted and seeks to live daily a life that is pleasing to the Father.

12 - And he said, “Let us journey further on. Now let us go and I will go before you.”

13 - But he said to him, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and the nursing flocks and herds [are] in my care. And if they are driven hard in one day, then all the flock will die.

14 - “Please let my lord pass over before his servant, and I will move further on slowly, at which pace the cattle can keep up; and as much as the children can keep pace, until I come to my lord at Seir.”

Esau intends for them to go together, but Jacob obviously has other plans. He uses the children and flocks as what might be termed an excuse for not going on with him. Jacob tells him that both entourages can travel at their own pace this way and eventually he will catch up with Esau at his place.

15 - And Esau said, “Please let me leave with you [some] of the people that [are] with me.” And he said, “Why? Let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”

Jacob isn’t one to be obligated to Esau in any way lest he be coerced himself in being joined to Esau.

16 - So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.

17 - And Jacob journeyed on to Succoth and built a house for himself, and made booths for his cattle; thus the name of the place has been called ‘Succoth’.

This Hebrew word succoth will be used again when the law is given in the instituting of the Feast of Booths. This is the word that means “booth” or “dwelling”. Jacob is setting up shop for himself and his livestock. You might say Jacob is becoming a farmer in this place.

More importantly, he is remaining here and not going on to Seir as he led his brother to believe. We can say easily enough that Jacob hasn’t changed a bit and that he is still the deceiver. Or it could be that he intended to, but realizes he and his brother are two different people living two different lives and that there is no need in even starting to forge a relationship. The New Testament warns of this unequal yoking together of the believer with the non-believer (2 Corinthians 6:14), referring to the one who has not embraced grace.

18 - Then Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which [is] in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-Aram, and camped before he [came to] the city.

Here we see shades of Lot, who pitched his tent before Sodom. He wasn’t in the city, but he was certainly within sight of it. And as we saw with Lot, the closer he got to Sodom the better it looked to him. The better it looked, the closer he wanted to be and, well, we know the unfortunate end to that story already. It could be, however, that the word about Lot failed to make it to Jacob. Or could it be that the Lord made this a portion of His Word also, in order to emphasize to the believer the failure on the part of these two believers to serve as an example to us that as it happened to them, surely it can to us as well. ‘Come out from among them and be ye separate, saith the Lord,” we’re told in 2 Corinthians 6:17. Sound doctrine indeed for our day.

19 - And he bought a portion of the land there where he pitched his tent, from the hand of the sons of Hamor, father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of money.

20 - And he erected an altar there, and called it ‘El-Elohe-Israel‘.

“God, the mighty God of Israel” is the meaning here. Jacob surely means well, but will surely find himself in a world of trouble before our next chapter is done. It will be as a direct result of this theme of flirting with the world and the things therein, not realizing the repercussions that will have to be suffered.


1 - Now Dinah, the daughter of Leah whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Before we get into this chapter good, we need to review and find that God seemed to be moving them to another land than this one. In chapter 31, we see where God was stirring Jacob’s heart to go to another place. Then in verse thirteen He addresses Himself as “the God of Bethel,” the place where Jacob had previously erected an altar to Him. Then He directs Jacob to return to the land of his forefathers. Instead he ends up in this place called Shechem. It may be in the land of promise technically, but I can promise you the text will show us there is much wicked and evil in that place. We will see that it is not the place that God had for Jacob and his family.

2 - And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he then took her and lay with her and violated her.

3 - And his soul clung to Dinah, daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke kindly to the girl.

The word for “loved” could probably be better rendered ‘passion’ or ‘desire’. We might could say that he passionately desired her. She was sensually pleasing to him, which brings us to our next verse…

4 - So Shechem spoke to Hamor his father, saying, “Bring to me this girl as a wife.”

Shechem is speaking in the imperative mood to his father. He is demanding his way and the sooner he gets it the better, in his mind.

5 - Now Jacob had heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his cattle in the field; so Jacob was silent until they came in.

