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Genesis Chapter 25
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Abraham's Last Days
25:1 Abraham married another woman whose name was Keturah.
25:2 She bore him Zimran, Yakshan, Medan, Midian, Yishbak and Shuach.
25:3 Yakshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were the Ashurim, Letushim and Leumim.
25:4 The sons of Midian were Eiphah, Epher, Enoch, Avidah and Elda'ah.

All these were Keturah's descendants.

25:5 Abraham gave all that he owned to Isaac.
25:6 To the sons of the concubines that he had taken, Abraham [also] gave gifts. Then, while he was still alive, he sent them to the country of the East, away from his son Isaac.
25:7 This, then, is the account of Abraham's years. He lived a total of 175 years.
25:8 Abraham breathed his last and died at a good age, old and satisfied, and he was gathered to his people.
25:9 His sons, Isaac and Ishmael, buried him in Makhpelah Cave, in the field of Ephron son of Tzohar the Hittite, which borders Mamre.
25:10 The field that Abraham purchased from the children of Heth is thus where Abraham and his wife Sarah were buried.
25:11 After Abraham died, God blessed Isaac, his son. Isaac lived in the vicinity of Beer LaChai Roi.

Ishmael
25:12 These are the chronicles of Ishmael son of Abraham, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's slave, bore to Abraham:
25:13 These are the names of Ishmael's sons in order of their birth: Nebayoth (Ishmael's first-born), Kedar, Adbiel, Mibsam,
25:14 Mishma, Duma, Masa,
25:15 Chadad, Tema, Yetur, Nafish and Kedmah.
25:16 These were Ishmael's sons, and these names were given to their towns and encampments. There were twelve princes for their nations.
25:17 This is the account of Ishmael's years. He lived a total of 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people.
25:18 [His descendants] lived in the area from Havilah to Shur (which borders on Egypt), all the way to Assyria. They overran all their brethren.

Jacob and Esau
25:19 These are the chronicles of Isaac son of Abraham:

Abraham was Isaac's father.

25:20 When Isaac was 40 years old, he married Rebecca, daughter of Bethuel the Aramaean of Padan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramaean.
25:21 His wife was sterile, and Isaac pleaded with God for her sake. God granted his plea, and Rebecca became pregnant.
25:22 But the children clashed inside her, and when this occurred, she asked, 'Why is this happening to me?' She went to seek a message from God.
25:23 God's word to her was, 'Two nations are in your womb. Two governments will separate from inside you. The upper hand will go from one government to the other. The greater one will serve the younger.'
25:24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins in her womb.
25:25 The first one came out reddish, as hairy as a fur coat. They named him Esau.
25:26 His brother then emerged, and his hand was grasping Esau's heel. [Isaac] named him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when [Rebecca] gave birth to them.
25:27 The boys grew up. Esau became a skilled trapper, a man of the field. Jacob was a scholarly man who remained with the tents.
25:28 Isaac enjoyed eating Esau's game and favored him, but Rebecca favored Jacob.
25:29 Jacob was once simmering a stew, when Esau came home exhausted from the field.
25:30 Esau said to Jacob, 'Give me a swallow of that red stuff! I'm famished!' (He was therefore given the name Edom).
25:31 'First sell me your birthright,' replied Jacob.
25:32 'Here I'm about to die!' exclaimed Esau. 'What good is a birthright to me?'
25:33 'Make an oath to me right now,' said Jacob.

He made the oath, and sold his birthright to Jacob.

25:34 Jacob then gave Esau bread and lentil stew. [Esau] ate it, drank, got up and left. He thus rejected the birthright.



Commentary:

Keturah
  A concubine (1 Chronicles 1:32). Some sources identify her with Hagar (Targum Yonathan; Bereshith Rabbah 61; Rashi). Others, however, maintain that she was a third wife (Bereshith Rabbah 57; Zohar 1:133b; Ibn Ezra; Rashbam; Ramban on 25:6). One ancient source states that Hagar was already dead at this time (Yov'loth 19:13).

Zimran
  See Radak on Jeremiah 25:25. Some identify him with Zabram, a major city between Mecca and Medina mentioned in Ptolemy's Geography. Josephus renders the name Zambran.

Medan
  See Genesis 37:36. Possibly associated with Medina.

Midian
  A well known nation, living to the northeast of the gulf of Aqaba on the Arabian Peninsula, in what is now southern Jordan. See Genesis 37:28, 36:25. They were often involved with the Israelites; Numbers 22:4, Judges 7:12, 6:1, etc. Most significantly, Moses married a Midianite woman (Exodus 2:16).

Shuach
  Job's friend in the land of Utz (Genesis 10:23, 22:21) was Bildad from Shuach (Job 2:11, Ibn Ezra ad loc.). In ancient times there was a nation by the name of Sachia in western Arabia, to the east of Batanaea (Ptolemy, Geography 5:15).

