Genesis 25:8
Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
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Genesis 25:8

‘Full of years’ does not seem to me to be a mere synonym for longevity. That would be an intolerable tautology, for we should then have the same thing said three times over-’an old man,’ ‘in a good old age,’ ‘full of years.’ There must be some other idea than that in the words. If you notice that the expression is by no means a usual one, that it is only applied to one or two of the Old Testament characters, and those selected characters, I think you will see that there must be some other significance in it than merely to point to length of days.

It may be well to note the instances. In addition to our text, we find it employed, first, in reference to Isaac, in Genesis 35:29, where the words are repeated almost verbatim. That calm, contemplative life, so unlike the active, varied career of his father, also attained to this blessing at its close. Then we find that the stormy and adventurous course of the great king David, with its wonderful alternations both of moral character and of fortune, is represented as being closed at last with this tranquil evening glory: ‘He died in a good old age, full of days, riches, and honour.’ Once more we read of the great high priest Jehoiada, whose history had been crowded with peril, change, brave resistance, and strenuous effort, that with all the storms behind him he died at last, ‘full of days.’ The only other instance of the occurrence of the phrase is at the close of the book of Job, the typical record of the good man suffering, and of the abundant compensations given by a loving God. The fair picture of returning prosperity and family joy, like the calm morning sunshine after a night of storm and wreck, with which that wonderful book ends, has this for its last touch, evidently intended to deepen the impression of peace which is breathed over it all: ‘So Job died, being old and full of days.’ These are all the instances of the occurrence of this phrase, and I think we may fairly say that in all it is meant to suggest not merely length of days, but some characteristic of the long life over and above its mere length. We shall, I think, understand its meaning a little better if we make a very slight and entirely warranted change, and instead of reading ‘full of years,’ read ‘satisfied with years.’ The men were satisfied with life; having exhausted its possibilities, having drunk a full draught, having nothing more left to wish for. The words point to a calm close, with all desires gratified, with hot wishes stilled, with no desperate clinging to life, but a willingness to let it go, because all which it could give had been attained.

So much for one of the remarkable expressions in this verse. There is another, ‘He was gathered to his people,’ of which we shall have more to say presently. Enough for the present to note the peculiarity, and to suggest that it seems to contain some dim hint of a future life, and some glimmer of some of the profoundest thoughts about it.

We have two main things to consider.

1. The tranquil close of a life.

It is possible, then, at the end of life to feel that it has satisfied one’s wishes. Whether it does or no will depend mostly on ourselves, and very slightly on our circumstances. Length of days, competence, health, and friends are important; but neither these nor any other externals will make the difference between a life which, in the retrospect, will seem to have been sufficient for our desires, and one which leaves a hunger in the heart. It is possible for us to make our lives of such a sort, that whether they run on to the apparent maturity of old age, or whether they are cut short in the midst of our days, we may rise from the table feeling that it has satisfied our desires, met our anticipation, and been all very good.

Possibly, that is not the way in which most of us look at life. That is not the way in which a great many of us seem to think that it is an eminent part of Christian and religious character to look at life. But it is the way in which the highest type of devotion and the truest goodness always look at it. There are people, old and young, who, whenever they look back, whether it be over a long tract of years or over a short one, have nothing to say about it except: ‘Vanity of vanities! all is vanity and vexation of spirit’; a retrospect of weary disappointments and thwarted plans.

How different with some of us the forward and the backward look! Are there not some listening to me, whose past is so dark that it flings black shadows over their future, and who can only cherish hopes for to-morrow, by giving the lie to and forgetting the whole of their yesterdays? It is hard to paint the regions before us like ‘the Garden of the Lord,’ when we know that the locusts of our own godless desires have made all the land behind us desolate. If your past has been a selfish past, a godless past, in which passion, inclination, whim, anything but conscience and Christ have ruled, your remembrances can scarcely be tranquil; nor your hopes bright. If you have only ‘prospects drear,’ when you ‘backward cast your eye,’ it is not wonderful if ‘forwards though you cannot see,’ you will ‘guess and fear.’ Such lives, when they come towards an end, are wont to be full of querulous discontent and bitterness. We have all seen godless old men cynical and sour, pleased with nothing, grumbling, or feebly complaining, about everything, dissatisfied with all which life has thus far yielded them, and yet clinging desperately to it, and afraid to go.