You can imagine, perhaps, that Jacob didn’t want to do anything without first consulting with his sons. After all, the family was outnumbered in the land as it was. Jacob didn’t need to go it alone in dealing with a decision this magnanimous only to have all of his sons turn on him too. He had to take it up with them first.

6 - Then Hamor, father of Shechem, went out to Jacob to speak with him.

7 - And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard [of it]; and the men were very hurt, and they were very angry, because he had willfully sinned in Israel by laying with the daughter of Jacob, for such a thing is not to be done.

We only know that it was not to be done. Remember this was said before the giving of the law. Yet the text tells us Shechem had “willfully sinned.” In other words it was understood by Jacob’s sons that what he had done was completely out of bounds in Israel. But they were no longer in Israel. This family had lost sight of the fact they were no longer in their own land where they were used to things being a certain way. This is something to remember when each of us get the sense we should partake of the doings of another culture. I’ve known of people who have said something to the effect that God lead them to go there or do something different that is outside of their ‘comfort zone‘. I’m not saying one shouldn’t do that from time to time, but the lesson here is to first count the cost. Something that takes place in another culture can be displeasing in the sight of the Lord or in your sight, but if the people you or I are among are not on the same page, it can get to be very uncomfortable for all involved. Jacob and his sons are about to learn, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

8 - And Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem is very desirous of your daughter. Please give her to him for a wife.

9 - “And intermarry with us, and give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves.

10 - “And you shall dwell with us, and the land will be before you. Dwell and pass through the land and acquire possessions in it.”

To me it isn’t what he says, but what he doesn’t say. There is no remorse, no apology, or otherwise any shame on the part of Hamor. This is something that was perfectly acceptable in the Canaanite culture seeming as to how single girls/women were considered fair game. The problem did not begin with the rape of Dinah, but rather the events leading up to it. No one is going to blame her for wanting to spend time with the girls. Surrounded by twelve brothers, that is understandable. The problem is with Jacob and Rachel allowing her to go by herself unsupervised. This to me is the modern-day equivalent of one driving through the city at night by themselves with the doors unlocked. It makes as much sense for the same reason. When one puts themselves in harm’s way, regardless of who is at fault, these sorts of things are much more likely to happen.

Yet Hamor is willing to come to terms with Jacob. He finds himself in somewhat of a bind and we begin to see Jacob slowly fading from the scene here.

11 - And Shechem said to her father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and whatever you say to me I will give.

12 - “Set a very high bride-price and gift, and I will give it according to whatever you say to me; but give to me the girl as a wife.”

Shechem reminds me of a Word/Faith teacher with a name-it-and-claim-it agenda on his mind. He wants Jacob to name his price so it can be paid and he can claim his bride.

13 - But the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor with deceit, saying [it was] because he had defiled Dinah their sister.

14 - And they said to them, “We are not able to do this thing, to give our sister to a man who [is] uncircumcised, for that [would be] a reproach to us.

15 - “But we will consent to you in this [manner]: If you will become as we [are], for every male among you to be circumcised,

16 - “Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people.

17 - “But if you will not hearken to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and we will be gone.”

The sons of Jacob made it a spiritual issue. The only thing that stood in the way of a marriage ceremony taking place was the rite of circumcision on the part of this Canaanite family. Clearly the brothers had called their bluff. Surely they would never consent to this, would they?

18 - And their words were good in the eyes of Hamor, and in the eyes of Shechem, son of Hamor.

Circumcision was practiced among other nations than the Israelites, therefore these Canaanites would have knowledge of what was involved in the practice.

19 - And the young man did not hesitate to do the thing, because he delighted in the daughter of Jacob. Now he [was] honorable more than all the house of his father.

As Shechem agreed to do this others were sure to follow due to how well-respected he was among the household. It’s rather sad to think that a rapist would hold that kind of sway among family, but this should illustrate how this type of behavior was taken in stride among those of the Canaanite culture.

However, their job was not yet complete. Hamor and his family now had the dubious honor of having to convince every male in the city to undergo this rite. Impossible, you say?

20 - And Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying,

21 - “These men [are] at peace with us, so let them dwell in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land [is] spread out on both sides before them. Let us take their daughters to ourselves for wives, and let us give our daughters to them.

