Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 in Genesis 36, and we will read Genesis 36:1-8:
Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth. And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan. And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.
I will stop reading there. It is significant that God points out twice in this passage that Esau is Edom. He said it in verse 1: “Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.” Then He said it again in verse 8: “Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom.” God wants us to understand that. He wants us to think about Esau being Edom.
The word “Edom” is Strong’s #l23, and it is related to the word for “Adam,” which is Strong’s #121. It is also related to the word “man,” which is Strong’s #120. Of course Adam was the first man. The only difference in these words are the vowels, which are not part of the original Hebrew text. So they are actually the same word. Esau is Edom. So we can understand that Esau is “Adam,” or Esau is “man.” He is representing mankind.
That is understandable, especially when we find references to Esau, like in Romans 9 where God said, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” And we know because it tells us there that this concerns God’s election program, and with that statement, God is basically telling us there are two types of people in the world. There are those represented by Jacob that are loved of God because of election; and those that are represented by Esau that are hated of God because they were not chosen unto salvation. So their sins remain upon them, and God hates all workers of iniquity.
The churches say, “Yes, God hates the sin,” and they have that part correct, but then they go on to say, “but He loves the sinner.” No. God hates all workers of iniquity, as well as the iniquity itself. And so, God hates Esau. He hates Edom, or all mankind that remain in rebellion against Him. When we look at Esau, we can see him to represent the natural, unsaved man, whether that man has entered into a church, or not. Yes, Esau can represent the professed Christian, the one that merely takes upon himself the name of God and has identification with God and his kingdom. Esau certainly had that identification in his own life because he was born into a godly home. He was born to Isaac and Rebekah, who were godly parents, and he would have heard the Gospel as he was growing up. There is no question about that. How can we be sure? It is because that is the character of God’s people to teach the truth of the Word of God to their children. More specifically, we can know that Esau was instructed in the ways of God if we go to Hebrews 11:20:
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
What does it mean by “things to come”? A major topic in the Bible has to do with things to come, like things to come in a sinner’s life, which is death; or things like judgment on the world. The Bible is full of that information, and Isaac would have told his sons. He warned them, just as God warns the readers of the Scripture of the things to come. And it was a blessing to them. They heard the Word of God.
You know, that is all a parent can do concerning their children. They instruct them concerning things to come that God has said in His Word. They bring them under the hearing of the Bible, and they raise them in the fear and admonition of the Lord so that they hear the Scripture.
Of course Jacob and Esau grew up in a time before the written Word, so God’s Word was passed down verbally through the faithful line of believers. Abraham and Isaac were of that line, and they passed it down to their children, and then it was a matter of God blessing the Word according to His salvation program: “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.” So the Word came to both the sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau, but God had predestinated Jacob to become saved, and Jacob became a “new creature.”
And Esau heard the Word, and he was blessed in hearing it. It is certainly a blessing to hear the Word of God even if one is not saved. We know that much. And yet it was not according to God’s plan that Esau would be born again and become saved, so he did not respond in a similar way as Jacob.
Genesis chapter 36 stands out because it is all about Esau, or Edom. It is about Esau and his descendants throughout the whole chapter, which is fairly long. It is 43 verses, and it gives us the lineage of those who came from the line of Esau. Why would God do this? It is because it is a very important thing having to do with mankind, which would be billions of people, and they would be represented by Esau in God’s statement, “…but Esau have I hated.” Esau stands as a representative of billions of people. The vast majority of human beings identify spiritually with Esau, so God gives us a good amount of information about his family, the Edomites, that will teach us about unsaved mankind.
In particular, the Lord starts out by telling us in Genesis 36:2-3:
Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; And Bashemath Ishmael's daughter, sister of Nebajoth.
Then it tells us of the children these wives bore. And we know when Esau took these wives, and we know the exact age he did this, and it is very unusual that the Lord would reveal that to us. But the Lord did so, and it must have significance for God to do that, and the highlights it here in Genesis 36. If we go back to Genesis 26, we read in Genesis 26:34-35:
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
Of course it was a grief of mind to them. It was a sorrowful thing to his parents, as we saw in Hebrews that Isaac had blessed both his sons, Jacob and Esau, concerning things to come. He taught them the things of God, and part of that instruction would have included that they must marry within the family of God. They must marry someone who worshipped JEHOVAH God. But the women of the land where they sojourned did not have that understanding. They had various gods, and they believed various things, but their gods were not the true God. And just keep in mind how Isaac came to marry his wife Rebekah. After his mother Sarah died at the age of 127 in the year 2030 B. C., then Abraham called his most trusted servant and sent him to Haran to his family in order to find a bride for his son Isaac. Again, he did not want Isaac to take a wife in Canaan, but he sent his servant to make the long trip for the purpose of finding his son a bride.
