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Genesis - Chapter 25

Bible Study Notes

Genesis 25:1-6 Even though Abraham had more children through his concubines, the promise was still with Isaac who received all the inheritance from Abraham. Learning his lesson with Ishmael, Abraham made sure that before he died that he sent them away from Isaac for the same reasons that Ishmael was sent.

Genesis 25:7-11 Ishmael returned to help Isaac bury Abraham in the cave of Machpelah that Abraham originally purchased from the Hittites where Sarah is currently buried. The biblical account reminds us that God blessed Isaac after Abraham’s death, the heir of promise.

Genesis 25:12-18 Ishmael’s generations are now recorded to show that God fulfilled His promise to Abraham that He would also bless Ishmael with descendants, having 12 sons who were to princes of their own tribes and a mighty people.

Genesis 25:19-21 The story now turns to Isaac and his generation. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the sister of Laban. She was barren. Twenty years later, and still no children, Isaac prayed to God and He answered his prayer and Rebekah conceived. This is what Abraham and Sarah should have done.

Genesis 25:22-23 God informed Rebekah that she was having twins and that the younger would serve the older (stronger), younger meaning the one of the two that would be born second.

Genesis 25:24-26 The first of the two to be born was Esau. He had red hair and was very hairy. The second to be born was Jacob who was grabbing on to Esau’s heel when coming out of the womb, as if the struggling in the womb was Jacob striving to come out first, but Esau was stronger and came out first just as God had said.

Notes: Jacob’s name mean ‘heel’ or ‘deceiver’. The expression, “to grasp someone by the heel” was apparently a figure of speech meaning ‘to deceive’.

Notes: If Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born, then Abraham did not yet die for another 15 years, showing that sometimes the narrative doesn’t always follow a chronological order.

Genesis 25:27-28 Esau grew up to be a man of the field, a mighty hunter, an outdoorsy, rugged type. Jacob was quiet, lived in tents, amiable, quiet, the soft type. Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob probably because Esau was the first-born and loved the meat that Esau got from hunting. Surely he would continue the strong line of descendants and the promises. Rebekah, remembering the words of the Lord about the younger serving the older (whether she told Isaac this we don’t know), loved Jacob more. She knew that Jacob would continue the line of promise, believed God, and because of her faith was able to see what Isaac obviously did not see.

Genesis 25:29-34 Esau being very hungry, just returning from a long hunt in the fields cared more about his stomach than his birthright (A double portion of the inheritance and the right to be family chief and priest). He despised his birthright, probably at this point not believing in God or the promises and could care less. Jacob asked Esau (exploits Esau in his moment of weakness) to trade his birthright for the stew. Why Jacob wanted the birthright is not clear other than the fact that his mother Rebekah may have let him in on what God told her.


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