Isaac and Abimelech, 1-34

Gen 25:1 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.

‘In Genesis 25-36 the focus shifts from Abraham to his grandson Jacob with a few side glimpses of Isaac. The lengthy Jacob cycle is framed by the genealogies of two individuals who are not a part of the chosen  line-Ishmael (25:12-18) and Esau (36:1-43). Hamilton sees a basic theme in this cycle: (1) the need for transformation (25:19-28:9); (2) preparation for transformation (28:10-32:21); (3) transformation (32:22-32); and (4) the results of the transformation (33:1-36:40).’ (OT Survey)

Gen 25:2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.

Gen 25:3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Asshurites, the Letushites and the Leummites.

Gen 25:4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.

Gen 25:5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.

Gen 25:6 But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.

Gen 25:7 Altogether, Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years.

Gen 25:8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people.

Gen 25:9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite,

Notwithstanding the oft-repeated promise to Abraham, he himself did not any more of the Promised Land than a grave.

Gen 25:10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah.

Gen 25:11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.

Gen 25:12 This is the account of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s maidservant, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.

Gen 25:13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,

Gen 25:14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa,

Gen 25:15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah.

Gen 25:16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps.

Gen 25:17 Altogether, Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people.

Gen 25:18 His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt, as you go towards Asshur. And they lived in hostility towards all their brothers.

Gen 25:19 This is the account of Abraham’s son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac,

Gen 25:20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.

Gen 25:21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

Gen 25:22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to enquire of the LORD.

Gen 25:23 The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”

Gen 25:24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.

Gen 25:25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.

Gen 25:26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

Summary of Jacob’s Life.  ‘Jacob’s life had four stages, each marked by a personal encounter with God. In the first stage, Jacob lived up to his name, which means “he grasps the heel” (figuratively, “he deceives”). He grabbed Esau’s heel at birth, and by the time he fled from home, he had also grabbed his brother’s birthright and blessing. During his flight, God first appeared to him. Not only did God confirm to Jacob his blessing, but he awakened in Jacob a personal knowledge of himself. In the second stage, Jacob experienced life from the other side, being manipulated and deceived by Laban. But there is a curious change: the Jacob of stage one would simply have left Laban, whereas the Jacob of stage two, after deciding to leave, waited six years for God’s permission. In the third stage, Jacob was in a new role as grabber. This time, by the Jordan River, he grabbed on to God and wouldn’t let go. He realized his dependence on the God who had continued to bless him. His relationship to God became essential to his life, and his name was changed to Israel, “he struggles with God.” Jacob’s last stage of life was to be grabbed  —  God achieved a firm hold on him. In responding to Joseph’s invitation to come to Egypt, Jacob was clearly unwilling to make a move without God’s approval.’ (Life Application)

Gen 25:27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skilful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents.

Gen 25:28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Gen 25:29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished.

Gen 25:30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)

Gen 25:31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

Birthright – ‘The birthright consisted of the special privileges that belonged to the firstborn male child in a family. Prominent among those privileges was a double portion of the estate as an inheritance. If a man had two sons, his estate would be divided into three portions, and the older son would receive two. If there were three sons, the estate would be divided into four portions, and the oldest son would receive two. The oldest son also normally received the father’s major blessing. Indeed, the Hebrew word for blessing (berakah) is virtually an anagram of the word that means both birthright and firstborn (bekorah). Legal continuation of the family line may also have been included among the privileges of the firstborn son. Deuteronomy 21:15-17 prohibited a father from playing favorites among his sons by trying to give the birthright to other than the firstborn.’ (Holman)

Gen 25:32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

Gen 25:33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

‘Common sense isn’t all that common. In fact, the common thread in many decisions is that they don’t make sense. Esau’s life was filled with choices he must have regretted bitterly. He appears to have been a person who found it hard to consider consequences, reacting to the need of the moment without realizing what he was giving up to meet that need. Trading his birthright for a bowl of stew was the clearest example of this weakness. He also chose wives in direct opposition to his parents’ wishes. He learned the hard way.
What are you willing to trade for the things you want? Do you find yourself, at times, willing to negotiate anything for what you feel you need now? Do your family, spouse, integrity, body, or soul get included in these deals? Do you sometimes feel that the important parts of life escaped while you were grabbing for something else? If so, your initial response, like Esau’s, may be deep anger. In itself that isn’t wrong, as long as you direct the energy of that anger toward a solution and not toward yourself or others as the cause of the problem. Your greatest need is to find a focal point other than “what I need now.” The only worthy focal point is God. A relationship with him will not only give an ultimate purpose to your life; it will also be a daily guideline for living.’ (Life Application)

Gen 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.