Genesis Chapter 36
Verses 36:1-43: This chapter lists the wives of Esau (verses 1-3), the sons of Esau (verses 4-5), the enormous wealth (verses 6-8), and the descendants of Esau, and Seir, the Horite. Their families intermarried (verses 9-42).
From (36:1-37:1), we see the genealogy of Esau.
In verses 1-19: The taking up of the history of Jacob (37:2), the next patriarch, is preceded by a detailed genealogy of Esau, to which is appended both the genealogy of Seir the Horite, whose descendants were the contemporary inhabitants of Edom and a listing of Edomite kings and chiefs.
Jacob’s and Esau’s posterities, as history would go on to show, would not be in isolation from each other as originally intended (verses 6-8). They were to become bitter enemies engaged with each other in war.
Genesis 36:1 “Now these [are] the generations of Esau, who [is] Edom.”
“Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom”: Who was surnamed Edom, from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to his brother Jacob (Genesis 25:30). An account is given of him, and his posterity, not only because he was a son of Isaac.
Lately made mention of as concerned in his burial; but because his posterity would be often taken notice of in the sacred Scriptures, and so their genealogy would serve to illustrate such passages.
Maimonides thinks the principal reason is, that whereas Amalek, a branch of Esau’s family, were to be destroyed by an express command of God, it was necessary that all the rest should be particularly described, lest they should all perish together.
But other ends are answered hereby, as partly to show the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham, concerning the multiplication of his seed, and the accomplishment of the oracle to Rebekah, signifying that two nations were in her womb, one of which were those Edomites; as also to observe how the blessing of Isaac his father came upon him with effect (Genesis 22:17).
“Edom” (compare verse 8; see note on 25:30).
Genesis 36:2 “Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite;”
“And Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan”: Of the Canaanites, the posterity of cursed Canaan, most of them was of them, though not all. One of his wives was of the family of Ishmael, as after related.
“Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite; According to Jarchi and Aben Ezra, this is the same with Bashemath (Gen. 26:34); and that she had two names.
“And Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite”: The daughter of the one, and the granddaughter of the other. It being usual in Scripture to call grandchildren children, for Zibeon and Anah were father and son (Genesis 36:24). And the Samaritan, Septuagint, and Syriac versions read here, “the daughter of Anah the son of Zibeon”.
There are an Anah and a Zibeon who were brethren (Genesis 36:20). Wherefore Aben Ezra supposes that these two brothers, or the father and son, lay with the same woman and it could not be known whose child it was that was born of her.
Therefore, this was called the daughter of them both. Jarchi supposes this wife of Esau to be the same with Judith (Genesis 26:34); but not only the names differ, but also the names of their fathers, and of the tribe or nation they were of.
Genesis 36:3 “And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth.”
“And Bashemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth”: The eldest son of Ishmael (see Genesis 28:9); called there Mahalath.
You must remember that these wives, whom Esau took, were not pleasing to his family. These were women forbidden to the holy people. Isaac and Rebekah were disappointed that their son had married these Canaanite women.
Genesis 36:4 “And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel;”
“And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz”: This son of Esau, according to Jerom, is the same with him mentioned in the book of Job, as one of his friends that came to visit him (Job 2:11). So says the Targum of Jonathan on (Genesis 36:10); but he rather was the grandson of this man, since he is called the Temanite.
“And Bashemath bare Reuel”: The name is the same with Reuel or Raguel, the name of Jethro. But cannot be the same person as is said by some, for he was a Midianite and not an Edomite, (Exodus 2:18).
“Adah” means ornament, or beauty.
“Eliphaz” means God of gold, or God is fine gold.
“Bashemath” means fragrance.
“Reuel” means friend of God’s, or God is a friend.
Genesis 36:5 “And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these [are] the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan.”
“And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah”: In this genealogy mention is made of another Korah among the sons of Eliphaz (Gen. 36:16); which Jarchi thinks is the same with this, and takes him to be a bastard and begotten in incest by Eliphaz, on his father’s wife Aholibamah.
