The details of Abraham’s death are recorded, as well as the accounts of the family lines of his sons Ishmael and Isaac. Isaac’s wife became pregnant with twins.
Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east. Genesis 25:1-6
Keturah was the woman whom Abraham, the patriarch of the Israelites, married after the death of his wife, Sarah. Keturah bore Abraham six sons.Keturah is referred to at different times as either Abraham’s wife in Genesis 25:1 or Abraham’s concubine in 1 Chronicles 1:32. While Abraham left everything to Isaac, he made grants to his sons by his concubine during his lifetime, and sent them east away from Isaac.
One of the sons of Keturah was Midian, the father of the Midianites. Some of the descendants of Keturah went to Persia while others scattered into Assyria.
Herds of camels will cover your land, young camels of Midian and Ephah. And all from Sheba will come, bearing gold and incense and proclaiming the praise of the LORD. Isaiah 60:6
This prophecy from Isaiah speaks of the descendants of Abraham and Ketura. Midian was Keturah’s son and both Sheba and Ephah were her grandsons. Bearing gifts of gold and incense, those from Sheba would proclaim the praise of the LORD. It is interesting that the Magi, who are also known as the “Wise Men,” brought gifts of gold and frankincense to the newborn Messiah. According to Matthew 2:3, the presence of their great caravan caused a great disturbance in Jerusalem and like the sons of Ketura, they came from the east with many camels. The visit of the Magi may have been the fulfillment of Isaiah 60:6.
Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi. Genesis 25:7-11
Abraham lived 175 years. He lived seventy-five years after Isaac’s birth and thirty-eight years after Sarah’s death. There is no record of any of his sons through Keturah attending his burial.
This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them. Genesis 25:12-18
God is faithful to fulfill his promises and the prophetic word of the LORD is sure to come to pass. In Genesis 21:14 God made the following promise to Abraham: And as for Ishmael, I have heard you: I will surely bless him; I will make him fruitful and will greatly increase his numbers. He will be the father of twelve rulers, and I will make him into a great nation. The twelve sons of Ishmael became the twelve tribes that comprise the Arab nation. According to Genesis 16:12, Ishmael was prophesied to be, “… a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” Genesis 25:18 records that Ishmael’s descendants lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them. As a wild donkey is accustomed to live, and run, and range about the wilderness, so the Arabic peoples were nomadic and many Bedouins still exist today.
This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean. Genesis 25:19-20
As recorded in the first four verses of Genesis 24, Abraham had his senior servant swear an oath that he would not get a wife for his son Isaac from the daughters of the Canaanites but would travel to the country of Abraham’s own relatives to get a wife for his son. This was to insure that the lineage that would produce the Messiah would descend from the blessed line of Shem and not the cursed line of Ham.
Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. Genesis 25:21
Although Rebekah had been barren for 20 years, Isaac did not do as Abraham his father did and take a second wife to have children by her. Instead, Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife and the LORD answered his prayer.
The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.” Genesis 25:22-23
Within Rebekah’s womb were two sons from whom two nations would descend. From Esau, the first born or older son, the Edomites would arise. From Jacob, the younger son, the Israelites would emerge. These nations would be comprised of two different types of people separate and distinct from one another. The Edomites and the Israelites would not only differ physically, but in their lifestyle, locale, and most importantly, in their religious practices.
The prophecy stating that one people will be stronger than the other people initially spoke of the Edomites, the posterity of Esau. They were a very powerful people and had a succession of princes and kings, while the Hebrews, the posterity of Jacob, were slaves in Egypt. But when the nation of Israel was birthed out of the furnace of affliction in Egypt and took possession of the Promised Land, the Israelites became the stronger of the two nations.
It is recorded in 2 Samuel 8:14 that the older (the descendants of Esau or the Edomites), did serve the younger (the descendants of Jacob or Israelites) during the time of King David’s reign:
He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.
