About Jesus Steve Sweetman
In verse 1 we see that
Abraham actually got married again to another woman named Keturah.
She bore six sons to Abraham. She
could have easily bore him daughters as well, but women are never
mentioned in genealogies.
It's interesting to me
that Abraham got married in his old age after Sarah died.
The result of this marriage was more sons born to him.
Still, Isaac was the important son, the son of promise.
I won't comment on verses
2 through 4. They state the
names of the sons and a bit of genealogy.
In verse 5 we note that
Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. This was also noted in the last
chapter. Isaac was the true
heir to Abraham's fortunes.
Now verse 6 suggests that
Abraham had sons born to concubines. We
know that years earlier, Hagar was a concubine.
I don't think this is in reference to her, besides the word in this
verse is plural – "concubines".
Abraham clearly had sexual relations with concubines and had
children by them. How many
children he had by these women we don't know.
The verse said that "he sent them away" to a land to the
east. So we do note here that
Abraham continued to be vigorous sexually after Isaac was born.
It might make one wonder if the miracle that took place within
Sarah was a one time miracle, or did she continue to have children after
Isaac. I always thought that
Isaac was their only child, especially since that is what it says in
Genesis 22, when Isaac went to sacrifice his only son.
Yet, could Sarah have had children beyond that point?
Sending children away
from your family when they were born from concubines was a practiced
tradition in those days. Children
born from concubines, who were normally servants, were not seen in the
same light as children born to a wife.
This always raises the
question about men, and even righteous men like Abraham, having sexual
relations with more women than just their wives.
The New Testament clearly says this is wrong.
Why then did these men practice this?
Why did not God tell them that this practice was wrong?
I'm not sure any of us have the answer to this.
We do know that from
Matthew 19 that Jesus said that Moses, that is, the Law of Moses permitted
men to divorce their wives, and we do know that God doesn't like divorce
as seen in the prophet Malachi. Jesus
said that the reason why God permitted a man to divorce his wife, and
actually made place for divorce in the Law of Moses, was because of man's
hardness of heart. It was a consolation on the part of God.
You might say that God knew that man was evil, that he didn't want
one wife for a life-time, so He gave in so to speak and allowed divorce.
With this in mind, I wonder that multiple sex partners in the Old
Testament days might not have been a consolation on God's part as well .
Clearly, if Jesus said it was wrong, then God the Father would say it was
wrong, and that He would have always thought it was wrong. It
is also noted as being wrong in the Ten Commandments. So
the best answer that I can come up with at the present time is that God
didn't make a big deal out of this, at least in those days.
"may" shed a little light on this subject.
Paul says in that verse that in times past "God overlooked
such ignorance". Granted,
the context of Paul's words is in connection with making idols to worship,
instead of worshipping God. Paul
said that God overlooked such ignorance, but now He demands repentance.
This suggests that God ignored some sin on some occasions in the
Old Testament, but now since the coming
of Jesus, things have changed. He
commands us to repent of these sins He once ignored.
Maybe the multiple sex partners was one of these sins God winked
at. I only say this as a
suggestion, not a Biblical truth.
Verse 7 says that Abraham
lived 175 years. That was
quite old for that time period.
His wife Sarah lived 127 years, and that was consider old.
It seems like that after Abraham had Isaac, he became somewhat
invigorated in the baby making process.
Verse 8 says that Abraham
died at a good old age and was gathered with his people.
Most all cultures back then did not view death as the end of
things. They viewed death as
being a transformation from one existence to another.
For this reason many scholars suggest that when the text says that
Abraham was gathered with his people, this means that he was gathered with
his people beyond death. Others
simply think being gathered with his people means being buried with his
Verse 9 tells
us that Abraham was indeed buried in the cave that he had purchased
from Ephron when Sarah died. The
text says that both Ishmael and Isaac buried their father.
Ishmael is now back in the picture.
Were Ishmael and Isaac friendly towards each other?
We don't know. We only
know that there was a measure of peace at this moment in time.
In verse 11 we see that
God blessed Isaac. The verse
states where Isaac lived and it was far south of present day
I will not comment on
these names and the lineage of Ishmael that these names represent. I will
leave that to others who have a better understanding of world history than
Verse 17 tells us that
Ishmael died at the age of 137.
Verse 18 seemingly has
some translation problems. The
NIV reads, "his descendents settled in the area of …
and they lived in hostility towards all their brothers."
