Genesis 36:40
And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth,
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(40) According to their families, after their places.—The final list of the dukes is said, both here and in Genesis 36:43, to be territorial, by which is meant, not that the persons mentioned were not real men, but that Edom finally settled down into eleven “thousands” named after these chieftains. So in Canaan the names of the sons of Jacob became those also of territorial divisions, two of which, however, were given to Joseph and his sons, while no district was called after Levi. What is remarkable here is the vast amount of change. No Horite duke gives his name to any of these divisions of the land of Edom. Omitting Korah from Genesis 36:16, there were originally thirteen of these tribal princes, each with his own territory, but with no central government; just as the children of Israel dwelt for centuries in Canaan, each tribe independently in its own district, and with nothing to bind them together except their religion. In Genesis 36:40-43 we find eleven tribes, of which only two, those of Teman and Kenaz, retain the names of the sons of Esau, while of the rest we know nothing. We may, however, safely conclude that these nine persons, who gave their names to districts of Edom, were all men who rose to power during the troubled times when king after king seized the crown only to be displaced by some one else. Probably many such men arose, but these were all who consolidated their power sufficiently to leave their names behind them. Amidst this anarchy, the two districts of Teman and Kenaz alone remained unbroken, and continued to be ruled by princes of the same family. This word “family” has in Hebrew a meaning different from that which it has with us; for it signifies one of the larger divisions of a tribe, of which the subdivisions are called “fathers’ houses,” which again are subdivided into households (Numbers 1:2, &c.). In Genesis 36:43 “habitationswould be better rendered settlements.

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 hereditary dukes who were contemporaneous with this sovereign, and formed no doubt his council, are now enumerated. Timna, once the name of a female, now appears as a male, unless we allow a duchess in her own right to have occurred among them. The same applies to Oholibamah. Alva or Aljah is near akin to Alvan or Allan Genesis 36:23. Jetheth, Elah, Pinon, Mibzar, Magdiel, Iram, are new names. Four of the old names reappear. One is only slightly different. The number of dukes is eleven. It is probable that Amalek separated from the family confederacy; and the number of tribes may have been originally twelve. The seven Horite dukedoms probably merged into the Idumaean eleven.

- Joseph Was Sold into Egypt

17. דתין dotayı̂n Dothain, "two wells?" (Gesenius)

25. נכאת neko't "tragacanth" or goat's-thorn gum, yielded by the "astragalus gummifer", a native of Mount Lebanon. צרי tsērı̂y "opobalsamum," the resin of the balsam tree, growing in Gilead, and having healing qualities. לט loṭ, λῆδον lēdon, "ledum, ladanum," in the Septuagint στακτή staktē. The former is a gum produced from the cistus rose. The latter is a gum resembling liquid myrrh.

36. פוטיפר pôṭı̂yphar Potiphar, "belonging to the sun."

The sketch of the race of Edom, given in the preceding piece, we have seen, reaches down to the time of Moses. Accordingly, the history of Jacob's seed, which is brought before us in the present document, reverts to a point of time not only before the close of that piece, but before the final record of what precedes it. The thread of the narrative is here taken up from the return of Jacob to Hebron, which was seventeen years before the death of Isaac.

40-43. Recapitulation of the dukes according to their residences. 1496 The names of the dukes, of their persons, and generations, and families. The state of Edom between the times of Esau and Moses seems to have been this; there were first dukes, then kings, and after them dukes again. But if it be objected, that the time was too short for a succession of so many persons, it may be replied, that what is confessed concerning the dukes preceding the kings, might be true also of these succeeding dukes, and that the Edomites either having taken some distaste at kingly government, or differing about the choice of a new king, divided themselves again into several petty principalities or dukedoms; and so several of those were dukes at the same time in divers parts. And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau,.... After the regal monarchy ceased, the government in Edom was by dukes, and of these there were two sons, one of which an account has been given of already, who were partly of the race of Seir, and partly of the race of Esau; and who were dukes not by succession, but together, in and over their respective families: and it may be observed, that neither Esau, nor his sons by his two first wives, Eliphaz and Reuel, are called dukes, only his three sons by his last wife; all the rest are his grandsons and sons of the two former, which seems to give some light as to the time when those dukedoms took place; and very probably it was by the joint influence of Seir and Esau, whose families had intermarried, that an end was put to the regal power, and who, for a course of years, governed in the above manner: and they of Esau's race in those times are said to be "dukes in the land of Edom", as a learned man (o) has observed; whereas those that follow, which are a second race of them, are called "dukes of Edom", Genesis 36:43; who took possession of the country and ruled in it, driving out the Horites and succeeding in their stead: these are described

according to their families; they were the heads of:

after their places, by their names; the places where they lived, which were called after their names, and are as follow:

