Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.
Verse 1. - Then again Abraham took a wife, - literally, and Abraham added and took a wife (i.e. a secondary wife, or concubine, pilgash; vide ver. 6 and 1 Chronicles 1:28, 32); but whether after (Kalisch, Lunge, Murphy) or, before (Calvin, Keil, Alford, Bush) Sarah's death it is impossible to decide - and her name was Keturah - "Increase" (Gesenius); probably a servant in the family, as Hagar had been, though not Hagar herself (Targums), whom Abraham had recalled after Sarah's death (Lyra), since ver. 6 speaks of concubines.
And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.
Verse 2. - And she bare him (since the patriarch's body at 100 years was practically dead, it is almost certain that his marriage with Keturah took place after the renewal of his powers; and it is easier to suppose that his physical vigor remained for some years after Sarah's death than that, with his former experience of concubinage, and his parental joy in the birth of Isaac, he should add a second wife while Sarah lived) Zimran, - identified with Zabram, west of Mecca, on the Red Sea (Knobel, Keil); or the Zimareni, in the interior of Arabia (Delitzsch, Kalisch) - and Jokshan, - the Kassamitae, on the Red Sea (Knobel); or the Himarytish tribe Jakish, in Southern Arabia (Keil) - and Medan, and Midian, - Modiana, on the east of the Elamitic Gulf, and Madiana, north of this (Rosenmüller, Keil, Knobel) - and Ishbak, - perhaps preserved in Schobeck, in the land of the Edomites (Knobel, Keil) - and Shuah - for which the epithet Shuhite (Job 2:11) may point to Northern Idumaea (Keil, Knobel, Kalisch).
And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.
Verse 3. - And Jokshan begat Sheba, - probably the Sabeans: Job 1:15; Job 6:19 (Keil) - and Dedan - probably the trading people mentioned in Jeremiah 25:23 (Keil). And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, - who have been associated with the warlike tribe of the Asir, to the south of Hejas (Keil) - and Letu-shim, - the Bann Leits in Hejas (Keil) - and Leummim - the tribe Bann Lam, which extended even to Babylon and Mesopotamia (Keil).
And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
Verse 4. - And the sons of Midian; Ephah (vide Isaiah 60:6), and Epher (Bent Ghifar in Hejas), and Hanoch (Hanakye, three days north of Medinah), and Abidah, and Eldaah - the tribes of Abide and Vadaa in the neighborhood of Asir. Keil adds that all these identifications are uncertain. All these were the children of Keturah - six sons, seven grandsons, three great grandsons; in all sixteen descendants.
And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.
Verses 5, 6. - And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. I.e. constituted him his chief heir, according to previous Divine appointment (Genesis 15:4), and made over to him the bulk of his possessions (Genesis 24:36). But unto the sons of the concubines (Hagar and Keturah), which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, - "doubtless established them as youthful nomads" (Lunge) and sent them away from Isaac his son, - Ishmael's dismissal took place long before (Genesis 21:14); probably he then received his portion while he yet lived (i.e. during Abraham's lifetime) eastward, unto the east country (or Arabia in the widest sense; to the east and south-east of Palestine).
But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.
And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.
Verse 7. - And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, - an impressive and appropriate expression for the computation of life (cf. Genesis 47:9) - an hundred and threescore and fifteen years - i.e. 175 years; so that he must have lived seventy-five years after Isaac's birth and thirty-eight years after Sarah's death. "His grandfather lived 148 years, his father 205, his son 180, and his grandson 147; so that his years were the full average of that period (Murphy).
Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.