But Aben Ezra observes, that some are of opinion that there were two Korahs, one the son of Aholibamah, and the other the son of Adah; but he thinks there were but one, which was the son of Aholibamah, and is reckoned among the sons of Eliphaz, because he dwelt among them.
Or perhaps his mother died when he was little, and Adah brought him up with her sons, and so was reckoned her son; such were the children of Michal, Saul’s daughter.
“These are the sons of Esau, which were born to him in the land of Canaan”: And we do not read of any born to him elsewhere; so that of all his wives, which some think were four, others five, he had but five sons. What daughters he had is not related, though from (Gen. 36:6), it appears he had some.
“Jeush” means collector.
“Jaalam” means whom God hides.
“Korah” means baldness
Genesis 36:6 “And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob.”
“And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters”: The names of his wives and sons are before given; but what were the names of his daughters, or their number, is not said.
“And all the persons of his house”: His menservants and maidservants that were born in his house, or bought with his money; the word for “persons” signifies “souls”, and is sometimes used for slaves that are bought and sold (see Ezek. 27:13).
“And his cattle, and all his beasts”: His sheep and oxen, camels and asses.
“And all his substance which he had got in the land of Canaan”: Before he went to Seir the first time, part of which he might leave behind in Canaan, with servants to improve it. Also, that part of his father’s personal estate which fell to him at his death, as well as what he might further acquire after his death, during his stay in Canaan.
“And went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob”: Not into another part of the same country; but into another country, as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan say, and so the Arabic version, even unto Seir, as appears by what follows.
And whither he had been before, and had obtained large possessions, and now having got all he could at his father’s death, and collecting together all his other substance, thought fit to retire from thence to Seir, which he liked better, and for a reason afterwards given.
God thus disposing his mind, and making the circumstances of things necessary, that he should remove in order to make way for Jacob, and his posterity, to dwell in a land which was designed for them.
And so the Samaritan and Septuagint versions read it, “and he went out of the land of Canaan”: and the Syriac version is, “and he went to the land of Seir”. Some render the words to this sense, that he went there “before the coming of Jacob”; and it is true that he did go there before his brother came again into Canaan.
But of this the text speaks not, for what follows will not agree with it; others better, “because of Jacob”; not for fear of him, as the Targum of Jonathan, which paraphrases the words, “for the terror of his brother Jacob was cast upon him.
Because Esau knew by the blessing of his father, and the oracle of God and His concurring protection of God in all things; that the land of Canaan belonged to Jacob.
Genesis 36:7 “For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle.”
“Were more than that they might dwell together”: Crowded grazing and living conditions finally clinched the decision by Esau to move permanently to Edom, where he had already established a home (32:3; 33:14, 16).
Since it was Abraham’s descendants through Isaac and Jacob who would possess the land, it was fitting for God to work out the circumstances providentially of keeping Jacob’s lineage in the land and moving Esau’s lineage out.
It is not revealed if Esau had understood and come to accept the promises of God to Jacob, although his descendants surely sought to deny Israel any right to their land or their life.
At first glance, verse 6 would indicate that these two brothers were fighting again. In verse 7, we see that this was not so. God had blessed them both so abundantly; there was not enough grass for all the animals to be fed. Esau decided to move and leave this area to Jacob.
Genesis 36:8 “Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau [is] Edom.”
“Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir”: Before he is said to be in the land of Seir (Gen. 32:3); now to dwell in a mount of that name. From which driving out the Horites, he seized it and dwelt in it. It had its name from Seir the Horite who inhabited the land (Genesis 36:20).
The Targum of Jonathan calls this mountain Mount Gabla, and one part of the land of Edom, or Idumea, was called Gobolites, as Josephus relates, perhaps the same with Gebal (Psalm 83:7); hither Esau went and took up his residence, after things were amicably adjusted between him and his brother Jacob.
So it came to pass, that Esau dwelt in Seir; and Jacob remained secure and quiet in the land of Canaan.
“Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir”: This was divinely assigned as Esau’s place (Deut. 2:5; Joshua 24:4).