There appears to be a problem with the pronoun "they" and
the word "lived". The
KJV and some other translations use the word "died" instead of
the word "lived". Obviously
there is a major difference between living and dying.
Did these descendents die, or did they live?
Some translations don't
use the pronoun "they" but the pronoun "he".
This would mean that the verse isn't talking about Ishmael's
descendents, but Ishmael himself. This
would mean that either Ishmael lived or died in the area spoken of in
As yet, I have not found
the root of this problem. I
know a few things. Verse 17
states that Ishmael died. Why
would his death be restated in verse 18?
For this reason some translators say "he" is really the descendents,
For the most part the
Hebrew word translated as either lived or died, can also be translated as
"fall", and from this, the NIV gets "lived in
Beyond these points I
don't know what to say about this discrepancy, that is, until I can find
out more information. The
translation process is not always an easy process.
We were first introduced
to Abraham way back in Genesis 11. He dies here in chapter 25. Much is
said of the life of Abraham, but not a lot is said of the life of Isaac,
as important as he was. The
rest of this chapter tells the story of his two most important children.
The fact we learn in
verse 19 is that Isaac was forty years old when he got married to Rebekah.
Verse 21 tells us that
Rebekah, just like Sarah was barren, and could not have children.
Isaac prayed to the Lord on her behalf.
Isaac truly was a follower of the God of Abraham.
The word "Lord" here is "Yahweh", that God of
the covenant. Isaac, like his
father would have known the promises God made to Abraham, and if these
promises were to be fulfilled, that would mean that Rebekah could not stay
in this state of bareness. She
would have to have a baby boy. Isaac
prays to that end, and maybe even reminded God of His promises.
You might wonder why both
Sarah and Rebekah had a hard time having children.
My guess is that it was God's will.
Isaac was the promised miracle child, and it appears that the two
sons born to Rebekah were miracle children as well.
God wanted everyone to know that like Isaac, these sons may have
been born from Rebekah, but they were part of His specific will.
He did not want any man to mess things up when it came to Rebekah
having these two boys. Too
often God promises us something and we can't wait for his timing and we
try to bring God's will about. This
was true with Abraham, and you'll see later, it was true with Isaac as
Verse 22 tells us that
Rebekah had twins "jostling themselves inside of Rebekah.
Did she know that she had twins.
This might be speculative, but I suggest she didn't know, and many
Bible teachers suggest the same. They
certainly did not have modern medical
equipment like we do today to find out such information.
On the other hand, some people might argue that a woman's intuition
might tell Rebekah that she had twins.
reason to think that she did not know that she had twins is found in this
verse. She couldn't understand
why she was feeling the way she was feeling.
She was feeling something inside of her that she had never felt
before. This was her first
pregnancy and to feel the twins jostling inside of her could have been a
fearful thing for her. So in
verse 22 she goes to the Lord and prays to Him about this.
In verse 23 God answers
Rebekah. He told her that
"two nations" were inside of her.
This is an interesting way to put it.
You or I might have said that two babies were inside of Rebekah.
God didn't say it that way. He
saw these two babies as nations, something that they would become, and
once again, this had a lot to do with the Abrahamic Covenant.
God promised Abraham that he, that is through his descendents,
would become a great nation. One
of the babies inside of Rebekah would be the pathway to this great nation.
The other baby himself would become a great nation, but not as
great as the other nation.
We see God thinking and
speaking in terms of nations more in the Old Testament than in the New
Testament, other than in the book of Revelation.
That is why we often view Revelation as looking more like an Old
Testament prophetic book than a New Testament book.
It's not that God has changed his thinking.
He still deals, and will finally deal with nations.
Yet the New Testament is more about God coming to individual people
during what we have termed "the age of grace".
Yet when this age of grace is over, the book of Revelation clearly
shows that He will deal with the nations.
And even in the thousand years of peace, and even on the new earth,
you will see the mentioning of nations.
God's concern is both for the nations and the individual.
It is my thinking, as
well as the thinking of many others that God still deals with nations
today and throughout this age of grace.
The rise and fall of nations and empires are all about God's
blessings and judgments on nations. This
isn't something that has been talked a lot about in Evangelical circles,
but I believe it to be true.
