Genesis 35:28

Genesis 35:16-29
Genesis 35:16-29. These family records mingle well with the story of God's grace. The mothers "Ben-oni is the father's Benjamin." Out of the pain and the bereavement sometimes comes the consolation. A strange blending of joy and sorrow is the tale of human love. But there is a higher love which may draw out the pure stream of peace and calm delight from that impure fountain. Jacob and Esau were separated in their lives, but they met at their father's grave. Death is a terrible divider, but a uniter too. Under the shadow of the great mystery, on the borders of an eternal world, in the presence of those tears which human eyes weep for the dead, even when they can weep no other tears, the evil things of envy, hatred, revenge, alienation do often hide themselves, and the better things of love, lessee, brotherhood, amity come forth. Jacob was with Isaac when he died, and Esau came to the grave. - R.

And the days of Isaac were a hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the ghost.
The lives of Abraham and Jacob are as attractive as the life of Isaac is apparently unattractive. Isaac's character had few salient features. It had no great faults, no striking virtues; it is the quietest, smoothest, most silent character in the Old Testament. It is owing to this that there are so few remarkable events in the life of Isaac, for the remarkableness of events is created by the character that meets them. It seems to be a law that all national, social, and personal life should advance by alternate contractions and expansions. There are few instances where a great father has had a son who equalled him in greatness. The old power more often reappears in Jacob than in Isaac. The spirit of Abraham's energy passed over his son to his son's son. The circumstances that moulded the character of Isaac were these.

1. He was an only son.

2. His parents were both very old. At atmosphere of antique quiet hung about his life.

3. These two old hearts lived for him alone.

I. Take the EXCELLENCES of his character first. His submissive self-surrender on Mount Gerizim, which shadowed forth the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

2. His tender constancy, seen in his mourning for his mother, and in the fact that he alone of the patriarchs represented to the Jewish nation the ideal of true marriage.

3. His piety. It was as natural to him as to a woman to trust and love: not strongly, hut constantly, sincerely. His trust became the habit of his soul. His days were knit each to each by natural piety.

II. Look next at the FAULTS of Isaac's character.

1. He was slow, indifferent, inactive. We find this exemplified in the story of the wells (ver. 26:18-22).

2. The same weakness, ending in selfishness, appears in the history of Isaac's lie to Abimelech.

3. He showed his weakness in the division between Jacob and Esau. He took no pains to harmonize them. The curse of favouritism prevailed in his tent.

4. He dropped into a querulous old age, and became a lover of savoury meat. But our last glimpse of him is happy. He saw the sons of Jacob at Hebron, and felt that God's promise was fulfilled.

(S. A. Brooke, M. A.)




(T. H. Leale.)


1. Because his spirit was given up to the rightful owner.

2. Because the soul's earthly activities had come to an end.

3. Because his soul's temporal purposes had been gained.


1. His soul's interests had not been neglected.

2. Society had been benefited.

3. God had been served.


1. By his being buried with his people.

2. By his sons attending his funeral.


1. God brings at last His Jacob and Church to their desired place in their pilgrimage.

2. God makes good His word in making Jacob successor to Abraham and Isaac in their sojourning (ver. 27).

3. The blessing of long life God grants to His servants, when and where it may be beneficial to His Church (ver. 28).

4. Expiration and dissolution are the appointed conditions of saints in order unto glory.

5. Saints in dissolution go out of the world unto their own people.

6. Old age or fulness of days is given here sometimes to God's saints, i.e., days full of work, as well as many.

7. Nature and grace agree to evince and perform the duty of burial.

8. It is piety to parents deceased so to order their burial and interment that it may be comely and honourable.

9. The death as well as the life of saints God recordeth for His Church's instruction, and to point out distinct periods (ver. 29).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