Duke Timnah, Duke Alvah, Duke Jetheth; these were both the names of the dukes, and of the places where they governed, called after their names; so Timnah or Themna, as Jerom calls it, is by him said to be a city of the princes of Edom, the same he says of Jetheth (p), so the like may be concluded of Alvah.

(o) Shuckford's Connection, p. 192. (p) De loc. Heb. fol. 92. F. 95. C.

And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth,
40–43. Edomite Chiefs

40. families … places … names] This short supplementary list of chiefs consists of names partly tribal, partly local, and partly personal.

duke Timna] i.e. the chieftain of Timna; cf. note on Genesis 36:15.

Alvah] In 1 Chronicles 1:51, Aliah. In Genesis 36:23, Alvan.Verses 40-43. - And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names. It is now generally agreed that this and the ensuing verses contain not a second list of dukes who rose to power on the overthrow of the preceding monarchical institutions (Bertheau, Ainsworth, Patrick), or a continuation of the preceding list of dukes, which had simply been interrupted by a parenthesis about the kings (Bush); but either an enumeration of the hereditary phylarchs who were contemporaneous with Hadar, and in all probability formed, his council (Murphy), or a territorial catalogue of the districts in which the original alluphim who sprang from Esau (vers. 15-19) exercised their sovereignty (Keil, Kalisch, Lange, 'Speaker's Commentary'). Duke Timnah, - according to the explanation just given this should perhaps be read duke of Timnah = Amalek, whose mother was Timna (Lange), but this is conjectural - duke Alvah, - or of Alvah, or Allah, closely allied to Alvan (ver. 23) - duke (of) Jetheth, - "Nail" (Gesenius), "Subjugation" (Furst) - duke (of) Aholiba-mah, - vide ver. 2; perhaps Esau's wife as well as Eliphaz's concubine gave her name to the district over which her son ruled - duke Elah, - "Strength" (Furst), "Tere-binth" (Murphy) - duke Pinon, - probably equal to Pimon, dark (Gesenius) - duke Kenaz (vide ver. 11), duke Teman (ver. 15), duke Mibzar, - "Fortress," "Strong City" (Gesenius) - duke Magdiel, - "Prince of God" (Gesenius) - duke Iram: - "Citizen" (Gesenius) - these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations (i.e. their capitals, or districts) in the land of their possessions. The word seems to indicate an independent sovereignty within their respective provinces or principalities. He is Esau the father of the Edomites. The clause is equivalent to saying, This Esau (already referred to) was the ancestor of these Edomites.