“Esau is Edom”: So called from the red pottage he had of Jacob, which is repeated to fix the hatred of that transaction upon him, as well as for the sake of what follows, showing the reason why his posterity were called Edomites.
Genesis 36:9 “And these [are] the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir:”
“And these are the generations of Esau”: Or the posterity of Esau, his children and grandchildren, as before and hereafter related.
“The father of the Edomites in Mount Seir”: From whom they of that mountain and in the adjacent country had the name of Edomites or Idumeans.
Verses 10-14: (compare 1 Chron. 1:35-37).
Genesis 36:10 “These [are] the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau.”
“These are the names of Esau’s sons”: In this and some following verses, an account is given of the sons of Esau, which agrees with what is before observed, and of his sons’ sons.
“Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau”: Who seems to be his first wife, and this his first son.
“Reuel the son of Bashemath and wife of Esau”: His second son by another wife, a daughter of Ishmael (Gen. 36:3).
Genesis 36:11 “And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.”
“And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman”: This was his firstborn, and from him the city of Teman in Edom or Idumea had its name (see Jer. 49:7). Eliphaz is called the Temanite from hence (Job 2:11); four more sons are mentioned.
“Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz”: But I do not find that any towns or cities, or any part of the land of Edom, were denominated from any of them.
Not that it is important, but just take note in passing, “Gatam” means penny.
Genesis 36:12 “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these [were] the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.”
“And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz, Esau’s son”: She is said to be the sister of Lotan, the eldest son of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36:22). In (1 Chronicles 1:36), mention is made of Timna among the sons of Eliphaz, and of Duke Timnah here (Gen. 36:40).
“And she bare to Eliphaz Amalek”: From whence the Amalekites sprung, often mentioned in Scripture, whom the Israelites were commanded utterly to destroy (1 Sam. 15:18).
“These were the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife”: That is, her grandsons.
This Amalek was not the father of the Amalekites, because that tribe was mentioned long before the birth of Amalek.
Genesis 36:13 “And these [are] the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife.”
“And these are the sons of Reuel”: Another son of Esau’s; this man had four sons, as follow:
“Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah”: Of whom we know no more than their names, unless Maps or Massa, which Ptolemy places in Idumea, should have its name from Mizzah.
“These were the sons of Bashemath, Esau’s wife”: Her grandsons, as before.
Genesis 36:14 “And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah.”
“And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah”:
“The daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife”: (See Gen. 36:2). Here also the Samaritan and Septuagint versions read, “The daughter of Anah, the son of Zibeon”.
“And she bare to Esau, Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah”: This is repeated from (Genesis 36:5); no mention is made of her grandchildren, as of his other wives.
This was just another listing of Esau’s family.
Genesis 36:15 “These [were] dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn [son] of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz,”
“These were dukes”: This term, “ruler of a thousand,” apart from one exception (Zech. 12:5-6), is used exclusively for the tribal princes or clan leaders, the political/military leaders in Edom. It may suggest a loosely formed tribal confederacy.
Genesis 36:16 “Duke Korah, duke Gatam, [and] duke Amalek: these [are] the dukes [that came] of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these [were] the sons of Adah.”
“Duke Korah”: Only among the sons of Eliphaz is reckoned Duke Korah. Not before mentioned among his sons, and is left out in the Samaritan version (See Gen. 36:7).
To which it may be added, that according to Gerundinsis, this is the same with Timna, related among the sons of Eliphaz (1 Chron. 1:36); who was called by his father Korah: or this might be a grandson of Eliphaz.
Genesis 36:17 “And these [are] the sons of Reuel Esau’s son; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these [are] the dukes [that came] of Reuel in the land of Edom; these [are] the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife.”
“And these are the sons of Reuel” (see Gen. 36:15).
Genesis 36:18 “And these [are] the sons of Aholibamah Esau’s wife; duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these [were] the dukes [that came] of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife.”
“And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau’s wife” (see Gen. 36:15).
Genesis 36:19 “These [are] the sons of Esau, who [is] Edom, and these [are] their dukes.”
“These are the sons of Esau” (see Gen. 36:15).