22 - “Surely on this [condition] will the men consent to dwell with us, to be [as] one people: that every male among us become circumcised, as these that [are] circumcised.

23 - “Will not their cattle and their possessions and every animal of theirs belong to us? Surely let us consent to them, and they will dwell with us.”

24 - And to Hamor and to Shechem his son hearkened all who went out of the gate of the city; and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of the city.

Did you notice how they closed the deal? First they would intermarry among each other, then they would inherit all the possessions belonging to Jacob in exchange for giving them their land. The greed of men is outlandish at times, to say the least. All these Canaanite men had to do was endure about three to four days of pain and it was a ‘done deal’. Or was it?

25 - And it came to be on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, brothers of Dinah, each man [with] a sword then came upon the city with great boldness and killed every male.

The text says that only Simeon and Levi were personally involved in this bloody coup. We don’t know if the other brothers helped plot this mass murder or if they were to be recruited and the others opted out. If these two acted solely on their own, they had a great deal of brazen about them; more than the text would lend itself to.

26 - And they killed Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of the house of Shechem, and went away.

The previous verse says Simeon and Levi killed every male, and yet a separate verse is dedicated to not only that Hamor and Shechem were killed, but how they were. This is the most gruesome the biblical text has been to this point. Unfortunately, it is not over yet.

27 - The sons of Jacob came upon the ones slain, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister.

28 - Their sheep and their cattle and their donkeys, and [that] which [was] in the city, and [that] which [was] in the city they took,

29 - And they took all their wealth, and all their children, and their wives captive; and they even plundered all that [was] in the houses.

Their justification for their sin was the defilement of their sister. Yet did the punishment fit the crime? When immaturity is allowed to rule the day in the household, the lesson here is that anything can happen, and oftentimes does.

30 - Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought ruin on me, to bring me to disrepute among [those] dwelling in the land; among the Canaanites, and among the Perizzites. And [since] I [am] few in number, then they will band together against me, and smite me, and I will be destroyed; I and my house.”

Finally Jacob decides to re-enter the scene. All he says to his two sons is something about how bad they made him look. But what is sad is that they put him in his place with one question…

31 - But they said, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

In all fairness, if any of us were in Jacob’s situation this would be a tough one to call. What would each of us do? That is the real difficulty with this portion of the passage. Even a man as wise as Jacob was at a loss as to what to do in order to rectify this disaster. That is why once each of us begin to pitch our tent too close to the world, we too will find our lives a disaster. “No, that could never happen to me. I’m able to handle it. I’m strong.” Yet history teaches the one who fails to realize where sin can take them is a fool. Are any of us strong enough to think we can stem the tide? Today let each of us realize we are nothing without abiding in the true vine - the Lord Jesus Christ (John 15:5).


1 - Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from Esau your brother.”

Here again is proof of God’s intended destination for Jacob from the start of his more recent journey. But most importantly this redirect is greater proof of the grace and mercy of God bestowed on the life of Jacob. When you and I understand and appreciate grace, we place ourselves in a position to be able to receive His grace, which makes Him more likely to pour out His grace on our lives. Such is the position in which Jacob finds himself at this juncture. The God of the second chance gives him another opportunity to be obedient to His word.

2 - And Jacob said to his house and to all who [were] with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are in your midst and be clean, and change your garments;

3 - “And let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make there an altar to God, who answers to me in the day of my distress, and was with me on the journey that I went.”

Rather lackadaisical before in his approach toward family, Jacob now takes a much more aggressive posture by way of the imperative to put away idolatry. Surely we all are doing well to depart from idolatry in whatever stage of life we may be at the time. But notice Jacob goes one better by telling them he will now be obedient to the original word he received from the Lord by going to Bethel. He also testifies to His faithfulness by sharing with them how He was responsible for his/their safety and protection up until now.

4 - So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that [were] in their hand, and the earrings that [were] in their ears, and Jacob hid them underneath the terebinth tree that [was] by Shechem.

