The first couple times I read this chapter, I just flew through it! More names! Names of distant peoples! Hard to pronounce names!

Then I re-read the opening sentence, focusing on the clause enclosed in brackets. “These are the descendants of Esau (that is Edom).”

Then I reflected on the narrative of his birth (and Jacob’s) in Genesis 25. The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau”.

And immediately following that, there is the story of his sale of his birth-right to Jacob.  Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom) .

The  names have meanings. The names are part of the story-line.

Edom means red, and this red here is a marker for Esau, to follow him all his days and into the lives and times of his descendants, the Edomites. And they became numerous – many clans and kings there were among them. They were very rich and acquired much livestock. There was too much property for both Jacob and his descendants and Esau and his descendants to live in the same place. Their nomadic approach to land suited the need. We need note though, that Esau’s departure from the land meant that Jacob was free to settle in Canaan with his own.

Verse 9 reads :These are the descendants of Esau, ancestor of the Edomites, in the hill country of Seir. 

It is interesting that when later the tribes were to renew their covenant with God, the Lord told them, “I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess”.

So then, that’s the way it was to be.

God is working his purpose out,
as year succeeds to year;
God is working his purpose out,
and the time is drawing near;
Nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
When the earth shall be filled with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

          Arthur C. Ainger, 1841-1919.

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