Genesis (Part 161)

Welcome back to my study/review of Genesis. If you missed the previous parts of this study, you can find them HERE.

Genesis 36: 9-14

These are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Basemath the wife of Esau. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 (Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz.) These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife. 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 14 These are the sons of Oholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.


This section tells us about Esau’s relationship with the Edomites. From Ellicott’s Bible Commentary:

(9) The father of the Edomites.—Heb., the father of Edom. He was himself the man Edom, but the word here means the country of which he was the colonizer.

Who are the Edomites?

Edom (/ˈiːdəm/Edomite: 𐤀𐤃𐤌 ’EdāmHebrewאֱדוֹם ʼÉḏōm, lit.: “red”; Akkadian: 𒌑𒁺𒈪 Udumi, 𒌑𒁺𒈬 UdumuAncient Egyptianjdwmꜥ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan located between Moab to the northeast, the Arabah to the west, and the Arabian Desert to the south and east. Most of its former territory is now divided between present-day southern Israel and Jordan. Edom appears in written sources relating to the late Bronze Age and to the Iron Age in the Levant.

Edomites are related in several ancient sources including the Tanakh, a list of the Egyptian pharaoh Seti I from c. 1215 BC as well as in the chronicle of a campaign by Ramesses III (r. 1186–1155 BC). Archaeological investigation has shown that the nation flourished between the 13th and the 8th century BC and was destroyed after a period of decline in the 6th century BC by the Babylonians.  After the fall of the kingdom of Edom, the Edomites were pushed westward towards southern Judah by nomadic tribes coming from the east; among them were the Nabataeans, who first appeared in the historical annals of the 4th century BC and had already established their own kingdom in what used to be Edom by the first half of the 2nd century BC. More recent excavations show that the process of Edomite settlement in the southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah and parts of the Negev down to Timna had started already before the destruction of the kingdom by Nebuchadnezzar II in 587/86 BC, both by peaceful penetration and by military means and taking advantage of the already-weakened state of Judah.

Once pushed out of their territory, the Edomites settled during the Persian period in an area comprising the southern hills of Judea down to the area north of Be’er Sheva. The people appear under a Greek form of their old name, as Idumeans or Idumaeans, and their new territory was called Idumea or Idumaea (Greek: Ἰδουμαία, Idoumaía; Latin: Idūmaea), a term that was used in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, also mentioned in the New Testament. During the 2nd century BC, the Edomites were forcibly converted to Judaism by the Hasmoneans, and were incorporated into the Jewish nation.

Edom and Idumea are two related but distinct terms; they relate to a historically-contiguous population but to two separate, if adjacent, territories which the Edomites/Idumeans occupied in different periods of their history. The Edomites first established a kingdom (“Edom”) in the southern area of modern-day Jordan and later migrated into the southern parts of the Kingdom of Judah (“Idumea”, or modern-day southern Israel/Negev) when Judah was first weakened and then destroyed by the Babylonians in the 6th century BC

Continuing on with The Pulpit Commentaries:

Genesis 36:10-12

These are the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau (vide Genesis 36:4). And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman,—the name was afterwards given to a district of Idumea (Jeremiah 49:20), and borne by one of Job’s friends (Job 2:11)—Omar,—”Eloquent” (Gesenius), “Mountain-dweller” (Furst)—Zepho,—”Watch-tower” (Gesenius); called Zephi in 1 Chronicles 1:36and Gatam,—”their touch” (Gesenius), “dried up” (Furst)—and Kenaz—”Hunting” (Gesenius). And Timna—”Restraint” (Gesenius, Furst, Murphy)—was concubinepilgash, (vide Genesis 16:3Genesis 25:6)—to Eliphaz Esau’s son; perhaps given to him by Adah, so that her children were reckoned Adah’s (Hughes) and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek—”Inhabitant of the Valley,” or “Warrior” (Furst); “a nation of head-breakers” (Lunge); “Laboring” (Gesenius, Murphy). It is probable that this was the founder of the Amalekite nation who attacked Israel at Horeb (Keil, Kalisch, Murphy), though by others (Gesenius, Michaelis, Furst) these have been regarded as a primitive people, chiefly on the grounds that Amalek is mentioned in Genesis 14:7 as having existed in the days of Abraham, and that Balaam calls Amalek the first of nations (Numbers 24:20); but the first may simply be a prolepsis (Hengstenberg), while the second alludes not to the antiquity of the nation, but either to its power (Kalisch), or to the circumstance that it was the first heathen tribe to attack Israel (Keil). These (including Eliphaz for the reason ,specified above) were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife.

Ellicott adds the following note, regarding the aforementioned Amalek:

(12) Amalek.—We have already read of the “field of the Amalekite” in Genesis 14:7. As Balaam describes Amalek as “the beginning of nations” (so the Heb., Numbers 24:20), the race can scarcely have had so ignoble an origin as to have sprung from a concubine of Eliphaz; for we gather from Amos 6:1 that the phrase used by Balaam implied precedence and nobility. It was, moreover, one of the most widely spread races of antiquity, occupying the whole country from Shur, on the borders of Egypt, to Havilah, in Arabia Felix. But probably there was a fusion of some of the Horites with the Amalekites, just as the Kenezites, under Caleb, were fused into the tribe of Judah. For in 1 Chronicles 4:42-43, we find the Simeonites invading Mount Seir, and smiting Amalekites there. Of these Amalekites in Seir, Amalek, the grandson of Esau, was probably the founder; for in Genesis 36:16 he is called a duke, and therefore one district of the country would belong to his descendants, in the same manner as each son of Jacob had a territory called after his name. In this district the chiefs would be Semites of the race of Esau; the mass of the people a blended race of Horites. and Amalekites. There is no difficulty in the absence of their names from Genesis 10:0. Though Balaam magnified them, they were regarded by Israel, not as a nation, but as a hateful horde of plunderers.

Finishing this section with The Pulpit Commentaries:

Genesis 36:13

And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath,—Nachath, “Going down”—and Zerah,—or Zerach, “Rising”—Shammah,—Wasting (Gesenius, Murphy); “Fame, “Renown” (Furst)—and Mizzah:—”Trepidation” (Gesenius); “Fear,” “Sprinkling” (Murphy); if from mazaz, “Fear, if from nazah, “Joy” (Furst)—these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife.

Genesis 36:14

And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Allah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife (vide Genesis 36:2): and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah (vide Genesis 36:5).

The chapter continues by describing the “dukes” from Esau in the next section.