Genesis 36:24
And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.
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(24) Anah that found the mules.—Mules is the traditional rendering of the Jews; but as horses were at this date unknown in Palestine, Anah could not have discovered the art of crossing them with asses, and so producing mules. Jerome, moreover, says that “the word in Punic, a language allied to Hebrew, means hot springs;” and this translation is now generally adopted. Lange gives a list of hot springs in the Edomite region, of which those of Calirrhoe, “the stream of beauty,” in the Wady Zerka Maion, are probably those found by Anah.

Genesis 36:24. Found mules — As the Hebrew word, here rendered mules, occurs nowhere else in Scripture, it is difficult to ascertain the meaning of this passage. Various have been the conjectures concerning what it was that Anah found. Some render the word waters, or hot waters, and understand the meaning to be, that he found some springs of water which in those hot countries were both rare and valuable, or some hot and medicinal springs. But the Chaldee renders it giants, and the Samaritan version Emims, a sort of giants mentioned Deuteronomy 2:10-11, who were neighbours to the Horites, here spoken of, (Genesis 14:5-6,) and therefore, according to the manner of those times, might make inroads upon them. It has been generally supposed, however, that our translators are right, and that, in keeping asses, he discovered the method of breeding mules; probably by accident.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.

24. This was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness—The word "mules" is, in several ancient versions, rendered "water springs"; and this discovery of some remarkable fountain was sufficient, among a wandering or pastoral people, to entitle him to such a distinguishing notice. Mules; so most understand the word Jemim, which is no where else used, and give this sense of it, that he found out the way of the generation of mules by the copulation of a horse and a mare. Others render it waters, that he found out some springs of water, which in those hot countries were rare and precious; or hot waters, some hot and medicinal springs. But the Chaldee renders it giants, and the Samaritan version Emims, a sort of giants mentioned Deu 2:10,11; who also were neighbours to the Horites here spoken of, as appears from Genesis 14:5,6; and therefore might, according to the manner of those times, make inroads one upon another. So Jemim is put for Emim, either by an apocope of the first letter, or by the change of the Hebrew letter Jod into Aleph, both which are frequent among the Hebrews. And the sense is, that Anah the Horite found out the Emims; that is, he met with them, or came upon them suddenly, and smote them. In this sense the word finding is oft used, as Judges 1:5 1 Samuel 31:3 Psalm 21:8 Isaiah 10:10. And these are the children of Zibeon,.... The third son of Self, and who had two sons:

both Ajah and Anah; of the latter it is observed:

this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father; who observed, while he was feeding his father's asses in the wilderness, that the he asses coupled with mares, or horses with the she asses, and produced another sort of creatures called mules; and by this means found out the way how such creatures might be produced, and practised it: so Aelianus says (d), that mules are not the produce of nature, but you may call it an adulterous invention of human contrivance and boldness, and a theft: this is the common interpretation, and to which our version leads: but against it it may be observed, that the word for "mules" is different from this here used, nor is this word ever used of mules, nor does it appear that there were any creatures of this sort before the days of David; nor is the word translated "found" ever used of that which before was not in being, but of what already existed; nor is there any mention of horses or mares in this account also; had it referred to a mixture of these creatures with asses, it would not have been omitted. Some think therefore the words are to be rendered, "he found waters in the wilderness"; sources and collections of waters which were not usual in a wilderness, and of great worth and use in desert lands, as Edom was, and in those hot countries, and the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "hot waters"; but then to the fixing of either of these versions, the word must be altered either in its points or letters, for which there is no authority. The Targum of Onkelos renders it mighty ones or giants, and may signify the "Emim", the "aleph" being changed for "yod", as Aben Ezra observes; and then the sense is, that these gigantic people, who were so called from the terror they taught upon their neighbours, and, who dwelt near the Horim in Seir, Deuteronomy 2:10, as they used to steal from their flocks, Anah lighted on them in the wilderness, and fell upon them, and took them; and with this agrees the Samaritan version, "he found giants, in the wilderness"; and so Abendana interprets the words: Aben Ezra observes that many interpret the word of plants or herbs; and a very learned (e) man is of opinion that the word used is the name of an useful herb or plant, first discovered by Anah. This Anah, though a keeper of his father's asses, is afterwards called Duke Anah; it being the custom of the sons of great personages to be the keepers of flocks and herds; See Gill on Genesis 29:9.

(d) De Animal. l. 12. c. 16. (e) Wagenseil, in Sota, p. 217, 218.

And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the {f} mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father.

(f) Who not contented with those kinds of beasts, which God had created, discovered the monstrous generation of mules between the ass and the mare.

24. Zibeon] means “an hyaena.”

Anah] See note on Genesis 36:2. Whether son or brother (Genesis 36:20) of Zibeon, Anah stands for a clan.

the hot springs] There must have been some well-known story about Anah and his discovery of certain hot springs, while he was, like Saul in 1 Samuel 9, searching for strayed asses. Hot springs are found not far from the pilgrim road to Mecca. The tradition probably claimed their possession for the clan of Anah.

The word for “hot springs” presented a difficulty. The A.V. and Luther render “mules,” and LXX makes it a proper name τὸν Ἰαμείν, while Targ. Onk. renders “the Emim”; but Lat. aquas calidas correctly.Verse 24. - And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, - "Screamer" (Gesenius) - and Anah: - the father-in-law of Esau (ver. 2) - this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, - neither invented the procreation of mules (Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Luther, Calvin, Willet, Clarke, Ainsworth, &c.), since מָעַא does not signify to invent, but to light upon or discover (Keil), and there were no horses at that time in those regions (Michaelis), and it is not said that Anah was feeding his father's horses and asses, but only asses (Rosenmüller); nor overcame the giants (Onkelos, Samaritan, Bochart),which would have required אימים (Genesis 14:5; Deuteronomy 2:11); nor found out salt water (Oleaster, Percrius), a useful herb (Mais), or Ἰαμεὶν as a proper name (LXX.); but discovered the warm springs, the ἅπαξ λεγόμενον, יֵמִים, being now generally taken to mean aquce callidae (Vulgate, Dathius, Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Hengstenberg, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy), of which there were venous in the vicinity, as, e.g., the springs of Callirrhoe in the Wady Zerka Maein, and those, in the Wady-el-Ahsa to the south-east of the Dead Sea, and those in the Wady Hamad between Kerek and the Dead Sea - as he fed (literally, in his feeding) the asses of Zibeon his father. "The whirlpool of Karlsbad is said to have been discovered through a hound of Charles IV. which pursued a stag into a hot spring, and attracted the huntsmen to the spot by its howling" (Keil in loco; cf. Tacitus, 'Hist,,' 5:3). The Tribe-Princes Who Descended from Esau. - אלּוּפים was the distinguishing title of the Edomite and Horite phylarchs; and it is only incidentally that it is applied to Jewish heads of tribes in Zechariah 9:7, and Zechariah 12:5. It is probably derived from אלף or אלפים, equivalent to משׁפּחות, families (1 Samuel 10:19; Micah 5:2), - the heads of the families, i.e., of the principal divisions, of the tribe. The names of these Alluphim are not names of places, but of persons-of the three sons and ten grandsons of Esau mentioned in Genesis 36:9-14; though Knobel would reverse the process and interpret the whole geographically. - In Genesis 36:16 Korah has probably been copied by mistake from Genesis 36:18, and should therefore be erased, as it really is in the Samar. Codex.
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