And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Genesis 25:20. And Isaac was forty years old — Not much is related concerning Isaac, but what had reference to his father, while he lived, and to his sons afterward; for Isaac seems not to have been a man of action, nor to have been much tried, but to have spent his days in quietness and silence.
20. פדן padān, Paddan, "plowed field;" related: "cut, plow."
25. עשׂי ‛êśâv, 'Esaw, "hairy, or made."
26. יעקב ya‛ăqôb, Ja'aqob, "he shall take the heel."
27. תם tām, "perfect, peaceful, plain." The epithet refers to disposition, and contrasts the comparatively civilized character of Jacob with the rude temper of Esau.
30. אדים 'ědôm, Edom, "red."
The ninth document here begins with the usual phrase, and continues to the end of the thirty-fifth chapter. It contains the history of the second of the three patriarchs, or rather, indeed, as the opening phrase intimates, of the generations of Isaac; that is, of his son Jacob. Isaac himself makes little figure in the sacred history. Born when his mother was ninety, and his father a hundred years of age, he is of a sedate, contemplative, and yielding disposition. Consenting to be laid on the altar as a sacrifice to God, he had the stamp of submission early and deeply impressed on his soul. His life corresponds with these antecedents. Hence, in the spiritual aspect of his character he was the man of patience, of acquiescence, of susceptibility, of obedience. His qualities were those of the son, as Abraham's were those of the father. He carried out, but did not initiate; he followed, but did not lead; he continued, but did not commence. Accordingly, the docile and patient side of the saintly character is now to be presented to our view.
The birth of Esau and Jacob. "The son of forty years." Hence, we learn that Isaac was married the third year after his mother's death, when Abraham was in his hundred and fortieth year. "Bethuel the Aramaean." As Bethuel was a descendant of Arpakshad, not of Aram, he is here designated, not by his descent, but by his adopted country Aram. By descent he was a Kasdi or Kaldee. Sarah was barren for at least thirty years; Rebekah for nineteen years. This drew forth the prayer of Isaac in regard to his wife. The heir of promise was to be a child of prayer, and accordingly when the prayer ascended the fruit of the womb was given. Rebekah had unwonted sensations connected with her pregnancy. She said to herself, "If it be so," if I have conceived seed, "why am I thus," why this strange struggle within me? In the artlessness of her faith she goes to the Lord for an explanation. We are not informed in what way she consulted God, or how he replied. The expression, "she went to inquire of the Lord," implies that there was some place of worship and communion with God by prayer. We are not to suppose that she went to Abraham, or any other prophet, if such were then at hand, when we have no intimation of this in the text. Her communication with the Lord seems to have been direct. This passage conveys to us the intimation that there was now a fixed mode and perhaps place of inquiring at the Lord. The Lord answers the mother of the promised seed. Two children are in her womb, the parents of two nations, differing in their dispositions and destinies. The one is to be stronger than the other. The order of nature is to be reversed in them; for the older will serve the younger. Their struggles in the womb are a prelude to their future history.
19. these are the generations—account of the leading events in his life.Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram; either of the country of Syria, as it is called, Hosea 12:12; or rather, Padan of Syria; or, as the Septuagint and Chaldee render it, Mesopotamia of Syria. For that Parian is the proper name of a place, may be gathered from Genesis 48:7, and it is so called from its situation between two rivers, for Padan signifies a pair or two.
the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian, of Padanaram; so called to distinguish it from other Arams, as Aram of Damascus, &c. this seems to be the same with Aram Naharaim, or Mesopotamia, which lay between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris; for Padan, as Jarchi observes from the Targum, signifies two; but rather, as he, and Aben Ezra, and others say, Padan in the Arabic language signifies a field; it here intends the field or country of Syria, as in Hosea 12:12. Haran, in Syria or Mesopotamia, was the place where Bethuel and Laban lived, see Genesis 28:5. Some traces of Padan in Mesopotamia are thought to be in the cities of Aphphadana and Aphadana, which are placed by Ptolemy (z) in that country. Moreover, Rebekah is also said to be
the sister to Laban the Syrian, the son of Bethuel, who are both called Syrians, because they now lived in Syria: otherwise they were originally Chaldees, being descended from Nahor the brother of Abraham, who both were of Ur of the Chaldees; so Jacob is called a Syrian, because he lived long in the same place, Deuteronomy 26:5.And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)forty years old] P gives the age of Isaac at the time of his marriage with Rebekah, thirty-five years before Abraham’s death (Genesis 25:8).