The tenderness of these two brothers towards one another and towards their father was probably quickened by remorse when they met at his deathbed. They could not, perhaps, think that they had hastened his end by causing him anxieties which age has not strength to throw off; but they could not miss the reflection that the life now closed and finally sealed up might have been a much brighter life had they acted the part of dutiful, loving sons. Scarcely can one of our number pass from among us without leaving in our minds some self-reproach that we were not more kindly towards him, and that now he was beyond our kindness; that our opportunity for being brotherly towards him is for ever gone. And when we have very manifestly erred in this respect: perhaps there are among all the stings of a guilty conscience few more bitterly piercing than this. Many a son who has stood unmoved by the tears of a living mother — his mother by whom he lives, who has cherished him as her own soul, who has forgiven and forgiven and forgiven him, who has toiled and prayed, and watched for him — though he has hardened himself against her looks of imploring love and turned carelessly from her entreaties and burst through all the fond cords and snares by which she has sought to keep him, has yet broken down before the calm, unsolicitous, resting face of the dead. Hitherto he has not listened to her pleadings, and now she pleads no more. Hitherto she has heard no word of pure love from him, and now she hears no more. Hitherto he has done nothing for her of all that a son may do, and now there is nothing he can do. All the goodness of her life gathers up and stands out at once, and the time for gratitude is past. He sees suddenly, as by the withdrawal of a veil, all that that worn body has passed through for him, and all the goodness these features have expressed, and now they can never light up with joyful acceptance of his love and duty. Such grief as this finds its one alleviation in the knowledge that we may follow those who have gone before us; that we may yet make reparation.

(M. Dods, D. D.).

Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.

II. WE LEARN WHAT IS THE PRINCIPLE UPON WHICH OLD TESTAMENT HISTORY IS WRITTEN. This chapter is a kind of leave-taking of Esau and his posterity. The stream of sacred history leads on to the Messiah, the flower and perfection of our human race. Scripture history is written upon this principle — that it was God's design throughout to bring His only begotten Son into the world, and, therefore, that family alone in which He is to appear shall have a prominent record.

III. WE LEARN THAT THE ENEMIES OF GOD MAY BE DISTINGUISHED BY GREAT WORLDLY GLORY AND PROSPERITY. Three times in this chapter we meet with the phrase, "This is Edom"; and once "He is Esau, the father of the Edomites" (vers. 1, 9, 19, 43). They were the bitterest enemies of Israel. Esau is the father of persecutors. Yet Esau was prospered in his lifetime more than his brother. Thus the believer is taught that he must toil slowly upwards, and must not envy the rapid and joyful prosperity of the children of this world. His record and his reward are with the Most High. His prosperity may be late and remote, but it is permanent.

IV. WE LEARN HOW GOD WORKS IN THE FORMATION OF PEOPLES AND NATIONS. The subjugation of the Horites by the Edomites, and the fusion of both under one kingdom, is an instance of the manner in which peoples and nations are formed and consolidated. This has often occurred in history. We have examples in the rise of the Samaritans, and in the formation of the Roman people. And in modern times, we have a similar instance in the subjugation of the Gauls by the Franks. We see that the footsteps of God are to be traced throughout all human history. These nations which lay outside the covenant people were yet under the care and control of that Divine providence which appointed the bounds of their habitation, and watched over their growth and development (Acts 17:26).

V. WE LEARN, ALSO, THE IMPORTANCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL ELEMENT IN HISTORY. The personal or individual element appears in all history, but in a most marked manner in sacred history. We see how nations are stamped with the character of their ancestor.

(T. H. Leale)

1. The genealogy of the wicked God records for His own ends in His Church.

2. God's record of the wicked's line is but to brand them to those who read it (ver. 1).

3. Godless hearts take strange wives — Hittites, Hivites, Ishmaelites — whatever God says against it (ver. 2, 8).

4. Providence doth vouchsafe progeny to wicked and multiplied matches, though He like them not (ver. 4, 5).

5. In God's own time He moveth the hearts of wicked enemies, to turn aside from straitening His Church (ver. 6).

6. Outward portions to the wicked satisfy them in and for their departing from God's Church (ver. 7).

7. Mount Seir pleaseth Esau better than the land of promise, because he is Edom (ver. 8).

8. The reproach of a profane Esau God maketh to rest upon his posterity (ver. 9).

9. Multitudes of wives and children and offspring God may grant unto the wicked.

10. God hath recorded the wicked End their progeny to distinguish them from His Church (ver. 10-14).

11. Dukedoms and dignities in the world is only the ambition of the wicked. The saint's is of another kind (2 Corinthians 5-9).

