Genesis 36:1-5 This section looks into the genealogy of Esau. Esau is also called Edom which refers to his headship over the nation of Edom. Esau and Edom are identified as one in Obad 1:8. The name comes from the event of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob for the “red stew” that Jacob had prepared in Gen 25:30. Esau’s three wives and his five sons are listed here. Initially Esau lived with his family in Canaan, before he moved his family to Seir the land that would become Edom. In Gen. 27:39-40 a blessing was placed on Esau, this was not a meaningless addendum, but one in which God honored for the sake of his servant Isaac. In all likelihood Moses is writing this account, and he had already encountered the hostility of Esau’s offspring as he, with the Israelites, attempt to enter the Promised Land by way of Seir or modern-day Petra. Considering this, it is remarkable that Moses included their genealogies in Scripture. This account resembles 25:12–18, where Ishmael’s descendants come before the genealogy of Isaac’s family.
Genesis 36:6-7 Esau here moves his family to a new land, Seir. This move confirms God’s blessing on Jacob preparing for the time that his offspring will inhabit the land. This is truly a work of God considering that Jacob fled the land after he and his mother plotted to gain the birthright promised to him by God by deceptive means. He fled at the threat of Esau to kill his brother when their father died. Here we learn that it is now Esau who leaves the land “away from brother Jacob”. This confirms the promise that God made before either brother was born and that the Land will be given to Jacob/Israel. The reason for their separation is language similar to the parting of Laban and Abraham. God had blessed both Esau and Jacob with too much livestock and property that they needed to separate.
Genesis 36:9-19 The genealogy of Esau is now listed. Esau’s five sons and ten grandsons who became tribal leaders are identified. Notable in this section is the transition from a family to large tribe to a nation. The term “chiefs” means literally in the Hebrew “leader of a thousand”. Esau’s descendants coexist alongside the Horites, the original inhabitants of Seir. Eventually Esau’s descendants would take control of Seir, renaming it “Edom. One notable offspring of Esau is Amalek V. 16, who will in the future oppose Israel along with the Edomites. Esau had 5 sons and 10 grandsons, 13 of these were noted as “chiefs” and some as “kings”. “Edom” means red and becomes the name of the territory that Esau lives in.
Genesis 36:20-30 This genealogy presents the people of Mount Seir whom the sons of Esau would later destroy (Deut. 2:22) or in some cases intermarry (vv. 22, 25).
Genesis 36:31-39 These verses describe the transition from tribal leaders to a monarchy. V 31 anticipates that someday in the future Israel will also be ruled by Kings.