Genesis 36:20
These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah,
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(20) The sons of Seir the Horite.—This genealogy is given partly because it contains that of Aholibamah, but chiefly because the Horites were in time fused with the descendants of Esau, and together formed the Edomites.

Genesis 36:20. These are the sons of Seir — In the midst of the genealogy of the Edomites is inserted the genealogy of the Horites, that were the natives of mount Seir before the Edomites took possession of it, Deuteronomy 2:12; Deuteronomy 2:22. This comes in here, not only to give light to the story, but to be a standing reflection upon the Edomites for intermarrying with them, by which it is likely they learned their ways, and corrupted themselves.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.This notice of the Horites is in matter more distinct from what precedes, than the second is from the first paragraph in the chapter. "Seir the Horite." The Horite Genesis 14:6, was the cave-dweller, and probably got his name from the cave hewn out of the solid rock in which he was accustomed to dwell. Sela was a city of such excavated dwellings. If Seir here mentioned be the original Seir, then he is the remote father of the seven Horite dukes who belonged to the time of Esau. If he be their immediate parent, then he is named after that earlier Seir who gave name to the mountain range. "Who dwelt in the land." The sons of Seir dwelt in this land before the coming of the Edomites. Here follow the descendants of the then living dukes of the Horim. Hori, Lotan's son, bears the name of the nation. "Hemam," in Chronicles Homam, by a change of letter. "Timna," the concubine of Eliphaz Genesis 36:12. "Alvan" and "Shepho", in Chronicles Aljan and Shephi, by a reverse change of the same letters (see Genesis 36:11).

"Zibon." This we suppose to be different from Zibon the Hivite Genesis 36:2, Genesis 36:14. "Anah" is of course different from his uncle Anah the brother of Zibon the Horite. "The hot springs in the wilderness." There were various hot springs in the vicinity, as Kallirrhoe in Wady Zurka Main, those in Wady Hemad between Kerak and the Salt Sea, and those in Wady el-Ahsy. "Sons of Anah." The plural, sons, here is used according to the general formula, though only one son is mentioned. Oholibamah, being the daughter of Anah, and wife of Esau, while Eliphaz is married to her aunt Timna, is not likely to be the granddaughter by the mother's side of her uncle Zibon. This is in favor of Zibon the Hivite and Zibon the Horite being different individuals Genesis 36:2. "Anah" is here the brother of Zibon. The nephew Anah Genesis 36:24, bears the name of his uncle Genesis 36:20. "Dishon" is an example of the same community of name Genesis 36:21. All Dishon's and Ezer's sons have names ending in "-an." "Acan" יעקן ya‛ăqân (Jaacan) in 1 Chronicles 1:41 is a graphic error for ועקן va‛ăqân (and Acan). Uz; see Genesis 10:23; Genesis 22:21. In Genesis 36:29-30, the dukes are formally enumerated. "According to their dukes;" the seven officials of pre-eminent authority among the Horites. The official is here distinguished from the personal. This is a distinction familiar to Scripture.

20-30. Sons of Seir, the Horite—native dukes, who were incorporated with those of the Edomite race. 1840 The sons of Seir are here mentioned, partly because of their alliance with Esau’s family, Genesis 35:2,20,22,24,25, and partly because the government was translated from his to Esau’s family.

Who inhabited the land, and ruled there, till Esau and his posterity drove them out, Deu 2:12,22. These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land,.... "Before", as the Targum of Jonathan adds, that is, before it was inhabited by Esau and his posterity, and called Edom, and had from him the name of Seir; but the Horites dwelt here before him, even in Abraham's time, Genesis 14:6; and who were so called from their dwelling under ground in holes and caves, with which the further part of the land of Edom abounded, and are the same the Greeks call Trogloditae: Jarchi says, from their Rabbins, these were very expert in the nature of the land, and knew what was fit for olives and what for vines. Now the genealogy of this man is here given, partly to show who were the ancient inhabitants of this land before they were drove out, and succeeded by Esau and his sons, Deuteronomy 1:12; and partly because of the intermarriages of Esau and his posterity with them, whereby they more easily came into the possession of the country; for Esau married the daughter of Anah, the son of Zibeon, a son of Seir, Genesis 36:11; and Eliphaz took Timna, a sister of Lotan the son of Seir, to be his concubine, Genesis 36:12; the names of the sons of Seir follow:

Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah: the first of these is said (b) to be the same with Latinus, a king that reigned in Italy, which seems to be taken from the fancied resemblance of names. Zibeon and Anah are here spoken of as brethren, the sons of Seir; whereas in Genesis 36:24; they are made mention of as father and son; see Gill on Genesis 36:2; Zibeon, according to the Jewish writers (c), committed incest with his mother, whence came Anah, and is called his brother, because of the same mother, and his son, as being begotten by him. They seem to seek for such kind of copulations to reproach the Edomites.

(b) Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 79. 1.((c) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 54. 1. & Bava Bathra, fol. 115. 2. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 82. fol. 72. 1.

These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who {e} inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah,

(e) Esau lived there before that.

20. the inhabitants of the land] The aborigines: see Genesis 14:6; Deuteronomy 2:12.

