Genesis 25 Commentary
Abraham dies. He had other sons (and possibly daughters). He married another wife by the name of Keturah (in addition to Hagar). She bore him several sons who in turn fathered nations. But the promise didn’t rest with any of them. Isaac was the chosen line. The mention of concubines in verse 6 may be a reference to Hagar and Keturah but also possibly other women. It is not clear when Abraham married Keturah. There is a possibility that Keturah was married after Sarah’s death as Abraham outlived Sarah by 45 years.
Whichever way we get the impression that Abraham wouldn’t pass the high standards of morality in Christ’s new dispensation. He was a work in progress (like all fallen humanity) but definitely very advanced in many ways compared to us today. The Calling is always perfect though the called may not always live up to the high standards demanded by the Calling.
The lines of other sons are discussed in brief but the real focus is on Isaac’s line. The many nations that resulted from these other sons do not count as part of the blessing of increase. The LORD had made it very clear that Isaac was the seed that would form the nations. It does point to the fact that at times many other things many be born out of us, which may even have an appearance of a blessing but may not actually be the blessing. The blessing itself may not have the looks of pretenders but it still remains a blessing. The many sons compared to the one and only Isaac may have an appearance of failure but that is what the LORD blessed.
So the rest of the chapter focuses on Isaac’s line. Rebekah like Sarah had ‘pain in child bearing’. Isaac’s prayer settled the matter. She conceived but children fought within her womb. Again prayer resolved the puzzle. What the LORD said to Rebekah appears predictive rather than instructive.
The two boys will have chance of defining their own destinies. And that’s what they do right here in this chapter. Esau has the choice of saying no to Jacob’s scheming but he lacks the strength of character to stand the test. The birth right meant he would inherit a double portion from his father. But he despised it as nothing because of a plate of soup which he could have easily made by himself, if he truly needed it so badly. Esau gives us an impression of a very weak man in character while possessing physical strength. His impatience and his poor attitude towards important things made Esau miss out on the blessing. Poor choices again…..much like the case we have in chapter 3 with the initial fall.
We have seen how poor choices are undoing the blessings of the LORD. Esau is just the latest in the line of failing man. JUST like Cain and Ham, Esau makes really poor decisions and misses out on the blessing or the blessing works in reverse for him as it did for his ‘heroes’. Someone must rule over Esau. The repeat of chapter 3. But is Jacob himself a better option? The answer is expanded in Romans and in the rest of the Holy script as the Spirit gives us details on selection and salvation by grace. How scheming and cheating Jacob gets the blessing is closely linked to the mystery of salvation by grace. How ‘free will’ and predestination operate at the same time is again a mystery only explained by Deuteronomy 29:29. For now we know what Adam did. We know what Cain did. We also know what Ham did. Now we can look at Esau and compare the results.
…. And Jacob? Well, just like our salvation, it’s not by works. We can leave it here.