Genesis 25

“The Gospel According to Torah”
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Summer Reading 2018

Reading Week from July 1
Garret Talk NOT July 1, but resumed Tues July 3
Genesis 19-24: Mon July 2 to Sat July 7

Monday, July 2
Genesis Chapter 25

You want to jump to the last half of this chapter – but our ‘chapter a day’ and hearing the text read by another offers you a gift first.  Abraham has a whole other wife Keturah whose lineage give us Midianites and other tribes around Canaan.  Sure, the story goes that Abraham was over 100 when Yitzaak came along, and died at 175 – but I just don’t read a factual story here.

Ishmael is here presented as the origin of Arabs (and adopted by Muslims), and Isaac is presented as the origin of Jews through his son Yaakov, and Edomites by his son Esav, this lineage of Keturah places Midianites and other southern Canaanites.  

More striking, for those of us unfamiliar with the ‘pecking order’ among ancient tribes in the area, when Avraham dies, both Ishmael (who will live to a ripe old 136) and Yitzaak together bury him beside Sarah.  This reinforces the ancestral claim to Mamre, Machpelah, Hebron – key turf in all times.  Too few Christians recognize that  brotherhood of Jews and Arabs in the Torah scroll!  

Abraham buried in Hebron in the Mamre gravesite, and we rehearse the 12 sheiks and tribes of Ishmael, mirror to the 12 tribes of Jacob Israel yet to come!  What tribe is ours, as Christian readers?  Like Avraham, we claim God not just through our ancestors, but by our own choice and claim of the covenant word.

Rebekah’s twins, fighting in her womb, and born Esau first, red-haired, and Jacob heel-grabbing second.  They come of age, hunter outdoorsman Daddy’s boy, quiet man in tents Mama’s boy, and the elder sells his birthright for some red stew.  Sure. What if you find Edom on the map, hear that it has red soil, and blocks the trade routes south to the sea from Judea?  

Chapter 25

Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.
 2She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. 3Jokshan was the father of Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. 4The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.
5Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastwards to the east country.
7 This is the length of Abraham’s life, one hundred and seventy-five years. 8Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.
 9His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, 10the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with his wife Sarah. 
11After the death of Abraham God blessed his son Isaac. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.
12 These are the descendants of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s slave-girl, bore to Abraham. 13These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes. 17(This is the length of the life of Ishmael, one hundred and thirty-seven years; he breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.) 18They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria; he settled down alongside all his people.
19 These are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac, 20and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of Laban the Aramean. 
21Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived. 22The children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is to be this way, why do I live?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord.23And the Lord said to her,

‘Two nations are in your womb,
   and two peoples born of you shall be divided;
one shall be stronger than the other,
   the elder shall serve the younger.’ 

24When her time to give birth was at hand, there were twins in her womb. 25The first came out red, all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau. 26Afterwards his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. 28Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. 30Esau said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!’ (Therefore he was called Edom.) 31Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’ 32Esau said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ 33Jacob said, ‘Swear to me first.’ So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.