Verses 8-10. - Then Abraham gave up the ghost (literally, breathed out, a the breath of life), and died in a good old age, - literally, in a flood hoary age, i.e. "with a crown of righteousness upon his hoary head" (Hughes) - an old man, and full of years. Literally, and satiated, i.e. satisfied not merely with life and all its blessings, but with living. The three clauses give an elevated conception of the patriarch s life as that of one who had tasted all the sweets and realized all the ends of a mundane existence, and who accordingly was ripe and ready for transition to a higher sphere. And was gathered to his people. An expression similar to "going to his fathers" (Genesis 15:15, q.v.), and to "being gathered to one's fathers" (Judges 2:10). "The phrase is constantly distinguished from departing this life and being buried, denotes the reunion in Sheol with friends who have gone before, and therefore presupposes faith in the personal continuance of a man after death" (Keil). Abraham died in the hope of a better country, even an heavenly (Hebrews 11:13-16). And his sons Isaac and Ishmael - Isaac as the heir takes precedence; but Ishmael, rather than the sons of Keturah, is associated with him at his father's funeral; probably because he was not so distant as they from Hebron (Lunge), or because he was the subject of a special blessing, which they were not (Keil, Murphy); or perhaps simply Ishmael and Isaac united as the eldest sons to perform the last rites to a parent they revered (Kalisch). "Funerals of parents are reconciliations of children (Genesis 35:29), and differences of contending religionists are often softened at the side of a grave" (Wordsworth) - buried him (vide on Genesis 23:19) in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre (vide on Genesis 23:3-20); the field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth (a repetition which augments the importance of the statement that Abraham did not sleep in a borrowed tomb): there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;
The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.
And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.
Verse 11. - And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God - Elohim; whence the preceding section is ascribed to the Elohist; but the general name of God is here employed because the statement partakes merely of the nature of an intimation that the Divine blessing descended upon Isaac by inheritance (Hengstenberg), and the particular blessing of which the historian speaks is not so much the spiritual and eternal blessings of the covenant, as the material and temporal prosperity with which Isaac, in comparison with other men, was enriched (Murphy) - blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi (vide Genesis 16:14; Genesis 24:62).
Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:
Verse 12. - Now these are the generations of Ishmael, - the opening of a new section (cf. Genesis 2:4), in which the fortunes of Abraham's eldest son are briefly traced before proceeding with the main current of the history in the line of Isaac (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:29-31) - Abraham's son, - because of his relation to Abraham it was that Ishmael attained subsequent historical development and importance (vide Genesis 21:13) - whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham (vide Genesis 16:1, 15).
And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,
Verse 13. - And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; - "Heights;" the Nabathaeans, a people of Northern Arabia, possessed of abundant flocks (Isaiah 9:7), and, according to Diodorus, living by merchandise and rapine (Gesenius). From Petraea they subsequently extended as far as Babylon (Keil) - and Kedar, - "Black Skin;" the Cedrei of Pliny (Gesenius, Keil, Rosen-mailer); characterized as good bowmen (Isaiah 21:17), and dwelling between Arabia Petraea and Babylon - and Adbeel, - "Miracle of God" (Gesenius); of whom nothing is known - and Mibsam, - "Sweet Odor" (Gesenius); equally uncertain.
And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,
Verse 14. - And Mishma, - "Hearing" (Gesenius); Masma (LXX., Vulgate); connected with the Maisaimeneis, north-east of Medina (Knobel) - and Dumah, - "Silence;" same as Stony Dumah, or Syrian Dumah, in Arabia, on the edge of the Syrian desert (Gesenius); mentioned in Isaiah 21:11 - and Massa, - "Burden;" north-east of Dumah are the Massanoi.
Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:
Verse 15. - Hadar, - "Chamber" (Gesenius); Ha'dad (1 Chronicles 1:30, LXX., Samaritan, and most MSS.); though Gesenius regards Hadar as probably the true reading in both places; identified with a tribe in Yemen (Gesenius); between Oman and Bahrein, a district renowned for its lancers (Keil) - and Tema, - "Desert" (Gesenius); Θαιμὰν (LXX.); the Θεμοί, on the Persian Gulf, or the tribe Bann Teim, in Hamasa (Knobel); a trading people (Job 6:19; Isaiah 21:14; Jeremiah 25:23) - Jetur, - "Enclosure" (Gesenius); the Itureans (Gesenius, Kalisch, Keil ) - Naphish, "Breathing" (Murphy); "Refreshment" (Gesenius); not yet identified - and Kedemah - "Eastward" (Gesenius); unknown.
