Genesis Chapter 36
After laying out Jacob/Israel's family in chapter 35, chapter 36 now turns to focus on laying out Esau's lineage and the lineage of the surrounding nations:
I. Esau’s lineage (or "Edom" he is the father of the Edomites [36:9]) – His wives were Canaanites
- Wife #1: Adah (daughter of Elon the Hittitie)
o Eliphaz (born in Canaan), his children were the chiefs of Esau's sons (these children came first):
§ Amalek (whose mother was Timna Eliphaz's concubine)
§ Korah (This appears to be a different Korah than Oholibamah's son below)
- Wife #2: Oholibamah (daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite), also chiefs (these children came third):
o Jeush (born in Canaan)
o Jalam (born in Canaan)
o Korah (born in Canaan)
- Wife #3: Basemath (Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebaioth) (these children came second):
o Reuel (born in Canaan), also chiefs
After all his children were born in Canaan he went away from Jacob, and he settled in the hill country of Seir (36:6-8). After outlining Esau's descendants Moses turns to outline the descendents of Seir the Horite (who was inhabiting the land of Seir).
II. Seir the Horite’s lineage, chiefs of the Horites in the land of Seir:
· Timna (likely Eliphaz's concubine)
o Anah (father of Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness pasturing his Zibeon's donkeys)
· Anah (I think this is the correct Anah, not the implication that there are two from vs. 24)
Further, after these descendents, Moses lists all the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before the Israelites had any king (“human” king that is) (vs. 31).
III. Rulers of Edom
1. Bela, son of Beor (his city was Dinhabah)
2. Jobab, son of Zerah of Bozrah
3. Husham, of the land of the Temanites
4. Hadad, son of Bedad (who defeated Midian in Moab. His city was Avith)
5. Samlah, of Masrekah
6. Shaul of Rehoboth on the Euphrates
7. Baal-hanan, son of Achbor
8. Hadar (His city was Pau), his wife was Mehetabel (daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab)
IV. Finally, here are the names of the chiefs of Esau (or Edom) according to their dwelling places and the land of their possession:
First, this chapter outlines Esau's lineage. This shows how God was faithful to His promise to Abraham that his descendants, while not all will ultimately have Abraham's faith and will not necessarily be chosen as God's covenantal people, would make up many nations: "No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations." (Genesis 17:5) As you continue to read the Bible you'll see that Esau's offspring become the namesake of nations of people.
Second, this chapter outlines and sets up many of the surrounding nations and peoples that God's chosen nation, Israel, will have to live among. These lists give credibility to Genesis as a reliable historical document. Sections like this give evidence to the fact that the author, Moses, intended to do more than simply tell a story of how God created the earth, and then created the nation of Israel. No, while not necessarily being exhaustive, he does seem to have intended to give an account for the many nations that exist as well. Even though God's chosen people would often have difficulty and conflict with these nations, God is continuing to show that when He makes promises He will keep them, no matter what the earthly circumstances look like: being outnumbered by unbelievers, being attacked by peoples with different belief systems, etc. God remains faithful.
Third, in the midst of all of this, each time God fulfills a promise He makes - like making Abraham into many nations - it gives credibility to His ultimate promise to save a people for Himself through the seed of Eve, a Messiah, Jesus Christ, who came to die for His people. In this death He conquered Satan, the world, and the flesh. He conquered death. If we believe in Jesus Christ and we turn from our sin we can be saved from God's wrath and our sin. Even here, in this chapter of names, God is showing Himself to be glorious by sustaining mankind, and even though these nations aren't God's particularly chosen people, they are part of how God demonstrated His grace to Israel and giving a Savior, a Savior who in the end would save even these nations' offspring if they would only repent and believe.