Friday, October 13, 2006

Genesis 36 Esau's Generations & mules, dukes&kings

Genesis 36:1 "Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom."

Chapter 36 is filled with names which are difficult to pronounce and hard to remember. Upon seeing this chapter many or most would skip to the next one. But there are things to note here.

Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan v2 and is important to remember. If you remember, Abraham forbade the servant to take a wife for Issac from the Canaanites and Jacob went back to the house of Laban to find his wives. The Bible goes on to list the children of Esau but one thing is repeated and that is that Esau is Edom.* We are not there yet but I expect that Edom will play an important part in future stories. Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. v8

*According to CI Scofield reference notes, Edom is the country lying south of the ancient kingdom of Judah and has to do with Armagedon.

In verse 15 we see the term, I believe, duke for the first time. It is a term used in some cultures down through history. One name stands out to me among the dukes in verse 16 and that is Duke Amalek , a name we will see again.

Then there is Anah. What could he be famous for? v24 "...Anah, that found the mules in the wilderness..." . As I understand it mules are the offspring of a horse and donkey. They were used extensively as work animals on farms and for logging. Leviticus 19:19 has something to say though along this line "Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind:..." I am not sure if that was referring to mules but my large print Bible had that verse as a reference.

The last part of the chapter list some kings one name stands out, that of Saul. It is the same name of the first king of Israel which occurs much later in our study. Israel did not yet have kings.
V31 "And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom before there reigned any king over the children of Israel."

So, we have a bit of history here between the death of Issac and the story of Joseph. I expect some of these names will come up again in later studies. Such passages are very important to students who study descendants who inhabited certain lands. And they help us understand who the characters are that we run across in our studies. For example: In the next chapter we will see mention of the Ishmaelites*. We know that Ishamel was Abraham's son by Hagar the Egyptian handmaid. Well, it turns out that it was Ishmaelites who transported Joseph down to Egypt. Since Ishmael married an Egyptian it gives those people a direct connection for their trade of transporting and selling spices and such to Egypt. Israel is not only surrounded by 'strangers' but by descendants of Abraham i.e. Esau and Ishmael and even his kin the descendants of Lot the Moabites. While Abraham was given a very special promise, he was also to be the father of many nations.
*Also spelled Ishmeelites but my Bible dictionary shows them as the same people.

Proverbs 27:23-24 "Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not forever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?"

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