36 This is the account of the family line of Esau (that is, Edom).
2 Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite— 3 also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.
4 Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, 5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in Canaan.
6 Esau took his wives and sons and daughters and all the members of his household, as well as his livestock and all his other animals and all the goods he had acquired in Canaan, and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. 7 Their possessions were too great for them to remain together; the land where they were staying could not support them both because of their livestock. 8 So Esau (that is, Edom) settled in the hill country of Seir.
9 This is the account of the family line of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.
10 These are the names of Esau’s sons:
Eliphaz, the son of Esau’s wife Adah, and Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath.
11 The sons of Eliphaz:
Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam and Kenaz.
12 Esau’s son Eliphaz also had a concubine named Timna, who bore him Amalek. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Adah.
13 The sons of Reuel:
Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
14 The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon, whom she bore to Esau:
Jeush, Jalam and Korah.
15 These were the chiefs among Esau’s descendants:
The sons of Eliphaz the firstborn of Esau:
Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam and Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in Edom; they were grandsons of Adah.
17 The sons of Esau’s son Reuel:
Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in Edom; they were grandsons of Esau’s wife Basemath.
18 The sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah:
Chiefs Jeush, Jalam and Korah. These were the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
19 These were the sons of Esau (that is, Edom), and these were their chiefs.
20 These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region:
Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21 Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs.
22 The sons of Lotan:
Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotan’s sister.
23 The sons of Shobal:
Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
24 The sons of Zibeon:
Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon.
25 The children of Anah:
Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
26 The sons of Dishon:
Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
27 The sons of Ezer:
Bilhan, Zaavan and Akan.
28 The sons of Dishan:
Uz and Aran.
29 These were the Horite chiefs:
Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30 Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These were the Horite chiefs, according to their divisions, in the land of Seir.
31 These were the kings who reigned in Edom before any Israelite king reigned:
32 Bela son of Beor became king of Edom. His city was named Dinhabah.
33 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah succeeded him as king.
34 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king.
35 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king. His city was named Avith.
36 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah succeeded him as king.
37 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth on the river succeeded him as king.
38 When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king.
39 When Baal-Hanan son of Akbor died, Hadad succeeded him as king. His city was named Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred, the daughter of Me-Zahab.
40 These were the chiefs descended from Esau, by name, according to their clans and regions:
Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43 Magdiel and Iram. These were the chiefs of Edom, according to their settlements in the land they occupied.
This is the family line of Esau, the father of the Edomites.
(Genesis 36:1-43 NIV)
As we wrapped up Chapter 35, we saw Jacob lose his wife and best friend Rachel, move back home, and then lose his father Isaac.
Chapter 36 is dedicated to the genealogy of Esau, Jacob’s older brother. Similar to Chapter 25, we saw the historical record of Ishmael the older brother first, then Isaac. In today’s passage, we see Esau’s historical record first, followed by that of Jacob in Chapters 37 and following.
In verses 1-5, we note that Esau had three wives, who bore him five sons.
In verses 6-8, we see an amiable parting of ways between Jacob and Esau, because the land was not able to sustain both of their growing herds. Jacob stayed in Canaan, while Esau moved to the hill country of Seir (also known as Edom).
In verses 9-14, we see the historical record of Esau’s sons and grandsons as relatives of Esau. In verses 15-19, we see the same list reiterated, only this time the descendants are identified as separate people groups (chiefs or clan leaders).
Verses 20-30 are interjected into the text here as a historical record, not as a family record. The Horites were the original inhabitants of the hill country of Seir; three generations of the Horites are mentioned in these verses. Deuteronomy 2:12 connects the inclusion of this record of the Horites to Esau’s family. Esau’s family drove out the Horites from the hill country and settled in their place.
In verses 31-39, we see eight generations of Edomite rules represented. It’s interesting to note that these rulers were not appointed because of family ties to Esau or his family. It appears that these kings were elected, not appointed. While there were eight generations identified, there was no mention of murder or other foul play of one ruler trying to take over the kingship from another. These generations would carry the Edomites from Esau’s timeframe through to roughly King Saul’s or King David’s timeframe. There are no ages or lengths of rule mentioned in these verses, so it’s a little hard to know exactly when these kings started or stopped.
Lastly, verses 40-43 identify the chiefs or tribal leaders of Esau’s descendants. This list seems to be arranged geographically, identifying where the various tribal leaders lived, versus the family listing of verses 15-19.
As we look over this passage, we see God’s grace and mercy toward Esau, recording the development of his family as a descendant of Isaac. Even though Esau was not the one chosen by God to carry the blessing of God to the nations, the Lord still is interested in recording Esau’s history and the development of his family.
May we remember that God cares about each and every person, including you and me.