The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Genesis 25

Gen 25:1

See Lesson, Jews and Arabs are cousins.

Gen 25:2

More sons after Abraham was 100 years old (Gen 17:17)? Poss the events of Gen 25:1,2 actually occurred between the births of Ishmael and Isaac (see 1Ch 1:29-34 and note the order). Or consider: when God performs a miracle, his abundant power often does not stop with that initial miracle: ie (1) when Hannah (who was barren) had her prayer answered for a son (Samuel) she was later blessed with three more sons and two daughters (1Sa 1;2); (2) after the miracle of Jesus' resurrection, many bodies of saints around Jerusalem came out of their graves and appeared unto many (Mat 27). God's power knows no limits.

Gen 25:4

ABIDA: Sig "father of knowledge".

Gen 25:6

These sons were prob born soon after Hagar's Ishmael, while Sarah was still alive. The same motive that caused Sarah to offer him Hagar (Gen 16:2,3) might apply also with Keturah. (Note the order of Abraham's sons listed in 1Ch 1:29-34.)

Gen 25:8

GATHERED TO HIS PEOPLE: No heaven-going. Abraham's fathers were idolaters (Jos 24:2). Their destiny in "orthodox" teaching: Hell-fire! The same language concerning others: Isaac died (Gen 35:29). Jacob (Gen 49:33), Moses (Deu 34:5,6), Joshua (Jos 24:29), Samuel (1Sa 25:1), and David (1Ki 2:1,10; Act 2:29).

Gen 25:10

THE FIELD... FROM THE HITTITES: The only part of the Promised Land which Abraham possessed.

Gen 25:11

BEER LAHAI ROI: The Hebrew signifies "the well of the Living One who sees me", or "the well of life and vision". This was a fountain of water in the wilderness, between Kadesh and Bered on the road to Shur (the eastern line of Egypt's border fortresses), where the Lord's watchful care was revealed to Hagar (Gen 16:14). Also a place where Isaac "dwelt" (RSV) for some time. This site is not certain, but is possibly about 50 miles southwest of Beersheba.

Hagar had once found deliverance there and Ishmael had drunk from the water so graciously revealed by the God who liveth and seeth the sons of men; but this was a merely casual visit, the kind that worldly people pay to the Lord in times of need, when it serves their turn. They cry to Him in trouble, but forsake Him in prosperity. By contrast, Isaac dwelt there, and made the well of the living and all-seeing God his constant source of supply. The usual tenor of a man's life, the dwelling of his soul, is the true test of his state.

Perhaps the providential visitation experienced by Hagar struck Isaac's mind, and led him to revere the place; its poetic and mystical name endeared it to him; his frequent meditations by the well at evening made him familiar with its environs; and his meeting Rebekah [Gen 24:62] there had made his spirit feel at home near the spot. But best of all, the fact that he there enjoyed fellowship with the living God, had made him select that hallowed ground for his dwelling. Let us learn to live in the presence of the living God, and feel comfortable knowing His eyes are upon us.

Gen 25:12

Vv 12-18: Generations of the natural seed, Ishmael. See Lesson, Jews and Arabs are cousins.

V 19 and onward: Generations of the spiritual seed, Isaac.

Gen 25:13

Vv 13-16: Twelve sons born to Ishmael, as promised in Gen 17:20. Even in small, seemingly unimportant ways God's predictions always come to pass. What does this say then for the more major, important predictions, such as Christ's coming, the resurrection, etc?

Gen 25:18

Cp v 9, where Ishmael is together with Isaac. Was Ishmael under the covenant also?

Gen 25:21

BARREN: Again a miraculous begettal. Hope must not be based on natural strength but only on God's power to perform.

See WP 35-37. "A short-sighted view of the matter would have suggested to Isaac that there was no need to entreat the Lord on a matter that had been the subject of promise. But all God's ways work together. There is no clash. He makes a promise; but He wills to be asked for the thing promised, and makes its individual attainment dependent upon our compliance with His will. In this way, the connection that exists in fact between God and His children is kept constantly before their minds, with the double blessedness of yielding God pleasure and His people peace and joy and benefit" (WP 36).

Gen 25:22

Vv 22,23: The "struggling" of the two children in the womb was prophetic of the struggling of their respective nations -- ie, Israel and Edom. See esp Isa 34n. Life of Jacob in Ber 56:9,10.

SHE WENT TO INQUIRE OF THE LORD: To a special sanctuary. To Abraham? To Melchizedek?

