This is a VERY interesting chapter. Much happens, yet only the last segment really receives the limelight in most Sunday School and sermon teachings.
First off, Abraham remarries (Sarah having died). He then has a bunch more kids. Hands up if you also thought Abraham’s only kids were Ishmael and Isaac? Yep, me too! One of these kids was named Midian. Could he be the father of the Midianites, with whom Israel had a love/hate relationship with later on? (Moses found a wife among them, but Gideon defeated them in battle down the track).
But wait! There’s more! Abraham also had children by concubines, to whom he gave gifts then sent far away from Isaac before his death, upon which he left everything to Isaac. The writer of Genesis does not leave a record of whether these sexual relationships Abraham had were right or wrong in the sight of God. Someone I know recently said that monogamy isn’t strongly argued for in the bible. I’m not gonna go into that right now though. It’s a big topic for another day and has no bearing on my own monogamous hopes for the future.
Anyhoo, Abraham lives to the ripe old age of 175, much longer than the 120 year limit placed on man in Genesis 6, then he is buried next to Sarah, his first wife.
Ishmael is counted as having a sufficient number of sons to have his own twelve tribes, albeit a generation earlier than those of Israel.
Then we get to the better known part of the chapter: The story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob buys Esau’s birthright for a meal. By all accounts, it seems Esau is not just hungry, but on the brink of dying from starvation (that or he’s a drama queen. If accounts of his hunting prowess are anything to go by, it’s unlikely that he would be unable to feed himself). This is just one event in a large family history of the younger sibling gaining prominence over the older. Isaac was the heir to Abraham’s estate and line, despite being younger than Ishmael. Joseph also one-upped his older brothers a generation later.
What this chapter tells us about God
- You don’t have to be a likely candidate to do big things for God. All the prominent brothers in the line of Abraham were not the firstborns.
Source Text: Genesis 25
Well, we’re halfway through Genesis now. Finally! :)