His family doesn’t get serious about being obedient to the Lord until the spiritual head of household does.

Jacob’s family only got right with God after Jacob himself did. This again shows us the tremendous leadership role men have within the family. A man resisting God will see the same effect in his children. A man who gets right with God will see the effect in his family also. Jacob’s children kept foreign gods because their mother did. Rachel clung to the household idols of her father (Genesis 31:19). No matter how hard we try to teach our children godly conduct, they will still do what we do.1

5 - Then they journeyed, and the terror of God was upon all the cities that [were] round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

Contrary to what Jacob originally shared with Simeon and Levi, they were not actually threatened by their Canaanite neighbors. They were more in awe of them than anything. They should have attributed that to the God they were now serving and not anything having to do with themselves.

6 - So Jacob came to Luz, which [is] in the land of Canaan (that [is], Bethel), he and all the people with him.

It was known then as ‘Luz‘, and today as ‘Bethel‘.

7 - And he built an altar there, and called it El-Bethel, because [it was] there God had revealed [Himself] to him while fleeing from his brother.

The altar is named ‘God of the house of God’. You see when Jacob heard from God originally at the same place, you’ll recall Jacob was in awe of the place itself. He remarked how God was surely in that place. In this instance he is enamored not with the place, but with the God of the place. Isn’t it easy to see the difference? It is when you and I realize how choosing to be a recipient of the grace of God makes all the difference in how we relate to the Lord. It becomes much easier to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) when we have genuinely met with the God of the second chance!

8 - Now Deborah, nurse to Rebecca, died, and was buried below Bethel underneath the oak, and the name of it [was] called ‘Allon-Baccuth’.

It’s interesting about Deborah that she served as nursemaid to Rebecca, Jacob’s mother, yet this account is included by Moses for a reason. The name of the tree is ‘oak of weeping’. I don’t mean to come off as reading too much into this, but it could be that Deborah was God’s instrument to deliver the news to Jacob concerning his mother and how he would never see her again. It’s also possible that due to age in tandem with the rigors of the journey, Deborah had overexerted herself physically. If there were a short space of time that had elapsed between her arrival and her death, it is understandable how this could have become the “oak of weeping,” given that news of Rebecca’s death and Deborah’s actual death would have produced a great amount of weeping and mourning in a rather short span of time.

9 - Then God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Padan-Aram, and blessed him.

10 - And God said to him, “Your name [is] Jacob; your name will not be called ‘Jacob’ any longer; instead, ‘Israel’ will be your name.” And He called his name ‘Israel’.

God says, “Congratulations, Jacob. You are no longer Jacob!” If you’re reading through the Old Testament and find passages that refer to “Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,” you’ll know why. That is a direct reference to the patriarch formerly known as Jacob, if you will. And not only has Jacob been given a new name, but also a personal name. The new name He gives each of us when we come to Him is that of ‘righteous’. As was the case with Jacob, that can never happen in and of ourselves. Only He can declare any of us so. The key is to humble ourselves as individuals to Him in total dependence, realizing it is impossible for any of us to save ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-10).

11 - And God said to him, “I [am] the Almighty God. Bear fruit and multiply; a nation and an assembly of nations will come from you, and kings will be your descendants.

12 - “And the land that I have given to Abraham and to Isaac, I will give it to you, and to your offspring after you I will give the land.”

God has to share several times with the three patriarchs mentioned above that the land has been promised to them. In our human frailty, life will deal us blow after blow that will knock the spiritual wind out of us. That is why it is imperative for the believer to spend time in the Word of God each day. That way we will be reminded of who He is, what He has done, and how He should be worshiped.

13 - Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken to him.

14 - Then Jacob erected a pillar at the place where He had spoken with him (a stone pillar), and he poured out a drink offering on it, and he poured out oil on it.

This is the first mention of a drink offering in God’s Word. We see several instances of this in the Old Testament. We also see where Jesus Himself was an offering “poured out” for the sins of all mankind. Today we of the Church Age have on us the “poured out” gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 10:45). But see how Pastor Jon Courson ties together the contents of this offering.

