Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.I. WE SEE HOW THE PROMISES OF GOD CONCERNING ESAU WERE FULFILLED. Temporal prosperity.
II. WE LEARN WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE UPON WHICH OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY IS WRITTEN. This chapter is a kind of leave-taking of Esau and his posterity. The stream of sacred history leads on to the Messiah, the flower and perfection of our human race. Scripture history is written upon this principle — that it was God's design throughout to bring His only begotten Son into the world, and, therefore, that family alone in which He is to appear shall have a prominent record.
III. WE LEARN THAT THE ENEMIES OF GOD MAY BE DISTINGUISHED BY GREAT WORLDLY GLORY AND PROSPERITY. Three times in this chapter we meet with the phrase, "This is Edom"; and once "He is Esau, the father of the Edomites" (vers. 1, 9, 19, 43). They were the bitterest enemies of Israel. Esau is the father of persecutors. Yet Esau was prospered in his lifetime more than his brother. Thus the believer is taught that he must toil slowly upwards, and must not envy the rapid and joyful prosperity of the children of this world. His record and his reward are with the Most High. His prosperity may be late and remote, but it is permanent.
IV. WE LEARN HOW GOD WORKS IN THE FORMATION OF PEOPLES AND NATIONS. The subjugation of the Horites by the Edomites, and the fusion of both under one kingdom, is an instance of the manner in which peoples and nations are formed and consolidated. This has often occurred in history. We have examples in the rise of the Samaritans, and in the formation of the Roman people. And in modern times, we have a similar instance in the subjugation of the Gauls by the Franks. We see that the footsteps of God are to be traced throughout all human history. These nations which lay outside the covenant people were yet under the care and control of that Divine providence which appointed the bounds of their habitation, and watched over their growth and development (Acts 17:26).
V. WE LEARN, ALSO, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL ELEMENT IN HISTORY. The personal or individual element appears in all history, but in a most marked manner in sacred history. We see how nations are stamped with the character of their ancestor.
(T. H. Leale)
1. The genealogy of the wicked God records for His own ends in His Church.
2. God's record of the wicked's line is but to brand them to those who read it (ver. 1).
3. Godless hearts take strange wives — Hittites, Hivites, Ishmaelites — whatever God says against it (ver. 2, 8).
4. Providence doth vouchsafe progeny to wicked and multiplied matches, though He like them not (ver. 4, 5).
5. In God's own time He moveth the hearts of wicked enemies, to turn aside from straitening His Church (ver. 6).
6. Outward portions to the wicked satisfy them in and for their departing from God's Church (ver. 7).
7. Mount Seir pleaseth Esau better than the land of promise, because he is Edom (ver. 8).
8. The reproach of a profane Esau God maketh to rest upon his posterity (ver. 9).
9. Multitudes of wives and children and offspring God may grant unto the wicked.
10. God hath recorded the wicked End their progeny to distinguish them from His Church (ver. 10-14).
11. Dukedoms and dignities in the world is only the ambition of the wicked. The saint's is of another kind (2 Corinthians 5-9).
12. Dignities can never blot out the stain of sin from God's presence. The Dukes are Edomites still (ver. 15-19).
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
2. Horites, Hittites, and Hivites are the national titles of the same sort of sinful people.
3. Uncleanness and unnaturalness are recorded in the wicked's line to make them stink.
4. A numerous progeny with dignity may be the portion of the wicked here below.
5. Affinity with persons that are wicked, usually bring souls to affinity with their sins.
6. God suffers and orders the wicked to join so in affinity, in order to the destroying of each other. So it was with Seir and Edom (ver. 20-30.)
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
1. Worldly men are ambitious of the highest titles of honour. Kings and dukes.
2. Earthly kingdoms God may order to the wicked (a settled government) before His Church (ver. 31).
3. Stinted are the numbers of kings and dignities by God in the world.
4. God maketh some notable for exploits above others. Hadad vanquisheth Midian.
5. Kings and queens are sometimes recorded for their shame by God's Spirit.
6. God overturneth and changeth states and government at His pleasure.
7. Profane fathers and profane children are branded by God's Spirit together, where mention is made of them.
(G. Hughes, B. D.)
(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)
For their riches were more.
"The fear of God and sweet content
Yield riches that will ne'er be spent.".