Genesis 36:1-43 Esau’s Tree

We are going to look at Esau’s family tree today. Genealogy is NOT my favorite subject but I have also lamented not having info on “the rest of the family” in several instances. Today’s reading meets that request. Let’s see where it takes us.

This passage is THICK and circular in places. My first question concerns the fact that we are told “Esau is Edom” (verse 8b) then in the end of the passage we read “Esau, the father of Edom” (verse 43b). Was Esau’s name changed like Jacob’s was? Is Jacob the “father of Israel” in the same way Esau is the father of Edom? That is the only thing that makes sense to me. If someone else has an explanation or something I missed I would be VERY happy to hear it.

Esau and Jacob had to part company because of how many possessions they had. This is reminiscent of Abraham and Lot. When Jacob returned to Canaan Esau invited him to come with him to the land of Seir but Jacob turned aside and went to Sukkoth instead (Gen. 33:16-17). Esau was already living in Seir when Jacob returned. Was this because of the tension between his parents and his Canaanite wives? They were NOT happy with him marrying women from the tribes around them. When he took a wife from Ishmael’s family that was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I’m not sure if that move was to appease them or displease them. Isaac has just sent Jacob off to get a wife from their own family. Ishmael was technically family so Esau sought out a wife from Ishmael’s family. Basemath, Ishmael’s offspring bore one son for Esau; Reuel.

His first wife Adah gave him one son also; Nebaioth. His second wife Oholibamah gave him three sons; Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. We are not told how many daughters Esau had or which mother they came from. But we know he had at LEAST two because when we are told he “took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all members of his household” (verse 6a), daughters is plural. He didn’t have as many sons as Jacob but his “quiver” was still full of children.

I was curious if Israel and Edom ever clashed in war. I wondered if they were part of the nations Joshua and the children of Israel removed in their entry to the Promised Land or if Edom was part of King David’s push for larger territory. I found out that king David battled and struck down “18,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt” (2 Samuel 8:13). He put garrisons throughout their land and made them Israel’s servants (2 Samuel 8:14). There were a lot of generations between Jacob and David. Apparently they didn’t still consider them relatives.

We also read that the Edomites had kings long before Israel did. I’m curious where they begin and in what generation Israel is in at that time. Do the Edomites face captivity like Israel did in Egypt? Israel grew in number while in captivity but not in power. Their power came straight from God. NO nation has ever come out of captivity and conquered as quickly as Israel did.

Esau’s family intermingled with the people of Seir within the first generation. Amelek was the product of that first liaison.

I have a question here. It pertains to the practice of circumcision. We KNOW that Isaac was circumcised at birth. Jacob and Esau would have been also. And Jacob circumcised all his sons. This was evident when Jacob’s sons required the same from the men of Shechem before they could exchange daughters in marriage. My question is, did Esau circumcise his sons? Was he keeping God’s covenant with Abraham? Did he require those marrying into his family to observe that covenant requirement? Or did he give up entirely once Jacob got the birthright and the blessing?

And this brings me to another question. What gods did Esau worship? We saw how easily Jacob’s family let foreign gods into their camp and he had personal encounters with God’s messengers. Did Esau have any such visitations to keep him on the path? Did his Canaanite wives bring in their gods? When Jacob and Esau reunited Esau gave God the glory for his own success. Was he still serving God at that point or was it a manner of speech? Honestly, if it wasn’t for God grabbing hold of Israel time and time again they would have abandoned Him too. They brought in foreign gods on several occasions and they were sent into captivity for this on MORE than one occasion.

Thank You Father for giving me a peek into some of the other lines besides Your chosen people. I still wonder what it was that made the difference between choosing Jacob over Esau. For that matter, choosing one person to be a disciple over another. You see the heart and the future. Those two things qualify YOU alone to judge but I wouldn’t mind You sharing some of that with me when we finally meet face to face. THANK YOU for choosing me too! I KNOW I don’t deserve it but will forever be grateful and accepting of Your choice.

Thank You Holy Spirit for making me think beyond the list of names. You know how genealogy DOESN’T make me get up and dance. So You throw a few off the wall questions into the mix for me. I LOVE how You keep God’s word exciting, even in the areas I personally find boring.

Father, THANK YOU for keeping a remnant alive whom You could send Jesus through. Without Israel’s return to You time and time again there would have been no one to work through. I know it took a LOT of work to bring them back again and again but You never gave up. Just like You never give up on me. I stumble and fall in my walk but You ALWAYS lift me back up again. Thank You! I LOVE seeing Your finger in history and in my life too. Keep “drawing” God! I can’t wait to see the finished picture!

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