Abraham Marries Keturah
1Abraham married Keturah, 2and they had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Later, Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan, and when Dedan grew up, he had three sons: Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4Midian also had five sons: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.
5-6While Abraham was still alive, he gave gifts to the sons of Hagar and Keturah. He also sent their sons to live in the east far from his son Isaac, and when Abraham died, he left everything to Isaac.
The Death of Abraham
7-8Abraham died at the ripe old age of 175. 9-10 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him east of Hebron in Machpelah Cave that was part of the field Abraham had bought from Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. Abraham was buried there beside his wife Sarah. 11God blessed Isaac after this, and Isaac moved to a place called “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”
The Birth of Esau
19Isaac was the son of Abraham, 20and he was 40 years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel. She was also the sister of Laban, the Aramean from northern Syria.
Almost 20 years later, 21Rebekah still had no children. So Isaac asked the Lord to let her have a child, and the Lord answered his prayer.
22Before Rebekah gave birth, she knew she was going to have twins, because she could feel them inside her, fighting each other. She thought, “Why is this happening to me?” Finally, she asked the Lord why her twins were fighting, 23 and he told her:
“Your two sons will become
two separate nations.
The younger of the two
will be stronger,
and the older son
will be his servant.”
24When Rebekah gave birth, 25the first baby was covered with red hair, so he was named Esau. 26The second baby grabbed on to his brother's heel, so they named him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.
Esau Sells His Rights
27As Jacob and Esau grew older, Esau liked the outdoors and became a good hunter, while Jacob lived the quiet life of a shepherd. 28Esau would take the meat of wild animals to his father Isaac, so Isaac loved him more, but Jacob was his mother's favorite son.
29One day, when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came home hungry 30and said, “I'm starving to death! Here and now give me some of that red stew!” That's how Esau got the name “Edom.”
31Jacob replied, “Sell me your rights as the first-born son.”
32“I'm about to die,” Esau answered. “What good will those rights do me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!” And that's what Esau did. 34Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the first-born.
Abraham’s part in the divine drama draws to a close (vv 1-11). As he dies the text notes, “God blessed his son Isaac after this.” This is a legacy that every parent desires, that God would watch over our children and assist them to succeed in all the aspects of life that matter. The legacy of Ishmael’s descendants (vv 12-18) is described in this manner in Genesis 16:12 “But your son will live far from his relatives; he will be like a wild donkey, fighting everyone, and everyone fighting him.” Theirs is a life filled with ongoing turmoil and stands in complete contrast to the blessing on Isaac’s life.
This scenario of a life of blessing compared to a life of turmoil continues with the birth of Isaac and Rebekah’s twins, Jacob and Esau (vv 19-34). Even in the womb Rebekah senses the jostling between the two and asks the Lord a question many of us have asked, “Why is this happening to me?” The Lord’s answer was probably overwhelming for a new mother to take in. There were two peoples that would come from her children, one stronger than the other and the younger would be served by the older.
This set the stage for the day when Esau, the older son, came home famished from hunting. Jacob, the “Top Chef” of his day was prepared to give his brother some of his stew, but for a price: his birthright. We have recorded for us the legacy of Esau’s misplaced values, “So Esau despised his birthright.” The chain of events had begun to see what was promised to Rebekah take place; Jacob would be the blessed one and served by Esau and his family.
It is important to recognize some key aspects from these stories. God’s blessing does not automatically come because of birth rank, abilities or some other sense of entitlement. Over the course of the biblical story we note the principle, albeit imperfectly reflected in Jacob’s life, that we are blessed as we acknowledge God’s place for us in the broader scope of his purposes and we embrace those with trust and obedience. As we shall see in future chapters of Jacob’s story blessing does not guarantee ease or a lack of challenge but a blessed life does demonstrate the value of putting God’s kingdom and purposes first. That’s a great legacy to leave for those who follow us!
O God of Abraham, we acknowledge you as a God who keeps his promises. Grant us your strength, so that we too will be persons who value what you have promised and live to fulfill your will and bring you glory. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.