Genesis 36:35
And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith.
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(35) Who smote Midian . . . —All memory of this exploit has passed away, and the complete silence of the Bible regarding every one of these kings, makes it probable that they belonged to an early date prior to the time in Israel when historical events were carefully recorded.

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.The series of eight kings here enumerated are plainly elective, as not one succeeds his father. The king co-exists with the dukes, who are again enumerated at the close of the list, and are mentioned in the song of Moses Exodus 15:15. These dukes are no doubt the electors of the common sovereign, who is designed to give unity and strength to the nation. It is natural to suppose that no sovereign was elected until after the death of Esau, and, therefore, if he lived as long as Jacob, after the children of Israel had been seventeen years in Egypt. As we calculate that they were two hundred and ten years in that country, and forty years afterward in the wilderness, this would allow two hundred and thirty-three (250-17) years for seven reigns, and a part of the eighth, during which Moses and his host marched along the borders of Edom. Allowing some interval before the first election, we have an average of thirty-three years for each reign. "Before a king reigned over the children of Israel." This simply means before there was a monarchy established in Israel. It does not imply that monarchy began in Israel immediately after these kings; as Lot's beholding the vale of Jordan to be well-watered before the Lord destroyed Sodom and Amorah, does not imply that the cities were destroyed immediately after Lot beheld this sight Genesis 13:10.

Nor does it imply that monarchy in Israel had begun in the time of the writer; as Isaac's saying, "That my soul may bless thee before I die" Genesis 27:4 does not imply that he was dead at the time of his saying so. It merely implies that Israel was expected to have kings Genesis 35:11, as Isaac was expected to die. Of the several sovereigns here mentioned we have no other historical notice. "Beor" is also the name of Balaam's father Numbers 22:5. This indicates affinity of language between their respective tribes. The site of "Dinhabah," the capital of Bela, though the name is applied to many towns, has not been ascertained. "Bozrah" is el-Busaireh, about twenty-one miles nearly south of the Salt Sea. "The land of the Temanite" has its name from Teman, son of Eliphaz. His town was, according to Jerome, five miles from Petra. "Hadad" is a name of frequent recurrence among the Aramaeans. "Who smote Midian in the field of Moab." This records an event not otherwise known, and indicates external conquest on the part of the Idumaean state. "Avith" or Ajuth (1 Chronicles 1:46, probably a graphic error) is not otherwise known.

"Masrecah" is likewise unknown. "Rehoboth by the river." If the river be the Phrat (Onkelos), Rehoboth may be er-Rahabah, not far from the mouth of the Khabur. Otherwise it may be er-Ruhaibeh on a wady joining the Sihor or el-Arish Genesis 26:22, or the Robotha of Eusebius and Jerome, the site of which is not known. "Hadar" is probably a colloquial variation of Hadad Genesis 36:35 which is found in Chronicles. Pau or Pai is unknown. Matred is the father of his wife. Mezahab her mother's father. The death of all these sovereigns is recorded except the last, who is therefore, supposed to have been contemporary with Moses.

31-39. kings of Edom—The royal power was not built on the ruins of the dukedoms, but existed at the same time. No text from Poole on this verse. And Husham died,.... As is thought, about A. M. 2219, above forty years after the death of Abraham, as computed by the above writer:

and Hadad the son of Bedad (who smote Midian in the field of Moab) reigned in his stead: who he or his father were we have no other account, nor of this warlike action of his; probably the Midianites came out to invade him, hearing of which, he went out against them, and met with him in the fields of Moab, which were near to Midian, and fought them and conquered them: Jarchi says, the Midianites came out to make war against the Moabites, and the king of Edom went out to help the Moabites, and hence, he says, we learn, that Midian and Moab were near each other; and in the days of Balaam they made peace, that they might combine against Israel: this battle is supposed to be fought in the twelfth year of his reign; and it is thought to be in his reign that Esau came with his family and dwelt in Seir (l); though some place it later, either in the following reign, or in that of his successors (m):

and the name of his city was Avith: where it was is not certain.

(l) Bedford's Scripture Chronology, p. 343, 349. (m) Universal History, vol. 2. p. 170.