Two important things to note in this, dukes just meant tribal leaders. Esau’s blessing from God had to do with blessing him on this earth. The spiritual blessings came to Jacob (Israel).
Verses 20-28 (1 Chron. 1:38-42).
Genesis 36:20 “These [are] the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah,”
“These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land”: “Before”, as the Targum of Jonathan adds, that is, before it was inhabited by Esau and his posterity, and called Edom, and had from him the name of Seir.
But the Horites dwelt here before him, even in Abraham’s time (Gen. 14:6). And who were so called from their dwelling underground in holes and caves, with which the further part of the land of Edom abounded, and are the same Greeks called Troglodytes (those who lived in caves).
Jarchi says, from their Jewish authorities, these were very expert in the nature of the land, and knew what was fit for olives and what for vines.
Now the genealogy of this man is here given, partly to show who were the ancient inhabitants of this land before they were drove out, and succeeded by Esau and his sons, (Deut. 1:12); and partly because of the intermarriages of Esau and his posterity with them, whereby they more easily came into the possession of the country.
For Esau married the daughter of Anah, the son of Zibeon, a son of Seir (Gen. 36:11); and Eliphaz took Timna, a sister of Lotan the son of Seir, to be his concubine (Gen. 36:12); the names of the sons of Seir follow.
“Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah”: The first of these is said to be the same with Latinus, a king that reigned in Italy, which seems to be taken from the fancied resemblance of names.
Zibeon and Anah are here spoken of as brethren, the sons of Seir; whereas (in Gen. 36:24); they are made mention of as father and son (see Gen. 36:2).
Zibeon, according to the Jewish writers, committed incest with his mother, whence Anah came, and is called his brother, because of the same mother, and his son, as being begotten by him. They seem to seek for such kind of copulations to reproach the Edomites.
Genesis 36:21 “And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these [are] the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom.”
“Edom” is the rugged desert area that extends for about a hundred miles from the Wadi Zered to the Gulf of Aqaba. Here the descendants of Esau settled (verses 1-43). In the Middle Bronze Age, the King’s Highway passed through this region (Num. 20:14-18).
However archaeological excavations seem to indicate that the area was occupied only by various Bedouin tribes ruled by chieftains (“dukes”), until the fourteenth century B.C. After that the Edomites remained a constant threat to the Israelites until David conquered them (2 Sam. 8:13).
In the time of the divided monarchy Edom regained its independence. Its constant hostility toward God’s people was frequently denounced by Israel’s prophets. Edom was later subjugated by Assyria and eventually overrun by the Nabateans in the third century B.C.
“Horite” means hole.
“Seir” means rugged.
“Lotan” means wrapping up.
“Shobal” means plowing.
“Dishon” means gazelle.
“Ezer” means treasure.
These Horite people lived in caves mostly. This was rugged country. Perhaps, that is where the name came from. Aholibamah was a Horite. Eliphaz’s concubine, Timna, was a Horite as well.
Genesis 36:22 “And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister [was] Timna.”
“And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam”: The first of these seems to have his name from the general name of the tribe or nation, and the other is called Homam (1 Chron. 1:39).
“And Lotan’s sister was Timna”: Whom Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau took for his concubine (Gen. 36:12); for the sake of which her relation to Lotan is here mentioned. She is said to be the sister of this man particularly, though there were seven brethren of them, because she might be his sister both by father and mother’s side, when she was not of the other only by the father’s side.
Genesis 36:23 “And the children of Shobal [were] these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.”
“And the children of Shobal were these”: Who was the second son of Seir, and whose sons were the five following:
“Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam”: In (1 Chronicles 1:40), Alvan is called Alian, and Shepho is Shephi.
Genesis 36:24 “And these [are] the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this [was that] Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.”
“And these are the children of Zibeon”: The third son of Self, and who had two sons.
“Both Ajah and Anah”: Of the latter it is observed.
“This was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father”: who observed, while he was feeding his father’s asses in the wilderness, that the he asses coupled with mares, or horses with the she asses, produced another sort of creatures called mules.
“Ajah” means screamer.
“Anah” was the first father-in-law of Esau. This was the first mention of mules.