These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.
Verse 16. - These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, - unwalled encampments, from hatzar, to surround; used of the movable villages of nomadic tribes (cf. Isaiah 42:11) - and by their castles; - fortified keeps (Murphy); tent villages (Keil); nomadic camps (Kalisch). Cf. Numbers 31:10; 1 Chronicles 6:39; Psalm 69:26; Ezekiel 25:4) - twelve princes - this does not imply that Ishmael had only twelve sons, like Israel - a very suspicious circumstance (De Wette); but only that these twelve became phylarchs (Havernick). The Egyptian dedecarchy rested on a like earlier division of names. Homer mentions a similar case among the Phoenicians (Odyss., 8. 390); Thucydides another in ancient Attica (2. 15); vide Havernick's 'Introch,' § 18 - according to their nations (or tribe divisions).
And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.
Verses 17, 18. - And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: - a life shorter by nearly half a century than that of Isaac (Genesis 35:21); does this prove the life-prolonging influence of piety? - and he gave up the ghost and died; and wee gathered unto his people (vide on ver. 8). And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward; Assyria (vide Genesis 10:29; Genesis 16:7): and He died - literally, fell down; not expired (Vulgate, A Lapide, Aben Ezra, et alii), but settled down, had his lot cast (Calvin, Keil, Kalisch); κατῴκησε (LXX.) in the presence of all his brethren (a fulfillment of Genesis 16:12).
And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.
And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac:
Verse 19. - And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son. The usual formula for the opening of a new section (cf. Genesis 2:4). Abraham begat Isaac. A reiteration in perfect harmony not only with the style of the present narrative, but of ancient historiography in general; in this instance specially designed to connect the subsequent streams of Isaac's posterity with their original fountain-head in Abraham.
And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
Verse 20. - And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, - the valuable chronological fact here stated for the first time proves that Isaac was married three years after his mother's death (cf. Genesis 23:1) - the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian (vide on Genesis 22:23; 24:29). Though a descendant of Arphaxad (Genesis 10:24), Bethuel is styled a Syrian, or Aramaean, from the country of his adoption. On Padanaram vide Genesis 24:10.
And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Verse 21. - And Isaac entreated - from a root signifying to burn incense, hence to pray, implying, as some think (Wordsworth, 'Speaker s Commentary'), the use of incense in patriarchal worship; but perhaps only pointing to the fact that the prayers of the godly ascend like incense (Gesenius): cf. Tobit 12:12; Acts 10:4. The word is commonly regarded as noting precum multiplicationem, et vehementiam et perseverantiam (Poole): cf. Ezekiel 35:13 - the Lord - Jehovah; not because vers. 21-23 are the composition of the Jehovist (Tuch, Bleek, Davidson, et alii), but because the desired son was to be the heir of promise (Hengstenberg). The less frequent occurrence of the Divine name in the Thol-doth of Isaac than in those of Terah has been explained by the fact that the historical matter of the later portion furnishes less occasion for its introduction than that of the earlier; and the predominance of the name Elohim over that of Jehovah in the second stage of the patriarchal history has been partly ascribed to the employment after Abraham's time of such like equivalent expressions as "God of Abraham" and "God of my father" (Keil) - for his wife, - literally, opposite to his wife, i.e. beside his wife, placing himself opposite her, and conjoining his supplications with hers (Ainsworth, Bush); or, better, in behalf of his wife (LXX., Vulgate, Calvin, Keil, Kalisch), i.e. setting her over against him as the sole object to which he had regard in his intercessions (Luther) - because she was barren: - as Sarah had been before her (vide Genesis 11:80); the long-continued sterility of both having been designed to show partly that "children are the heritage of the Lord" (Psalm 127:3), but chiefly that the children of the promise were to be not simply the fruit of nature, but the gift of grace and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived (cf. Romans 9:10).
And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.
