TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5
SCRIPTURE: Genesis 36
As chapter 35 ended, we read where Jacob and Esau buried their dad. This is a simple but important statement. Even though the boys had made up when Jacob returned, there were still a lot of years of “bad blood” between them. So, it is telling when these brothers worked together in this situation.
Over the years, I have seen death have a lot of different impacts on families. Sometimes it makes strong, close families even stronger and closer. Sometimes it makes not so strong and close families strong and close. And sometimes it tears families apart in ways that are much worse than physical separation. I am glad that the death of Isaac didn’t drive another wedge between his sons.
As we get into this chapter, we find ourselves neck deep in another one of the Bible’s famous or infamous (you decide) begat chapters. I know we often wonder why these lists are included in the Bible. Part of the answer is that ancestry was really important for those who lived in Old Testament times. Now that I think about it, I guess ancestry is becoming more important in our time. There sure seems to be a lot of websites that promise to help us find our heritage. I have always been more than a bit afraid to do that kind of research because I am not sure what kind of critter may be sitting in my family tree.
But back to the story. It is interesting to me that immediately after the death and burial of Isaac, the Bible gives us part of Esau’s lineage. After all the redemptive story of the Bible is going to flow through Jacob not Esau. Along with that Jacob is the one who inherited all that belonged to Isaac. And Jacob would be the one who would inherit all that came through the Abrahamic covenant. God would be known as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob not the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Esau.
As the Biblical narrative continues, the animosity between Jacob and Esau would be replayed in multiply in numerous ways through the descendents of Esau, the Edomites, and the descendents of Jacob, the Hebrews. It is also interesting to note that Esau and Edom are mentioned in some form more than 200 times in the Old Testament. But the names Jacob and Israel are mentioned more than 2,000 times in the Old Testament.
It may be very well be that the reason this chapter is included in the Bible is that Esau and Edom are part of the story of Israel. It is through Israel that our King and Redeemer will come. And when he comes the Second time, He will put down all opposition to those who make up true Israel.