Genesis 25

The Word Made Fresh

1Abraham married again. Her name was Keturah. 2She gave him six children – Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

3Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. Dedan was the father of the Asshurim, the Letushim, and the Leummim.

4Midian was the father of Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descended from Abraham and Keturah.

5Abraham left his entire estate to Isaac, 6but to the sons of his concubines he gave gifts while he was still alive, and he sent them all toward the east country, away from his son Isaac.

7Abraham died at the ripe old age of 175. 3He drew his last breath and died at a good old age, an old man who had lived a long life, and he was gathered to his ancestors.

9Isaac and Ishmael buried him in Machpelah cave on the tract of land that had belonged to Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. The tract was east of Mamre’s oak grove. 10Abraham had purchased it from the Hittites. There he was buried beside his wife Sarah.

11Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi after Abraham’s death, and God watched over him.

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12These are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son born to him and Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave girl:

13In the order of their birth Ishmael’s sons were Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16These sons of Ishmael settled villages and encampments, and the clans they established revered them as princes.

17Ishmael died at the age of 137, and was gathered to his people. 18His descendants settled territory from Havilah to Shur, opposite Egypt toward Assyria – they settled alongside their father Ishmael’s people.

19Here is Isaac’s family: Abraham was his father, 20and Isaac married Rebekah when he was forty years old. Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel, an Aramean from Padan-aram, and sister of Laban. 21Isaac raised a prayer to the LORD for his wife because she did not have children, and the LORD answered his prayer, and Rebekah was soon pregnant. 22There were two children who seemed to be wrestling inside her, and she said, “If this is what it’s like to give birth I’d just as soon die!”

She went to inquire of the LORD. 23The LORD said, “There are two boys in your womb, both of whom will be the heads of clans that will fight against each other. But one will outdo the other; the first-born will serve his brother.”

24When she gave birth, two children were born. 25The first was covered with red hair all over. They named him Esau. 26Then his brother appeared grasping Esau’s heel. They named him Jacob. (Isaac was 60 years old, by the way.)

27The boys grew up. Esau was an outdoorsman who loved to hunt. Jacob was a homebody. 28Isaac liked wild game on his plate, so Esau was his favorite, while Rebekah was fond of Jacob.

29On one occasion when Jacob was cooking a lentil stew Esau, who had been hunting, came in from roaming the countryside. He was starving. 30“Let me have some of that red stew,” he said to Jacob. “I’m starving to death!” (That’s why Edom, “red,” was his nickname.)

31“Sure,” said Jacob, “for your birthright.”

32“I’m dying!” said Esau. “What do I care about birthright!”

33But Jacob insisted, “First, you have to promise me.” So, Esau promised, and sold his birthright to Jacob.

34Then Jacob gave him bread and lentil stew. Esau ate it and then left, caring nothing for his birthright.

Commentary

1-6: Abraham gets on with his life and remarries, to a woman named Keturah. They have a bunch of kids (although in verse 6 they are collectively referred to as “the sons of his concubines”). Some of the names given are of individuals; some of the names are whole tribes. He gives them each a gift, but leaves his estate to Isaac, the only child he and Sarah had together. Sarah was always afraid these other sons would have a claim on the inheritance. She need not have worried.

7-11: Abraham dies, and it is good to see that his two oldest boys, Isaac and Ishmael, come together to lay him to rest beside Sarah. Isaac then moves on to Beer-lahai-roi.

12-18: Now the descendants of Ishmael are listed; he is credited with being the ancestor of virtually every group east and southeast of Israel.

19-28: Now we continue the story of Isaac and Rebekah. Isaac, like his father Abraham, marries a woman who cannot have children. And like Abraham and Sarah, they finally have children by God’s intervention. Rebekah is now pregnant with twins who struggle within her. They are born, Esau and Jacob. Esau is a hairy daddy’s boy who loves the outdoors. Jacob is a fair-skinned momma’s boy who loves the indoors.

29-34: Even though Esau is the oldest, Jacob is the one through whom the covenant with Abraham will be passed. This is the explanation: Esau sold his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of stew. Esau should have known to never engage in property negotiations on an empty stomach.

Takeaway

Everything we are reading in Genesis leads to what happens later in Israel. All the people in these stories are there because their story leads to the story of the establishment of the nation of Israel, which leads to the story of the exile to Babylon, which leads to the story of the prophets who guide the rebuilding of Israel, which leads to the story of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.