Verse 22. - And the children struggled together within her. The verb is expressive of a violent internal commotion, as if the unborn children had been dashing against one another in her womb. Cf. the story of Acrisius and Praetus, who quarreled before birth about their subsequent dominion (Apollod., II. 2. 1). Vide Rosenmüller, Scholia, in loco. And she said, If it be so, why am I thus? Literally, If so, why thus (am) I? Of obscure import, but probably meaning, "If so," i.e. flit is the case that I have conceived, "for what am I thus?" what is the reason of these unwonted sensations that accompany my pregnancy? Aben Ezra, Calvin, Lange, Murphy); rather than, "If such be the sufferings of pregnancy, why did I seek to conceive?" (Rashi, Rosenmüller), or, why have I conceived? (Vulgate, Onkelos, Bush, Ainsworth), or, why do I yet live? (Syriac, Keil, Kalisch, Delitzsch). And she went to inquire of the Lord. Not by Urim (Bohlen), since this method of inquiring at the Deity did not then exist (Numbers 27:21); but either through a prophet, - Shem (Luther), Melchisedeck (Jewish interpreters), Heber (Lyra); more likely Abraham (Grotius, Ainsworth, Wordsworth, Kalisch, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or Isaac, the prophet nearest her (Lange), - or through herself by prayer, as in Psalm 34:5 (Calvin, Rosenmüller, Lange, Murphy, Inglis). The language seems to imply that by this time there was a regularly-appointed place for the worship of God by prayer and sacrifice - Theodoret suggests the family altar; Delitzsch, Hagar's well.
And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Verse 23. - And the Lord said unto her, - in a dream (Havernick), a form of revelation peculiar to primitive times (Genesis 15:1; Genesis 20:6; Genesis 28:12; Genesis 37:5; 90:5; 91:1; 96:2; cf. Job 4:13; Job 33:15); but whether communicated directly to herself, or spoken through the medium of a prophet, the Divine response to her interrogation assumed an antistrophic and poetical form, in which she was informed that her unborn sons were to be the founders of two mighty nations, who, "unequal in power, should be divided rivalry and antagonism from their youth" - Two nations are in thy womb (i.e. the ancestors and founders of two nations, vie., the Israelites and Idumeans), and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; - literally, and two peoples from thy bowels (or womb) are separated, i.e. proceeding from thy womb, they shall be divided from and against each other - and the one people shall be stronger than the other people (literally, and people shall be stronger than people, i.e. the one shall prevail over the other); and the elder shall serve the younger - i.e. the descendants of the elder shall be subject to those of the younger. Vide inspired comments on this oracle in Malachi 1:2, 3 and Romans 9:12-33.
And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Verse 24. - And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, - literally, and were fulfilled her days to bring forth; ἐπληρώθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ τεκεῖν αὐτην (LXX.; cf. Luke 1:57; Luke 2:6). Jarchi accounts for the different phrase used of Thamar (Genesis 38:27), who also bore twins, by supposing that she had not completed her days, but gave birth to Pharez and Zarah in the seventh month (vide Rosenmüller, in loco) - behold, there were twins in her womb (cf. Genesis 38:27, where the full form of the word for twins is given).
And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
Verse 25. - And the first came out red, - Adhoni, πυῥῤάκης (LXX.), rufus (Vulgate), red-haired (Gesenius), of a reddish color (Lange), containing an allusion to Adham, the red earth - all over like an hairy garment. Literally, all of him as a cloak of hair (not, as the LXX., Vulgate, et alii, all of him hairy, like a cloak); the fur cloak, or hair mantle, forming one notion (Gesenius). The appearance of the child's body, covered with an unusual quantity of red hair, was "a sign of excessive sensual vigor and wildness" (Keil), "a foreboding of the animal violence of his character" (Kalisch), "the indication of a passionate and precocious nature" (Murphy). And they called his name Esau - "the hairy one," from an unused root signifying to be covered with hair (Gesenius).