And we can see the Gospel in that because the sending forth of the Gospel into the world had to do with finding a bride for the Lord Jesus, the Bridegroom. And once all that were to become saved were saved, then the bride (wife) “hath made herself ready,” as Revelation 19 tells us. Then follows the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, which is Judgment Day, and soon there will be the consummation of that marriage on the last day when we enter into that glorious eternal future with our eternal Husband. All those that God has saved are the bride, the elect, and Christ is the Bridegroom.
So Isaac knew very well that marriage was extremely important, and God required that they marry within the line of believers. We have seen this before. We could go all the way back to Genesis 6 where we read in Genesis 6:1-5:
And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And JEHOVAH said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
It tells us that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, and took of them wives, and then immediately God said that he would not always strive with men, but they would have 120 years. And this (judgment) was all sparked by the practice of being unequally yoked in marriage. It is guaranteed to bring the wrath of God upon a rebellious people because the biblical principle is that we are marry in the Lord. Marrying outside of the Lord is akin to being unequally yoked, and that is a very sinful thing that goes against the Law of God.
And that is what Esau did when he took these wives, as it says in Genesis 26:34:
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
We do not read of a “Judith” in Genesis 26, but we do read of “Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite,” so we see some of the same names, but we do not find Judith. (It could be that God is simply calling her by a different name in the account of Genesis 36.) But we see here in Genesis 26 that Esau took two wives, the daughters of men who were Hittites. The Hittites dwelt in the mountains of the land of Canaan, and God commanded that they were to be destroyed, as well as all the inhabitants of the land. We see that in Deuteronomy 20:16-18:
But of the cities of these people, which JEHOVAH thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them; namely, the Hittites, and the Amorites, the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; as JEHOVAH thy God hath commanded thee: That they teach you not to do after all their abominations, which they have done unto their gods; so should ye sin against JEHOVAH your God.
It was a sin against JEHOVAH to allow these people to dwell in the land, and to learn of their ways, and to practice their ways. That is what God was concerned about, so He commanded that they were to be utterly destroyed in the conquest of the land of Canaan. That was the mission assigned to Joshua and all Israel. They were to destroy the inhabitants of the land. The land was to be purged, which spiritually points to the final judgment when God would destroy all the unsaved inhabitants of the earth. The land of Canaan typifies the earth as the inheritance given to Abraham and his seed. God said, “The meek shall inherit the earth.” The elect of God will inherit the earth, but God must first utterly destroy all the unsaved inhabitants of the earth, and He is carrying that out over the course of Judgment Day; and on the very last day, there will be the “transfer of ownership” to the elect, and the translation of the earth itself. It is “transformed,” as it were, into the new earth. It is redeemed in that sense. And then God’s people will inhabit it for evermore. That is what is in view with the conquest of the land of Canaan.
However, historically, Israel was never able to fulfill that commandment perfectly in ridding the Promised Land of Canaan of all the people of these various nations. Some were left, and God says that they were left in order to try, or to prove, Israel. There are various reasons and spiritual reasons for that. But that is one of the reasons that the Hittites continued to dwell among the Israelites. We read in Judges 3:1:
Now these are the nations which JEHOVAH left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;
Then it says in Judges 3:4-8:
And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of JEHOVAH, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites: And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of JEHOVAH, and forgat JEHOVAH their God, and served Baalim and the groves.Therefore the anger of JEHOVAH was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushanrishathaim eight years.
But that was the pattern as they would marry the daughters of the people of the land, and then they would engage in idolatrous practices because they were led to do so by their wives. And their children would then be of “mixed” heritage, and more often than not, these children would follow the mother in the things she was involved with, rather than the father. Obviously, if the father had entered into this marriage relationship, there was already a problem with him.
We are going to stop here. Lord willing, in our next Bible study we are going to look at this point in the lives of Jacob and Esau when Esau married these “strange daughters,” the Hittite women. And we will see that the reason God gave us Esau’s age is very important, and it relates to all of us in our present time at the end of the world.