Genesis Chapter Thirty-Six
Read Genesis 36:1-6 – The Sons of Esau
v.1 “Now these are the generations of Esau,
The Holy Spirit through
the pen of Moses has caused the genealogy of Esau to be recorded as part of
Scripture. God also preserves the
history of his descendants as the nation of
v.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;”
In our earlier study we
saw that Esau had married daughters from the tribes that surrounded Isaac in
Genesis 26:34 “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: 35Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.”
The names of the women given in the two references are different but they are the same people. Sources outside scripture tell us that Judith’s name was changed to Aholibamah when she married Esau.
v.3 “And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth.”
The third wife of Esau was a daughter of Ishmael, not a Canaanite but rather a granddaughter of his grandfather Abraham.
v.4 “And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel;”
Two of the sons of Esau were Eliphaz and Reuel. Whether this Eliphaz is the same Eliphaz as we find in the book of Job is not known. He could be as the time it was written and author of the book of Job is not known. Reuel is a name found several times in the Old Testament including being another name for Jethro, father-in-law of Moses.
v.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.”
Here we have named
three sons of Esau that are identified as being born to him while he still
Read Genesis 36:6-8 – Esau Moves to Seir
v.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.”
From the time that
Jacob went to
Deuteronomy 2:4-5 “And command thou the people, saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir; and they shall be afraid of you: take ye good heed unto yourselves therefore: Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.”
v.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.”
The problem that Esau
and Jacob faced was the very same problem found at the time of the parting of
Genesis 13:6 “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together.”
God’s blessings were so bountiful; their wealth of flocks and herds was so great that the land simply would not support both of them at the same time. God had given Seir to Esau as a protected homeland so he moves to that location.
v.8 “Thus dwelt
Esau in mount Seir: Esau is
Read Genesis 36:9-19 – The Generations of Esau
v.9-10 “And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: 10These 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.”
Again, we know very little about most of these men, thought more about some of their descendants. The scripture addresses the sons of Esau’s first wives first. As we noted earlier, Eliphaz is a name familiar to those who have studied the book of Job, though they may not be the same man. Another complete listing of the sons of Esau can be found in I Chronicles chapter 1 beginning at verse 35.
v.11. “And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz.”
Teman is found as the name of an Edomite clan and the name of a city referred to several times as a known location in both the major and minor prophets.
Omar is mentioned only
three times in scripture, all as a descendant or duke of Esau. It is a very popular name among Muslims all
the way from
Zepho, as a descendant is mentioned only in Genesis 36 and I Chronicles 1 where he is called Zephi.
Gatam also is unknown to secular history.
Kenaz here is given as
a son or duke of
v.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.”
Apparently as had Jacob
when neither Leah nor Rachel could bear sons, the sons of Esau also took
was possibly also a servant of his wife Adah as Adah claimed Amalek as a son though she did not bear him. The descendants of Amalek
are a trouble to
Exodus 17:8 “Then came Amalek, and
We find them again during the reign of King Saul who lost his kingdom over them:
I Samuel 15:2-3 “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to
But Saul disobeyed God and the Amalekites were not removed from history until the time of King Hezekiah:
I Chronicles “And they smote the rest of the Amalekites that were escaped, and dwelt there unto this day.”
v.13 “And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife.”
Nothing further is known about Nahath, though we find the name used again but by a different individual, during the time of King Hezekiah.
As with Nahath, Zerah, the son of Reuel is not found in history or scripture beyond being listed as a descendant of Esau.
No history of Shammah is known. We do find the name used again to designate a son of Agee the Philistine and as an older brother of David in I Samuel 16:9.
Mizzah is found only in Genesis 36 and I Chronicles 1 as a descendant of Esau.
v.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.”
We have already covered all that we know about the sons of Aholibamah.
v.15-16 “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, 16Duke 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.”
Again we see the
influence of the culture under which our King James Version was
translated. The word duke originated in
Middle English around 1100-1150 AD and was drawn from a similar root word in
the French language and an even deeper root word in Latin that designates a
commander or leader. It came into wide
v.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.”
We have listed again the descendants of Esau by his wife Bashemath.
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. 19These are the sons of Esau, who is
And finally we have listed for us again the descendants of Esau through his wife Aholibamah, the daughter of Ishmael.
Read Genesis 36:20-30 – The Sons of Seir
v.20-21 “These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, 21And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom.”
Now we have the
genealogy of the Horite people. In other records we are told that Esau
destroyed these people but at present they are living side by side and probably
even intermarrying into
Deuteronomy 2:12 “The Horims also dwelt in Seir beforetime; but the children of Esau succeeded them, when they had destroyed them from before them, and dwelt in their stead; as Israel did unto the land of his possession, which the LORD gave unto them.”
Other than the listing that we find here in Genesis and later in I Chronicles, we know very little about these people. Yet God chose to have their existence recorded for our benefit in the sacred scripture.
v.22-23 “And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.”
The only significant
names among these descendants of Lotan are Timna, previously listed and probably the same person that
was the concubine of Esau. Manahath is also the name of a town in
v.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.”
The word translated mules,
in the King James Version, is rendered
v.25-27 “And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah. 26And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran. 27The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan.”
This listing is
repeated in I Chronicles where the descendants of Esau and the families of
v.28-30 “The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran. 29These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah, 30Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir.”
Read Genesis 36:31-43 – The
v.31-32 “And these are the kings that
reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of
Israel. 32And Bela the son of Beor reigned in
Here we have a listing
of the kings of
v.33-35 “And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of
Bozrah reigned in his stead. 34And Jobab died,
and Husham of the
Most of these kings are
found only in Genesis 36 and I Chronicles 1 where this listing is
repeated. Two things we’re told about Hadad in contrast to the others: first of all he defeated the Midianites in
the country claimed by
v.36-39 “And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned
in his stead. 37And Samlah died, and Saul
of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. 38And
Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in
his stead. 39And Baalhanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned
in his stead: and the name of his city was
Again we have a change
in location of the rulers of
v.40-43 “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, 41Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon, 42Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar, 43Duke 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.”
The chronological order
of these scriptures seem to indicate that after Edom had been ruled by kings
selected by the people for some years that they reverted back to rule by
chieftains, or tribal chiefs, translated dukes in 17th century
English. Though we know little of their
history, the influence of the descendants of Esau is felt throughout the