Genesis 25:1-28 – Abraham, Sarah, Isaac

Genesis 25:1-28 – Abraham, Sarah, Isaac

Genesis 25:1-6 – Abraham was 137 years old when Sarah died, so Abraham still had thirty-eight years to live after that. He was 100 years old when Isaac was born (Genesis 21:1-3), he was 137 years old when Sarah died (Genesis 23:1), and he was 175 years old when he died (in Genesis 25:7). Abraham now marries Keturah who is described in Scripture as a concubine .

There could be no doubt that though there might be children from this union but the heir of all would be Isaac. Abraham and Keturah did in fact have 6 sons. Abraham lived for 35 years after the marriage of Isaac. This marriage further added weight to the fulfillment that Abraham would be the father of many nations. In Genesis 25:5 we see that Abraham gave his estate to Isaac, but provided for Keturah and their sons.

Genesis 25:7-12 At the age of 175 Abraham dies and is gathered to his people, which is a reference not to where he was buried but rather to those who are alive with the Lord. In fact in (Luke 16:22) “Now it came about that the poor man died and he was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.

Abraham’s bosom was a Jewish expression for paradise, or the presence of God (Genesis 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4). Abraham was buried in the cave of Machpelah the same location as Sara, the only piece of land owned by him. From Genesis 25:9 we see that there is no enmity between Isaac and Ishmael in that they are both involved in the burial of their father. This reconciliation seems apparent since Isaac dwelt in the very area that Hagar had named when she encountered the Angel of the Lord in Genesis 16.

Genesis 25:12-18 The history of Ishmael and his offspring are recounted. This is because of his relationship to Abraham, and thus is promised to be a part of the blessings of God that Ishmael would be a great nation. That his relationship to Hagar is mentioned denotes that while there is a blessing it is not the same as the child of promise. The sons of Ishmael have been identified as the Arab peoples. His first born Nebaioth is likely the father of the Nabateans who were responsible for building the architectural wonders of Petra.

Kedar is associated with Nebaioth (Isaiah 60:7) “All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you, The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; They will go up with acceptance on My altar, And I shall glorify My glorious house. Kedar’s name is used synonymously with the Arabs (Isaiah 21:17; Jeremiah 49:28; Ezekiel 27:21). Like Abraham, Ishmael was gathered to his people. This would seem to indicate that Ishmael was a believer and is with Abraham. The region from Havilah to Shur, which lies east of Egypt is the land generally known as Arabia.

Genesis 25:19-23– This is clearly an example of God’s concern for children while they are still in the womb and secondly and indication of predestination demonstrating the foreknowledge of God. God knew Esau and Jacob and their destinies as they were formed in the womb. Predestination and election have always been the subject of theological discussions. (Romans 8:29; 11:2; Ephesians 1:5)

Scriptures present salvation from two different perspectives. The earthly perspective sees man as totally responsible for his actions and faced with the necessity of choosing either to reject or to accept the atonement provided by the Messiah Jesus. The heavenly perspective does not contradict the earthly, but it does add a new and more profound dimension. This new dimension declares that God has an elective purpose and that all which ultimately transpires conforms to His purpose.

Difficulty arises in when man attempts to reconcile the heavenly perspective with the earthly one. Instead of trying to systematize and harmonize these truths which are ultimately understood only by God, we should try and ask the question, “Why is the doctrine of election present in the Scripture?” We will deal with this in more detail next week. Four distinct answers present themselves:

(1) As long as the doctrine of election is in the Bible, salvation must be the gift of God alone. Predestination framed in God’s foreknowledge assures us that salvation is from start to finish the work of God.

(2) The doctrine of God’s election assures us our eternal destiny. It is unthinkable that one of God’s elect could lose his salvation, which was a gift from God. (Romans 8:30). So certain is that sequence that “glorified” is an aorist tense in Greek, meaning that glorification is already a settled issue in the mind of God which is what the rest of Romans 8 deals with. How could God lose one of His elect?

(3) The doctrine of election places us in a special relationship with our Heavenly Father who oversees all the affairs of every believer. (Romans 8:28) And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

(4) Finally, that same personal care by God found in His election extends throughout the entire course of history. There is no runaway world. God’s hand is overseeing it all to it’s final conclusion (Romans 8:21-22) that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. {22} For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. God saw all of this in the conception of the twins within the womb of Rebekah, and His choice was determined. This is how the subject of Esau and Jacob is discussed in the election of Israel. (Romans 9:10-14)

Genesis 25:24-26 – The word from the Lord is fulfilled and twins are born, the first is born and apparently is covered with red hair. The Hebrew word for hairy is Esau and that is how he received his name. The second son is born hanging on to the first’s heel, as though he were trying to pull him back. The struggle appears to continue even as they are born. The word in Hebrew for heel is Aacov from this comes the name Yacov or Jacob which means heel grabber. It is Esau who later interprets the name in a negative way, not the Lord (Genesis 27:36).

There is nothing in the Hebrew language that suggests the meaning that Esau comes to. It probably was known to the family that Jacob grabbed the heel of his brother and interpreted by his parents that from the manner of birth he wanted the blessing of the first born that humanly speaking went to Esau. God, however had clearly revealed to Rebekah that this blessing was in fact Jacob’s by the Lord’s choice.

Genesis 25:27-28 – As the boys grew, what was seen by God is now seen by the parents. Esau was a rugged outdoors man, while Jacob stayed at home dwelling in tents. The fact that Esau was a cunning hunter is not something to commended. Nimrod was so described and was clearly an ungodly man (Genesis 10:9).

According to Hebrews he was not only a hunter of game but also a sexually immoral man (Hebrews 12:16) See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. It was this kind of lifestyle that made him unfit to receive the blessing of God.

Jacob, on the other hand was a peaceful man. The Hebrew word translated peaceful is the word Tam and means, perfect, complete, mature, it is synonymous with the Yiddish expression mensch. This was the same word that God used to describe Job (Job 1:8) And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

Jacob knew from his mother that God had promised him the birthright and desired to have it, while Esau cared little for the birthright. Sadly Isaac favored Esau because he enjoyed eating game. This laid the foundation for great grief and tragedy later.

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