12. Dignities can never blot out the stain of sin from God's presence. The Dukes are Edomites still (ver. 15-19).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

The name and line of the wicked are mentioned by God's Spirit for distinction, not for honour to them.

2. Horites, Hittites, and Hivites are the national titles of the same sort of sinful people.

3. Uncleanness and unnaturalness are recorded in the wicked's line to make them stink.

4. A numerous progeny with dignity may be the portion of the wicked here below.

5. Affinity with persons that are wicked, usually bring souls to affinity with their sins.

6. God suffers and orders the wicked to join so in affinity, in order to the destroying of each other. So it was with Seir and Edom (ver. 20-30.)

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

1. Worldly men are ambitious of the highest titles of honour. Kings and dukes.

2. Earthly kingdoms God may order to the wicked (a settled government) before His Church (ver. 31).

3. Stinted are the numbers of kings and dignities by God in the world.

4. God maketh some notable for exploits above others. Hadad vanquisheth Midian.

5. Kings and queens are sometimes recorded for their shame by God's Spirit.

6. God overturneth and changeth states and government at His pleasure.

7. Profane fathers and profane children are branded by God's Spirit together, where mention is made of them.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

The text systematically shows the gradual growth and increase of the house of Esau. Through his three wives he became the father of five sons; Adah and Bashemath gave each birth to one son (Eliphaz the firstborn (ver. 15), and Reuel). and Aholibamah to three (Jeush, Jaalam, and Korah). These children were born to him in Canaan. But he could no longer stay in the land of his birth. His herds and flocks were too numerous to find room, by the side of those of his brother Jacob; and he emigrated spontaneously. But this took place a very considerable time before the events related in the preceding chapter; for when Jacob returned from Mesopotamia, he sent messengers to Esau into Idumea, and promised to visit him later in Seir. But this circumstance does not imply a contradiction. Our portion records the history of Esau as far as it relates to political power; it, therefore, goes back to the fortieth year of his life when he first married. He had then long sold his birthright; he had, no doubt, heard the prophecy given to his mother, that to his younger brother Jacob, the inheritance of the blessings of Abraham was reserved; when, therefore, his father Isaac advanced in years and became afflicted with infirmity, Jacob was regarded as the future head of the house, and as such obtained the superintendence over his father's property; the cattle of Isaac was, therefore, considered as that of Jacob; and it was within the thirty-eight years between his marriage and Jacob's flight, that Esau, at that time not inimical to his brother, left Canaan, thus willingly acknowledging the superior rights of Jacob, and spontaneously resigning his own claims upon the land. When Isaac, at the age of nearly 140 years, wish to bless his firstborn and favourite son, he sent for him to his new abodes; and Esau answered to the call, just as he came later to Canaan, at his father's death, to assist at the funeral duties.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

Allon, Aram, Arba, Asher, Benjamin, Benoni, Bilhah, Dan, Deborah, Eder, Ephrath, Esau, Gad, Isaac, Issachar, Jacob, Joseph, Leah, Levi, Mamre, Naphtali, Rachel, Rebekah, Reuben, Simeon, Zebulun, Zilpah
Allon-bacuth, Bethel, Bethlehem, Canaan, Eder, El-bethel, Ephrath, Hebron, Kiriath-arba, Luz, Mamre, Paddan-aram, Shechem
Eighty, Fourscore, Hundred, Isaac
1. God commands Jacob to go to Bethel.
2. He purges his house of idols.
6. He builds an altar at Bethel.
8. Deborah dies at Allon Bacuth.
9. God blesses Jacob at Bethel.
10. Jacob Named Israel.
16. Rachel travails of Benjamin, and dies in the way to Edar.
22. Reuben lies with Bilhah.
23. The sons of Jacob.
27. Jacob comes to Isaac at Hebron.
28. The age, death, and burial of Isaac.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 35:22-26

