Genesis 25:1-34


Verse 1-6, Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah. {2} And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah. {3} And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim. {4} And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abidah, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah. {5} And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac. {6} 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.

I.    We hold the position that Abraham had Keturah as a concubine (secondary wife) before Sarah's death.  (I Chron. 1:32 - Keturah is called a concubine.)

A.  The Bible does not necessarily record things in chronological sequence.

1.      Example: 25:7-11 records the death and burial of Abraham.

2.      25:19,20 - Isaac married Rebekah before Abraham's death, though in this place the marriage is recorded after the death of Abraham.

3.      25:26 - Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob and Esau were born.  Abraham is not dead, he is 160 years old.  (Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born, so he is 160 now and died at 176 years old.)

B.   25:6 - Apparently Abraham had other concubines (plural).

1.   We do not believe this makes Abraham immoral or any less "Christian".

2.      Many of God's men had more than one wife and God didn't reprove them for it.

3.   II Sam. 12:8 - God gives indication He would have given David more wives than he had, but it was wrong to steal somebody's wife.

4.      This does not mean it is okay for a pastor or preacher to have more than one living wife.  This is expressly forbidden in the New Testament.

C.            Abraham's age is a factor.

1.      Abraham was 137 when Sarah died.

2.   All these children would have to be born after Sarah's death.

3.      Gen. 17:15-17 - 18:11,12 - Abraham and Sarah thought it was impossible for a 100 year old man and a 90 year old woman to have a child.

4.      Isaac is a child of promise.  A special seed given by grace, like salvation is given by grace.

5.      Ishmael is a child of the flesh.  There is no promise and no salvation in the flesh.

6.   If all these children were born of Keturah after Sarah's death, what does this do to the promise given in Isaac?  Are all of these six children a child of promise?  A look at the history (especially at the Midianites) shows us that they continually caused Israel to forsake God's teaching.


II.   Abraham and Keturah generations:


(sons)       Zimram      Jokshan    Medan      Midian    Ishbak    Shush

                            ³                    ³

(grandsons)           Sheba   Dedan              ³

                            ³                    ³

(great grandsons)  Asshurim  Letushim   Leummin  ³


(grandsons)                  Ephah  Epher  Hanoch  Abida  Eldaah



Verse 7-11, And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years. {8} 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. {9} 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; {10} The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife. {11} And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahairoi.

I.    The separating of the promised seed and the seed of the flesh.

A.  Verse 5 and 6 - This separating is made during Abraham's life.

1.   He did not leave it to "happen stance".

2.   He must have explained things the best he could and even if some didn't understand, he sent them away anyway.

3.      With gifts, so they could have provision until they could get settled.

4.   He gave gifts, not a wage.  He didn't have to give them anything.

5.      Some would say, "they are his children, he is responsible for them."

6.      This is a type - They are no more his children than the lost are the children of God.  God doesn't owe the lost anything.  He does give them gifts of life and health and prosperity in this life.

B.   This separating is necessary in order for only the promised generations to be buried in Machpelah.


II.   Note the phrase in verse 8, "gather unto his people,"

A.  Means the body is assembled with his people.

1.   As all must die and return to dust.

2.   In the burial place reserved at Machpelah.

B.   Means the soul is assembled with those redeemed that have gone on before.

C.   Note verse 17 - Ishmael is also "gathered unto his people".

1.   The body returns to dust as Abraham's body was.

2.      Ishmael is not buried in the same place as Abraham.

3.   Do you think his soul was gathered with those dead redeemed?


III. Abraham died an old man, good old age, full of years.

A.  His life was long, but he was tired of this life, desiring to be in the next life.

B.            Compare with Ishmael, who died at 137, yet wasn't full of days.  He wasn't ready to go to the next world.

C.   David died an old man.

1.   I Chron. 23:1 - David was old and full of days.

2.   I Chron. 29:28 - David died in a good old age, full of days.

3.      David died at 70 years old - the normal age God gave.

4.      David was ready to leave this earth and be with the Lord.

D.  We ought to be full of days, ready to go to heaven and leave this world behind.


IV. Verse 8, "Gave up the ghost"

A.  John 19:30 - Following the example of Jesus who "gave up the ghost".

B.   Acts 7:59 - Stephen "giving up his spirit" in death.

C.   Gen. 49:33 - An example to his grandson who "yielded up the ghost".

D.  He didn't fight death, but yielded to it as a gift from God.

1.   I Cor. 3:22 - Death is a gift from God.

2.   II Cor. 5:6-8 - to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.


V.  Verse 11, Isaac dwelt by the well "Lahairoi".

A.  See Genesis 16:14, 24:62, 25:11.


Verse 12-18, Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham: {13} 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, {14} And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa, {15} Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: {16} These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. {17} 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. {18} 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.

I.    Prophecy fulfilled about Ishmael.

A.  Gen. 17:20 - 12 princes.  These are listed in Gen. 25:13-15.

1.      Verse 16, every one of Ishmael's sons was head of a town and a castle.

2.      This is an exceptional thing, for all of Ishmael's sons to be a prince.  You'd think one of the boys would be a dud.  But God kept His word.

