Trekking Genesis


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Gen 25:8c . . and he was gathered to his kin.

Burials always follow the phrase "gathered to his kin". So the gathering happens as
soon as the person dies; and prior to their funeral. The difference between
gathering and burial is quite distinct in Jacob's case; who was interred no less than
forty days after his passing, yet was gathered to his kin immediately upon expiring.
(Gen 49:33-50:3)

It would seem, therefore, that the employment of this idiom-- like the
corresponding figure of speech: to lie down with one's fathers --refers to an ancient
belief that despite Man's mortality, he possesses a rather durable component that
survives beyond the death of his body. In other words: assassins may terminate
the life of a human body; but they cannot terminate the life of a human soul. Not
that it's impossible; it's just that only man's maker has the power to pull that off.

"Don't be afraid of them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but
rather be afraid of Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt

Gen 25:9a . . His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him

Isaac and Ishmael were by far the oldest of all the boys. At the time, they lived
reasonably close to each other and I would not be surprised if Ishmael came up to
visit Abraham quite often and was always aware of his health.

Abraham was 86 years old when his first son was born; so Ishmael would be going
on 90 when his dad died. (cf. Gen 16:16 & Gen 25:7) and Isaac would've been 75
since he was born when Abraham was 100 (cf. Gen 21:5 & Gen 25:7) making the
boys 14 years difference in age.

Both of these guys were older and wiser men by this time. I'm sure Ishmael
understood that the loss of his birthright due to his mother's emancipation wasn't
Isaac's fault. And Isaac harbors no ill will towards his half-brother for anything he
may have done as a kid. After all, grown-ups are no longer the kids they grew
from. The kids they were are long gone. It's not a good thing to hold grudges
against people for the things they did when they were underage.

Gen 25:9b-10 . . in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the
Hittite, facing Mamre, the field that Abraham had bought from the Hittites; there
Abraham was buried, and Sarah his wife.

No doubt when Abraham negotiated for this property, he anticipated his own
eventual interment. Well, this cave is big enough to become a family crypt. Later,
more of his progeny would follow him there.


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Gen 25:11a . . After the death of Abraham, God blessed his son Isaac.

With the death of Abraham, the covenant torch is passed on to the next patriarch.
The promises now shift into Isaac's possession and it becomes his responsibility to
take over as the family priest too.

Gen 25:11b . . And Isaac settled near Beer-lahai-roi.

Everyone else from Abraham's camp settled there too now that Isaac is the new
godfather. All of Abraham's servants, all his livestock, all the camels, all everything;
the whole shebang is Isaac's and follows Isaac wherever Isaac tells them to go. You
know, it's very difficult to forget Hagar while the Bible continues to mention a very
sacred spot dear to her own heart. But this is the very last mention of Beer-lahai
roi. It's as if Abraham's era is closing and now we move forward into Isaac's.

Gen 25:12 . .This is the line of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the
Egyptian, Sarah's slave, bore to Abraham.

Never once is Hagar listed as one of Abraham's wives. She was Sarah's slave; and
nothing more. Genesis gives Ishmael's line only passing mention because the real
focus lies along the covenant line. So we won't follow Ishmael's exploits after listing
his progeny.

Gen 25:13-16 . .These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, in
the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the first-born of Ishmael, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam,
Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedmah. These are the
sons of Ishmael and these are their names by their villages and by their
encampments: twelve chieftains of as many tribes.

Twelve tribes; just as God had foretold in Gen 17:20. These twelve "encampments"
were little more than nomadic tent communities as compared to the more
permanent fortified towns and hamlets that were common in the Canaan of Isaac's

Gen 25:17 . .These were the years of the life of Ishmael: one hundred and thirty
seven years; then he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his kin.

When Ishmael was "gathered to his kin" it wasn't to Abraham's clan but to his own:
the Ishmael line. However, Abraham remained Ishmael's biological father whether
Ishmael was legally his son or not. You can never change who sired you. Your
genetic origin is impossible to reverse or alter; though it can be legally dissolved.

Gen 25:18 . .They dwelt from Havilah, by Shur, which is close to Egypt, all the
way to Asshur; they camped alongside all their kinsmen.

The "they" in this verse are the kin of verse 17 unto whom Ishmael was gathered.

Even though Ishmael's line isn't actually legal kin to Abraham's progeny, the line is
still related to the other boys by blood and therefore genetic kinsman.

The expression "all the way to Asshur" is probably better rendered "as you go to
Asshur" or "on the way to Asshur"-- ancient Assyria, now modern day Iraq. The
Ishmaelites lived along the main caravan route leading from Egypt to Assyria;
which would be very advantageous if you were into international trading, which
they were (cf. Gen 37:25-28).

The precise locations of the Havilah and Shur of verse 18 are unknown; although
it's fairly safe to assume that Havilah (sandy), and Shur delineated a region
stretching from portions of modern day Jordan and Saudi Arabia, past Elat, across
the northern Sinai Peninsula, and on over to Suez. In the time of Saul, Ishmael's
territory was controlled by a people called Amalekites. (1Sam 15:7)


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Gen 25:19 . .This is the story of Isaac, son of Abraham. Abraham begot Isaac.

The word for "son" is ben (bane) and is used like American's use a middle name.
Isaac's whole name is: Isaac ben Abraham. It's a common idiom in the Old
Testament, and found in the New Testament too.

"They said: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?
How can he now say? "I came down from heaven" (John 6:42)

The Lord's Greek name is lesous (ee-ay-souce') which is equivalent to the Hebrew
name Yehowshuwa' (yeh-ho-shoo'-ah) which means: Joshua.

His dad's name in Greek is loseph (ee-o-safe') which is equivalent to the Hebrew
name Yowceph (yo-safe') which means Joseph. So "Jesus, the son of Joseph" in
hybridized English and Hebrew: is Joshua ben Joseph.

NOTE: The English spelling of Hebrew words often disagree with the spellings used
by Orthodox Jews because there is no set standard for rendering Hebrew words in
English form as yet so it's not uncommon for discrepancies to occur.

Gen 25:20a . . Isaac was forty years old when he took to wife Rebecca,

Forty years-old might seem a bit late in life to get married for the first time, but in
those days, a forty year-old man was still quite young.

The life expectancy of the average US male born in 2007 is 75.4 years. Isaac lived
to 180; so at his marriage to Rebecca, he was about the equivalent of a modern 17
year-old. Jacob himself didn't marry Leah and Rachel and until he was over 80--
attesting to the robust health and longevity that men enjoyed in those days.

Gen 25:20b . . daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban
the Aramean.

The identity of Rebecca's mom remains a total mystery. By the time of Moses,
uncle Laban was a large figure in Jewish history and you can safely bet the people
of Israel were very familiar with that old rascal's ways. He mistreated not only
Jacob, but also Leah and Rachel too, so he's not too popular with the people of
Israel even today; seeing as how he was unkind and dishonest with their sacred
ancestors and all.

The holiday of Purim commemorates an Agagite named Haman, who tried to
exterminate the Jews in Esther's day. Maybe there should be a memorial for Laban
too. Although he wasn't a villain on the scale of Haman, he nevertheless made ol'
Jacob's life pretty miserable there for a while.
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