Put by the side of such an end this calm picture of the old man going down into his grave, and looking back over all those long days since he came away from his father’s house, and became a pilgrim and a stranger. How all the hot anxieties, desires, occupations, of youth have quieted themselves down! How far away now seem the warlike days when he fought the invading kings! How far away the heaviness of heart when he journeyed to Mount Moriah with his boy, and whetted the knife to slay his son! His love had all been buried in Sarah’s grave. He has been a lonely man for many years; and yet he looks back, as God looked back over His creative week, and feels that all has been good. ‘It was all for the best; the great procession of my life has been ordered from the beginning to its end, by the Hand that shapes beauty everywhere, and has made all things blessed and sweet. I have drunk a full draught; I have had enough; I bless the Giver of the feast, and push my chair back; and get up and go away.’ He died an old man, and satisfied with his life.

Ay! And what a contrast that makes, dear friends, to another set of people. There is nothing more miserable than to see a man, as his years go by, gripping harder and tighter at this poor, fleeting world that is slipping away from him; nothing sadder than to see how, as opportunities and capacities for the enjoyment of life dwindle, and dwindle, and dwindle, people become almost fierce in the desire to keep it. Why, you can see on the face of many an old man and woman a hungry discontent, that has not come from the mere wrinkles of old age or care; an eager acquisitiveness looking out of the dim old eyes, tragical and awful. It is sad to see a man, as the world goes from him, grasping at its skirts as a beggar does at the retreating passer-by that refuses him an alms. Are there not some of us who feel that this is our case, that the less we have before us of life here on earth, the more eagerly we grasp at the little which still remains; trying to get some last drops out of the broken cistern which we know can hold no water? How different this blessed acquiescence in the fleeting away of the fleeting; and this contented satisfaction with the portion that has been given him, which this man had who died willingly, being satisfied with life!

Sometimes, too, there is satiety-weariness of life which is not satisfaction, though it looks like it. Its language is: ‘Man delights me not; nor woman neither. I am tired of it all.’ Those who feel thus sit at the table without an appetite. They think that they have seen to the bottom of everything, and they have found everything a cheat. They expect nothing new under the sun; that which is to be hath already been, and it is all vanity and striving after the wind. They are at once satiated and dissatisfied. Nothing keeps the power to charm.

How different from all this is the temper expressed in this text, rightly understood! Abraham had had a richly varied life. It had brought him all he wished. He has drunk a full draught, and needs no more. He is satisfied, but that does not mean loss of interest in present duties, occupations, or enjoyments. It is possible to keep ourselves fully alive to all these till the end, and to preserve something of the keen edge of youth even in old age, by the magic of communion with God, purity of conduct, and a habitual contemplation of all events as sent by our Father. When Paul felt himself very near his end, he yet had interest enough in common things to tell Timothy all about their mutual friends’ occupations, and to wish to have his books and parchments.

So, calmly, satisfied and yet not sickened, keenly appreciating all the good and pleasantness of life, and yet quite willing to let it go, Abraham died. So may it be with us too, if we will, no matter what the duration or the externals of our life. If we too are his children by faith, we shall be ‘blessed with faithful Abraham.’ And I beseech you to ask yourselves whether the course of your life is such as that, if at this moment God’s great knife were to come down and cut it in two, you would be able to say, ‘Well! I have had enough, and now contentedly I go.’

Again, it is possible at the end of life to feel that it is complete, because the days have accomplished for us the highest purpose of life. Scaffoldings are for buildings, and the moments and days and years of our earthly lives are scaffolding. What are you building inside the scaffolding, brother? What kind of a structure will be disclosed when the scaffolding is knocked away? What is the end for which days and years are given? That they may give us what eternity cannot take away-a character built upon the love of God in Christ, and moulded into His likeness. ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him for ever.’ Has your life helped you to do that? If it has, though you be but a child, you are full of years; if it has not, though your hair be whitened with the snows of the nineties, you are yet incomplete and immature. The great end of life is to make us like Christ, and pleasing to Christ. If life has done that for us, we have got the best out of it, and our life is completed, whatever may be the number of the days. Quality, not quantity, is the thing that determines the perfectness of a life. And like as in northern lands, where there is only a week or two from the melting of the snow to the cutting of the hay, the whole harvest of a life may be gathered in a very little space, and all be done which is needed to make the life complete. Has your life this completeness? Can you be ‘satisfied’ with it, because the river of the flowing hours has borne down some grains of gold amidst the mass of mud, and, notwithstanding many sins and failures, you have thus far fulfilled the end of your being, that you are in some measure trusting and serving the Lord Jesus Christ?