The oil speaks of the work of the Holy Spirit. What did the Good Samaritan pour into the wounds of the man who was beaten up? Wine and oil (Luke 10:34). The oil being provision for success, and the blood payment for failure, the Lord says, “The way to be successful is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit (Zechariah 4:6). But if you fall, my blood will cleanse you.” What a wonderful combination!2

15 - And Jacob called the name of the place where God had spoken with him there ‘Bethel’.

This is where the Lord had instructed him to go originally, but had not. Upon going there he truly discovered the “house of God,” or more aptly, “the place where God dwells.” As Jacob had known how it was to be separated from God, he now knows more importantly how a life can be changed once one has encountered the God of the second chance.

16 - Then they journeyed from Bethel, and there was a short distance to go to Ephrath. Then Rachel went into labor, and she had very hard labor.

17 - And it came to be, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, “You have nothing to fear, because you will also have this son.”

18 - And it came to be as her life was departing (because she had died), that she called his name ‘Ben-oni’; but his father had called him ‘Benjamin’.

Keep in mind, this is the same Rachel that had told her husband, “Give me children, or else I die” (Genesis 30:1). In this case she had her last child, then died. As a result it was her idea to name him, “son of my sorrow.” But since she died shortly thereafter, Jacob had the right idea in renaming him, “son of my right hand.” He remembered his most-loved wife as she was passing from this life as his right hand. Husbands, if we were to think of our wives more as our right hand instead of ‘the ol’ ball & chain,’ we would have the right idea as did Jacob.

19 - Then Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (or ’Bethlehem’).

20 - And Jacob erected a pillar on her grave; it [is] the pillar of the grave of Rachel up to this day.

The late Dr. McGee told of how he had taken more than one picture on his trips to the Holy Land of this “pillar of the grave of Rachel,” proving once again the Word of God to be true. It is in fact there to this day.

21 - Then Israel journeyed, and spread out his tent beyond the tower of Eder.

22 - And it came to be, as Israel dwelled in the land, that Reuben went and had sexual intercourse with Bilhah, the concubine of his father; and Israel heard [of it]. Now there were twelve sons of Jacob.

Remember that not everything is sunshine, lollipops, and roses, as the old song says, once you get back in right relationship with the Lord. In fact someone has said (and rightfully so) that in many ways one’s problems are just beginning when that happens. And just because you or I may have become right with the Lord certainly doesn’t mean everyone around us has had that experience. Life can deal some pretty gut-wrenching blows at times and this is certainly one of those for Jacob.

23 - The sons of Leah: the firstborn of Jacob, Reuben; then Simeon and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun.

24 - The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.

25 - And the sons of Bilhah, maidservant of Rachel: Dan and Naphtali.

26 - And the sons of Zilpah, maidservant of Leah: Gad and Asher. These [were] the sons of Jacob, who had been born to him in Padan-Aram.

Reuben certainly was the firstborn, but was not treated as such when it came time for Jacob to pass from this life. He remembered his firstborn’s actions and spoke ill of him when it was his time to deliver the patriarchal blessing to his offspring. There will be more on that when we come to chapter 49.

27 - Then Jacob came to Isaac his father at Mamre, or Kiriath-Abar (or Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

28 - So the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years.

29 - Then Isaac passed away; and he died, and he was gathered to his people, old and full of days; and his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.

Isaac’s sons were reunited, but only on the occasion of their father’s death. The one who had given them life had now experienced death. As respectable sons they came together to honor their father by giving him the burial he deserved. While Esau is regarded in scripture as profane and adulterous, he at least was obedient to the Lord in the matter of honoring his father. Yet there is a time when there will be barely a mention of Esau in the biblical account. His brother, on the other hand, will go from so much mourning and travail to soar to new heights. After all he had tasted of the grace of God and saw that it was good. The result will be that from his lineage, not Esau’s, will come the Promised One - the Messiah!


1 - Now these [are the] generations of Esau (he [is], Edom):

2 - Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan - Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Ahalibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon the Hivite;

3 - And Basemath, daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebayoth.