Genesis 36:25 “And the children of Anah [were] these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah.”
“And the children of Anah were these”:
“Dishon”: the name of one of his uncles (Gen. 36:21).
“And Aholibamah the daughter of Anah”: Aben Ezra thinks this is not the same Anah that was mentioned in the beginning of this verse; since, if he was the same, there was no need to mention him again, but that he is the same that is mentioned (in Genesis 36:2).
But if he is not the same that is spoken of in this verse and (Genesis 36:24), it is difficult to account for the mention of him at all in this place. That he is the same as (in Genesis 36:2), seems to be right, though it is attended with this difficulty, that the Anah and Aholibamah there are represented as of the Hivites, whereas here they are reckoned among the Horites.
But it may be, as Ainsworth observes (in Genesis 36:20), that the Horites were of the race of the Hivites originally. And indeed this Aholibamah being the wife of Esau seems to be the reason of this particular notice taken of her here. She is omitted (in 1 Chronicles 1:41).
Genesis 36:26 “And these [are] the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Esh-ban, and Ithran, and Cheran.”
“And these are the sons of Dishon”: Not of Dishon the son of Anah, but of Dishon the son of Seir (Genesis 36:21); and they are the four following:
“Hemdan, and Esh-ban, and Ithran, and Cheran”: The first of these, Hemdan is called Amram (1 Chron. 1:41).
Genesis 36:27 “The children of Ezer [are] these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan.”
“The children of Ezer are these”: Another son of Seir, who had the following sons:
“Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Achan”: The two last are called Zavan and Jakan (in 1 Chronicles 1:42).
Genesis 36:28 “The children of Dishan [are] these; Uz, and Aran.”
“The children of Dishon are these”: The last of the seven sons of Seir, and who had two sons.
“Uz and Aran”: From the former of these the land of Uz, inhabited by the Edomites, had its name (Lam. 4:21). Some have taken this to be the country of Job (Job 1:1).
Genesis 36:29 “These [are] the dukes [that came] of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah,”
“These are the dukes that came of the Horites”: Not that succeeded one after another, as the kings next mentioned did, but were together, at the same time, heads of respective families, and governors of them. Then the seven sons of Seir are mentioned in this verse and (Genesis 36:30), in their order, with the title of “duke” annexed to each of them, “Duke Lotan”, etc.
Genesis 36:30 “Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these [are] the dukes [that came] of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir.”
“These are the dukes that came of Hori”: The ancestor of Seir, whence he is called the Horite, unless the singular is put for the plural (used in Genesis 36:29).
“Among their dukes in the land of Seir”: Not that there were other dukes besides them in the land of Seir until Esau got among them, but these were they whose habitations were before in the land of Gabla (or Seir).
As the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it; or “in”, or “according to their dukedoms”, as the Septuagint version. In their respective families where they had the government, and which became very numerous.
Verses 31-39: Kings … before there reigned any king … of Israel”: Sandwiched in the genealogical details of Edom is a statement prophetically pointing to kingship in Israel (17:6, 16; 35:11; 49:10; Num. 24:7, 17-18; Deut. 17:14-20).
The kings’ list does not introduce a dynasty, each ruler not being the son of his predecessor. “Kings: more likely suggests rule over a more settled people than tribal groups.
Genesis 36:31 “And these [are] the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.”
“And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom”: In the land that was afterwards called the land of Edom; for this land was not so called when these kings began to reign.
According to Bishop Cumberland, and those that follow him, these were Horite kings, who, after their defeat by Chedorlaomer (Genesis 14:5); in order to secure themselves the better from such a calamity for the future, set up a kingdom.
Which appears, by the following account, to be elective; and so Maimonides observes, that not one of these kings were of Edom: and these were:
“Before there reigned any king over the children of Israel”: And there being no kings over Israel until many years after the times of Moses, hence some have thought these words are inserted by some other writer after him.
But there is no need to suppose that; for Moses knew, from foregoing prophecies and promises, that kings would arise out of them and reign over them (Genesis 17:6).