And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith.
35. Hadad] A name familiar as that of a Syrian deity, occurring in the royal names “Ben-Hadad” and “Hadad-Ezer.” The defeat of “Midian in the field of Moab,” the solitary note of history, illustrates the extent to which the power of Edom at one time was developed. See note on the same name, Genesis 25:2. Ewald conjectured that this king Hadad I was a contemporary of Gideon’s, and joined in resistance to the Midianite invasion, circ. 1100 (Judges 6 ff.).

Avith] LXX reads “Gittaim.”Verse 35. - And Husham died, and Hadad - "Shouting," e.g. for joy (Gesenius); whence "Conqueror" (Furst) - the son of Bedad, - "Separation" (Gesenius) - who smote Midian (vide Genesis 25:2) in the field of Moab (vide Genesis 19:37), reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith - "Ruins" (Gesenius), "Twisting" (Murphy), "Hut-Village" (Furst). An attempt has been made (Bohlen) to identify this monarch with the Edomite of the same name who rose against Solomon (1 Kings 11:14); but

(1) this Hadad was not of royal blood, while Solomon's contemporary was;

(2) this Hadad was a king, while Solomon's adversary was only a pretender;

(3) this Hadad was a conqueror of the Midianites, while in Solomon's time the Midianites had vanished from history; and

(4) this Hadad lived and reigned before Israel had any kings (vide Hengstenberg, 'On the Genuineness of the Pentateuch,' vol. 2. dissert. 6; and cf. Havernick's 'Introd.,' § 20, and Keil in loco). (parallel, 1 Chronicles 1:38-42). Descendants of Seir the Horite; - the inhabitants of the land, or pre-Edomitish population of the country. - "The Horite:" ὁ Τρωγλοδύτης, the dweller in caves, which abound in the mountains of Edom (vid., Rob. Pal. ii. p. 424). The Horites, who had previously been an independent people (Genesis 14:6), were partly exterminated and partly subjugated by the descendants of Esau (Deuteronomy 2:12, Deuteronomy 2:22). Seven sons of Seir are given as tribe-princes of the Horites, who are afterwards mentioned as Alluphim (Genesis 36:29, Genesis 36:30), also their sons, as well as two daughters, Timna (Genesis 36:22) and Aholibamah (Genesis 36:25), who obtained notoriety from the face that two of the headquarters of Edomitish tribe-princes bore their names (Genesis 36:40 and Genesis 36:41). Timna was probably the same as the concubine of Eliphaz (Genesis 36:12); but Aholibamah was not the wife of Esau (cf. Genesis 36:2). - There are a few instances in which the names in this list differ from those in the Chronicles. But they are differences which either consist of variation in form, or have arisen from mistakes in copying.

(Note: Knobel also undertakes to explain these names geographically, and to point them out in tribes and places of Arabia, assuming, quite arbitrarily and in opposition to the text, that the names refer to tribes, not to persons, although an incident is related of Zibeon's son, which proves at once that the list relates to persons and not to tribes; and expecting his readers to believe that not only are the descendants of these troglodytes, who were exterminated before the time of Moses, still to be found, but even their names may be traced in certain Bedouin tribes, though more than 3000 years have passed away! The utter groundlessness of such explanations, which rest upon nothing more than similarity of names, may be seen in the association of Shobal with Syria Sobal (Judith 3:1), the name used by the Crusaders for Arabia tertia, i.e., the southernmost district below the Dead Sea, which was conquered by them. For notwithstanding the resemblance of the name Shobal to Sobal, no one could seriously think of connecting Syria Sobal with the Horite prince Shobal, unless he was altogether ignorant of the apocryphal origin of the former name, which first of all arose from the Greek or Latin version of the Old Testament, and in fact from a misunderstanding of Psalm 60:2, where, instead צובה ארם, Aram Zobah, we find in the lxx Συριά Σοβάλ, and in the Vulg. Syria et Sobal.)

Of Anah, the son of Zibeon, it is related (Genesis 36:24), that as he fed the asses of his father in the desert, he "found היּמם" - not "he invented mules," as the Talmud, Luther, etc., render it, for mules are פּרדים, and מצא does not mean to invent; but he discovered aquae calidae (Vulg.), either the hot sulphur spring of Calirrhoe in the Wady Zerka Maein (vid., Genesis 10:19), or those in the Wady el Ahsa to the S.E. of the Dead Sea, or those in the Wady Hamad between Kerek and the Dead Sea.

(Note: It is possible that there may be something significant in the fact that it was "as he was feeding his father's asses," and that the asses may have contributed to the discovery; just as 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.)

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