Abraham’s family by Keturah, His death and burial. (Verse 1-10.)
God blesses Isaac The descendants of Ishmael. (Verse 11-18.)
The birth of Esau and Jacob. (Verse 19-26.)
The different characters of Esau and Jacob. (Verse 27,28.)
Esau despises and sells his birth-right. (Verse 29-34.)
Did you ever wonder where Israel got all of her enemies? The Bible has the answers. Let’s take a look at the descendants of Abraham’s third and final wife.
1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
Here we find Abraham’s third wife (remember that Hagar was taken as a “wife” (see 16:3)
2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
[1st Chron 1:32]
3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Sheba, Dedan and Midian are in all in modern day Saudi Arabia. Many of the descendants of Abraham have been some of Israel’s greatest enemies and yet God has seen them through just as he has promised.
5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
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.
a concubine is a wife of inferior condition who may be a lawful wife, but who was not wedded by the usual ceremonies; “concubines” here probably refers to only Hagar and Keturah
These descendants of Abraham and Keturah will one day unite to help defeat the descendants of Ishmael in the last days as predicted by Ezekiel in chapters 37-39.
Abraham and Isaac never possessed the city of Jerusalem but their descendants would one day. Abraham had no certain dwelling place but rather lived in tents. Notice what Abraham did with his children that were not from Sarah, he sent them Eastward unto the east country. They were not to possess the land that Isaac was promised.
7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
“hundred threescore and fifteen years” = 175 years
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.
[Gen 35:29, Gen 49:33, Acts 13:36]
Abraham in his youth, that is prior to his leaving Ur of the Chaldees had the privilege to learn firsthand from his ancestors about the flood and the events prior to the flood.
Noah did not die until Abraham was about 70 years of age, and if he didn’t hear it directly from Noah he could have heard the story from his Great-Great Grandfather Shem who was still alive prior to Abrahams departure from Ur of the Chaldees.
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;
[Gen 23:17, Gen 49:30, Gen 50:13, Acts 7:16]
This field and cave are near the modern city of Hebron today. This was Abraham’s only land possession that is recorded in the scriptures up to this point and it was a burial plot not a place to live. The inheritance of the land would come a while later.
10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
[Gen 10:15, Gen 23:3, Gen 27:46, Gen 49:32, 1st Chron 1:13]
11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.
[Gen 16:14, Gen 24:62]
Notice Abraham dies at 175 years of age and the only possession of land that he has is a cave to bury himself and his wife in. God will then have to resurrect Abraham and Sarah so that he can fulfill his promise to Abraham and his descendants literally, and he will in the Millennial reign of the Messiah.
The well Lahairoi if you will remember is the very same well that Isaac met Rebekah at as she was coming with Abraham’s Servant.
The Well of Lahai-roi is mentioned in Genesis 16 as the location of the place were God spoke to Hagar and announced the birth of Ishmael. Many of Ishmael’s descendants have been blessed by a descendant of Isaac (the Messiah Jesus) but many have sadly been blinded by pride and hatred.
Many of Isaac’s descendants have also been blessed by believing in Jesus as the Messiah but many more for the same reasons as Ishmael’s descendants have failed to come to the Messiah because of hatred towards many who claim to be Christians but who have persecuted Abraham’s descendants.
Jesus had these words to say to the self-righteous Jew that trusted in himself that he was righteous just because of who he was:
Mt 8:10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. 11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom (Jewish non-believers in Messiah) shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Just as there are many hypocrites in Judaism, and Islam, so are there in many of the Denominations of Christianity today. They are no more followers of the Jesus than my dog is.
A true believer in Jesus loves all and wants all to come to Messiah by faith and never by the way of the Sword.
Won’t you trust Jesus sacrificial death and resurrection on your behalf alone for your salvation today? Salvation is through a person (Jesus), not a religion. If you believe that Jesus died for your sins and that he arose again the third day you shall be saved.
12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s handmaid, bare unto Abraham:
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,
14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
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.
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.
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.
[Gen 2:11. Gen 16:7]
“Havilah” is modern day northern Saudi Arabia
The descendants of Ishmael and of Isaac have been feuding for thousands of years and millions have died unnecessarily. God never wanted Isaac’s descendants to become so arrogant in their thinking they were better than everyone else because they were God’s chosen people. They were not chosen because they were better than anyone.
They were chosen to be the Nation that the Messiah would come from and the Nation that God would use in the Kingdom to reclaim the earth. We should recognize that Sarah was wrong in suggesting that Abraham go in unto Hagar to have a son with her. It was for Sarah’s disbelief that God would give Hagar a son that started the mess they are in today. Hagar did not ask to have a child with Abraham.
Hagar was also wrong in despising Sarah once she was pregnant. Sarah should not have hated Hagar for her actions either. These two women should have gotten together and worked things out once it got to that point, but they did not. Abraham should have never let any of this happen in the first place.
The descendants of Ishmael must look past any self-righteous Jews and realize that God called Isaac’s descendants and not his own to bring in the Messiah and that doesn’t make them lower than the descendants of Isaac. God is not a respector of persons. Jew or a Gentile are both one in Messiah.
19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:
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.
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.
[1st Sam 1:10]
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.
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.
“two nations” – Esau became the father of the nation of Edom; Jacob became the father of the nation of Israel
24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
“Esau” means “hairy one” while “Jacob” means “trespasser or supplanter”, heel catcher, supplanter; note [Hosea 12:3, Matt 1:2]
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.
