Chapters thirty-five through fifty of Genesis are about the sons of Isaac, Jacob and Esau. A large part of this section of Scripture tells the story of the life of Joseph, the son of Jacob. But more importantly, it is about preserving the “seed,” the bloodline of the Messiah as intended by the Lord. Please see Preservation of the Seed.
Genesis chapter thirty-six lists the descendants of Esau and some of the pagan people with whom he associated. This chapter is frequently dismissed from any discussion of the lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Because every name, date and place listed in the Bible is there for a purpose, I studied this chapter to see what was there. What I found was a long list of individuals; at least seventy. For me, it is difficult to tell if it is seventy, seventy-one, or seventy-two. The reason is that some are named twice, and some appear to be different individuals with the same name.
To me, the significance is the number seventy. In Genesis chapter ten we are given the “Table of Nations,” a list of the descendants of Noah after the Flood. There are seventy. These are the nations of the earth. Also, the rabbis believe that Gog and Magog represents these seventy nations of the world because the numeric value of the name “Gog and Magog” in Hebrew is seventy.
Further, when the Children of Israel (aka Jacob) came to Egypt there were a total of seventy. (Genesis 46:26-27) About seventy individuals are associated with Esau. The families of seventy descendants of Noah became the nations of the world. The seventy sons of Isaac through Jacob became the Lord’s Chosen.
There is a stark difference between the descendants of Jacob and the descendants of Esau. The descendants, and associated peoples, of Esau are all pagans. There is never a positive mention of them in the Word of God. Actually, the Lord states that He hates Esau. (Malachi 1:2-3) Also, one of Esau’s grandsons, Amalek, is noted as an enemy of God. The Lord says that He will be at war with Amalek from generation to generation. (Exodus 17:16)
Three times in Genesis chapter thirty-six, the Lord says that Esau is Edom. Later, He foretold that Edom would be a possession of Israel, and that Amalek would perish forever. (Numbers 24:18-20) These men, and their descendants, are enemies of God.
In the Last Days the seventy nations (Gog and Magog) and the descendants of Esau will come against Israel (Ezekiel 38:14-18). They will fight against the descendants of Israel’s seventy sons (assisted by the Lord) and will be utterly defeated so that the nations will know that the Most High God is the Lord of the all the earth. (Ezekiel 38:23)
Genesis chapter thirty-six, the listing of the seventy (plus?) individuals associated with Esau, is just additional information about the great and final battle in which the Lord defeats the seventy nations, and Esau’s seventy individuals, with His seventy Chosen sons of Jacob. The Lord will be victorious and all the nations will know that He is God.
Every person, date, and place name in the Word of God is there for a reason, including the many individuals listed in Genesis chapter thirty-six. I thank the Lord for His Bible. Praise His name for preserving it over the millennia so that we still have it today. Always praise His name!