Genesis 25

The Death of Abraham

1 Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah.
2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah.
3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites.
4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac.
6 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.
7 Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years.
8 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.
9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite,
10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites.[a] There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah.
11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.

Ishmael’s Sons

12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa,
15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah.
16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps.
17 Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people.
18 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[b] all the tribes related to them.

Jacob and Esau

19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac,
20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram[c] and sister of Laban the Aramean.
21 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.
22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
23 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.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.
25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau.[d]
26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob.[e] Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27 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.
28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished.
30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[f] )
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 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 Commentary

Chapter 25

Abraham's family by Keturah, His death and burial. (1-10) God blesses Isaac The descendants of Ishmael. (11-18) The birth of Esau and Jacob. (19-26) The different characters of Esau and Jacob. (27,28) Esau despises and sells his birth-right. (29-34)

Verses 1-10 All the days, even of the best and greatest saints, are not remarkable days; some slide on silently; such were these last days of Abraham. Here is an account of Abraham's children by Keturah, and the disposition which he made of his estate. After the birth of these sons, he set his house in order, with prudence and justice. He did this while he yet lived. It is wisdom for men to do what they find to do while they live, as far as they can. Abraham lived 175 years; just one hundred years after he came to Canaan; so long he was a sojourner in a strange country. Whether our stay in this life be long or short, it matters but little, provided we leave behind us a testimony to the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord, and a good example to our families. We are told that his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him. It seems that Abraham had himself brought them together while he lived. Let us not close the history of the life of Abraham without blessing God for such a testimony of the triumph of faith.

Verses 11-18 Ishmael had twelve sons, whose families became distinct tribes. They peopled a very large country that lay between Egypt and Assyria, called Arabia. The number and strength of this family were the fruit of the promise, made to Hagar and to Abraham, concerning Ishmael.

Verses 19-26 Isaac seems not to have been much tried, but to have spent his days in quietness. Jacob and Esau were prayed for; their parents, after being long childless, obtained them by prayer. The fulfilment of God's promise is always sure, yet it is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when they come. Isaac and Rebekah kept in view the promise of all nations being blessed in their posterity, therefore were not only desirous of children, but anxious concerning every thing which seemed to mark their future character. In all our doubts we should inquire of the Lord by prayer. In many of our conflicts with sin and temptation, we may adopt Rebekah's words, "If it be so, why am I thus?" If a child of God, why so careless or carnal? If not a child of God, why so afraid of, or so burdened with sin?

Verses 27-28 Esau hunted the beasts of the field with dexterity and success, till he became a conqueror, ruling over his neighbours. Jacob was a plain man, one that liked the true delights of retirement, better than all pretended pleasures. He was a stranger and a pilgrim in his spirit, and a shepherd all his days. Isaac and Rebekah had but these two children, one was the father's darling, and the other the mother's. And though godly parents must feel their affections most drawn over towards a godly child, yet they will not show partiality. Let their affections lead them to do what is just and equal to every child, or evils will arise.

Verses 29-34 We have here the bargain made between Jacob and Esau about the right, which was Esau's by birth, but Jacob's by promise. It was for a spiritual privilege; and we see Jacob's desire of the birth-right, but he sought to obtain it by crooked courses, not like his character as a plain man. He was right, that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that he took advantage of his brother's need. The inheritance of their father's worldly goods did not descend to Jacob, and was not meant in this proposal. But it includeth the future possession of the land of Canaan by his children's children, and the covenant made with Abraham as to Christ the promised Seed. Believing Jacob valued these above all things; unbelieving Esau despised them. Yet although we must be of Jacob's judgment in seeking the birth-right, we ought carefully to avoid all guile, in seeking to obtain even the greatest advantages. Jacob's pottage pleased Esau's eye. "Give me some of that red;" for this he was called Edom, or Red. Gratifying the sensual appetite ruins thousands of precious souls. When men's hearts walk after their own eyes, ( Job 31:7 ) , and when they serve their own bellies, they are sure to be punished. If we use ourselves to deny ourselves, we break the force of most temptations. It cannot be supposed that Esau was dying of hunger in Isaac's house. The words signify, I am going towards death; he seems to mean, I shall never live to inherit Canaan, or any of those future supposed blessings; and what signifies it who has them when I am dead and gone. This would be the language of profaneness, with which the apostle brands him, ( Hebrews 12:16 ) ; and this contempt of the birth-right is blamed, ver. ( 34 ) . It is the greatest folly to part with our interest in God, and Christ, and heaven, for the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world; it is as bad a bargain as his who sold a birth-right for a dish of pottage. Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had made. Thus Esau despised his birth-right. By his neglect and contempt afterwards, and by justifying himself in what he had done, he put the bargain past recall. People are ruined, not so much by doing what is amiss, as by doing it and not repenting of it.