B.   Gen. 16:12 - Dwell in the presence of his brethren (not brothers, but kinfolk).

1.      Fulfilled by Gen. 25:18 - He died in the presence of all his brethren.

2.   His living and dying in the presence of his brethren also fulfills Job 21:7-16.  Because God blesses the lost with health and prosperity, they turn against Him.

3.      Even though Ishmael dwell and died among his brethren, he had to face death alone and he now spends eternity alone. (He has to cross Jordan alone - refer to song by Okey Smith.)

C.   Gen. 17:18-20, 21:11-13 - The prosperity of Ishmael was a result of God blessing him because of Abraham.

1.      Grievous to Abraham because of his son

2.      Because he is thy seed.

3.   Not because Ishmael deserved the blessings or was smart enough to obtain it (Matt. 6:27).


Verse 19-26, And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac: {20} 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. {21} And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. {22} 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. {23} 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. {24} And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. {25} And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. {26} 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.

I.    The life of Isaac - Apparently the only patriarch who had one wife.

A.  There is not much said about his life.

1.      Gen. 22 - His faith as a young person.

2.      Gen. 25:21 - His asking God to fulfill the promise (more faith).

3.      Gen. 26 - Isaac in Gerar.

4.      Gen. 35:27-29 - Isaac's death.

B.   Some of God's children live very public lives and some live very quiet, private lives.

1.   God uses both kinds of lives for his own purpose.

2.      We'll be rewarded according to our faithfulness to God's will for us, not "how big a splash" we make.

3.   We need to submit ourselves to the type of life God purposes for us.

a.   If God's will is for us to live a public life and we desire a quiet, peaceful, private life, we must submit to His will.

b.   If God's will is for us to live a quiet peaceful life, working in the background and we are a forward person, we must submit ourselves to His will.


II.   Praying for God's promises.

A.  Matt. 7:7 - Ask, seek, and knock.

1.   Just because God has promised us something, doesn't mean we shouldn't ask Him for it.

2.      James 5:16-18 - The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

3.      Rom. 8:26,27 - The only prayers that are accepted by God, are according to His will.

B.   God may not fulfill His promises immediately.

1.      Gen. 3:15 - 4,000 years passed before God gave the Messiah.

2.      Acts 1:6,7 - It'll be 2,000 years before Jesus will rule from Jerusalem.

3.   It was 20 years from Isaac's marriage until Jacob and Esau were born (compare 25:20 and 25:26).

C.   Isaac did not have another woman to bear the promised seed Abraham did.

1.      Children don't always make the same mistakes their parents make.

2.   26:7 - Children sometimes make the same mistakes their parents do.

D.  He didn't quit praying.

1.   We shouldn't quit praying for God's blessings.

2.      Gen. 49:18 - Men ought to pray always and not faint.  (parable of the Unjust Judge).

E.   Verse 21 - "intreated".

1.      Isaac intreated God and God intreated Isaac.

2.   The word in the Hebrew is "athar" meaning:

a.   "to make abundant entreaty".

b.   "or "to be abundantly intreated".

3.      You get exactly what you ask for.  If, of course, it's the Lord's will.

F.   The result is conception.

1.   The promised seed is not given as a result of "natural" conception.

2.      Rebekah and Isaac could not conceive a child in the "strength of the flesh".

3.      People are not saved in the strength of the flesh.

4.   The promised seed and salvation is a result of:

a.   Prayer because of God's promises.

b.   God answering that prayer.


III. The two children.

A.  The struggle before birth.

1.      This shows us that God, according to his own good purpose, gives to each person the personality He desires each to have.

2.      This struggle will continue all their lives.  (Note the life long conflict of Jacob and Esau) and the lives of the nations they head. (25:23)

B.            Rebekah's question.

1.   If it's God's will that I bear the promised seed, why so much trouble?

2.      Sometimes there is no trouble until God starts blessings.

3.      Sometimes when our prayers are answered, there are unexpected problems.


Verse 27-29, And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. {28} And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob. {29} And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

I.    The differences.

A.  As two nations are different (verse 23) so these two boys are different.

1.      Esau.

a.   Was a very skillful hunter.

b.   The outdoor type.

c.   His physical characteristics matched his outdoor personality

2.      Jacob

a.   A studious person.

b.   Intelligent from learning.

c.   He did do outdoor work - somebody had to work in the garden for food -- Somebody knew how to raise the kind of cattle he wanted to for he did so in Laban's house.