The Lord goes on to tell
Rebekah that the two nations inside of her will become two separate
people. They won't be part of
the same family. There will be a major divide, and that certainly came
The Lord also said that
one will be stronger, which turned out to be
It is my thinking from my
study of Scripture, and I won't back it up here, that at the end of this
age, the Lord will raise Israel up to be the leading nation on earth, and
this will continue on throughout eternity on the new earth.
In verse 24 and 25 we
note that the first baby to be born came out very hairy and very red.
He was thus named Esau, because Esau means hairy.
Esau became to be known as Edom, which means red.
In verse 26 we see that
the second baby was born immediately after Esau.
He was actually grabbing onto Esau's heal as he was coming out, and
that is why he was named Jacob. The
jostling that Rebekah noticed before and the grabbing of the heal here
suggests the rivalry between these two boys that continued on between the
two nations they evolved into.
Verse 26 also tells us
that Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.
Rebekah and him had thus been married for twenty years before God
finally performed this miracle of birth.
Verse 27 shows us the two
different personalities of these boys.
Esau was outgoing, was a skilful hunter, and a man of the open
country-side. Jacob was just
the opposite. He was a
home-body. He was his mother's boy, and that is what verse 28 says. Rebekah's
favourite son was Jacob while Isaac loved Esau better.
Isaac loved eating meat, and Esau would bring him home lots of meat
to eat. Isaac might well have
been a bit of an outdoors man himself.
Yet Isaac had his quiet sensitive side as well, which was seen when
his mother died. It took him a
very long time to get over his mother's death.
In verses 29 and 30 we
see Jacob home cooking stew. This
was probably typical Jacob. Then,
typical Esau, rough and tough as he was, came in famished.
I see Jacob as a tough, manly, maybe not so sensitive type of a
guy. He just comes rushing in,
maybe not even saying hi, and just says, "give me some stew".
The stew was red, and it
appears that Esau liked this red stew and that is why he also became known
as "Edom". "Edom" means red.
In verse 31 Jacob is seen
as a quick thinker. He would
not give any stew to Esau unless Esau gave him his birthright.
This simply means that the oldest son, which was Esau, would have
become the head of the family once Isaac died.
If Jacob could make a deal with Esau, stew for the birthright, then
he would become head of the family when Isaac died, even though he was the
younger of the two.
Esau, as the impetuous
man that he might have been, was thinking of his stomach, the momentary
thing, not the long lasting thing. He
agreed. Esau basically said,
"what good is a birthright if I'm dead due to starvation".
Maybe he was close to starvation.
My guess is that this was just an exaggeration.
He was just very hungry, and being the type of person he was, the
important thing was that which was the present situation, and in this
case, that was his stomach. Sometimes
we get our priorities missed up. Our
present situations that may weigh us down aren't necessarily the important
priorities in life, but we treat them as if they were.
Just a side note hear
about Esau. Hebrews 12:16
calls Esau "a godless" man for what he did here.
This event clearly shows the frailty of humanity.
We major on what is not important and neglect the important.
We major on the present less significant need, and don't weigh the
In verse 33 Jacob made
Esau swear to him that he would indeed give Jacob his birthright.
Just saying he would wasn't good enough for Jacob.
To Esau made an oath. He
agreed that the inheritance would go to Jacob and not to him. As
stated before, oaths in these days were a serious matter.
Men kept their promises.
This chapter ends in
verse 34. It tells us that
Esau ate and drank and despised his birthright.
His actions showed that he could care less about being the head of
the family once Isaac died. He
would probably not rather be tied down.
He was a wanderer. He
loved the open air. Being the
head of a family wasn't a big deal for him, although he did change his
mind on that later.
I think the vast majority
of people feel that Jacob used trickery here to get his way.
They feel that what he did was not right.
Yet there are some who don't feel that way.
They feel that Jacob knew that Esau would not make a good head of
the family once Isaac had died. Esau
was too much of a rambler and impetuous type of a guy.
The family needed a leader that was more stable and reliable.
For this reason, out of pure motives, Jacob simply took this
opportunity to take the lead, because that was in his heart, and that he
believed was God's will. Whether
this is so, can't be proved. It
The last phrase in this
chapter supports the writer of Hebrew's claim that Esau was a godless man.
(Hebrews 12:16) The text
states that Esau despised his birthright.
He just didn't care about He
was more interested in temporal things.
Clearly, he was not the man for the job anyway