Cross References 68

  • 1. Jeremiah 25:25
  • 2. Genesis 36:35; Genesis 37:28,36; Exodus 2:15; Numbers 22:4; Numbers 25:6,18; Numbers 31:2; Joshua 13:21; Judges 6:1,3; Judges 7:1; Judges 8:1,22,24; Judges 9:17; 1 Kings 11:18; Psalms 83:9; Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 10:26; Isaiah 60:6; Habakkuk 3:7
  • 3. Job 2:11; Job 8:1; 1 Chronicles 1:32,33
  • 4. S Genesis 10:7
  • 5. S Genesis 10:7
  • 6. Isaiah 60:6
  • 7. S Genesis 24:36
  • 8. S Genesis 22:24
  • 9. S Genesis 21:10,14
  • 10. Genesis 29:1; Judges 6:3,33; 1 Kings 4:30; Job 1:3; Ezekiel 25:4
  • 11. ver 26; Genesis 12:4; Genesis 35:28; Genesis 47:9,28; Genesis 50:22,26; Job 42:16
  • 12. S Genesis 15:15
  • 13. ver 17; Genesis 35:29; Genesis 49:29,33; Numbers 20:24; Numbers 31:2; Deuteronomy 31:14; Deuteronomy 32:50; Deuteronomy 34:5
  • 14. Genesis 35:29; Genesis 47:30; Genesis 49:31
  • 15. S Genesis 23:9
  • 16. S Genesis 13:18
  • 17. Genesis 23:8
  • 18. Genesis 49:29; Genesis 50:13
  • 19. S Genesis 10:15; Genesis 23:16
  • 20. S Genesis 12:2
  • 21. S Genesis 16:14
  • 22. S Genesis 2:4
  • 23. S Genesis 16:1
  • 24. S Genesis 17:20; Genesis 21:18; Genesis 16:15
  • 25. Genesis 28:9; Genesis 36:3
  • 26. Psalms 120:5; Song of Songs 1:5; Isaiah 21:16; Isaiah 42:11; Isaiah 60:7; Jeremiah 2:10; Jeremiah 49:28; Ezekiel 27:21
  • 27. Joshua 15:52; Isaiah 21:11; Obadiah 1:1
  • 28. Job 6:19; Isaiah 21:14; Jeremiah 25:23
  • 29. 1 Chronicles 5:19
  • 30. Genesis 17:20
  • 31. S Genesis 13:16; Psalms 83:6
  • 32. S ver 8
  • 33. S Genesis 17:20; Genesis 21:18
  • 34. S Genesis 16:7
  • 35. Genesis 16:12
  • 36. S Genesis 2:4
  • 37. ver 26; Genesis 26:34; Genesis 35:28
  • 38. S Genesis 24:67
  • 39. S Genesis 22:22
  • 40. Ge 28:2,5,6; Genesis 30:20; Genesis 31:18; Genesis 33:18; Genesis 35:9,26; Genesis 46:15; Genesis 48:7
  • 41. S Genesis 24:29
  • 42. Genesis 31:20,24; Deuteronomy 26:5
  • 43. S Genesis 11:30
  • 44. Genesis 30:17,22; 1 Samuel 1:17,23; 1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 33:13; Ezra 8:23; Psalms 127:3; Romans 9:10
  • 45. Exodus 18:15; Exodus 28:30; Exodus 33:7; Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 9:6-8; Numbers 27:5,21; Deuteronomy 17:9; Judges 18:5; 1 Samuel 9:9; 1 Samuel 10:22; 1 Samuel 14:36; 1 Samuel 22:10; 1 Kings 22:8; 2 Kings 3:11; 2 Kings 22:13; Isaiah 30:2; Jeremiah 21:2; Jeremiah 37:7,17; Ezekiel 14:7; Ezekiel 20:1,3
  • 46. S Genesis 17:4
  • 47. S Genesis 9:25; Genesis 48:14,19; Genesis 27:29,40; Malachi 1:3; Romans 9:11-12*
  • 48. Luke 1:57; Luke 2:6
  • 49. Genesis 38:27
  • 50. 1 Samuel 16:12
  • 51. Genesis 27:11
  • 52. Genesis 27:1,15
  • 53. Genesis 38:29
  • 54. Hosea 12:3
  • 55. Genesis 27:36; Genesis 32:27; Deuteronomy 23:7; Joshua 24:4; Obadiah 1:10,12
  • 56. S ver 7,S 20
  • 57. S Genesis 10:9
  • 58. ver 29; Genesis 27:3,5
  • 59. Genesis 27:; Genesis 3,4,9,14,; Genesis 19
  • 60. Genesis 27:6; Genesis 37:3
  • 61. 2 Kings 4:38-40
  • 62. S ver 27
  • 63. ver 34
  • 64. Genesis 32:3; Genesis 36:1,8,8-9,19; Numbers 20:14; Deuteronomy 23:7; Psalms 137:7; Jeremiah 25:21; Jeremiah 40:11; Jeremiah 49:7
  • 65. Deuteronomy 21:16-17; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2
  • 66. S Genesis 21:23; S Genesis 47:31
  • 67. Genesis 27:36; Hebrews 12:16
  • 68. ver 30

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Or "the descendants of Heth"
  • [b]. Or "lived to the east of"
  • [c]. That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  • [d]. "Esau" may mean "hairy" .
  • [e]. "Jacob" means "he grasps the heel" , a Hebrew idiom for "he deceives" .
  • [f]. "Edom" means "red."

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains an account of Abraham's marriage with another woman, and of the children he had by her and of their posterity Ge 25:1-4; of Abraham's disposal of his substance; and his sons, Ge 25:5,6; of the years of his life, his death and burial, Ge 25:7-11; of the children of Ishmael, and of the years of his life, and of his death, Ge 25:12-18; and of the sons of Isaac the fruit of prayer, and of the oracle concerning them before they were born, and of their temper and disposition, conduct and behaviour, Ge 25:19-34.

Genesis 25 Commentaries

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