And this he was so certain of, that he himself, by divine direction, gave laws and rules to the children of Israel respecting their future kings (Deut. 17:14). Besides Moses himself was king in Jeshurun or Israel (Deut. 33:5), so that it is the same as if he had said, these are the kings that reigned in Edom, before this time.
I believe all this Duke business has been to show us one thing that was covered in this last sentence. The world had worldly rulers over its people, kings, (earthly), to tell them what to do. The Israelites were ruled by God alone. They had no earthly kings. We will see more of this in the next few verses.
Genesis 36:32 “And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city [was] Dinhabah.”
“And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom”: His name was not Balac, as the Septuagint version, which may lead to think of Balak king of Moab; nor is this the same with Balaam, the son of Beor. Who lived ages after, as some in Aben Ezra: who he was we know no more of than what is here said; he was the first Horite king.
“And the name of his city was Dinhabah”: The place either where he was born, or where he had been governor before, but of it we read nowhere else.
“Dinhabah” means concealment or little place.
Genesis 36:33 “And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead.”
“And Bela died”: How long he reigned is not known with any certainty, nor whether he left any sons behind him; if he did, they did not succeed him in the throne; for:
“Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead”: This king some have thought to be the same with Job, and from whom one of the books of Scripture has its name; but neither their names, nor age, nor country agree: who this Jobab and his father Zerah were cannot be said.
They seem to be of the same country in which Jobab reigned, since he is said to be of Bozrah, a famous city of Idumea, after spoken of in the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah and others (Isaiah 34:6).
Jarchi takes it to be a city of Moab, and indeed it is sometimes placed in Moab, and sometimes in Edom, it being on the borders of both, and sometimes belonged to the one and sometimes to the other.
Genesis 36:34 “And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead.”
“And Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead”: Or of the land of the south, as the Targum of Jonathan, of the southern part of the land of Idumea, as it was afterwards called. The metropolis of which was the city of Teman, after spoken of in Scripture, which had its name from Teman the son of Eliphaz (See Gen. 36:11).
Genesis 36:35 “And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city [was] Avith.”
“And Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead”: Who he or his father was we have no other account, nor of this warlike action of his.
Probably the Midianites came out to invade him, hearing of which, he went out against them, and met with him in the fields of Moab, which were near to Midian, and fought them and conquered them.
Jarchi says, the Midianites came out to make war against the Moabites, and the king of Edom went out to help the Moabites, and hence, he says, we learn, that Midian and Moab were near each other.
And in the days of Balaam they made peace that they might combine against Israel. This battle is supposed to be fought in the twelfth year of his reign; and it is thought to be in his reign that Esau came with his family and dwelt in Seir. Though some place it later in either in the following reign, or in that of his successors.
“And the name of his city was Avith”: Where it was is not certain.
Genesis 36:36 “And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead.”
“And Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead”: But who he was, or the place he was of, cannot be said.
Genesis 36:37 “And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth [by] the river reigned in his stead.”
“And Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead”: Rehoboth was one of the cities built by Asshur (Gen. 10:11); and was situated near the river Euphrates.
The Targum of Jonathan calls it Rehoboth which is by Euphrates; but Jerom, from Eusebius, takes it to be another city by a river in Edom, and says, that there was in his days a garrison in the country of Gabalena (a part of Idumea), a large village called by that name.
Genesis 36:38 “And Saul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead.”
“And Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead”: Whose name, inverted, is observed by Grotius to be the same with Hannibal; it signifies a gracious lord or king.
Genesis 36:39 “And Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city [was] Pau; and his wife’s name [was] Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab.”
“And Hadar reigned in his stead”: The last of the Horite kings, when an end was put to this monarchy by the united families of Seir and Esau, and changed into dukedoms; of which there were seven of the race of Seir, and fourteen of the race of Esau, of whom an account is given in the preceding part of this chapter: as for this last king, it is further said of him.
“And the name of his city was Pau”: But where it was cannot be said.
“And his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab”: His woman seems to be a person of note, by the mention made of her. But whether the names of her ancestors are the names of men or women it is not certain.