Again, it is possible, at the end of life, to be willing to go as satisfied.

Most men cling to life in grim desperation, like a climber to a cliff giving way, or a drowning man clutching at any straw. How beautiful the contrast of the placid, tranquil acquiescence expressed in that phrase of our text! No doubt there will always be the shrinking of the bodily nature from death. But that may be overcome. There is no passion so weak but in some case it has ‘mated and mastered the fear of death,’ and it is possible for us all to come to that temper in which we shall be ready for either fortune, to live and serve Him here, or to die and enjoy Him yonder. Or, to return to an earlier illustration, it is possible to be like a man sitting at table, who has had his meal, and is quite contented to stay on there, restful and cheerful, but is not unwilling to put back his chair, to get up and to go away, thanking the Giver for what he has received.

Ah! that is the way to face the end, dear brethren, and how is it to be done? Such a temper need not be the exclusive possession of the old. It may belong to us at all stages of life. How is it won? By a life of devout communion with God. The secret of it lies in obeying the commandment and realising the truth which Abraham realised and obeyed: ‘I am the Almighty God, walk before Me, and be thou perfect.’ ‘Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield and thine exceeding great reward.’ That is to say, a simple communion with God, realising His presence and feeling that He is near, will sweeten disappointment, will draw from it its hidden blessedness, will make us victors over its pains and its woes. Such a faith will make it possible to look back and see only blessing; to look forward and see a great light of hope burning in the darkness. Such a faith will check weariness, avert satiety, promote satisfaction, and will help us to feel that life and the great hereafter are but the outer and inner mansions of the Father’s house, and death the short though dark corridor between. So we shall be ready for life or for death.

2. Now I must turn to consider more briefly the glimpse of the joyful society beyond, which is given us in that other remarkable expression of our text: ‘He was gathered to his people’

That phrase is only used in the earlier Old Testament books, and there only in reference to a few persons. It is used of Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron, and once {Jdg 2:10} of a whole generation. If you will weigh the words, I think you will see that there is in them a dim intimation of something beyond this present life.

‘He was gathered to his people’ is not the same thing as ‘He died,’ for, in the earlier part of the verse, we read, ‘ Abraham gave up the ghost and died . . . and was gathered to his people.’ It is not the same thing as being buried. For we read in the following verse: ‘ And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre.’ It is then the equivalent neither of death nor of burial. It conveys dimly and veiledly that Abraham was buried, and yet that was not all that happened to him. He was buried, but also ‘he was gathered to his people.’ Why! his own ‘people’ were buried in Mesopotamia, and his grave was far away from theirs. What is the meaning of the expression? Who were the people he was gathered to? In death or in burial, ‘the dust returns to the earth as it was.’ What was it that was gathered to his people?

Dimly, vaguely, veiledly, but unmistakably, as it seems to me, is here expressed at least a premonition and feeling after the thought of an immortal self in Abraham that was not there in what ‘his sons Isaac and Ishmael laid in the cave at Machpelah,’ but was somewhere else and was for ever. That is the first thing hinted at here-the continuance of the personal being after death.

Is there anything more? I think there is. Now, remember, Abraham’s whole life was shaped by that commandment, ‘Get thee out from thy father’s house, and from thy kindred, and from thy country.’ He never dwelt with his kindred; all his days he was a pilgrim and a sojourner, a stranger in a strange land. And though he was living in the midst of a civilisation which possessed great cities whose walls reached to heaven, he pitched his tent beneath the terebinth tree at Mamre, and would have nothing to do with the order of things around him, but remained an exotic, a waif, an outcast in the midst of Canaan all his life. Why? Because he ‘looked for the city which hath the foundations, whose builder and maker is God.’ And now he has gone to it, he is gathered to his people. The life of isolation is over, the true social life is begun. He is no longer separated from those around him, or flung amidst those that are uncongenial to him. ‘He is gathered to his people’; he dwells with his own tribe; he is at home; he is in the city.

