Genesis 36: Esau’s Kids

A baffling genealogy of Esau’s descendants. Seriously, the people who wrote this down could have benefited immensely from a little spreadsheet training.

First Things First

Back in chapter 26 we learned that Esau married two women named Judith and Basemath. They were both Hittites. Then in chapter 28 he married one of Ishmael’s daughters, Mahalath.

In Genesis 36 we read that he married women named Adah and Oholibamah and Ishmael’s daughter, Basemath.

So something is happening here. Either Esau married MORE women or the authors couldn’t get the names quite right. I am going with the latter given the confusion they drag me through later in the chapter.

Since this may be an issue for some, how do you respond to this problem?


Oh boy! Another list of names. When we have a big list of names then you know it is time for some superlatives! We did this back in chapter 10 and it is time to bring it back! Oh yeah!

Most Versatile Name: Oholibamah. “O-holi-bamah / the stars are brightly shiiiiiiiiiining!” or, “And now a message from the president of the United States, Barack Oholibama.”

Most likely to be the butt of He-Man jokes: Heman.

By the power of Grayskull!

Best Band Name: Alvan and the Chipmunks. If there are no chipmunks in Palestine, then we’ll go with Alvan and the Shobalites.

2nd place goes to The Kings of Edom.

Best New Euphemism: Anah who “patured his father’s donkeys.” What do you think “pasturing father’s donkeys” should mean?

It’s Good To Be The King

The last part of the chapter gives us a list of the Kings of Edom. What struck me from this list was the total lack of hereditary succession. Isn’t that usually what happens with kings?

Not here.

Each king seems to come from a completely different family. If they were the band mentioned above, each album would have a different lead singer.

Now, I don’t know how exactly this happened, but I can’t imagine that a king would just willingly surrender his throne to someone else.

So is the Kingdom of Edom a string of one violent coup after another?

Is that the result of never feeling like you have the blessing of God? Is that what happens when blessing is a zero-sum game?

Tomorrow . . .

Tomorrow we will have a guest post from Lindsay Goodwin. Make sure you tell all your friends to go check out her blog and look at the pictures of her cute kiddos!

Until then, seriously, who can come up with the best use for the phrase “pasturing father’s donkeys?”

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