|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
36:1-43 Esau and his descendants. - The registers in this chapter show the faithfulness of God to his promise to Abraham. Esau is here called Edom, that name which kept up the remembrance of his selling his birth-right for a mess of pottage. Esau continued the same profane despiser of heavenly things. In outward prosperity and honour, the children of the covenant are often behind, and those that are out of the covenant get the start. We may suppose it a trial to the faith of God's Israel, to hear of the pomp and power of the kings of Edom, while they were bond-slaves in Egypt; but those that look for great things from God, must be content to wait for them; God's time is the best time. Mount Seir is called the land of their possession. Canaan was at this time only the land of promise. Seir was in the possession of the Edomites. The children of this world have their all in hand, and nothing in hope, Lu 16:25; while the children of God have their all in hope, and next to nothing in hand. But, all things considered, it is beyond compare better to have Canaan in promise, than mount Seir in possession.
Verse 1. - Now these are the generations (cf. Genesis 2:4; Genesis 5:1, &c.) of Esau, - Hairy (vide Genesis 25:25) - which is Edom - Red (vide Genesis 25:30).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. Who was surnamed Edom, from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to his brother Jacob, Genesis 25:30; an account is given of him, and his posterity, not only because he was a son of Isaac, lately made mention of as concerned in his burial; but because his posterity would be often taken notice of in the sacred Scriptures, and so their genealogy would serve to illustrate such passages; and Maimonides (m) thinks the principal reason is, that whereas Amalek, a branch of Esau's family, were to be destroyed by an express command of God, it was necessary that all the rest should be particularly described, lest they should all perish together; but other ends are answered hereby, as partly to show the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham, concerning the multiplication of his seed, and the accomplishment of the oracle to Rebekah, signifying that two nations were in her womb, one of which were those Edomites; as also to observe how the blessing of Isaac his father came upon him with effect, Genesis 22:17.
(m) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 50. p. 510.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 36:1-43. Posterity of Esau.
1. these are the generations—history of the leading men and events (compare Ge 2:4).
Esau who is Edom—A name applied to him in reference to the peculiar color of his skin at birth [Ge 25:25], rendered more significant by his inordinate craving for the red pottage [Ge 25:30], and also by the fierce sanguinary character of his descendants (compare Eze 25:12; Ob 10).
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