Genesis 36:40 “And these [are] the names of the dukes [that came] of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth,”
“And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau”: After the regal monarchy ceased, the government in Edom was by dukes, and of these there were two sons, one of which an account has been given of already, who were partly of the race of Seir, and partly of the race of Esau.
Who were dukes not by succession, but together, in and over their respective families. It may be observed, that neither Esau, nor his sons by his two first wives, Eliphaz and Reuel, are called dukes, only his three sons by his last wife.
All the rest are his grandsons and sons of the two former, which seems to give some light as to the time when those dukedoms took place; and very probably it was by the joint influence of Seir and Esau, whose families had intermarried, that an end was put to the regal power, and who, for a course of years, governed in the above manner.
And they of Esau’s race in those times are said to be “dukes in the land of Edom”, as a learned man has observed; whereas those that follow, which are a second race of them, are called “dukes of Edom” (Genesis 36:43); who took possession of the country and ruled in it, driving out the Horites and succeeding in their stead.
“According to their families”: They were the heads of.
“After their places, by their names”: The places where they lived, which were called after their names, and are as follow:
“Duke Timnah, Duke Alvah, Duke Jetheth”: These were both the names of the dukes, and of the places where they governed, called after their names; so Timnah or Themna, as Jerom calls it, is by him said to be a city of the princes of Edom, the same he says of Jetheth, so the like may be concluded of Alvah.
Genesis 36:41 “Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon,”
“Duke Aholibamah, Duke Elah, Duke Pinon”: The former is the name of a woman (Genesis 36:2); here the name of a man, and also of the place of which he was duke.
For Jerom makes mention of Elath, a country of the princes of Edom, and a city of Esau, ten miles from Petra to the east, and the seat of Duke Pinon was very probably Phinon, which lay between Petra and Zoar.
Genesis 36:42 “Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar,”
“Duke Kenaz, Duke Teman, Duke Mibzar”: There was a Kenaz the son of Eliphaz, and so a Teman a son of his, who were both dukes. But these seem to be different from them, though the latter might be duke of the place called Teman from him.
Which, in Jerom’s time, was a village five miles distant from Petra, and where was a Roman garrison, and so Mabsar in his times, was a large village in the country of Gabalena (a part of Idumea), and called Mabsara, and belonged to the city Petra.
Genesis 36:43 “Duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these [be] the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he [is] Esau the father of the Edomites.”
“These be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations, in the land of their possession”: The former race of dukes, as has been observed, were dukes in the land of Edom, were sojourners in the land, at least had not sovereign dominion, or were not the only dukes in it; there were dukes of the race of Seir at the same time.
But now these having driven out the Horites, were sole possessors and sovereign lords; and thus while Israel and his posterity were sojourners in a strange land, Esau and his family were possessors and lords of a country they could call their own.
“He is Esau the father of the Edomites”: That is, Edom, the dukes of whose race are before reckoned up; the same is Esau, who had the name of Edom from selling his birthright for a mess of red pottage: and this is the man from whom the Edomites or Idumeans sprung, often hereafter spoken of in the Scripture, though no more in this history.
The closing title of the genealogy calls attention to the Lord’s words to Rebekah at the birth of her sons, “two nations are in your womb” (25:23); here was the nation from the older.
It appears that this list, again, means that each of these men had control of his tribe and was like kings.
Genesis Chapter 36 Questions
1. Who was Edom?
2. Name Esau’s wives?
3. What area were they from?
4. What two people were disappointed in his choice of wives?
5. Who was the mother of Eliphaz?
6. Who was Bashemath’s son?
7. Who did Esau take with him when he left his brother’s face?
8. Was he angry?
9. Why did he leave?
10. Where did Esau dwell then?
11. What does “Gatam” mean?
12. What was Timna to Eliphaz?
13. What does “duke” probably mean?
14. What was the difference in Esau’s blessing and Jacob’s?
15. Where did the Horites live?
16. What does “Seir” mean?
17. Who was “Anah”?
18. What do all the Dukes show us? Contrast Israel.
19. Who was the father of the Edomites?
20. It appears this last list shows that these men are the head of what?