You are now seeing not the last mention of Esau, but certainly this will be the last mention of his lineage in all of the Bible. These names seem a bit monotonous if not altogether boring, but believe me when I say this account is in the Word of God for a reason. It does deserve a longer but more abbreviated look.

4 - And Adah bore to Esau Eliphaz, and Basemath bore Reuel;

5 - Then Aholibamah bore Yeush, and Yalam, and Korah. These [are] the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

6 - And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his family, and his cattle, and his animals, and all his property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan; and he went to the land from the presence of Jacob his brother;

7 - For their property had become too much to be dwelling together, and the land where they were sojourning was not able to bear them because of their cattle.

It reminds me of another twosome in Genesis: Abraham and Lot. They also had so much that they were not able to cohabitate together. Here again we see these brothers having to part company due to such an overabundance of possessions. Esau may never have received ‘the blessing’ from his father, but he was certainly blessed if only in terms of material possessions.

8 - So Esau dwelt in mount Seir (Esau [is] Edom).

9 - And these [are] the generations of Esau, father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.

Before we jump into the actual names we are doing well to establish that Esau was blessed also in terms of number of offspring. The other side of this is the actual parenting issue. More on that in our wrap-up of this chapter.

10 - These are the names of the sons of Esau: Eliphaz, the son of Adah, the wife of Esau; Reuel, son of Basemath, the wife of Esau.

11 - And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.

12 - (Now Timnah had become the concubine to Eliphaz, son of Esau, and bore to Eliphaz Amalek.) These [were] the sons of Adah, wife of Esau.

13 - And these [are] the sons of Reuel: Nahath and Zerah, Shamah and Mizah; these were the sons of Basemath, wife of Esau.

14 - And these were the sons of Aholibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon, wife of Esau: and she bore to Esau Yeush, and Yalam, and Korah.

15 - These [were] the chiefs of the sons of Esau. The sons of Eliphaz, first-born of Esau [were] chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz,

16 - Chief Korah, chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These [were] the chiefs of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these [were] the sons of Adah.

17 - And these [are] the sons of Reuel, son of Esau: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shamah, chief Mizah. These [are] the chiefs of Reuel in the land of Edom; these [are] the sons of Basemath, wife of Esau.

18 - And these [are] the sons of Aholibamah, wife of Esau: chief Yeush, chief Yalam, chief Korah. These [are] the chiefs of Aholibamah, daughter of Anah, wife of Esau.

19 - These [are] the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these [are] their chiefs.

20 - These [are] the sons of Heir the Horite, who was dwelling in the land: Lotan and Shobal and Zibeon and Anah,

21 - And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan. These [are] the chiefs of the Horites, the descendants of Seir, in the land of Edom.

22 - And the sons of Lotan were Hori, and Hemam; and Timna was the sister of Lotan.

23 - And these [are] the sons of Shobal: Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.

24 - And these [are] the sons of Zibeon: both Ayah and Anah. He [is the] Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness as he was tending the donkeys of Zibeon his father.

25 - And these [are] the sons of Anah: Dishon and Ahalibamah, daughter of Anah.

26 - And these [are] the sons of Dishon: Hemdan and Eshban and Ithran and Cheran.

27 - These [are] the sons of Ezer: Bilhan and Zaavan and Akan.

28 - These [are] the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.

29 - These [are] the chiefs of the Horites: chief Lotan, chief Shobal, chief Zibeon, chief Anah,

30 - Chief Dishon, chief Ezer, chief Dishan. These [are] the chiefs of the Horites according to their chiefs in the land of Seir.

31 - Now these [are] the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king was reigning over the sons of Israel:

32 - And Bela, son of Beor, reigned in Edom; and the name of his city [was] Dinhabah.

33 - Then Bela died, and Yobab, son of Zerah from Bozrah, reigned instead of him.

34 - Then Yobab died, and Husham, from the land of the Temanites, reigned instead of him.

35 - Then Husham died, and Hadad, the son of Bedad, who struck Midian dead in the field of Moab, reigned instead of him; and the name of his city [was] Avith.

36 - Then Hadad died, and Samlah from Mazrekah reigned instead of him.