Gen 25:23

THE OLDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER: Cit Rom 9:12. Lit, "the greater shall serve the lesser" (RV). This sense is probably taken from the preceding words: "and the one people shall be stronger than the other people." In the context of this verse "the stronger" refers to the victor in the "struggle" (going on within Rebekah's womb). Esau would win that context and would be the firstborn, the first from the womb (Gen 25:25). But God decrees that, despite his greater physical strength, Esau would still serve his younger and weaker brother.

"In the individual lives of Esau and Jacob this was not immediately obvious. Esau grew strong whilst Jacob was in Padan-aram and the younger paid him deference when they again met by the river Jabbok (Gen 33:3,8-15). On the other hand Jacob obtained the birthright and the blessing (Gen 25; 27). When Jacob returned from exile, it was he who entered the land of promise whilst his older brother went back to Mount Seir. Even in possessions Jacob had been greatly blessed, so that Esau marvelled at the extent of his family and herds and the magnitude of the present Jacob had sent to him (Gen 33:4-11). Esau was unable to provide for Jacob in any way because Yahweh had made him self-sufficient (Gen 33:12-15). Jacob then passed on to be heir of the great wealth and possessions already enjoyed by Abraham and Isaac. The subserviency of Esau, however, is more easily seen in his descendants, for Edom was long subject to the kingdom of Judah (eg, 2Sa 8:14; 1Ki 22:47; 2Ki 14:7). Jacob's future participation in the Kingdom of God will complete his ascendancy -- when any profane person, like Esau, will be thrust out (Luk 13:28; Heb 12:16)" (LRom 10).

THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER: True of sons of Adam, Terah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Jesse, etc.

Gen 25:25

RED: Sin, ie the sin nature: "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool" (Isa 1:18).

Gen 25:26

Spiritual Israel lays hold on heel of older brother Christ, "the bruised heel" (Gen 3:15; see Psa 41:9n). Esau was accursed (Heb 12:16-19), and Christ was accursed for our sakes.

JACOB: "The one who grasps the heel", ie "supplanter" or "tripper up". Seeking advantage at expense of others.

Gen 25:27

A MAN OF THE OPEN COUNTRY (A MAN OF THE FIELD): A man with no natural restraint of the flesh, who worships own lusts, but whom the world idolizes as a courageous, strong sportsman. "Open" sw "wild" in Lev 26:22; "wild (beasts)" in Ecc 3:19. Ber 56:9; BS 10:172.

A QUIET MAN: "Plain" in AV. Sig "complete, dear, gentle, undefiled" (Psa 119:1; Song 6:9; Psa 26:1,11; 1Ki 9:4), "perfect" (Psa 37:37; Job 1:1). Jacob was governed by more than natural instincts.

STAYING AMONG THE TENTS: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all dwelt in tents: "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise" (Heb 11:8,9). "Tent" = "ohel" (sig to shine, visible at a distance). Cp the ecclesia, "light of world", "city on a hill" (Mat 5:14). "So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe" (Phi 2:15).

See Lesson, Jacob's life, a type of Israel.

Gen 25:28

Why did Isaac -- a righteous man -- love Esau? Perh Rebekah had not told him that Jacob was chosen by God. Perh he was influenced by robust, worldly Esau, and naturally hoped that the firstborn would follow in the ways of his father.

Gen 25:32

I AM ABOUT TO DIE: Because of the famine in the land (Gen 26:1)? Or a great exaggeration? Or, "I may die at any time" (not necessarily from hunger, but by any natural way). So his attitude could be expressed by 1Co 15:32: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his life?" (Mar 8:36).

Gen 25:33

Jacob relied on sharp practice, deceit, instead of patience and faith. He was seeking what God had already given him, trying to rush God. He learns his lesson later, after many hard years. Early life: "A misconception of how faith works" (GVG, Ber 55:2). "Why not say -- as we are being slanderously reported as saying and as some claim that we say -- 'Let us do evil that good may result'? Their condemnation is deserved" (Rom 3:8). "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Rom 6:1,2). Jacob should have trusted, committed way to God (Psa 37:5-7), as did David (1Sa 16n).

Gen 25:34

HE ATE AND DRANK, AND THEN GOT UP AND LEFT: Cp 1Co 10:8 with Exo 32:6: "rose up to play" -- ie, sexual play: Esau was a fornicator (Heb 12:16). Went to carouse with temple harlots (BS 10:173)?

SO ESAU DESPISED HIS BIRTHRIGHT: Esau's birthright was to keep Truth in world, as a priest (cp Gen 27:15). Esau is dismissed with one ch (Gen 36). He has no part in the divine plan: Note also Oba; Jer 49. "Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown" (Rev 3:11). "Crowns are won and lost in the common ways of life."

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