Genesis 28:9
Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.
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Genesis 28:9. Esau went unto Ishmael — That is, the family of Ishmael, for Ishmael himself, no doubt, was dead before this time, (see Genesis 25:17,) and took Mahalath to be his wife. It is probable that he thought by this means to ingratiate himself with his father, and so to get another and a better blessing. But, alas! he mends one fault by committing another, and taking a third wife, when he had one too many before.

28:6-9 Good examples impress even the profane and malicious. But Esau thought, by pleasing his parents in one thing, to atone for other wrong doings. Carnal hearts are apt to think themselves as good as they should be, because in some one matter they are not so bad as they have been.Esau is induced, by the charge of his parents to Jacob, the compliance of the latter with their wishes, and by their obvious dislike to the daughters of Kenaan, to take Mahalath, a daughter of Ishmael, in addition to his former wives. "Went unto Ishmael;" that is, to the family or tribe of Ishmael, as Ishmael himself was now thirteen years dead. Esau's hunting and roving career had brought him into contact with this family, and we shall presently find him settled in a neighboring territory.6-9. when Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, &c.—Desirous to humor his parents and, if possible, get the last will revoked, he became wise when too late (see Mt 25:10), and hoped by gratifying his parents in one thing to atone for all his former delinquencies. But he only made bad worse, and though he did not marry a "wife of the daughters of Canaan," he married into a family which God had rejected. It showed a partial reformation, but no repentance, for he gave no proofs of abating his vindictive purposes against his brother, nor cherishing that pious spirit that would have gratified his father—he was like Micah (see Jud 17:13). 1760

Esau went unto Ishmael; either to his person, or rather to his family, called Ishmael by their father’s name, as David is sometimes put for David’s posterity; for Ishmael seems to have been dead before this, from Genesis 25:17, though that may possibly be a prolepsis, and then this may be Ishmael himself.

Mahalath, called also Bashemath, Genesis 36:3. He thought by this means to ingratiate himself with his father, and so to get another and a better blessing; but he takes no care to reconcile himself to God, nor observes his hand in the business. Besides, he mends one fault by committing another, and taking a third wife when he had one too many before, and her too he unwisely fetcheth out of that stock which was begotten to bondage, and was utterly uncapable of the inheritance.

Nebajoth was Ishmael’s eldest son, Genesis 25:13, who alone is here mentioned, either in the name of all the rest, whose sister she is by consequence supposed to be; or because peradventure she and Nebajoth were Ishmael’s children by the same mother, and the rest by another.

Then went Esau unto Ishmael,.... Not to Ishmael in person, for he was now dead, Genesis 25:17, and had been dead as is reckoned about fourteen years before this, but to the house of Ishmael:

and took unto the wives which he had; the daughters of Heth, and who seem by this to be both alive at this time:

Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son; the same with Bashemath, Genesis 36:3; as the Targum of Jonathan expresses it, this person having two names, and is further described:

the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife; who was the eldest son of Ishmael, and, his father being dead, was the principal in the family; and this woman Esau took to wife was his sister by his mother's side, as the above Targum expresses, as well as by his father's; whereas he might have other sisters only by his father's side, he having had more wives than one. This Esau seems to have done in order to curry favour with his father, who was displeased with his other wives, and therefore takes one of his father's brother's daughters; but in this he acted an unwise part, on more accounts than one; partly as it was taking to wife the daughter of one that was cast out of his grandfather's house, and had been a persecutor of his father, and therefore not likely to be agreeable to him; and partly as being a daughter of the bondmaid's son: children born of her could not inherit the land promised to Abraham and Isaac.

Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of {c} Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

(c) Thinking by this to have reconciled himself to his father, but all in vain: for he does not take away the cause of the evil.

9. unto the wives] i.e. in addition to Judith and Basemath (Genesis 26:34).

Mahalath … the sister of Nebaioth] Nebaioth was the firstborn son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13). In Genesis 36:3, the name of Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth, appears as Basemath. Here she is called Mahalath; while Basemath, in Genesis 26:34, is the name of one of Esau’s Hittite wives.

Ishmael is mentioned in this verse as the uncle of Esau. The reference is personal, though it may also denote tribal kinship. According to P’s chronology, it would appear that Ishmael was at this time 114 years old, and lived for 23 years more. Cf. Genesis 17:24-25, Genesis 25:17; Genesis 25:26, Genesis 26:34.

Genesis 28:9When Esau heard of this blessing and the sending away of Jacob, and saw therein the displeasure of his parents at his Hittite wives, he went to Ishmael - i.e., to the family of Ishmael, for Ishmael himself had been dead fourteen years - and took as a third wife Mahalath, a daughter of Ishmael (called Bashemath in Genesis 36:3, a descendant of Abraham therefore), a step by which he might no doubt ensure the approval of his parents, but in which he failed to consider that Ishmael had been separated from the house of Abraham and family of promise by the appointment of God; so that it only furnished another proof that he had no thought of the religious interests of the chosen family, and was unfit to be the recipient of divine revelation.
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