37 - Then Samlah died, and Shaul from Rehoboth [by] the river reigned instead of him.

38 - Then Shaul died and Baal-hanan, son of Achbor, reigned instead of him.

39 - Then Baal-hanan, the son of Achbor, died, and Hadar reigned instead of him; and the name of his city [was] Pau. And the name of his wife [was] Mehethabel, daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.

40 - Now these [are] the names of the chiefs of Esau, according to their clans, their localities, and by their names: chief Timna, chief Alvah, chief Yetheth,

41 - Chief Aholibamah, chief Elah, chief Pinon,

42 - Chief Kenaz, chief Teman, chief Mibzar,

43 - Chief Magdiel, chief Iram. These [are] the chiefs of Edom according to their dwelling places in the land of their possession; he [is] Esau, father of the Edomites.

What a great number of descendants Esau had. As we say here in the southern United States, there were so many you couldn’t stir them with a stick! And they were not just offspring either. Many became kings and ruled over larger territories. When a nation gets to be that great in number, as we have already seen in this chapter, there is no way they are going to be able to coexist peaceably. When that happened among this people, one of them picked up his things and moved on. Those who wanted to move with him did so. The result was that this direct descendant of Esau became ruler of wherever he settled down. How did he become king? Well it certainly wasn’t the result of a democratic process to be sure. In many if not most cases he made himself king. And I would venture to guess that a measure of force was involved in a significant percentage of those instances. This would have included at least a fair amount of bloodshed if human nature is factored in, and the result was a monarchy of some shape or form.

All this is mentioned to make the point that there were kings in existence among these people a great time before there were kings in Israel. Understand that the pull among the people of Israel to conform to the nations around them was very great - both then and now. This eventually led to Israel telling the prophet Samuel in no uncertain terms that they wanted a king. This was because they wanted to be like the other nations. Forget that Samuel told them straight up exactly what they were in for once a kingship was installed. All Israel knew is that they wanted to be glamorous and chic because the other nations would look down on them otherwise. The equivalent of this today would be someone saying how the United States should be more like Europe. This person figures there are more nations of the world that are not like America than are, therefore this democratic, capitalistic society in which the U.S. resides is simply out of step with the rest of the world, so it must change or we’ll be laughed right off the world stage. The lesson here is that the Edomites would serve as influential in Israel eventually being governed by someone other than God, which was His desire for them from then until now.

As we review the history of the Edomites further, we see that they were corrupt. So corrupt that God had to become directly involved. There are some very disparaging things that have been spoken toward Esau/Edom by the Old Testament prophets Jeremiah (49:17-18), Ezekiel (25:12-14), and MalachI (1:1-5). But no word from the Lord cut to the heart as that given to the prophet Obadiah. Here we have an entire book of the Bible dedicated to the prophetic word as it concerned the doom of a nation. The book only consists of twenty-one verses, yet contains such phrasing as “cut off by slaughter” (9) and “cut off forever” (10). Not to mention the ever-popular phrase, “…they shall be as though they had not been” (16). Why such harsh, overbearing language? Because Edom had refused to allow Israel passage through their land on the way to the Promised Land. What was the result?

From the time Islam conquered the Middle East, the region has been virtually unoccupied, except for a few Bedouins and military outposts. It has been brought to nothing, as Obadiah had prophesied…3

This is the last of the lineage of Esau mentioned in the Word of God due to the fact that Esau was a man that could not be trusted in God’s economy to carry forth his plan and purpose for a nation that would bring forth the promised Messiah into the world. These last two chapters tie together, but they do so in contrasting ways in order to show how one fits God’s purposes and the other does not. Neither were perfect, both had many if not all of the same advantages through life (especially the growing-up years), yet the difference was in the choices they made. Esau leaned more toward the things of this world; Jacob more toward the things of God as they concerned the next life.

There is another man who decides to make God the Lord of his life. We take a look at his story beginning with the next chapter. 



2Jon Courson, Jon Courson's Application Commentary - Volume One: Genesis-Job (Nashville: 
        Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2005).