     1654   numbers, 11-99
     7266   tribes of Israel

February the Eighth Revisiting Old Altars
"I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress." --GENESIS xxxv. 1-7. It is a blessed thing to revisit our early altars. It is good to return to the haunts of early vision. Places and things have their sanctifying influences, and can recall us to lost experiences. I know a man to whom the scent of a white, wild rose is always a call to prayer. I know another to whom Grasmere is always the window of holy vision. Sometimes a particular pew in a particular church
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Our Last ChapterConcluded with the Words, "For Childhood and Youth are Vanity"...
Our last chapter concluded with the words, "For childhood and youth are vanity": that is, childhood proves the emptiness of all "beneath the sun," as well as old age. The heart of the child has the same needs--the same capacity in kind--as that of the aged. It needs God. Unless it knows Him, and His love is there, it is empty; and, in its fleeting character, childhood proves its vanity. But this makes us quite sure that if childhood can feel the need, then God has, in His wide grace, met the
F. C. Jennings—Old Groans and New Songs

The Death of Abraham
'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.'--GENESIS xxv. 8. 'Full of years' does not seem to me to be a mere synonym for longevity. That would be an intolerable tautology, for we should then have the same thing said three times over--'an old man,' 'in a good old age,' 'full of years.' There must be some other idea than that in the words. If you notice that the expression is by no means a usual one, that it is only
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Trials and visions of Devout Youth
'And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report. Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And when his brethren saw that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The National Oath at Shechem
'And Joshua said unto the people. Ye cannot serve the Lord: for He is an holy God; He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20. If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then He will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that He hath done you good. 21. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord. 22. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves, that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve Him. And they said,
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah
"And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, too little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall come forth unto Me (one) [Pg 480] to be Ruler in Israel; and His goings forth are the times of old, the days of eternity." The close connection of this verse with what immediately precedes (Caspari is wrong in considering iv. 9-14 as an episode) is evident, not only from the [Hebrew: v] copulative, and from the analogy of the near relation of the announcement of salvation to the prophecy of disaster
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Sovereignty and Human Responsibility
"So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Rom. 14:12). In our last chapter we considered at some length the much debated and difficult question of the human will. We have shown that the will of the natural man is neither Sovereign nor free but, instead, a servant and slave. We have argued that a right conception of the sinner's will-its servitude-is essential to a just estimate of his depravity and ruin. The utter corruption and degradation of human nature is something which
Arthur W. Pink—The Sovereignty of God

The Birth of Jesus.
(at Bethlehem of Judæa, b.c. 5.) ^C Luke II. 1-7. ^c 1 Now it came to pass in those days [the days of the birth of John the Baptist], there went out a decree [a law] from Cæsar Augustus [Octavius, or Augustus, Cæsar was the nephew of and successor to Julius Cæsar. He took the name Augustus in compliment to his own greatness; and our month August is named for him; its old name being Sextilis], that all the world should be enrolled. [This enrollment or census was the first step
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Gen. xxxi. 11
Of no less importance and significance is the passage Gen. xxxi. 11 seq. According to ver. 11, the Angel of God, [Hebrew: mlaK halhiM] appears toJacob in a dream. In ver. 13, the same person calls himself the God of Bethel, with reference to the event recorded in chap. xxviii. 11-22. It cannot be supposed that in chap xxviii. the mediation of a common angel took place, who, however, had not been expressly mentioned; for Jehovah is there contrasted with the angels. In ver. 12, we read: "And behold
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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