Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. these are the generations--history of the leading men and
Esau who is Edom--A name applied to him in reference to the
peculiar color of his skin at birth
rendered more significant by his inordinate craving for the red
and also by the fierce sanguinary character of his descendants (compare
2, 3. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan--There were
three, mentioned under different names; for it is evident that
Bashemath is the same as Mahalath
since they both stand in the relation of daughter to Ishmael and sister
to Nebajoth; and hence it may be inferred that Adah is the same as
Judith, Aholibamah as Bathsemath
It was not unusual for women, in that early age, to have two names, as
Sarai was also Iscah
and this is the more probable in the case of Esau's wives, who of
course would have to take new names when they went from Canaan to
settle in mount Seir.
6, 7. Esau . . . went into the country from the face of
his brother Jacob--literally, "a country," without any certain
prospect of a settlement. The design of this historical sketch of Esau
and his family is to show how the promise
(Ge 27:39, 40)
was fulfilled. In temporal prosperity he far exceeds his brother; and
it is remarkable that, in the overruling providence of God, the vast
increase of his worldly substance was the occasion of his leaving
Canaan and thus making way for the return of Jacob.
8. Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir--This was divinely assigned as
15-19. dukes--The Edomites, like the Israelites, were divided
into tribes, which took their names from his sons. The head of each
tribe was called by a term which in our version is rendered "duke"--not
of the high rank and wealth of a British peer, but like the sheiks or
emirs of the modern East, or the chieftains of highland clans. Fourteen
are mentioned who flourished contemporaneously.
20-30. Sons of Seir, the Horite--native dukes, who were
incorporated with those of the Edomite race.
24. This was that Anah that found the mules in the
wilderness--The word "mules" is, in several ancient versions,
rendered "water springs"; and this discovery of some remarkable
fountain was sufficient, among a wandering or pastoral people, to
entitle him to such a distinguishing notice.
31-39. kings of Edom--The royal power was not built on the ruins
of the dukedoms, but existed at the same time.
40-43. Recapitulation of the dukes according to their