Genesis 25: The Death of Abraham; The Death of Ishmael; The Birth of Esau and Isaac; Jacob Purchases the Birthright

Curried-Lamb-Lentil-and-Root-Vegetable-StewHebrew-English Text

I. Summary

Abraham, whose offspring with Keturah are listed, leaves everything he owns to Isaac, dies at the age of 175, and is buried alongside Sarah at the Cave of Machpelah. Ishmael, whose twelve sons are listed, dies at the age of 137. After twenty years of barrenness, Yahweh grants Rebekah and Isaac twins named Esau and Isaac. Jacob sells Esau some stew for Esau’s birthright.

II. Photo

Esau gives away his birthright for some stew: “Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.” (v. 34)

III. Select Verses

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

5-6: Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.

8-10: Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with his wife Sarah.

11: After the death of Abraham God blessed his son Isaac. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.

16: These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes.

21-26:  Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. The children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples born of you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the elder shall serve the younger.” When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. Afterward his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

29-34: Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.) Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

IV. Outline

1-6. Abraham’s other children

    1. Abraham marries Keturah

    2-4. Abraham’s offspring with Keturah

    5. Abraham gives everything to Isaac

    6. Abraham gives his other sons gifts and sends them to the eastern desert

7-10. Abraham dies

    6-8. Abraham dies at 175 years old

    9-10. Isaac and Ishmael bury him next to Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah

    11. Yahweh blesses Isaac, who settles in Beer Sheba

12-18. The death and offspring of Ishmael

    12. Introduction

    13a. Introduction (again)

    13b-16. Ishmael’s twelve sons, chieftains of twelve tribes

    17. Ishmael dies at 137 years old

    18. Ishmael’s descendants dwelled from Egypt to Assyria

19-34. The story of Isaac begins

    19. Introduction

    20-26. The birth of Esau and Jacob

        20. Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah

        21. Isaac prays for Rebekah, who is barren [for 20 years, see v. 26], and Yahweh hears his prayer

        22. Rebekah has incredible pain

        23. Yahweh explains that she has twins, and the older will serve the younger 

        24-26a. The first twin is red (’edom, see v. 30) and hairy and named Esau, the second is gripping his heel (‘eqev) so is named Jacob (ya‘aqov)

        26b. Isaac was sixty at this time

    27-28. Esau grows to be a hunter loved by Isaac, Jacob a “tent dweller” (homebody? shepherd?) loved by Rebekah

    29-34. Jacob acquires Esau’s birthright

        29. Jacob cooks a stew and Esau arrives hungry

        30. Esau asks for the red (’edom) stew, hence Esau is called Edom [a nation in Transjordan]

        31-33. Esau is famished, so he trades Jacob his birthright 

        34. Esau recovers and hates the birthright

V. Comment

No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used

(see “Commentaries” page)

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