Sheba and Dedan
  See Genesis 10:7 and 10:28. The Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:32 translates these as Zmargad and M'zag, the same as on 1 Chronicles 1:9, and Genesis 10:7 (see note there). Since the Targum relates them, the verse may be speaking of groups that lived in specific places, and not individuals. Josephus renders Sheba here as Shabathan.

Ashurim...
  A nation (Rashi; Josephus). See Genesis 2:14, 10:11; note on Genesis 25:18. Possibly associated with Shur or Asir in Yemen. These are omitted in Chronicles. The Targum translates the three names here as, 'caravan drivers, traders and colonists' (cf. Targum Yonathan; Bereshith Rabbah 61; Rashi; see Targum on 46:3).

sons of Midian
  Midian had five kings, for each of these five nations; Numbers 31:8.

Eiphah
  An Arabian tribe mentioned as bringing gold and incense in caravans from Sheba; Isaiah 60:6 (Rashi ad loc.). The Targum on Isaiah 60:6 renders it Halad, while the Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:33 renders it Chavaled.

Epher
  From which Africa received its name according to Josephus. He also quotes Alexander Polyhistor (c. 100-40 b.c.e.) that this Epher conquered Libia and gave it his name, Africa (Antiquities 1:15:1).

Enoch
  Chanokh in Hebrew. See Genesis 4:17, 5:18.

country of the East
  It seems that all these lived in the Arabian peninsula, and Josephus supports this. He also writes that they took over the lands of the Troglodytes, an ancient people living along the Red Sea (Antiquities 1:15:1; see Herodotus 4:183; Didorus 3:31; Strabo 17:771).

This then...
  Literally, 'These are the days of the years of Abraham's life that he lived;' see Genesis 25:17. We interpret 'days' here as being idiomatic for 'account.'

175 years
  It can easily be seen from the dates given in scripture here that Isaac was 75 years old, and Ishmael 88 when Abraham died. Jacob and Esau were 15; see note on Genesis 25:29.

gathered to his people
  A clear indication of immortality of the soul. See Genesis 15:15.

Beer LaChai Roi
  See note on Genesis 24:62.

Nebayoth
  Nevayoth in Hebrew. The Torah later specifies that it was his sister who married Esau (Genesis 28:9, 36:3). It appears that the people of Nebayoth were nomads engaged in sheep-raising (Isaiah 16:7; Radak ad loc.). They are identified with the Nabetaeans, who lived in northern Arabia, to the south of the Dead Sea (Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:29; Josephus, Antiquities 1:12:4. See 1 Maccabees 5:25, 9:35, 2 Maccabees 5:8; Strabo 16:4; Pliney 12:37). Their capital was Petra, the ancient site of Kadesh (Strabo 16:799, 17:803; Pliney 6:32). Also see Josephus, Antiquities 14:3:3. 14:6:4.

Kedar
  The Targum renders this as Arabia; cf. Ezekiel 27:21. This was a well known nation; see Isaiah 21:16,17, 42:11, Jeremiah 2:10. They were an eastern tribe (Jeremiah 49:28), raising and dealing in sheep (Isaiah 60:17, Ezekiel 27:21), living in black tents (Song of Songs 1:5), and they were hostile (Psalms 120:5). They were associated with a city Chatzor (Jeremiah 49:28). Some identify them with the Kidru found in Assyrian writings, and with the Cedrei in ancient geographies (Pliney 5:11).

Adbiel
  The name is found in ancient Assyrian writings.

Duma
  See Isaiah 21:11 (Radak, Ibn Ezra, ad loc., but see Rashi). Josephus renders it Idumas, perhaps relating it to Idumia. There was a place on the Syrian-Arabian border known as Duma or Dumath Algandel. There is also a Duma in Syria, some 10 miles east of Damascus. Domita is mentioned by Ptolemy (5:19).

Masa
  See Genesis 10:30, Exodus 17:7. The name is found in ancient Assyrian writings.

Tema
  It is associated with Arabia (Isaiah 21:14), especially with Dedan and Buz (Jeremiah 25:23). This was also a people who had caravans associated with Sheba (Job 6:19). It was a nation that lived in the northern Arabian desert. It may be associated with the present city of Tayma in Saudi Arabia. The Targum on 1 Chronicles 1:30 renders it Adroma, literally 'the south.' There is an area known as Hadramut in southern Arabia.

Yetur
  Yetur and Nafish were driven out of the area east of the Jordan by Reuben, Gad and Manasseh (1 Chronicles 5:19; Rashi ad loc.). This is in the exact area of Ituraea, northeast of Lake Hula (see Strabo 16:755; Pliney 5:19). They originally came from another area named Ituraea in the Arabian Desert (Strabo 16:756). They then settled in the mountain range to the north and south of Damascus, in regions where it was difficult to reach them. During the time of the Second Temple, the Hasmonean King Aristoblus forced the people of Ituraea to convert to Judaism and annexed their territory to Judea (Josephus, Antiquities 13:11:3). The area was later annexed to Syria by the Romans (Tacticus, Annals 12:23).

