Genesis 25

1 Forsooth Abraham wedded another wife, Keturah by name,
2 which childed to him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
3 Also Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. Forsooth the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
4 And soothly of Midian was born Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah; all these were the sons of Keturah.
5 And Abraham gave all (the) things which he had in possession to Isaac;
6 soothly he gave gifts to the sons of [the] concubines, that is, (his) secondary wives; and Abraham, while he lived yet, separated them from Isaac, his son, to the east coast (but Abraham, while yet he lived, separated them from his son Isaac, and sent them away to the east parts).
7 Forsooth the days of the life of Abraham were an hundred and threescore and fifteen years;
8 and (then) he failed, and died in [a] good eld (age), and of (a) great age, and full of days, and he was gathered to his people (and he joined his ancestors).
9 And Isaac and Ishmael, his sons, buried him in the double den, which is set in the field of Ephron, son of Zohar (the) Hittite, even against Mamre, (And his sons Isaac and Ishmael, buried him in the cave at Machpelah, which is set in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre,)
10 which den he bought of the sons of Heth; and he was buried there, and Sarah his wife. (which cave he bought from the Hittites; and he was buried there, with his wife Sarah.)
11 And after the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son, which dwelled beside the well by name of him that liveth and seeth. (And after Abraham's death, God blessed his son Isaac, who lived beside The Well of Lahairoi, or Beerlahairoi.)
12 These be the generations of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, whom Hagar (the) Egyptian, handmaid of Sarah, childed to Abraham; (These be the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's slave-girl, bare for Abraham;)
13 and these be the names of the sons of Ishmael, in their names and generations. The first begotten of Ishmael was Nebajoth, afterward Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, (and these be the names of Ishmael's sons, by their names, and in their birth order. Ishmael's first-born was Nebajoth, and then Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,)
14 and Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
15 and Hadar, and Tema, and Jetur, and Naphish, and Kedemah.
16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these were the names by castles, and towns of them, (named after) [the] twelve princes of their lineages. (These were Ishmael's sons, and they were also the names of their fortresses, and towns, named after the twelve princes of their tribes.)
17 And the years of [the] life of Ishmael were made an hundred and seven and thirty (years), and (then) he failed, and died, and was put to his people (and joined his ancestors).
18 Forsooth he inhabited from Havilah till to Shur, that beholdeth Egypt, as men entereth into [the] Assyrians; (and) he died before all his brethren. (And Ishmael's people dwelled from Havilah unto Shur, which is east of Egypt, on the way to Assyria; and he died in the presence of all his kinsmen.)
19 Also these be the generations of Isaac, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac, (And these be the descendants of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham begat Isaac,)
20 and when Isaac was of forty years, he wedded a wife, Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel, of Syria, of Mesopotamia, the sister of Laban. (and when Isaac was forty years old, he wedded a wife, Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel, the Syrian from Paddan-aram, and the sister of Laban.)
21 And Isaac besought the Lord for his wife, for she was barren; and the Lord heard him, and gave conceiving to Rebecca.
22 But the little children were hurtled together in her womb; and she said, If it was so to coming to me, what need was it to conceive? (and she said, If such was to come to me, what meaneth it?) And she went to ask (the) counsel of the Lord,
23 which answered, and said, Two folks be in thy womb, and two peoples shall be separated from thy womb, and one people shall overturn a people, and the more shall serve the less. (who answered, and said, Two nations be in thy womb, and two peoples shall be taken from thy womb, and one nation shall be stronger than the other nation, and the older shall serve the younger.)
24 Then the time of child-bearing came, and lo! two children were found in her womb.
25 He that went out first was red, and all rough in the manner of a skin; and his name was called Esau.
26 Anon the other went out (And at once the other went out), and held with his hand the heel of his brother; and therefore he called him Jacob . (And) Isaac was sixty years eld, when the little children were born.
27 And when they were waxen, Esau was a man knowing of hunting, and a man (who was) an earth-tiller; forsooth Jacob was a simple man, and dwelled in tabernacles. (And when they were fully grown, Esau was a man knowledgeable about hunting, and who worked the soil, or was a farmer; and Jacob was a simple man, who stayed at home in the tents.)
28 Isaac loved Esau, for he ate of the hunting of Esau; and Rebecca loved Jacob.
29 Soothly Jacob seethed pottage (And one day Jacob boiled some stew); and when Esau came (in) weary from the field,
30 he said to Jacob, Give thou to me of this red seething, for I am full weary; for which cause his name was called Edom (and for this reason he was called Edom, or Red).
31 And Jacob said to him, Sell to me the right(s) of the first begotten child. (And Jacob said to him, First sell me thy birthright/First sell me the rights of the first-born child.)
32 Esau answered, Lo! I die, what shall the first begotten things profit to me? (And Esau answered, Lo! I am starving right now, and what good is my birthright to me!)
33 Jacob said, Therefore swear thou to me. Therefore Esau swore, and sold the first engendered things. (And Jacob said, And so swear thou to me. And so Esau swore to Jacob, and sold him his birthright.)
34 And so when he had taken bread and pottage, Esau ate and drank, and went forth, and charged little that he had sold the right(s) of the first begotten child (and cared little that he had sold his birthright as the first-born son).

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.

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

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.