In this chapter we have an account of the posterity of Esau, who
were from him, were called Edomites;
Because he was the son of Isaac, for whose sake this honour is
put upon him.
Because the Edomites were neighbours to Israel, and their
genealogy would be of use to give light to the following stories of
what passed between them.
To shew the performance of the promise to Abraham, that he should
be the father of many nations, and of that answer which Rebekah
had from the oracle she consulted, Two nations are in thy womb; and
of the blessing of Isaac, Thy dwelling shall be the fatness of
Esau's wives, ver. 1 - 5.
His remove to mount Seir, ver. 6 - 8.
The names of his sons, ver. 9 - 14.
The dukes which descended of his sons, ver. 15 - 19.
The dukes of the Horites, ver. 20 - 30.
The kings and dukes of Edom, ver. 31 - 43.
1: Who is Edom - That name perpetuated the remembrance of the foolish
bargain he made, when he sold his birth - right for that red pottage.
6: Esau had begun to settle among his wife's relations in
Seir, before Jacob came from Padan - aram, (Ge 32:3).
Isaac it is likely, had sent him thither, that Jacob might have the
clearer way to the possession of the promised land: yet probably during the
life of Isaac, Esau had still some effects remaining in Canaan; but
after his death, he wholly withdrew to mount Seir, took with him what
came to his share of his father's personal estate, and left Canaan to
Jacob, not only because he had the promise of it, but because he saw, if
they should both continue to thrive, as they had begun, there would not be
room for both.
8: Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir - Whatever opposition may be made,
God's word will take place, and even those that have opposed it will see
themselves, some time or other, under a necessity of yielding to it.
Esau had struggled for Canaan, but now he retires to mount Seir;
for God's counsels shall certainly stand concerning the times before
appointed, and the bounds of our habitation.
That only the names of Esau's sons and grand - sons are recorded: not
their history, for it is the church that Moses preserves the records
of, not of those that were without. The elders only that lived by faith
obtained a good report. Nor doth the genealogy go any farther than the
third and fourth generation, the very names of all after are buried in
oblivion; it is only the pedigree of the Israelites who were to be the
heirs of Canaan, and of whom were to come the promised seed, and the
holy seed, that is drawn out to any length, as far as there was occasion for
it, even of all the tribes till Canaan was divided among them, and of
the royal line 'till Christ came.
That the sons and grand - sons of Esau are called dukes. Probably
they were military commanders, dukes or captains that had soldiers under
them; for Esau and his family lived by the sword, (Ge 27:40).
We may suppose those dukes had numerous families of children and
servants. God promised to multiply Jacob and to enrich him, yet
Esau increases and is enriched first. God's promise to Jacob began
to work late, but the effect of it remained longer, and it had its compleat
accomplishment in the spiritual Israel.
20: These are the sons of Seir - In the midst of the genealogy of the
Edomites is inserted the genealogy of the Horites, those
Canaanites, or Hittites, (compare (Ge 26:34),) that were the
natives of mount Seir. Mention is made of them, (Ge 14:6), and of
their interest in mount Seir before the Edomites took possession of
it, (De 2:12,22). This comes in here, not only to give light to the
story, but to be a standing reflexion upon the Edomites for
intermarrying with them, by which it is likely they learned their way, and
corrupted themselves. Esau having sold his birth - right, and lost his
blessing and entered into alliance with the Hittites, his posterity and
the sons of Seir are here reckoned together. Those that treacherously
desert God's church are justly numbered with those that were never
in it: apostate Edomites stand on the same ground with accursed
Horites. Notice is taken of one Anah, who fed the asses of
Zibeon his father, (Ge 36:20),
and yet is called duke Anah, (Ge 36:29).
Those that expect to rise high should begin low. An honourable
descent should not keep men from an honest employment, nor a mean employment
baulk any man's preferment.
24: This Anah was not only industrious in his business, but
ingenious too, and successful, for he found mules, or, (as some read it)
waters, hot baths in the wilderness. Those that are diligent in their
business sometimes find more advantages than they expected.
31: By degrees the Edomites worked out the Horites, and got
full possession of the country.
They were ruled by kings who governed the whole country, and seem to have
come to the throne by election, and not by lineal descent: these kings
reigned in Edom before there reigned any king over the children of
Israel - That is, before Moses's time, for he was king in
Jeshurun. God had lately promised Jacob that kings shall come
out of his loins: yet Esau's blood becomes royal long before any of
Jacob's did. Probably it was a trial to the faith of Israel, to
hear of the power of the kings of Edom, while they were bond - slaves in
Egypt: but those that look for great things from God must be content
to wait for them. God's time is the best time.
They were afterward's governed by dukes again, here named, who, I
suppose, ruled all at the same time in several places in the country. They
set up this form of government, either in conformity to the Horites, who
had used it, (Ge 36:29), or God's providence reduced them to it, as some
conjecture, to correct them for their unkindness to Israel, in refusing
them passage through their country, (Nu 20:18).
43: Mount Seir is called the land of their possession - While the
Israelites dwelt in the house of bondage, and their Canaan was only
the land of promise, the Edomites dwelt in their own
habitations, and Seir was in their possession. The children of
this world have their all in hand, and nothing in hope, while the children
of God have often their all in hope, and next to nothing in hand. But, all
things considered, it is better to have Canaan in promise than mount
Seir in possession.