Design By Humans

Genesis 36. Where's the detail?

Genesis 36.

1 Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.
    Esau is also called Edom? OK, I wonder if he had to wrestle with The LORD to get that name.

2 Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite;

    He had racially diverse wives.

3 And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth.

    One of which is his great-uncle's daughter, which is actually quite far removed in a familial sense for marriages at this time. Jacob married from his first cousins, Isaac the same, and Abraham married his sister. In this regard I'd say Esau is quite progressive.

4 And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel;

    No dates! was record keeping not important to these people?

5 And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan.

    Esau has five sons, while in Canaan.

6 And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob.

    They never really got on did they?

7 For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle.

    This happened to Abraham and his nephew, these people really seem to have problems with living harmoniously with each other.

8 Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.

    OK. We understand. Esau is Edom! is this important?

9 And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir:

    Oh! I see, we are told repeatedly that Esau is Edom so that we can more easily associate the Edomites with their ancestor.

10 These are the names of Esau's sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau.

    As stated above.

11 And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.

    I really wish there were dates or something I could date these events by. Perhaps I ought to put together a family tree.

12 And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife.


13 And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau's wife.

    I really don't have any comments as may be the case for much of this chapter.
14 And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau's wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah.


15 These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz,


16 Duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah.

    What makes them dukes?

17 And these are the sons of Reuel Esau's son; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Bashemath Esau's wife.

    OK. More dukes.

18 And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau's wife; duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau's wife.


19 These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes.

    I have the feeling that we are setting up an Edomite empire, what do each of these dukes rule over.

20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah,


21 And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom.

22 And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan's sister was Timna.


23 And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.


24 And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.

    A bit of info about Anah, This line reads like I should already know the story about Anah and the mules, although given that this chapter is introducing these characters, I don't see how I could. I wonder if this story will crop up later.
25 And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah.

    Name recycling? I suppose it had to happen eventually.
26 And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran.


27 The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan.


28 The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran.

29 These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah,

    More dukes.

30 Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir.

    Even more dukes.

31 And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.

    Ah. OK. So what we have established is that Esau's children set up kingdoms and proper hierarchical structures generations before the children of Jacob managed to get their act together. They are living in the lands promised to Jacob's seed too, it must seem like The LORD has backed out of his promise.
32 And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah.

    All hail Bela!

33 And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead.

    Bela is dead! All hail Jobab!

34 And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead.

    Jobab is dead! All hail Husham!

35 And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith.

    Husham is dead! All hail Hadad!

36 And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead.

    Hadad is dead! All hail Samlah!
37 And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead.

    Samlah is Dead! All hail Saul! Anyone bored yet? don't worry, not far to go.

38 And Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead.

    Saul is dead! All hail Baalhanan! I notice that there is no hereditary line of kings here, also that each king is from a separate city. Are all of these successions by conquest?

39 And Baalhanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife's name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab.

    Baalhanan is dead! All hail Hadar! Do we know of Matred or Mezahab, I get the feeling we are supposed to but they have not yet been mentioned in the text. Are there some stories missing from Genesis?

40 And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth,

    OK, More dukes. Are any of them rulers of Edom? it doesn't say.

41 Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon,
    ...More dukes...

42 Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar,

    ...and yet more dukes...

43 Duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites.

    He is indeed!

So a pretty dry chapter, has anything useful come of it?

Aside from the knowledge that Esau's progeny set up hierarchical nations before Jacob's progeny, we've learned pretty much nothing of value. There are a lot of nods to stories we aren't privy to and seemingly important lists of kings however the stories remain unknown and there are no data about the kings apart from their names.

This has been a thoroughly pointless chapter. Sorry Esau, I have nothing against your progeny it's just that the detail is lacking.

Let's hope Genesis 37. has something useful.

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