Genesis 25 - Outline of Genesis (MENU page)
25:1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name [was] Keturah.
25:2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
25:3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan.
And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
25:4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah.
All these [were] the children of Keturah.
25:5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
25:6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts,
and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
Abraham, whose youthful strength had been restored by God to enable Isaac's birth,
was able to father additional children in his old age. cp. Gen 17:5,6,15-17; Rom 4:17-22
Each of these sons represent nations that came from Abraham.
The Bible does not follow their lines, since it focuses on the line of promise.
However, some of these lines are mentioned later, when they interact with Israel.
For example, Moses' father-in-law was a 'Midianite.' Ex 2:15,16
Isaac was uniquely 'the son of promise.'
Abraham took steps to ensure that Isaac's right to the covenant land would not be challenged by his other sons.
25:7 And these [are] the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived,
an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
{175 years}
25:8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full [of years];
and was gathered to his people.
25:9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah,
in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which [is] before Mamre;
25:10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth:
{Gen 23:19}
there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
25:11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac;
and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.
Abraham... was 'gathered to his people' (v.8)-
Note that this event was distinct from his burial (v.9). cp. Gen 35:29; 49:33 - 50:7
At death, the spirit is separated from the body. The body is put away in burial (by men). The spirit continues to live, and is gathered (by God) to a place occupied by the spirits of other people who have died, to await resurrection and the judgment. A division is made between the righteous and unrighteous dead in this place. cp. Luk 16:22-26 (In the NT, this arrangement is changed for those who are in Christ. cp. 2Cor 5:8)
25:12 Now these [are] the generations of Ishmael,
Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:
25:13 And these [are] the names of the sons of Ishmael,
by their names, according to their generations:
the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,
25:14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
25:15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
25:16 These [are] the sons of Ishmael, and these [are] their names,
by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.
{Gen 17:20}
25:17 And these [are] the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years:
and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.
25:18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that [is] before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria:
[and] he died in the presence of all his brethren.
Ishmael's death 'in the presence of all his brethren' (ie., the sons of Ketura, v.1-4)
shows that the promise (16:12) that he would live 'in the presence of his brethren' was fulfilled.
Their relationship was such that the terms 'Ishmaelite' and 'Midianite' later became interchangeable. cp. Gen 37:28
The descendants of Ishmael are listed briefly.
Then, the attention again turns to the line of promise through Isaac. Gen 17:20,21
25:19 And these [are] the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son:
Abraham begat Isaac:
25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife,
the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she [was] barren:
and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said,
If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
25:23 And the LORD said unto her,
Two nations [are] in thy womb,
and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels;
and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people;
and the elder shall serve the younger.
25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled,
behold, [there were] twins in her womb.
25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment;
and they called his name Esau.
25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel;
and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac [was] threescore years old when she bare them.
If it be so, why am I thus?- may be taken to mean:
'If God has answered prayer to give me children, why is there such conflict within me?'
The Lord explained that the conflict between these brothers would be long standing and far reaching. Esau's descendants (the Edomites) would often stand in opposition to Israel. But Israel (Jacob's descendants) would prevail.
the elder shall serve the younger-
That which is natural appears first, after that comes the spiritual. cp. 1Cor 15:46
This principle has been seen repeatedly: eg., first Cain then Able, first Ishmael then Isaac, first Esau then Jacob. cp. Rom 9:6-13; Mal 1:2,3
Esau- means ''hairy.'' v.25; cp. Gen 27:11
Jacob- means ''supplanter'' or ''usurper.''
Even at his birth, he seemed to be reaching for the position of the first born son. v.26
25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning {ie., skillful} hunter, a man of the field;
and Jacob [was] a plain man, dwelling in tents.
25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of [his] venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he [was] faint:
25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red [pottage];
for I [am] faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I [am] at the point to die:
and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him:
and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles
{ie., lentils};
and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way:
thus Esau despised [his] birthright.
The 'birthright' conveyed to the eldest son:
  1. the position of family priest (eg., 26:25; cp. Job 1:5).
    (The family priesthood was later superseded by the establishment of the Aaronic priesthood.)
  2. the line of the 'Satan-bruiser' (Gen 3:15).
  3. the line of the 'Earth-blesser' (Gen 12:3).
Esau was an earthly man, with no appreciation for spiritual things.
He 'despised his birthright' because he saw no practical value in it. cp. Heb 12:16,17
Esau failed to see that the birthright had eternal value which far surpassed that of his temporal life (v.32). His hopes were in the earth and its pleasures.
In contrast, Abraham and Isaac considered themselves as 'strangers and pilgrims' here, counting the promises of God as their great treasure.
Edom - meaning 'red' became Esau's nickname from what he called the pottage (v.30):
'that red (stuff).' (The bracketed word [pottage] is not in the original.)
There is a play on words between 'red' {HB= adom} and 'lentils' {HB= adash}.
Jacob, acted according to his name, to 'supplant' his brother, by a fleshly scheme.
Although God had promised this position to him (v.23), he lacked faith to wait for Him to act.
But at least, he exhibited some faith, by his appreciation of the spiritual value of the birthright.
In the course of time, God would refine his faith as gold, to remove the fleshly dross.
From his birth, Jacob's fleshly nature was active. Only later, through the intervention of the LORD, would he become ''Israel,'' the spiritual man.
(The same pattern is repeated in the life of every believer: That which is natural comes first. The spiritual comes later, by the grace of God.)

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