Nafish
  See note on Genesis 25:15, 'Yetur', from 1 Chronicles 5:19.

twelve princes
  See Genesis 17:20.

Havilah
  See Genesis 2:11, 10:7, 10:29. Saul also pursued the Amelikes between Shur and Havilah; 1 Samuel 15:7. Others interpret this expression as Havilah-by-Shur to distinguish from other places known as Havilah.

Shur
  See note on Genesis 25:18, 'Havilah'; Genesis 16:7, 20:1.

Assyria
  All the way to the north; see Genesis 2:14, 10:11. Some associate this with Asshurim mentioned in Genesis 25:3.

They overran...
  (Cf. Rashi; Hirsch). See Genesis 16:12. This would mean that the Ishmaelite Arabs would take over the territory of Abraham's other sons, dominating the entire Middle East. Literally, 'on the face of all his brethren he fell.' Others interpret it, 'He traveled among all his brothers' as a nomad (Ibn Ezra). Another interpretation is, 'He died in the presence of all his brethren' (Ibn Ezra). See note on Genesis 37:28.

Padan Aram
  Some sources state that this is identical with Aram Naharaim mentioned in Genesis 24:10 (Radak). Others write that padan means a yoke or field, and that this is the Field of Aram (Hosea 12:13), the area between Aram Naharaim and Aram Tzova (Allepo) (Rashi; Ibn Ezra). Charan is about 100 miles northeast of Allepo. The word padan is found to mean a pair (Targum on 1 Samuel 11:7). The area is sometimes simply called Padan alone (Genesis 48:7). Also see Daniel 11:45.

when this occurred
  (Hirsch). Otherwise, the expression here is very ambiguous: 'If so, why am I thus?' Some interpret it; 'If this is the way it must be, why go on?' (Ramban; cf. Bereshith Rabbah 63). Other interpretations are, 'If [there is such pain], why did we pray for children?' (Rashi); 'Why am I having such an unusual pregnancy?' (Ibn Ezra; Radak); or, 'If I am upright, why is this happening?' (HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).

The greater one...
  Rebecca thus knew that Jacob would be the chosen one. This explains Genesis 25:28 and 28:5.

reddish
  Either with a ruddy complexion (Ibn Janach; cf. Midrash HaGadol) or with red hair (cf. Torah Sh'lemah 131). Cf. 1 Samuel 16:12. Others translate admoni as 'manly' (Chizzkuni; cf. Josephus, Antiquities 1:18:1). In any case, the word is a play on Edom, see Genesis 25:30.

hairy
  Se'ar in Hebrew, from which Seir is derived (cf. Genesis 32:4; see Josephus, Antiquities 1:18:1; Torah Sh'lemah 141). See Genesis 27:11.

Esau
  Esav in Hebrew; literally 'made' or 'completed' (Rashbam; cf. Lekach Tov).

Isaac
  (cf. Rashi; Yerushalmi, Berakhoth 1:6). According to others, it was God who named him (Rashi).

Jacob
  Yaakov in Hebrew, literally 'he will heel,' because he was grasping Esau's heel. See Genesis 27:36. Also see Hosea 12:4.

60 years old
  Jacob and Esau were therefore born in the year 2108.

scholarly
  (cf. Rashi; Targum Yonathan; Saadia). Tam. in Hebrew, also meaning simple, plain, quiet, perfect (Targum), or simple-minded (Hirsch). See note on Genesis 6:9.

Isaac....favored him
  Isaac saw that Esau was careful to honor his parents, and could therefore be trusted to keep the tradition from previous generations (see note on Genesis 27:4). Others interpret this sentence, 'Isaac loved Esau because he was a trapper with his mouth,' that is, a smooth talker (Tanchuma 8; Rashi; Hirsch).

Rebecca favored Jacob
  See note on Genesis 25:23.

Jacob...
  According to tradition, this was the consolation meal prepared after Abraham's death (Targum Yonathan; Bava Bathra 16b). See Yov'loth 24:3.

Esau came...
  There is a tradition that he had just killed Nimrod (Genesis 10:8. See Baaley Tosafoth. Also see Rashi, Pesachim 54b s.v. Bigdo).

Edom
  Literally red. See Genesis 25:25. Also see Genesis 32:4, 36:1, 36:8, 36:19, etc. In later times, the Greeks called Edom, Idumia (Josephus, Antiquities 2:1:1).

birthright
  This meant that Jacob would now be the primary heir and would also serve as the family priest (Rashi).





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