20–30. The Horites—the aboriginal inhabitants of the country—“the sons of Seir, the Horite,” were possibly so called from the word ḥor, “a hole”; cf. 1 Samuel 13:6; 1 Samuel 14:11. This derivation has long been maintained, and is possibly correct, the Horites being regarded as troglodytes, or cave-dwellers. In Obadiah 1:3 Edom is apostrophized, “O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock.” On the other hand another derivation has recently commended itself, Hor being identified with the Egyptian Haru which is found in Egyptian inscriptions for “Syria.” But there is good support from the rocks of Petra and the excavations at Gezer for the “cave-dweller” explanation of the word.Verses 20, 21. - These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land. The primitive inhabitants of Idumea were Horites (vide Genesis 14:6), of whom the ancestor, Seir ("Rugged"), either gave his name to, or took his name from, the district in which he lived. Though ultimately driven out by the Edomites (Deuteronomy 2:12), they were probably only gradually dispossessed, and not until a portion of them had coalesced with their conquerors, as Esau himself had a Horite wife, Aholibamah, and his son Eliphaz a Horite concubine of the name of Thuna. They were, as the name Horite, from chor, a hole or cavern, imports a race of troglodytes or cavemen, who dwelt in the sandstone and limestone eaves with which the land of Edom abounds. The cave palaces, temples, and tombs that have been excavated in Mount Seir are still astonishing in their grandeur. Lotan, - "Wrapping up" (Gesenius) - and Shobal, - "Flowing" (Gesenius) - and Zibeon, and Anah (this Anah was the uncle of the Anah mentioned in ver. 25), and Dishan, - "Gazelle" (Gesenius, Furst) - and Eser, - "Treasure" (Gesenius) - and Dishan: - same as Dishon (Gesenius, Furst); "Threshing" (Murphy) - these are the dukes of, the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom. (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:36-37). Esau's Sons and Grandsons as Fathers of Tribes. - Through them he became the father of Edom, i.e., the founder of the Edomitish nation on the mountains of Seir. Mouth Seir is the mountainous region between the Dead Sea and the Elanitic Gulf, the northern half of which is called Jebl (Γεβαλήνη) by the Arabs, the southern half, Sherah (Rob. Pal. ii. 552). - In the case of two of the wives of Esau, who bore only one son each, the tribes were founded not by the sons, but by the grandsons; but in that of Aholibamah the three sons were the founders. Among the sons of Eliphaz we find Amalek, whose mother was Timna, the concubine of Eliphaz. He was the ancestor of the Amalekites, who attacked the Israelites at Horeb as they came out of Egypt under Moses (Exodus 17:8.), and not merely of a mixed tribe of Amalekites and Edomites, belonging to the supposed aboriginal Amalekite nation. For the Arabic legend of Amlik as an aboriginal tribe of Arabia is far too recent, confused, and contradictory to counterbalance the clear testimony of the record before us. The allusion to the fields of the Amalekites in Genesis 14:7 does not imply that the tribe was in existence in Abraham's time, nor does the expression "first of the nations," in the saying of Balaam (Numbers 24:20), represent Amalek as the aboriginal or oldest tribe, but simply as the first heathen tribe by which Israel was attacked. The Old Testament says nothing of any fusion of Edomites or Horites with Amalekites, nor does it mention a double Amalek (cf. Hengstenberg, Dissertations 2, 247ff., and Kurtz, History i. 122, 3, ii.240ff.).

(Note: The occurrence of "Timna and Amalek" in 1 Chronicles 1:36, as coordinate with the sons of Eliphaz, is simply a more concise form of saying "and from Timna, Amalek.")

If there had been an Amalek previous to Edom, with the important part which they took in opposition to Israel even in the time of Moses, the book of Genesis would not have omitted to give their pedigree in the list of the nations. At a very early period the Amalekites separated from the other tribes of Edom and formed an independent people, having their headquarters in the southern part of the mountains of Judah, as far as Kadesh (Genesis 14:7; Numbers 13:29; Numbers 14:43, Numbers 14:45), but, like the Bedouins, spreading themselves as a nomad tribe over the whole of the northern portion of Arabia Petraea, from Havilah to Shur on the border of Egypt (1 Samuel 15:3, 1 Samuel 15:7; 1 Samuel 27:8); whilst one branch penetrated into the heart of Canaan, so that a range of hills, in what was afterwards the inheritance of Ephraim, bore the name of mountains of the Amalekites (Judges 12:15, cf. Genesis 5:14). Those who settled in Arabia seem also to have separated in the course of time into several branches, so that Amalekite hordes invaded the land of Israel in connection sometimes with the Midianites and the sons of the East (the Arabs, Judges 6:3; Judges 7:12), and at other times with the Ammonites (Judges 3:13). After they had been defeated by Saul (1 Samuel 14:48; 1 Samuel 15:2.), and frequently chastised by David (1 Samuel 27:8; 1 Samuel 30:1.; 2 Samuel 8:12), the remnant of them was exterminated under Hezekiah by the Simeonites on the mountains of Seir (1 Chronicles 4:42-43).

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