And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
Verse 26. - And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel. The inf. constr, standing for the finite verb (Ewald's 'Hebrews Synt.,' 304). Not simply followed close upon the heels of Esau (Kalisch), but seized Esau's heel, as if he would trip him up (Keil, Murphy). It has been contended (De Wette, Schumann, Knobel) that such an act was impossible, a work on obstetrics by Busch maintaining that an hour commonly intervenes between the birth of twins; but practitioners of eminence who have been consulted declare the act to be distinctly possible, and indeed it is well known that "a multitude of surprising phenomena are connected with births" (Havernick), some of which are not greatly dissimilar to that which is here recorded. Delitzsch interprets the language as meaning only that the hand of Jacob reached out in the direction of his brother's heel, as if to grasp it; but Hosea 12:3 explicitly asserts that he had his brother's heel by the hand while yet in his mother's womb. And his name was called - literally, and he (i.e. one) called his name; καὶ ἐκάλεσε τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ (LXX.); id circo appellavit eum (Vulgate; cf. Genesis 16:14; Genesis 27:36) - Jacob. Not "Successor," like the Latin secundus, from sequor (Knobel, Kalisch); but "Heel-catcher" (Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Keil, Lange, Murphy), hence Supplanter (cf. Genesis 37:36). And Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. Literally, in the bearing of them, the inf. constr, taking the case of its verb (vide Gesenius, § 133) - when she (the mother) bare them; ὄτε ἔτεκεν αὐτοὺς Ῥεβέκκα (LXX.); quum nati sunt parvuli (Vulgate); though, as Rebekah's name does not occur in the immediate context, and ילד is applied to the father (Genesis 4:18; Genesis 10:8, 13) as well as to the mother, the clause may be rendered when he (Isaac) begat them (Kalisch, Afford).
And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Verse 27. - And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, - literally, skilled in hunting; εἰδὼς κυνηγεῖν (LXX.); gnarus venandi (Vulgate); a sportsman - a man of the field; - not a husbandman, homo agricola (Vulgate), who is differently denominated - ish haadhamah (Genesis 9:20); but one addicted to roaming through the fields in search of sport - ἀγροικὸς (LXX.); an indication of the rough, fiery nature and wild, adventurous life of the elder of the two brothers - and Jacob was a plain man, - תָּם = ἄπλαστος (LXX.); simplex (Vulgate); integer, i.e. mitis, of mild and gentle manners (Rosenmüller); blameless, as a shepherd (Knobel); pious (Luther); righteous (Kalisch); obviously intended to describe Jacob as, both in character and life, the antithesis of Esau - dwelling in tents - i.e. loving to stay at home, as opposed to Esau, who loved to wander afield; preferring a quiet, peaceable, domestic, and pious manner of existence to a life of "excitement, adventure, and danger," such as captivated Esau.
And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Verse 28. - And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: - literally, because his hunting (i.e. its produce) was in his mouth; ὁτι ἡ θήρα αὐτοῦ βρῶσις αὐτῳ (LXX.); not perhaps the sole reason for Isaac's preference of Esau, though mentioned here because of its connection with the ensuing narrative. Persons of quiet and retiring disposition, like Isaac, are often fascinated by those of more sparkling and energetic temperament, such as Esau; mothers, on the other hand, are mostly drawn towards children that are gentle in disposition and home-keeping in habit. Accordingly it is added - but Rebekah loved Jacob.
And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:
Verse 29. - And Jacob sod pottage: - literally, cooked something cooked; ἔψησε δὲ Ἱακὼβ ἕψημα (LXX.); prepared boiled food, of lentils (vide on ver. 34) - and Esau came from the field, and he was faint - exhausted, the term being used of one who is both wearied and languishing (cf. Job 22:7; Psalm 63:2; Proverbs 25:25).