Bethuel] P makes no mention here of Bethuel’s being son of Nahor, the brother of Terah. The genealogy of J in Genesis 22:22 is ignored.
the Syrian] Heb. Aramean, as in Genesis 28:5. Aram is mentioned in Genesis 10:22-23 (P), as the fifth of the sons of Shem.
Paddan-aram] This is the name given in the P narrative for the country described as Aram-naharaim by J. See note on Genesis 24:10. Cf. Genesis 28:2; Genesis 28:5-7, Genesis 31:18, Genesis 35:9; Genesis 35:26, Genesis 46:15, Genesis 48:7 (Paddan), all from P. The word Paddan is Aramaic, and means probably “the field,” modern Arabic feddân (= “acre”). In Assyrian padanu = “way” or “field,” like Haran (Genesis 11:32). According to Hosea 12:12, “Jacob fled into the field of Aram,” where “field” is the Heb. sâdeh, and denotes Haran, the country E. of Euphrates.
21–34 (J, E). This passage contains two short narratives, (1) the birth of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21-26), (2) the sale of Esau’s birthright (27–34).Verse 20. - And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, - the valuable chronological fact here stated for the first time proves that Isaac was married three years after his mother's death (cf. Genesis 23:1) - the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian (vide on Genesis 22:23; 24:29). Though a descendant of Arphaxad (Genesis 10:24), Bethuel is styled a Syrian, or Aramaean, from the country of his adoption. On Padanaram vide Genesis 24:10. Genesis 25:1 Chronicles 1:28-31)
To show that the promises of God, which had been made to Ishmael (Genesis 16:10. and Genesis 17:20), were fulfilled, a short account is given of his descendants; and according to the settled plan of Genesis, this account precedes the history of Isaac. This is evidently the intention of the list which follows of the twelve sons of Ishmael, who are given as princes of the tribes which sprang from them. Nebajoth and Kedar are mentioned in Isaiah 60:7 as rich possessors of flocks, and, according to the current opinion which Wetzstein disputes, are the Nabataei et Cedrei of Pliny (h. n. 5, 12). The Nabataeans held possession of Arabia Petraea, with Petra as their capital, and subsequently extended toward the south and north-east, probably as far as Babylon; so that the name was afterwards transferred to all the tribes to the east of the Jordan, and in the Nabataean writings became a common name for Chaldeans (ancient Babylonians), Syrians, Canaanites, and others. The Kedarenes are mentioned in Isaiah 21:17 as good bowmen. They dwelt in the desert between Arabia Petraea and Babylon (Isaiah 42:11; Psalm 120:5). According to Wetzstein, they are to be found in the nomad tribes of Arabia Petraea up to Harra. The name Dumah, Δούμεθα Αουμαίθα (Ptol. v. 19, 7, Steph. Byz.), Domata (Plin. 6, 32), has been retained in the modern Dumat el Jendel in Nejd, the Arabian highland, four days' journey to the north of Taima. - Tema: a trading people (Job 6:19; Isaiah 21:14; mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23, between Dedan and Bus) in the land of Taima, on the border of Nejd and the Syrian desert. According to Wetzstein, Dma and Tma are still two important places in Eastern Hauran, three-quarters of an hour apart. Jetur and Naphish were neighbours of the tribes of Israel to the east of the Jordan (1 Chronicles 5:19), who made war upon them along with the Hagrites, the Αγραῖοι of Ptol. and Strabo. From Jetur sprang the Ituraeans, who lived, according to Strabo, near the Trachonians in an almost inaccessible, mountainous, and cavernous country; according to Wetzstein, in the mountains of the Druses in the centre of the Hauran, possibly the forefathers of the modern Druses. The other names are not yet satisfactorily determined. For Adbeel, Mibsam, and Kedma, the Arabian legends give no corresponding names. Mishma is associated by Knobel with the Μαισαιμανείς of Ptol. vi. 7, 21, to the N.E. of Medina; Massa with the Μασανοί on the N.E. of Duma; Hadad (the proper reading for Hadar, according to 1 Chronicles 1:30, the lxx, Sam., Masor., and most MSS) with the Arabian coast land, Chathth, between Oman and Bahrein, a district renowned for its lancers (Χαττηνία, Polyb.; Attene, Plin.).
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