Scriptures

Genesis 36

Introduction

‘This is the account of the family line of Esau (that is, Edom). Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite—also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in Canaan. Esau took his wives and sons and daughters and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock and all his other animals and all the goods he had acquired in Canaan and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. Their possessions were too great for them to remain together; the land where they were staying could not support them both because of their livestock. So, Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir.’ Genesis 36:1-8

Most people aren’t really interested in genealogies, usually because they find them boring and so, they tend to just skip over any long list of names they come across in the Scriptures. However, as I’ve mentioned before it was very important for the Jews to be able to trace their ancestry back in time to its beginnings.

In this chapter we read about Esau’s genealogy and the rulers of Edom who were continually causing trouble for God’s people. It’s pretty difficult to identify some of these people mentioned because it was very common for people to change their names during this period of time.

Notice that Esau is called ‘Edom’ twice in the text, this is simply to emphasise his genealogy and let the readers know that Esau became the Edomites, Genesis 25:30. Notice also that Jacob and Esau separate from one another.

The Edomites are mentioned 130 times in relation to opposing Jacob’s descendants, they were a constant thorn in their side for many, many years, until God finally destroyed them as a nation, Deuteronomy 23:7 / Numbers 20:21 / 2 Samuel 8:14 / 2 kings 8:16-22 / Obadiah.

‘This is the account of the family line of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau’s wife Adah, and Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath. The sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz. Esau’s son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Adah. The sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath. The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, whom she bore to Esau: Jeush, Jalam and Korah.’ Genesis 36:9-14

Here we have a continuation of the descendants of Esau through Eliphaz, it was from his second wife, Timna, he had Amalek, who would eventually become enemies of Israel when we came out of captivity, Exodus 17.

‘These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants: The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau: Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, Korah, Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah. The sons of Esau’s son Reuel: Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in Edom; they were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath. The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: Chiefs Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah. These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.’ Genesis 36:15-19

The KJV uses the word, ‘duke’ whilst the NIV uses the word, ‘chiefs’, it really makes no difference when we understand what is being written as a whole. The focus here is on the fathers because they established extended families, which simply means that each of the families are being led by a father or as the text says, a chief. In other words, the fathers were the head of the household and were responsible for leading their families.

A person of interest here, is Teman, who was the oldest son of Eliphaz, he was later to become a very powerful tribe, he was so powerful that the land of Edom was sometimes called Teman, Amos 1:12 / Obadiah 1:9.

‘These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs. The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister. The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam. The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon. The children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah. The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran. The sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan. The sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran. These were the Horite chiefs: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.’ Genesis 36:20-30

It’s obvious that the Horites already lived in the land and it seems that they have intermarried with Esau’s descendants. And so, what we have here is what many would call, duel heritage families, where any child being born will have different cultured parents.

Please note that Zibeon is called a Hivite is Genesis 36:2, and a Horite in Genesis 36:20. It seems that Hivite is an alternative word for Horite, and both are applied where ‘Hurrians’ are involved.

‘These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned: Bela son of Beor became king of Edom. His city was named Dinhabah. When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king. When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king. When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith. When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king. When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king. When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king. When Baal-Hanan son of Akbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab. These were the chiefs descended from Esau, by name, according to their clans and regions: Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom, according to their settlements in the land they occupied. This is the family line of Esau, the father of the Edomites.’ Genesis 36:31-43

Something which is often overlooked here in this text is that every single one of the kings mentioned was actually succeeded by another king who was not his son. Also notice that the capital city of the kingdom was moved with the consent of each new king.

The inclusion of women’s names, Timna and Oholibamah, as titles of certain chiefs shows that the chief took his title from the tribal mother in some cases.

Back To Genesis 35

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DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Romans 6:23

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