February 6, 2015

Commentary on the Book of Genesis

By: Tom Lowe



Topic #B:JACOB'S FRAUD AND FLIGHT. (Genesis 27:1-28:22)                                                                                                                                             


Lesson III.B.5: Esau Takes Another Wife. (Genesis 28:6-9).       



(Genesis 28:6-9; KJV)


6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;

7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;

8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;

9 Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.





Esau’s response to the news that Jacob was headed to his uncle Laban’s to obtain a bride was further evidence that he despised everything spiritual, for he went out and took another wife for himself.  Because Jacob was looking for a wife among his uncle Laban’s children, Esau chose a wife from the family of his uncle Ishmael.  Perhaps he thought that this would qualify him to receive some kind of blessing from God, but it only added to the irritation in the home.





When Esau saw that Jacob’s new status was tied to his willingness to take a wife from among his relatives in Padanaram, new thoughts ran through his mind (6).  Perhaps he could regain the respect of his parents if he took a wife from among close relatives; he assumed that the daughters of Ishmael would be good enough.  He did not realize that Jacob would have been sent to Ishmael if this had been so.

One of the main interests of the writers of the Old Testament was to show the certified and unbroken lineage through which the inheritance from Abraham was preserved and passed on.  There is no hint here of conflict between Jacob and Esau, nor any suggestion that the reason for Jacob’s journey to the east was trouble at home.

Jacob packed his bags, said his farewells, dressed for the journey, and left (7).  He is not running away; he is going peacefully and expressly to get married.  And it is a different picture of Esau that is presented here. He is as amiable as Jacob.  The immediate impact was seen in an unexpected quarter.  Esau took note of one fact.  Isaac had sent Jacob away, not because he was afraid of reprisals which Esau might initiate, for with God’s blessing resting on Jacob there was nothing Esau could do to harm him.  He had sent him away because of his fear of the women of Canaan.

The wheels began to turn in Esau’s carnal mind (8).  So that’s why father refused to give me the blessing, he thought.  He’s put out because I did not marry a believer.  Good examples cannot help but make some impression, even upon the irreligious and spiteful.  But Esau was contended with a partial reformation, and thought, by pleasing his parents in one thing that he would atone for his other blunders.

Marrying back into the line of Abraham through the family of Ishmael seems to have been a ploy to gain favor with his father, and show obedience similar to his brother’s.  He hoped by pleasing his parents to atone for past irresponsibility’s and, maybe have his father change the will.  But he actually increased his debauchery by adding to his pagan wives (26:34, 35) a wife from a family God had rejected.

Esau decided to ingratiate himself with Isaac (9). “Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife” (28:9).  There!  That should fix it!  Now he was as good as Jacob.  Now, perhaps, he could get back into his father’s good graces and get back the blessing given to Jacob.  Such is the reasoning of the unsaved man.  Esau may have imagined that by keeping up outward appearances he could obtain that which could only be imparted to faith.  He added a little religious gloss to the outside of his otherwise carnal and worldly life.  [It was a case of doing evil (multiplying wives) so that good might come.]  All he proved, of course, was that he had no sense of spiritual realities and the impossibility of the natural man ever understanding spiritual things.  He does not do exactly what God requires but something like it.  But at heart he was unchanged.  What made good sense to Esau was the height of foolishness with God.

Evidently Esau wanted to make some effort in the right direction.  But because he was basically worldly, his career in the land of Edom fell short of behavior that could please the Lord Jehovah.

His marriage to Mahalath may show a partial reformation, but no true repentance, for he gave no proofs of ending his vindictive intentions against his brother, nor of cherishing that pious spirit that would have pleased his father—he was like Micah (see the Judges 17:13).

Mahalah was a descendant of Abraham through Ishmael.  She was thus a cousin of Esau.  Ironically the unchosen son of Isaac married into the unchosen line of Ishmael! So Esau tried to better his marital reputation by marrying a third wife (see 26:34).  Esau had no understanding of the Abrahamic covenant and its purity.  He was still living on the human level.

Notice, it does NOT say that when he saw how obedient Jacob was, and how willing to please his parents, he repented of his malicious plans against him; no, it appeared afterward that he never forgot what Jacob had done to him, and he retained his malice.  Carnal hearts are apt to think they are as good as they should be, because perhaps in some one particular instance they are not as bad as they have been.

The silence which follows the account of Esau’s marriage speaks volumes, for he disappears from the narrative, only to reappear later on. Now in case someone might misunderstand what I meant when I said we were through with the line of Ishmael, let me say that the Bible will not follow his line.  However, his line will be mentioned as it crosses the line leading to Christ.  So here, Esau goes out and marries the daughter of Ishmael.  He thinks it will please his fatherYou see what a lack of spiritual perception he has.  The Ishmaelites were as much rejected as the Canaanites or the Philistines

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