B.   There are similarities in nations and in these two boys.

1.      They both cooked - there is nothing "sissy" about cooking.

2.      Verse 29 - Jacob cooking pottage.

3.      Verse 28, 27:31 - Esau cooked venison for Isaac.


II.   The parents love.

A.  Both Isaac and Rebekah are wrong.

1.      They love their children because of what they do.

2.   We are supposed to love our children because of who they are - our children.

B.   God doesn't love us because of what we do, (Titus 3:3).  We do just like everybody else.

1.   I John 4:10, 19 - God loved us first - while we were yet sinners.

2.      Parents, if they'll be like God, will love their children before the child loves them.

C.   A common parent trap is to love one child more than the other.

1.      Even "Christian" parents can fall into this trap.

2.      We're not talking about given more privileges as a child accepts more responsibility.

3.      We're not talking about helping our children more than need more help.

4.      Don't be blind to all our children's character (good and bad points).

D.            Accepting one child over another leads to much trouble later.

1.      Rebekah went against her husband (she left her family to follow) and her son.

2.      Gen. 27:24 - Rebekah encouraged Jacob to lie to his dad.

3.      Gen. 27:41 - Esau decides to kill Jacob.

4.      Gen. 27:42-45 - Jacob has to leave home.


Verse 30-34, 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. {31} And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. {32} And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? {33} And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. {34} 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.

I.    The circumstances of selling.

A.  A very small incident can have far reaching effects.

B.   I don't' know if God planned it this way, but Jacob and Esau didn't plan it.

C.   Jacob - He was evidently cooking a meal, which included some kind of red soup.

D.  Esau came in from a very long hunt (evidently) and was very hungry.

1.   He was so hungry he didn't call the name of the food, ("with that same red").

2.      Feed me - He was so weak he didn't think he could feed himself.  (Note: I Sam. 14:24-35 - It was wrong for fighting men not to eat.  Isn't it wrong to take too much sport?  Whether it's hunting, fishing, or any kind of ball playing?)

3.      Esau was so hungry he thought he was going to die.

4.   He could not wait on anything or anybody, but needed food NOW!!

E.   Verse 31-33 - The actual transaction.

1.   A negative statement (verse 32) is not enough.  There must be a positive statement. (verse 33).

2.   He sold it to him on his word only, no written contract.  No symbol at all.

a.   Remember how people used to stick to their work?

b.   Some people did and some people didn't.

c.   It's always been the same. (People are always sinners.)

d.   Gen. 27:36 - Esau forgot the contract, but Jacob didn't.  He accused Jacob of stealing the birthright.

e.   As time goes by, we only remember what we want to remember.

f.    We tend to forget the bad we've done and the good others do and remember the good we've done and the bad others have done.


II.   This blessing is from God.

A.  Gen. 48:10-20 - When Jacob (Israel) blessed Joseph's two sons, the right blessing went to the right son.

B.   Gen. 49:3-27 - When Jacob blessed his 12 sons, the blessing went to the right son.

C.   Jer 43:1-3 - People didn't believe the Word of God from Jeremiah's mouth.

D.  When preachers preach the Word of God - men ought to listen and obey the words that come out of their mouths.

1.      Most people don't want to be a "preacher follower".

2.   But they'll follow the people who fight the preacher.


III. The birthright and the blessing - what everybody desires (and fights for) but nobody believes.

A.  Jacob.

1.      Gen. 27:6-16 - Although he had the birthright, he didn't believe God could get the blessing for him.

2.      Gen. 28:5 - After he got the blessing he didn't believe God could fulfill it, so he ran away from Esau.

3.      Gen. 32:11 - Coming back from Laban's he still didn't believe the promise.

B.   Esau.

1.      Gen. 27:37-41 - After Esau heard both blessings, he didn't act like he believed either one of them.

2.      Scheming to kill Jacob shows Esau doesn't believe the blessing Jacob got.

3.   If he don't believe the blessing, why is he so worried about it?

4.      Gen. 27:34 - Great and exceeding bitter cry.

5.      Gen. 37:38 - Wept for its loss.

C.            Rebekah.

1.      Gen. 27:6-17 - She hatched up the plan so Jacob would get the blessing, but she didn't believe it either.

2.      Gen. 27:42-46 - She was the cause of Jacob leaving for fear Esau would kill him.

D.  Gen. 27:33, "And he shall be blessed".  It seems only Isaac believed the blessings came from God.

E.   By the way we live, we show that we don't believe the promises of God either.

1.   We are just like the people in the Old Testament.

2.   We need to pay attention to what God says and pray that He'll give us grace to be "Christians"!!


IV. Conclusion.

A.  Some say Jacob tricked Esau.

1.      There was no trick, the deal of plainly stated.

2.   If I offered you $5.00 for your car and you sold it to me, would I be at fault?

3.   In years to come, you'd probably say, I "stole" it - like Esau did.

4.      There would probably be hard feelings, but unjustly so.

5.      Gen. 25:23 - Jacob was only purchasing that which was truthfully his.

6.      Esau was trying to sell that which he didn't truthfully have.

B.   Esau is at fault.

1.      Verse 34, He despised his birthright by selling it for food.

2.      Verse 32 - He thought he was going to die??  We know he was not nearly so starved as he thought he was.

3.      Verse 34 - Esau ate and drank, rose up and went his way.  Heb. 12:16 - He was a "profane" person.

C.   Bishop Hall - "There was never any meal, except the forbidden fruit, so dear bought as this broth of Jacob".