And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
Verse 30. - And Esau said unto Jacob, Feed me (literally, let me swallow, an expression for eating greedily), I pray thee, with that same red pottage; - literally, of that red, red (sc. pottage), or thing, in his excitement forgetting the name of the dish (Knobel), or indicative of the haste produced by his voracious appetite (Wordsworth, Luther), though the duplication of the term red has been explained as a witty play upon the resemblance of the lentil broth to his own red skin, as thus: "Feed with that red me the red one" (Lange) - for I am faint (vide supra, ver. 29): therefore was his name called Edom - i.e. red. "There is no discrepancy in ascribing his name both to his complexion and the color of the lentil broth. The propriety of a name may surely be marked by different circumstances" (A. G. in Lunge). The Arabians are fond of giving surnames of that kind to famous persons. Cf. Akil-al Murat, which was given to Hodjr, king of the Kendites, owing to his wife saying in a passion, "He is like a camel that devours bushes" (vide Havernick, 'Introduction,' § 18).
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
Verse 31. - And Jacob said, Sell me this day - literally, as the day; as clearly as the day (Jarchi, Kimchi, Drusius); immediately, statim (Rosenmüller); perhaps simply today, σήμερον (LXX., Glassius, Gesenius, Kalisch; cf. 1 Samuel 9:13, 27; 1 Kings 1:49) - thy birthright. The right of primogeniture in the family of Abraham implied
(1) succession to the earthly inheritance of Canaan;
(2) possession of the covenant blessing transmitted through the paternal benediction; and
(3) progenitorship of the promised seed. Under the Mosaic institute the privileges of the firstborn were clearly defined. They involved succession to
(1) the official authority of the father;
(2) a double portion of the father s property; and
(3) the functions of the domestic priesthood (vide Genesis 27:4, 19, 27-29; Genesis 49:3; Exodus 22:29; Numbers 8:14-17; Deuteronomy 21:17).
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?
Verse 32. - And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: - literally, going to die; meaning, "on the eve of expiring," through hunger; "ex animo testetur se mortis sensu urgeri" (Calvin); or, "liable to death," through the, dangerous pursuits of his daily calling (Ainsworth, Bush, Rosenmüller); or, what is most probable, "on the way to meet death" - uttered in a spirit of Epicurean levity, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die" (Keil, Kalisch) - and what profit shall this birthright do to me? - literally, of what (use) this (thing) to me, (called) a birthright? signifying, according to the sense attached to the foregoing expression, either,-Of what use can a birthright be to a man dying of starvation? or, The birthright is not likely ever to be of service to me, who am almost certain to be cut off soon by a violent and sudden death; on What signifies a birthright whose enjoyment is all in the future to a man who has only a short time to live? I prefer present gratifications to deferred felicities.
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.
Verse 33. - And Jacob said, Swear to me this day. On the expression "this day" vide supra, ver. 31. The conduct of Jacob in this transaction is difficult to defend Though aware of the heavenly oracle that assigned to him the precedence in his father s house, he was far from being justified in endeavoring, by "cautious, prudent, and conciliatory proposals" (Murphy), but rather by unbelieving impatience, despicable meanness, and miserable craft, to anticipate Divine providence, which in due time without his assistance would have implemented its own designs. And he sware unto him. If Jacob's demand of an oath evinced ungenerous suspicion, Esau's giving of an oath showed a low sense of honor (Lange). And he sold his birthright unto Jacob - thus meriting the appellation of βέβηλος (Hebrews 12:16).
Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.
Verse 34. - Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils. "Lentiles (עֲדָשִׁים; Ervum lens) were and are extensively and carefully grown in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine (2 Samuel 17:28; 2 Samuel 23:11); those of Egypt were, at a later period particularly famous; and the manner of cooking them is even immortalized on monuments" (Kalisch). "The lentil does not grow more than six or eight inches high, and is pulled like flax, not cut with the sickle, When green it resembles an incipient pea-vine, only the leaves are differently arranged, smaller and more delicate-somewhat like those of the mimosa, or sensitive plant" (Thomson, 'Land and Book,' p. 596). And he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way. A graphic portrait of an utterly carnal mind, which lives solely in and for the immediate gratification of appetite. Thus Esau despised his birthright - and thus Scripture both proclaims his guilt and describes his offence.