Genesis 25:19-34

Genesis 25:19-34
Ordinary A33


19 These are the descendantsA of Isaac,B Abraham’sC son: Abraham was the father ofD Isaac, 

Notes on verse 19

A “descendants” = toledoth. From yalad (to bear, bring forth; can mean to act as midwife or to show one’s lineage). This is generations descent, family, or history.
B “Isaac” = yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
C “Abraham’s” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
D “was the father of” = yalad. Related to “descendants” in v19. See note A above.

20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah,E daughter of BethuelF the ArameanG of Paddan-aram,H sister of LabanI the Aramean. 

Notes on verse 20

E “Rebekah” = ribqah. From the same as marbeq (fattened, a stall used for housing cattle; root may mean to tie up). This is Rebekah, perhaps meaning tied up or secured. See
F “Bethuel” = bethuel. 10x in OT. Perhaps from the same as bathah (end, desolation, destruction); {from the same as bath (bath as a unit of measurement for liquid); probably from the same as battah (precipice, desolation, steep; the root perhaps means to break in pieces)} + el (God, a god) OR from betulah (virgin) + el (God, a god) OR from bayit (house, household, palace, dungeon) + el (God, a god). This is Bethuel, which perhaps means “man of God” or “virgin of God” or “house of God” or “destroyed of God.” See
G “Aramean” = arammi. 11x in OT. From aram (Aram, Syria, Mesopotamia – meaning elevated or citadel); perhaps from armon (any fortified building – castle, citadel, palace) OR from rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively). This is Aramean – someone from Aram or Syria. See
H “Paddan-aram” = paddan aram. Perhaps related to “Aramean” in v20. 11x n OT. Perhaps from the same as aram (see note G above). This is Paddan-Aram, which may mean a plateau.
I “Laban” = laban. From the same as laban (white); from laban (to be white or make a brick). This is Laban, meaning white.

21 Isaac prayedJ to the LordK for his wife, because she was barren;L and the Lord granted his prayer,M and his wife Rebekah conceived. 

Notes on verse 21

J “prayed” = athar. This is to pray or entreat. It could mean burning incense as one does as part of worship or to intercede. It could also mean listening to or being moved by prayer.
K “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
L “barren” = aqar. 12x in OT. From the same as eqer (stock, member, offshoot; figuratively, could be a descendant or someone who is transplanted like an immigrant who takes up permanent residence); from aqar (to uproot, pluck out, dig out by the roots, to hamstring; figuratively, to exterminate). This is barrenness or a woman who is barren.
M “granted…prayer” = athar. Same as “prayed” in v21. See note J above.

22 The children struggled togetherN withinO her; and she said, “If it is to be this way, why do I live?”P So she went to inquireQ of the Lord. 

Notes on verse 22

N “struggled together” = ratsats. 19x in OT. This is properly cracking in pieces. It is used in a literal or figurative sense. So, crush, break, bruise, struggle, discourage, oppress.
O “within” = qereb. Perhaps from qarab (to come near or approach). This is among, in the midst, before, the center It is the inward part, whether literal or figurative. It can also be used for the heart, the site of thoughts and feelings. This word is also used as a technical term for the entrails of the animals who are sacrificed.
P “if it is to be this way, why do I live” = im + ken + mah + zeh + anoki. Literally “If so, why thus to me?”
Q “inquire” = darash. This is seek, ask, inquire, care for. Generally it means following in pursuit or following as part of a search, which implies seeking or asking. Also used specially to mean worship.

23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nationsR are in your womb,S
    and two peoplesT born of youU shall be divided;V

Notes on verse 23a

R “nations” = goy. From the same root as gevah (the back, person, or body); related to gev (among); related to gaah (to rise up). This is nation or people. Often used to refer to Gentiles or foreign nations. It can also be used figuratively for a group of animals. This is where the Yiddish “goy” comes from.
S “womb” = beten. Root may mean to be hollow. This is the belly or womb. It can also refer to a body more broadly.
T “peoples” = leom. Root may refer to gathering. This is people, a community, or a nation.
U “born of you” = meeh. This is inward parts, belly, heart, womb, intestines, vastness. It can also be figurative for sympathy.
V “divided” = parad. This is to divide, break through, scatter, sever, stretch, to spread oneself, or to be out of joint.

the oneW shall be strongerX than the other,Y
    the elderZ shall serveAA the younger.”BB

Notes on verse 23b

W “one” = leom. Same as “peoples” in v23. See note T above.
X “be stronger” = amets. This is to be strong, stout, alert, or bold, It can also mean harden, make firm, be courageous or mighty, fortify, or establish. It can refer to physical alertness or mental courage or steadfastness.
Y “other” = leom. Same as “peoples” in v23. See note T above.
Z “elder” = rab. From rabab (increasing in any aspect whether quantity, authority, size, quality, greatness, etc.). This is abundance, many, elder, exceedingly, great. It refers to abundance of amount, rank, or status.
AA “serve” = abad. This is to work, serve, or compel. It can describe any kind of work or service (including religious devotion).  Also, till or cultivate. Used causatively, it can mean to enslave or keep in bondage
BB “younger” = tsair. From tsaar (to be brought low, small, little one; figuratively, be insignificant or ignoble). This is little, young, l east, younger, few in number, low in value.

