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Genesis 36:1-19

Context
The Descendants of Esau

36:1 What follows is the account of Esau (also known as Edom). 1 

36:2 Esau took his wives from the Canaanites: 2  Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and granddaughter 3  of Zibeon the Hivite, 36:3 in addition to Basemath the daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.

36:4 Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, Basemath bore Reuel, 36:5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These were the sons of Esau who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

36:6 Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, all the people in his household, his livestock, his animals, and all his possessions which he had acquired in the land of Canaan and went to a land some distance away from 4  Jacob his brother 36:7 because they had too many possessions to be able to stay together and the land where they had settled 5  was not able to support them because of their livestock. 36:8 So Esau (also known as Edom) lived in the hill country of Seir. 6 

36:9 This is the account of Esau, the father 7  of the Edomites, in the hill country of Seir.

36:10 These were the names of Esau’s sons:

Eliphaz, the son of Esau’s wife Adah, and Reuel, the son of Esau’s wife Basemath.

36:11 The sons of Eliphaz were:

Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.

36:12 Timna, a concubine of Esau’s son Eliphaz, bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These were the sons 8  of Esau’s wife Adah.

36:13 These were the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These were the sons 9  of Esau’s wife Basemath.

36:14 These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah the daughter of Anah and granddaughter 10  of Zibeon: She bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah to Esau.

36:15 These were the chiefs 11  among the descendants 12  of Esau, the sons of Eliphaz, Esau’s firstborn: chief Teman, chief Omar, chief Zepho, chief Kenaz, 36:16 chief Korah, 13  chief Gatam, chief Amalek. These were the chiefs descended from Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons 14  of Adah.

36:17 These were the sons of Esau’s son Reuel: chief Nahath, chief Zerah, chief Shammah, chief Mizzah. These were the chiefs descended from Reuel in the land of Edom; these were the sons 15  of Esau’s wife Basemath.

36:18 These were the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah: chief Jeush, chief Jalam, chief Korah. These were the chiefs descended from Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah.

36:19 These were the sons of Esau (also known as Edom), and these were their chiefs.

1 sn Chapter 36 records what became of Esau. It will list both his actual descendants as well as the people he subsumed under his tribal leadership, people who were aboriginal Edomites. The chapter is long and complicated (see further J. R. Bartlett, “The Edomite King-List of Genesis 36:31-39 and 1 Chronicles 1:43-50,” JTS 16 [1965]: 301-14; and W. J. Horowitz, “Were There Twelve Horite Tribes?” CBQ 35 [1973]: 69-71). In the format of the Book of Genesis, the line of Esau is “tidied up” before the account of Jacob is traced (37:2). As such the arrangement makes a strong contrast with Jacob. As F. Delitzsch says, “secular greatness in general grows up far more rapidly than spiritual greatness” (New Commentary on Genesis, 2:238). In other words, the progress of the world far out distances the progress of the righteous who are waiting for the promise.

2 tn Heb “from the daughters of Canaan.”

3 tn Heb “daughter,” but see Gen 36:24-25.

4 tn Heb “from before.”

5 tn Heb “land of their settlements.”

6 tn Traditionally “Mount Seir,” but in this case the expression בְּהַר שֵׂעִיר (bÿhar seir) refers to the hill country or highlands of Seir.

7 sn The term father in genealogical records needs to be carefully defined. It can refer to a literal father, a grandfather, a political overlord, or a founder.

8 tn Or “grandsons” (NIV); “descendants” (NEB).

9 tn Or “grandsons” (NIV); “descendants” (NEB).

10 tn Heb “daughter,” but see Gen 36:24-25.

11 tn Or “clan leaders” (so also throughout this chapter).

12 tn Or “sons.”

13 tc The Samaritan Pentateuch omits the name “Korah” (see v. 11 and 1 Chr 1:36).

14 tn Or “grandsons” (NIV); “descendants” (NEB).

15 tn Or “grandsons” (NIV); “descendants” (NEB).



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