Read Genesis 25
The Death of Abraham
1 Abraham had taken another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak and Shuah. 3 Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan; the descendants of Dedan were the Ashurites, the Letushites and the Leummites. 4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanok, Abida and Eldaah. All these were descendants of Keturah.
5 Abraham left everything he owned to Isaac. 6 But while he was still living, he gave gifts to the sons of his concubines and sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the east.
7 Abraham lived a hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Then Abraham breathed his last and died at a good old age, an old man and full of years; and he was gathered to his people. 9 His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah near Mamre, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, 10 the field Abraham had bought from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried with his wife Sarah. 11 After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac, who then lived near Beer Lahai Roi.
12 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Ishmael, whom Sarah’s slave, Hagar the Egyptian, bore to Abraham.
13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, listed in the order of their birth: Nebaioth the firstborn of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. 16 These were the sons of Ishmael, and these are the names of the twelve tribal rulers according to their settlements and camps. 17 Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. 18 His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt, as you go toward Ashur. And they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them.
Jacob and Esau
19 This is the account of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
This chapter is marked by a changing of the guard. After 175 years of Abraham’s life, the story now moves on to his son, Isaac. We have been reading for a while now about God’s promise to Abraham, and now we get to see it in action. God gave Isaac to Abraham, and now God has given Jacob and Esau to Isaac. Even though all of this was promised from God, this story doesn’t seem like much of a fairy tale. In fact, the very first thing we read about Jacob and Esau is a story about conflict.
It’s somewhat striking that there are so many painful stories in the book of Genesis. From Noah’s drunkenness, to Abraham’s abandonment of Sarah in Egypt, to Hagar being left alone in the wilderness. There are so many stories of pain in Genesis. And now we read about two brothers who are adding a new story to the legacy of heartache. While these stories can be frustrating to read, there is also something refreshing about them as well. Simply put, the book of Genesis describes the reality of life. There is sin in the world, and it doesn’t come without affect. In fact, it can be said that the book of Genesis is really just a commentary on the first couple of chapters. The decisions of Adam and Eve set the table for a sin-soaked aftermath.
No doubt our own family trees look similar to the family tree found in Genesis. There is sin, loneliness, and conflict in each of our ancestries. But what we learn from Genesis is how God responds to each generation. Rather than getting tired of the legacy of sin, He renews His patience with us. Genesis allows us to see how He is the God who will redeem our stories, generation after generation. While the seasons may change in your life, know that your God has not. He is eager to redeem any mistake in any generation.
What similarities did you notice between the stories of Abraham and Isaac?
Why do you think Esau was willing to sell his birthright? What problems can that attitude cause?
How have you “sold your birthright” for something temporary lately?
Did You Know?
In ancient Near Eastern culture, the firstborn was customarily the heir of his father. God sovereignly broke tradition and gave the birthright to Esau, rather than the firstborn, Jacob. Here, we see the Lord’s prophecy to Rebekah in verse 23 begin to come to fruition. This prophecy will become more evident in later chapters, climaxing in Genesis 27:41 when Esau vows to kill Jacob.