There is a time spoken by the prophet Obadiah when the descendents of Esau will totally be destroyed by the offspring of Jacob:
But on Mount Zion will be deliverance; it will be holy, and Jacob will possess his inheritance.Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The LORD has spoken. Obadiah 1:17-18
The great and terrible “Day of the LORD” will be a great day of victory for Israel and a terrible day of calamity for the posterity of Esau.
When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. Genesis 25:24-26
The first born son of Isaac and Rebekah was either ruddy in complexion and covered with hair, or covered with red hair. They named him Esau which means, “hairy.” His wild appearance may have been an indication of the coarseness of his character and roughness of his nature.
His fraternal twin brother Jacob emerged from his mother’s womb grasping the firstborn son’s heel. Jacob is the English translation of the Hebrew name, Yacob. Jacob means “heel holder” or “supplanter.” Jacob’s name both denotes his character and was prophetic. Jacob was to be a usurper eventually not only taking the “right of the firstborn” but also Esau’s blessing by treachery.
The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. Genesis 25:27-28
Esau was a hunter, like two notorious hunters in the Bible who lived before him.
He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” Genesis 10:9
Nimrod is traditionally considered the leader of those who built the Tower of Babel in the land of Shinar. Nimrod is described as a “mighty hunter before the LORD.” This description implies ruthlessness and a lust for power. Nimrod is closely associated with the Hebrew word meaning “rebel.”
God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. Genesis 21:20
Ishmael became an archer. Ishmael became skilled in the use of the bow and arrow for hunting, for protection against wild beasts and in waging warfare. All Arabs, following Mohammed’s example, claim descent from Ishmael. Ishmael’s descendants are Muslims who seek the annihilation of the descendants of Jacob.
Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:3
Keep me safe from the traps set by evildoers, from the snares they have laid for me. Psalm 141:9
Hunters often use traps and snares to capture their prey as do evil men who look to ensnare godly men. Nimrod, Ishmael and Esau were hunters which symbolized their wild and ungodly natures. Their power and ability was in the arm of flesh and they opposed the things and people of God.
Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau because Esau was a hunter who loved the outdoors. Jacob, on the other hand, was content to stay at home among the tents and was loved by his mother Rebekah.
Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.) Genesis 25:29-30
Esau was also called Edom which means red. Esau’s descendents were called the Edomites. Esau, who was an outdoorsman and walked in the flesh, was not merely hungry. He was famished – desperately hungry. Satisfying his fleshy desire was not to be postponed but immediately satisfied.
Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright. Genesis 25:31-34
The right of the firstborn to a double portion of the inheritance and a leadership position in the family when the father passes was Esau’s by birth but Jacob’s by promise. It entailed more than material blessings. The birthright had an important spiritual significance as well. The Messiah would descend from Isaac’s son who held the birthright. Jacob who now had the birthright would also insure that the future possession of the land of Canaan would be by his children’s children.
There is another account of two sons and the division of their father’s inheritance that is found in the New Testament. It is the parable of the prodigal son. Why did the prodigal return? It was because he was hungry. But why was he hungry? It was due to a famine in the land. The sovereign LORD caused the famine. Why was Esau famished? Although he was a skilled hunter, the LORD prevented him from finding any game.
The prodigal responded to his hunger in humility and repented. While Esau cared more about filling his belly than fulfilling the responsibilities of the firstborn son. The LORD knew that Esau was carnally minded and unworthy to receive the birthright.
Although Jacob was manipulative and deceitful, he believed in God’s promises to Abraham. Jacob also was willing to also take on the responsibilities that the birthright entailed. These responsibilities included the patriarch to provide for and to protect the family as well as teach his children the ways of the LORD.
Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Jacob would eventually have to endure many years of hardship and testing because of his manipulative actions and deceitfulness. Eventually the LORD would not only change Jacob’s name but his character.
Esau refused to take on the responsibilities of the first born and treated his birthright with disdain. That is why Paul writing to the church at Rome reminds that God proclaimed, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Romans 9:13 b
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