Genesis 25:20
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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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.

25:19-26 Isaac seems not to have been much tried, but to have spent his days in quietness. Jacob and Esau were prayed for; their parents, after being long childless, obtained them by prayer. The fulfilment of God's promise is always sure, yet it is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when they come. Isaac and Rebekah kept in view the promise of all nations being blessed in their posterity, therefore were not only desirous of children, but anxious concerning every thing which seemed to mark their future character. In all our doubts we should inquire of the Lord by prayer. In many of our conflicts with sin and temptation, we may adopt Rebekah's words, If it be so, why am I thus? If a child of God, why so careless or carnal? If not a child of God, why so afraid of, or so burdened with sin? - LIII. Birth of Esau and Jacob

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.

Genesis 25:19-26

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.

Ge 25:19-34. History of Isaac.

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.


And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife,.... Which was three years after the death of his mother; Isaac was born when she was ninety, and therefore must be thirty seven when she died. The Jews say Rebekah was but fourteen, though it is highly probable she was older; who is described as

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.

(z) Geograph. l. 5. c. 18.

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.
20. 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 25:20According to the plan of Genesis, the history (tholedoth) of Isaac commences with the birth of his sons. But to give it the character of completeness in itself, Isaac's birth and marriage are mentioned again in Genesis 25:19, Genesis 25:20, as well as his age at the time of his marriage. The name given to the country of Rebekah (Genesis 25:20) and the abode of Laban in Genesis 28:2, Genesis 28:6-7; Genesis 31:18; Genesis 33:18; Genesis 35:9, Genesis 35:26; Genesis 46:15, viz., Padan-Aram, or more concisely Padan (Genesis 48:7), "the flat, or flat land of Aram," for which Hosea uses "the field of Aram" (Hosea 12:12), is not a peculiar expression employed by the Elohist, or in the so-called foundation-work, for Aram Naharaim, Mesopotamia (Genesis 24:10), but a more exact description of one particular district of Mesopotamia, viz., of the large plain, surrounded by mountains, in which the town of Haran was situated. The name was apparently transferred to the town itself afterwards. The history of Isaac consists of two stages: (1) the period of his active life, from his marriage and the birth of his sons till the departure of Jacob for Mesopotamia (Genesis 25:20-28:9); and (2) the time of his suffering endurance in the growing infirmity of age, when the events of Jacob's life form the leading feature of the still further expanded history of salvation (Genesis 28:10-35:29). This suffering condition, which lasted more than 40 years, reflected in a certain way the historical position which Isaac held in the patriarchal triad, as a passive rather than active link between Abraham and Jacob; and even in the active period of his life many of the events of Abraham's history were repeated in a modified form.

The name Jehovah prevails in the historical development of the tholedoth of Isaac, in the same manner as in that of Terah; although, on closer examination of the two, we find, first, that in this portion of Genesis the references to God are less frequent than in the earlier one; and secondly, that instead of the name Jehovah occurring more frequently than Elohim, the name Elohim predominates in this second stage of the history. The first difference arises from the fact, that the historical matter furnishes less occasion for the introduction of the name of God, just because the revelations of God are more rare, since the appearances of Jehovah to Isaac and Jacob together are not so numerous as those to Abraham alone. The second may be explained partly from the fact, that Isaac and Jacob did not perpetually stand in such close and living faith in Jehovah as Abraham, and partly also from the fact, that the previous revelations of God gave rise to other titles for the covenant God, such as "God of Abraham," "God of my father," etc., which could be used in the place of the name Jehovah (cf. Genesis 26:24; Genesis 31:5, Genesis 31:42; Genesis 35:1, Genesis 35:3, and the remarks on Genesis 35:9).

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