And so, brethren, life for every Christian man must be lonely. After all communion we dwell as upon islands dotted over a great archipelago, each upon his little rock, with the sea dashing between us; but the time comes when, if our hearts are set upon that great Lord, whose presence makes us one, there shall be no more sea, and all the isolated rocks shall be parts of a great continent. Death sets the solitary in families. We are here like travellers plodding lonely through the night and the storm, but soon to cross the threshold into the lighted hall, full of friends.

If we cultivate that sense of detachment from the present, and of having our true affinities in the unseen, if we dwell here as strangers because our citizenship is in heaven, then death will not drag us away from our associates, nor hunt us into a lonely land, but will bring us where closer bonds shall knit the ‘sweet societies’ together, and the sheep shall couch close by one another, because all are gathered round the one shepherd. Then many a broken tie shall be rewoven, and the solitary wanderer meet again the dear ones whom he had ‘loved long since, and lost awhile.’

Further, the expressions suggest that in the future men shall be associated according to affinity and character. ‘He was gathered to his people,’ whom he was like and who were like him; the people with whom he had sympathy, the people whose lives were shaped after the fashion of his own.

Men will be sorted there. Gravitation will come into play undisturbed; and the pebbles will be ranged according to their weights on the great shore where the sea has cast them up, as they are upon Chesil beach, down there in the English Channel, and many another coast besides; all the big ones together and sized off to the smaller ones, regularly and steadily laid out. Like draws to like. Our spiritual affinities, our religious and moral character, will settle where we shall be, and who our companions will be when we get yonder. Some of us would not altogether like to live with the people that are like ourselves, and some of us would not find the result of this sorting to be very delightful. Men in the Dantesque circles were only made more miserable because all around them were of the same sort as, and some of them worse than, themselves. And an ordered hell, with no company for the liar but liars, and none for the thief but thieves, and none for impure men but the impure, and none for the godless but the godless, would be a hell indeed.

‘He was gathered to his people,’ and you and I will be gathered likewise. What is the conclusion of the whole matter? Let us follow with our thoughts, and in our lives, those who have gone into the light, and cultivate in heart and character those graces and excellences which are congruous with the inheritance of the saints in light. Above all, let us give our hearts to Christ, by simple faith in Him, to be shaped and sanctified by Him. Then our country will be where He is, and our people will be the people in whom His love abides, and the tribe to which we belong will be the tribe of which He is Chieftain. So when our turn comes, we may rise thankfully from the table in the wilderness, which He has spread for us, having eaten as much as we desired, and quietly follow the dark-robed messenger whom His love sends to bring us to the happy multitudes that throng the streets of the city. There we shall find our true home, our kindred, our King. ‘So shall we ever be with the Lord.’Genesis 25:8. He died in a good old age — As God had promised him; good, through grace, his hoary head being found in the way of righteousness; and naturally good, he being free, it seems, from many of the infirmities and calamities of old age. Full of years — Of years, is not in the Hebrew, it is only, an old man, and full, or satisfied. He had fulfilled the divine will, and served his generation, and was fully satisfied with life. A good man, though he should not die old, dies full of days; satisfied with living here, and longing to live in a better world. And was gathered to his people — His body was gathered to the congregation of the dead, and his soul to the congregation of the blessed. Death gathers us to our people, to those that are our people while we live, whether the people of God, or the children of this world. Reader, to whom, at death shalt thou be gathered?25:1-10 All the days, even of the best and greatest saints, are not remarkable days; some slide on silently; such were these last days of Abraham. Here is an account of Abraham's children by Keturah, and the disposition which he made of his estate. After the birth of these sons, he set his house in order, with prudence and justice. He did this while he yet lived. It is wisdom for men to do what they find to do while they live, as far as they can. Abraham lived 175 years; just one hundred years after he came to Canaan; so long he was a sojourner in a strange country. Whether our stay in this life be long or short, it matters but little, provided we leave behind us a testimony to the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord, and a good example to our families. We are told that his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him. It seems that Abraham had himself brought them together while he lived. Let us not close the history of the life of Abraham without blessing God for such a testimony of the triumph of faith.The death of Abraham. His years were a hundred and seventy-five. He survived Sarah thirty-eight years, and Isaac's marriage thirty-five. His grandfather lived a hundred and forty-eight years, his father two hundred and five, his son Isaac a hundred and eighty, and his grandson Jacob a hundred and forty-seven; so that his years were the full average of that period. "Expired" - breathed his last. "In a happy old age," in external and internal blessedness Genesis 15:15. "Old and full" - having attained to the standard length of life in his days, and being satisfied with this life, so that he was ready and willing to depart. "Gathered to his peoples" Genesis 15:15. To be gathered is not to cease to exist, but to continue existing in another sphere. His peoples, the departed families, from whom he is descended, are still in being in another not less real world. This, and the like expression in the passage quoted, give the first fact in the history of the soul after death, as the burial is the first step in that of the body.Ge 25:7-11. Death of Abraham.