27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
each parent had a favourite among the twins – what was God’s attitude toward these two boys according to Malachi 1:2-3? This passage from Malachi does not describe God’s emotions toward these two men, but his decisive will based upon what he knew would be their choices later in life to follow or to not follow him.
What a carnal relationship Isaac had with his son. Esau was taught by his own father that love can be bought for a piece of venison. Satan was behind the playing of favorites in this family as a way to sow discord and to ultimately thwart the will of God concerning Jacob and his future generations.
29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
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.
[Gen 32:3, Gen 36:8, Num 20:14, Judg 11:17, 2nd Sam 8:14]
[Edom = red see Gen 25:25]
Edom, the elder twin-brother of Jacob; hence the region (Idumaea) occupied by him:–Edom, Edomites, Idumea.
31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
“birthright” – any right or privilege to which a person is entitled by right of their birth; Esau was the firstborn and would have gotten the inheritance except for this incident.
What does Hebrew 12:16 say?
32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
[pottage – thick soup]
Jacob took advantage of Esau’s predicament (he was starving) and manipulated Esau into giving up his birthright which God was going to give him anyway. The younger was always supposed to serve the Elder unless the elder disqualified himself. Esau disqualified himself by being a profane fornicator according to the writer of Hebrews
Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears
It was too late, for Esau to have the birthright, he gave it away and as we have already learned he would have lost it anyway for the above mentioned reason.
Romans 9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. 14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
The elder was called (or elected) to do what? Be saved? No! He was called to serve the younger! Election has to do with service, not salvation!
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-10 – All the days, even of the best and greatest saints, are not remarkable days; some slide on silently; such were these last days of Abraham. Here is an account of Abraham’s children by Keturah, and the disposition which he made of his estate. After the birth of these sons, he set his house in order, with prudence and justice. He did this while he yet lived. It is wisdom for men to do what they find to do while they live, as far as they can. Abraham lived 175 years; just one hundred years after he came to Canaan; so long he was a sojourner in a strange country. Whether our stay in this life be long or short, it matters but little, provided we leave behind us a testimony to the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord, and a good example to our families. We are told that his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him. It seems that Abraham had himself brought them together while he lived. Let us not close the history of the life of Abraham without blessing God for such a testimony of the triumph of faith.
Verse 11-18 – Ishmael had twelve sons, whose families became distinct tribes. They peopled a very large country that lay between Egypt and Assyria, called Arabia. The number and strength of this family were the fruit of the promise, made to Hagar and to Abraham, concerning Ishmael.
Verse 19-26 – Isaac seems not to have been much tried, but to have spent his days in quietness. Jacob and Esau were prayed for; their parents, after being long childless, obtained them by prayer. The fulfilment of God’s promise is always sure, yet it is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when they come. Isaac and Rebekah kept in view the promise of all nations being blessed in their posterity, therefore were not only desirous of children, but anxious concerning every thing which seemed to mark their future character. In all our doubts we should inquire of the Lord by prayer. In many of our conflicts with sin and temptation, we may adopt Rebekah’s words, “If it be so, why am I thus?” If a child of God, why so careless or carnal? If not a child of God, why so afraid of, or so burdened with sin?
Verse 27,28 – Esau hunted the beasts of the field with dexterity and success, till he became a conqueror, ruling over his neighbours. Jacob was a plain man, one that liked the true delights of retirement, better than all pretended pleasures. He was a stranger and a pilgrim in his spirit, and a shepherd all his days. Isaac and Rebekah had but these two children, one was the father’s darling, and the other the mother’s. And though godly parents must feel their affections most drawn over towards a godly child, yet they will not show partiality. Let their affections lead them to do what is just and equal to every child, or evils will arise.
Verse 29-34 – We have here the bargain made between Jacob and Esau about the right, which was Esau’s by birth, but Jacob’s by promise. It was for a spiritual privilege; and we see Jacob’s desire of the birth-right, but he sought to obtain it by crooked courses, not like his character as a plain man. He was right, that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that he took advantage of his brother’s need. The inheritance of their father’s worldly goods did not descend to Jacob, and was not meant in this proposal. But it includeth the future possession of the land of Canaan by his children’s children, and the covenant made with Abraham as to Christ the promised Seed. Believing Jacob valued these above all things; unbelieving Esau despised them. Yet although we must be of Jacob’s judgment in seeking the birth-right, we ought carefully to avoid all guile, in seeking to obtain even the greatest advantages. Jacob’s pottage pleased Esau’s eye. “Give me some of that red;” for this he was called Edom, or Red. Gratifying the sensual appetite ruins thousands of precious souls. When men’s hearts walk after their own eyes, Job 31:7,. and when they serve their own bellies, they are sure to be punished. If we use ourselves to deny ourselves, we break the force of most temptations. It cannot be supposed that Esau was dying of hunger in Isaac’s house. The words signify, I am going towards death; he seems to mean, I shall never live to inherit Canaan, or any of those future supposed blessings; and what signifies it who has them when I am dead and gone. This would be the language of profaneness, with which the apostle brands him, Hebrews 12:16. and this contempt of the birth-right is blamed, ver.34. It is the greatest folly to part with our interest in God, and Christ, and heaven, for the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world; it is as bad a bargain as his who sold a birth-right for a dish of pottage. Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had made. Thus Esau despised his birth-right. By his neglect and contempt afterwards, and by justifying himself in what he had done, he put the bargain past recall. People are ruined, not so much by doing what is amiss, as by doing it and not repenting of it.