(Parallel, 1 Chronicles 1:43-50). The Kings in the Land of Edom: before the children of Israel had a king. It is to be observed in connection with the eight kings mentioned here, that whilst they follow one another, that is to say, one never comes to the throne till his predecessor is dead, yet the son never succeeds the father, but they all belong to different families and places, and in the case of the last the statement that "he died" is wanting. From this it is unquestionably obvious, that the sovereignty was elective; that the kings were chosen by the phylarchs; and, as Isaiah 34:12 also shows, that they lived or reigned contemporaneously with these. The contemporaneous existence of the Alluphim and the kings may also be inferred from Exodus 15:15 as compared with Numbers 20:14. Whilst it was with the king of Edom that Moses treated respecting the passage through the land, in the song of Moses it is the princes who tremble with fear on account of the miraculous passage through the Red Sea (cf. Ezekiel 32:29). Lastly, this is also supported by the fact, that the account of the seats of the phylarchs (Genesis 36:40-43) follows the list of the kings. This arrangement would have been thoroughly unsuitable if the monarchy had been founded upon the ruins of the phylarchs (vid., Hengstenberg, ut sup. pp. 238ff.). Of all the kings of Edom, not one is named elsewhere. It is true, the attempt has been made to identify the fourth, Hadad (Genesis 36:35), with the Edomite Hadad who rose up against Solomon (1 Kings 11:14); but without foundation. The contemporary of Solomon was of royal blood, but neither a king nor a pretender; our Hadad, on the contrary, was a king, but he was the son of an unknown Hadad of the town of Avith, and no relation to his predecessor Husham of the country of the Temanites. It is related of him that he smote Midian in the fields of Moab (Genesis 36:35); from which Hengstenberg (pp. 235-6) justly infers that this event cannot have been very remote from the Mosaic age, since we find the Midianites allied to the Moabites in Numbers 22; whereas afterwards, viz., in the time of Gideon, the Midianites vanished from history, and in Solomon's days the fields of Moab, being Israelitish territory, cannot have served as a field of battle for the Midianites and Moabites. - Of the tribe-cities of these kings only a few can be identified now. Bozrah, a noted city of the Edomites (Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 43:1, etc.), is still to be traced in el Buseireh, a village with ruins in Jebal (Rob. Pal. ii. 571). - The land of the Temanite (Genesis 36:34) is a province in northern Idumaea, with a city, Teman, which has not yet been discovered; according to Jerome, quinque millibus from Petra. - Rehoboth of the river (Genesis 36:37) can neither be the Idumaean Robotha, nor er Ruheibeh in the wady running towards el Arish, but must be sought for on the Euphrates, say in Errachabi or Rachabeh, near the mouth of the Chaboras. Consequently Saul, who sprang from Rehoboth, was a foreigner. - Of the last king, Hadar (Genesis 36:39; not Hadad, as it is written in 1 Chronicles 1:50), the wife, the mother-in-law, and the mother are mentioned: his death is not mentioned here, but is added by the later chronicler (1 Chronicles 1:51). This can be explained easily enough from the simple fact, that at the time when the table was first drawn up, Hadad was still alive and seated upon the throne. In all probability, therefore, Hadad was the king of Edom, to whom Moses applied for permission to pass through the land (Numbers 20:14.).

(Note: If this be admitted; then, on the supposition that this list of kings contains all the previous kings of Edom, the introduction of monarchy among the Edomites can hardly have taken place more than 200 years before the exodus; and, in that case, none of the phylarchs named in Genesis 36:15-18 can have lived to see its establishment. For the list only reaches to the grandsons of Esau, none of whom are likely to have lived more than 100 or 150 years after Esau's death. It is true we do not know when Esau died; but 413 years elapsed between the death of Jacob and the exodus, and Joseph, who was born in the 91st years of Jacob's life, died 54 years afterwards, i.e., 359 years before the exodus. But Esau was married in his 40th year, 37 years before Jacob (Genesis 26:34), and had sons and daughters before his removal to Seir (Genesis 36:6). Unless, therefore, his sons and grandsons attained a most unusual age, or were married remarkably late in life, his grandsons can hardly have outlived Joseph more than 100 years. Now, if we fix their death at about 250 years before the exodus of Israel from Egypt, there remains from that point to the arrival of the Israelites at the land of Edom (Numbers 20:14) a period of 290 years; amply sufficient for the reigns of eight kings, even if the monarchy was not introduced till after the death of the last of the phylarchs mentioned in Genesis 36:15-18.)

At any rate the list is evidently a record relating to the Edomitish kings of a pre-Mosaic age. But if this is the case, the heading, "These are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel," does not refer to the time when the monarchy was introduced into Israel under Saul, but was written with the promise in mind, that kings should come out of the loins of Jacob (Genesis 35:11, cf. Genesis 17:4.), and merely expresses the thought, that Edom became a kingdom at an earlier period than Israel. Such a thought was by no means inappropriate to the Mosaic age. For the idea, "that Israel was destined to grow into a kingdom with monarchs of his own family, was a hope handed down to the age of Moses, which the long residence in Egypt was well adapted to foster" (Del.).

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