7. these are the days of … Abraham—His death is here related, though he lived till Jacob and Esau were fifteen years, just one hundred years after coming to Canaan; "the father of the faithful," "the friend of God" [Jas 2:23], died; and even in his death, the promises were fulfilled (compare Ge 15:15). We might have wished some memorials of his deathbed experience; but the Spirit of God has withheld them—nor was it necessary; for (see Mt 7:16) from earth he passed into heaven (Lu 16:22). Though dead he yet liveth (Mt 22:32).

His soul was not required of him, as it was of that fool, Luke 12:20; not forced from him by sharp and violent diseases, but was quietly, easily, and cheerfully yielded up by him into the hands of his merciful God and Father, as the word intimates, in a good old age; good, both graciously, his hoary head being found in the way of righteousness; and naturally, free from the manifold infirmities and calamities of old age. Of which see Ecclesiastes 12:1, &c.

Full of years; in the Hebrew it is only full, or satisfied; but you must understand, with days or years, as the phrase is fully expressed, Genesis 35:29 1 Chronicles 23:1 29:28 Job 42:17 Jeremiah 6:11. When he had lived as long as he desired, being in some sort weary of life, and desirous to be dissolved; or full of all good, as the Chaldee renders it; satisfied, as it is said of Naphtali, Deu 33:23, with favour, and full with the blessing of the Lord upon himself, and upon his children; he

was gathered to his people; to his godly progenitors, the former patriarchs, the congregation of the just in heaven, Hebrews 12:23; in regard of his soul: for it cannot be meant of his body, which was not joined with them in the place of burial, as the phrase is, Isaiah 14:20, but buried in a strange land, where only Sarah’s body lay. And it is observed, that this phrase is used of none but good men, of which the Jews were so fully persuaded, that from this very expression used concerning Ishmael here below, Genesis 25:17, they infer his repentance and salvation. See this phrase, Genesis 15:15 49:29 Numbers 20:24 27:13 Judges 2:10. Then Abraham gave up the ghost,.... Very readily and cheerfully, without any previous sickness or present pain, but through the decay of nature by reason of old age, in a very easy quiet manner:

and died in a good old age, an old man; for quantity, in those times few arriving to a greater; for quality, not attended with those inconveniences and disadvantages with which old age generally is, and therefore called evil:

and full of years; in the original it is only, "and full"; the Targum of Jonathan adds, "of all good"; temporal and spiritual, with which he was filled and satisfied; or he had had enough of life, and was willing to depart, and was full of desires after another and better world:

and was gathered to his people; which is to be understood not of his interment, there being only the body of Sarah in the sepulchre in which he was laid; but of the admission of his soul into the heavenly state upon its separation from the body, when it was at once associated with the spirits of just men made perfect. The Arabic writers (f) say that he died in the month of Nisan, others say Adar, in the year of the world 3563; but, according to Bishop Usher, he died A. M. 2183, and before Christ 1821.

(f) Elmacinus, p. 34. Patricides, p. 21. Apud Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. p. 315.

Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
8. gave up the ghost] Cf. Genesis 25:7, Genesis 35:29, Genesis 49:33 (P): the same word as “die” in Genesis 6:17, Genesis 7:21 (P).

in a good old age] This was part of the promised blessing: cf. Genesis 15:15.

was gathered to his people] See note on Genesis 17:14. “His people” evidently has no local significance; but means those of his own family already dead, and now in Sheôl, “the under-world” of departed spirits. Cf. Genesis 35:29, Genesis 49:29; Genesis 49:33 (P). There is no difference, then, between being “gathered to his people,” and “to go to thy fathers” (Genesis 15:15), and “to sleep with my fathers” (Genesis 47:30; cf. Deuteronomy 31:16).Verses 8-10. - Then Abraham gave up the ghost (literally, breathed out, a the breath of life), and died in a good old age, - literally, in a flood hoary age, i.e. "with a crown of righteousness upon his hoary head" (Hughes) - an old man, and full of years. Literally, and satiated, i.e. satisfied not merely with life and all its blessings, but with living. The three clauses give an elevated conception of the patriarch s life as that of one who had tasted all the sweets and realized all the ends of a mundane existence, and who accordingly was ripe and ready for transition to a higher sphere. And was gathered to his people. An expression similar to "going to his fathers" (Genesis 15:15, q.v.), and to "being gathered to one's fathers" (Judges 2:10). "The phrase is constantly distinguished from departing this life and being buried, denotes the reunion in Sheol with friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith in the personal continuance of a man after death" (Keil). Abraham died in the hope of a better country, even an heavenly (Hebrews 11:13-16). And his sons Isaac and Ishmael - Isaac as the heir takes precedence; but Ishmael, rather than the sons of Keturah, is associated with him at his father's funeral; probably because he was not so distant as they from Hebron (Lunge), or because he was the subject of a special blessing, which they were not (Keil, Murphy); or perhaps simply Ishmael and Isaac united as the eldest sons to perform the last rites to a parent they revered (Kalisch). "Funerals of parents are reconciliations of children (Genesis 35:29), and differences of contending religionists are often softened at the side of a grave" (Wordsworth) - buried him (vide on Genesis 23:19) in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre (vide on Genesis 23:3-20); the field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth (a repetition which augments the importance of the statement that Abraham did not sleep in a borrowed tomb): there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. Abraham's Marriage to Keturah is generally supposed to have taken place after Sarah's death, and his power to beget six sons at so advanced an age is attributed to the fact, that the Almighty had endowed him with new vital and reproductive energy for begetting the son of the promise. But there is no firm ground for this assumption; as it is not stated anywhere, that Abraham did not take Keturah as his wife till after Sarah's death. It is merely an inference drawn from the fact, that it is not mentioned till afterwards; and it is taken for granted that the history is written in strictly chronological order. But this supposition is precarious, and is not in harmony with the statement, that Abraham sent away the sons of the concubines with gifts during his own lifetime; for in the case supposed, the youngest of Keturah's sons would not have been more than twenty-five or thirty years old at Abraham's death; and in those days, when marriages were not generally contracted before the fortieth year, this seems too young for them to have been sent away from their father's house. This difficulty, however, is not decisive. Nor does the fact that Keturah is called a concubine in Genesis 25:6, and 1 Chronicles 1:32, necessarily show that she was contemporary with Sarah, but may be explained on the ground that Abraham did not place her on the same footing as Sarah, his sole wife, the mother of the promised seed. Of the sons and grandsons of Keturah, who are mentioned in 1 Chronicles 1:32 as well as here, a few of the names may still be found among the Arabian tribes, but in most instances the attempt to trace them is very questionable. This remark applies to the identification of Zimran with Ζαββάμ (Ptol. vi. 7, 5), the royal city of the Κιναιδοκολπῖται to the west of Mecca, on the Red Sea; of Jokshan with the Κασσανῖται, on the Red Sea (Ptol. vi. 7, 6), or with the Himyaritish tribe of Jakish in Southern Arabia; of Ishbak with the name Shobek, a place in the Edomitish country first mentioned by Abulfeda; of Shuah with the tribe Syayhe to the east of Aila, or with Szyhhan in Northern Edom (Burckhardt, Syr. 692, 693, and 945), although the epithet the Shuhite, applied to Bildad, points to a place in Northern Idumaea. There is more plausibility in the comparison of Medan and Midian with Μοδιάνα on the eastern coast of the Elanitic Gulf, and Μαδιάνα, a tract to the north of this (Ptol. vi. 7, 2, 27; called by Arabian geographers Madyan, a city five days' journey to the south of Aila). The relationship of these two tribes will explain the fact, that the Midianim, Genesis 37:28, are called Medanim in Genesis 37:36.
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