Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. Abraham took a wife--rather, "had taken"; for Keturah is
called Abraham's concubine, or secondary wife
and as, from her bearing six sons to him, it is improbable that he
married after Sarah's death; and also as he sent them all out to seek
their own independence, during his lifetime, it is clear that this
marriage is related here out of its chronological order, merely to form
a proper winding up of the patriarch's history.
5, 6. Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac . . . unto
the sons of the concubines . . . Abraham gave
gifts--While the chief part of the inheritance went to Isaac; the
other sons (Ishmael included) migrated to "the East country," that is,
Arabia, but received each a portion of the patrimony, perhaps in cattle
and other things; and this settlement of Abraham's must have given
satisfaction, since it is still the rule followed among the pastoral
7. these are the days of . . . Abraham--His death is
here related, though he lived till Jacob and Esau were fifteen years,
just one hundred years after coming to Canaan; "the father of the
faithful," "the friend of God"
died; and even in his death, the promises were fulfilled (compare
We might have wished some memorials of his deathbed experience; but the
Spirit of God has withheld them--nor was it necessary; for (see
from earth he passed into heaven
Though dead he yet liveth
9, 10. his sons . . . buried him--Death often puts an
end to strife, reconciles those who have been alienated, and brings
rival relations, as in this instance, to mingle tears over a father's
Before passing to the line of the promised seed, the historian gives a
brief notice of Ishmael, to show that the promises respecting that son
of Abraham were fulfilled--first, in the greatness of his posterity
and, secondly, in their independence.
18. he died--rather, "it [their lot] fell" in the presence of
his brethren (compare
19. these are the generations--account of the leading events in
21. Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife--Though tried in a
similar way to his father, he did not follow the same crooked policy.
Twenty years he continued unblessed with offspring, whose seed was to
be "as the stars"
But in answer to their mutual prayers
Rebekah was divinely informed that she was to be the mother of twins,
who should be the progenitors of two independent nations; that the
descendants of the younger should be the more powerful and subdue those
of the other
27. the boys grew--from the first, opposite to each other in
character, manners, and habits.
28. The parents were divided in their affection; and while the
grounds, at least of the father's partiality, were weak, the
distinction made between the children led, as such conduct always does,
to unhappy consequences.
29. Jacob sod pottage--made of lentils or small beans, which are
common in Egypt and Syria. It is probable that it was made of Egyptian
beans, which Jacob had procured as a dainty; for Esau was a stranger to
it. It is very palatable; and to the weary hunter, faint with hunger,
its odor must have been irresistibly tempting.
31. Jacob said, Sell me . . . thy birthright--that is,
the rights and privileges of the first-born, which were very important,
the chief being that they were the family priests
and had a double portion of the inheritance
32. Esau said . . . I am at the point to die--that is,
I am running daily risk of my life; and of what use will the birthright
be to me: so he despised or cared little about it, in comparison with
gratifying his appetite--he threw away his religious privileges for a
trifle; and thence he is styled "a profane person"
Job 31:7, 16; 6:13;
"There was never any meat, except the forbidden fruit, so dear bought,
as this broth of Jacob" [BISHOP HALL].