24 When her timeCC to give birth was at hand,DD, EE there were twinsFF in her womb. 

Notes on verse 24

CC “her time” = yom. Literally “her days.”
DD “was at hand” = male. This is fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate. It is fill in a literal or figurative sense.
EE {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
FF “twins” = taom. 4x in OT. Related to toam (twin); from ta’am (to be double, have twins; figuratively to duplicate or to join together in architecture). This is twins in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the name “Thomas” comes from.

25 The first came out red,GG all his body like a hairyHH mantle;II so they named himJJ Esau.KK 

Notes on verse 25

GG “red” = admoni. 3x in OT. From the same as adom (to be red or flushed). This is red or ruddy, whether of the hair or complexion.
HH “hairy” = sear. Perhaps from sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, storm tossed; this is to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is hair, hairy, or rough.
II “mantle” = addereth. 12x in OT – this is the word used for the mantle that passes from Elijah to Elisha. From addir (majestic, excellent, mighty, powerful, or noble); from adar (wide, glorious, honorable, great, magnificent). This is something ample – glory, splendid, goodly. It could also refer to a cloak, robe, or garment.
JJ “named him” = qara + shem. Literally “called his name.”
KK “Esau” = esav. From asah (to squeeze, handle, or press) OR from asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is Esau, perhaps meaning rough as something one handles. It could also be doer, maker, or worker. See

26 Afterward his brother came out, with his handLL grippingMM Esau’s heel;NN so he was named Jacob.OO Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

Notes on verse 26

LL “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
MM “gripping” = achaz. This is to grasp, catch, seize, take and hold in possession. It can also be to be afraid or hold back.
NN “heel” = aqeb. 13x in OT. This is heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, or usurper.
OO “Jacob” = yaaqob. Related to “heel” in v26. From the same as aqeb (see note NN above). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.

27 When the boysPP grew up,QQ Esau was a skillfulRR hunter,SS a manTT of the field,

Notes on verse 27a

PP “boys” = naar. May be from na’ar (to shake, toss up and down, tumble around). This is a child or a servant. It is a child in their active years so they could be aged anywhere from infancy to adolescence.
QQ “grew up” = gadal. This is to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing.
RR “skillful” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
SS “hunter” = tsayid. 17x in OT. From tsud (to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal; used figuratively for capturing people). This is hunting, catch, the chase. It can also refer to provisions or lunch for a journey.
TT “man” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.

while Jacob was a quietUU man, livingVV in tents.WW 28 Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game;XX but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Notes on verses 27b-28

UU “quiet” = tam. 14x in OT. From tamam (to finish or accomplish; to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright; consume; to complete in a literal or figurative sense). This is complete, integrity, peaceful, perfect, blameless person, undefiled, upright. This is complete, generally from a moral perspective. It can be gentle or dear.
VV “living” = yashab. This is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
WW “tents” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
XX “was fond of game” = tsayid + peh. Literally “because of the game he ate.” “Game” is the same as “hunter” in v27. See note SS above.

29 Once when Jacob was cookingYY a stew,ZZ Esau came in from the field, and he was famished.AAA 

Notes on verse 29

YY “cooking” = zud. 10x in OT. This is to cook, boil up, or seethe. Figuratively, it can mean to act with arrogance or insolence, to be rebellious.
ZZ “stew” = nazid. Related to “cooking” in v29. 6x in OT. From zud (see note YY above). This is stew or cooked food. More particularly, it is something that was cooked by boiling.
AAA “was famished” = ayeph. 17x in OT. From iph (to be faint or weary, to languish). This is faint, languid, weary, or thirsty.

30 Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eatBBB, CCC some of that redDDD stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.)EEE 

Notes on verse 30

BBB “eat” = laat. 1x in OT. This is to swallow or to swallow in a greedy way.
CCC {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
DDD “red stuff” = adom + adom. 9x in OT. Related to “red” in v25. From the same as adom (see note GG above). This is red, ruddy, or rosy.
EEE “Edom” = edom. Related to “red” in v25 & “red stuff” in v30. From the same as adom (see note GG above). This is Edom, Edomite, or Idumea. Edom means red or ruddy.

31 Jacob said, “FirstFFF sellGGG me your birthright.”HHH 

32 Esau said, “IIII am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 

Notes on verses 31-32

FFF “first” = yom. Literally “as of this day.”
GGG “sell” = makar. This is to sell – could be commerce/trade, a daughter to be married, someone into slavery. Figuratively, it can mean to surrender.
HHH “birthright” = bekorah. 14x in OT. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to); related to bikkurim (first-fruits); related to bekor (firstborn). This is the rights granted to the firstborn.
III {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v24. See note EE above.

33 Jacob said, “SwearJJJ to me first.”KKK So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau breadLLL and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and roseMMM and went his way. Thus Esau despisedNNN his birthright.

Notes on verses 33-34

JJJ “swear” = sheba. From sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
KKK “first” = yom. Literally “as of this day.”
LLL “bread” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.
MMM “rose” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
NNN “despised” = bazah. This is to despise, hold in contempt, disesteem, or a person who is vile.

Image credit: “Isaac Sends Esau to Hunt” in the Monreale Cathedral in Sicily, Italy, 1180s.

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