Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The genealogy of Esau!

Matt and I are studying Genesis 36-38 later this week in our ongoing journey through The Book of Genesis. It begins with Esau's genealogy. At the end of Genesis 35 Esau and Jacob are together burying their father Isaac. What should now happen? Genesis 25v23 - Esau should stick around and serve his younger brother as the LORD said should happen.

"These are the generations of Esau..."
  • But, (v2) he takes Canaanite wives (whereas his brother and father take wives from Ur rather than from Canaan) - another warning to Israel before they march into mixed-marriages and subsequent idolatry in Judges, Ruth etc.
  • ..and (v7) we land in the Lot-crisis again, there's not enough space for Jacob and Esau's families and so Esau goes to Seir in Edom... noted enemies of Israel (see Obadiah, Malachi...). Matthew Henry notes: "all things considered, it is better to have Canaan in promise than mount Seir in possession." 
  • From him comes many songs including (v16) Amalek from whom come the Amalekites who held up God's people in the wilderness, and whose descendents Agag and Haman further plagued them... the seed of the serpent keep multiplying, as do all the sons of Abraham. “If God blesses so abundantly those who are not chosen, what is the magnitude of His blessings for those who are chosen? If nonspiritual people experience such outpourings of merely common grace, how great must the special grace of the regenerate be!” (Boice). Though hated in election Esau is still loved, and to be loved by God's people.
  • Esau's prosperity increases the urgency of the coming of the Serpent Crusher.
  • Esau's line has kings before Israel (v31) which amounts to a rejection of God's kingship over them (1 Samuel 8v5), this should serve as a warning to Israel. Why be like the godless nations?
All of which are useful for Israel as they first read Genesis, and tie into the bigger picture of Scripture - which tends to fragment if the threads of genealogies are allowed to go AWOL in our Bible reading. It also serves within Genesis 25-36 to conclude the story of Isaac, Jacob and Esau just as Ishmael's genealogy wraps up the story of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael in Genesis 12-25. It is an ending but it drives us forward to to chapters 37-50 which speak "of the gospel of Christ punished, sold in slavery, exalted and placed at the right hand of the Pharoah"

No comments:

Post a Comment