Genesis 36


The genealogy of Esau, i.e., his sons, by his Canaanitish

wives Adah, Aholibamah, and Bashemath, 1-3.

The children of Adah and Bashemath, 4.

Of Aholibamah, 5.

Esau departs from Canaan and goes to Mount Seir, 6-8.

The generations of Esau, i.e., his grandchildren, while in Seir,


Anah finds mules (Yemim) in the wilderness, 24.

The generations of Seir, the Horite, 29-30.

The kings which reigned in Edom, 31-39.

The dukes that succeeded them, 40-43.


Verse 1. These are the generations of Esau] We have here the

genealogy of Esau in his sons and grandsons, and also the

genealogy of Seir the Horite. The genealogy of the sons of Esau,

born in Canaan, is related Ge 36:1-8; those of his grandchildren

born in Seir,Ge 36:9-19; those of

Seir the Horite,Ge 36:20-30. The generations of Esau are

particularly marked, to show how exactly God fulfilled the

promises he made to him, Ge 25:29-34; Ge 27:30-40; and those of

Seir the Horite are added, because his family became in some

measure blended with that of Esau.

Verse 2. His wives] It appears that Esau's wives went by very

different names. Aholibamah is named Judith, Ge 26:34;

Adah is called Bashemath in the same place; and she who is here

called Bashemath is called Mahalath, Ge 28:9. These are

variations which cannot be easily accounted for; and they are not

of sufficient importance to engross much time. It is well known

that the same persons in Scripture are often called by different

names. See the Table of variations, chap. xxv., where there are

some slight examples. See Clarke on Ge 25:18.

Anah the daughter of Zibeon] But this same Anah is said to be

the son of Zibeon, Ge 36:24, though in this and Ge 36:14 he is

said to be the daughter of Zibeon. But the Samaritan, the

Septuagint, (and the Syriac, in Ge 36:2,) read

son instead of daughter, which Houbigant and Kennicott

contend to be the true reading. Others say that daughter should

be referred to Aholibamah, who was the daughter of Anah, and

granddaughter of Zibeon. I should rather prefer the reading of

the Samaritan, Septuagint, and Syriac, and read, both here and in

Ge 36:14, "Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the SON of Zibeon,"

and then the whole will agree with Ge 36:24.

Verse 6. Esau took his wives, &c.] So it appears that Esau and

Jacob dwelt together in Canaan, whither the former removed from

Seir, probably soon after the return of Jacob. That they were on

the most friendly footing this sufficiently proves; and Esau shows

the same dignified conduct as on other occasions, in leaving

Canaan to Jacob, and returning again to Mount Seir; certainly a

much less fruitful region than that which he now in behalf of his

brother voluntarily abandoned.

Verse 12. Timna was concubine to Eliphaz] As Timna was sister to

Lotan the Horite, Ge 36:22, we see how the family of Esau and the

Horites got intermixed. This might give the sons of Esau a

pretext to seize the land, and expel the ancient inhabitants, as

we find they did, De 2:12.

Amalek] The father of the Amalekites, afterwards bitter enemies

to the Jews, and whom God commanded to be entirely exterminated,

De 25:17,19.

Verse 15. Dukes of the sons of Esau] The word duke comes from

the Latin dux, a captain or leader. The Hebrew alluph

has the same signification; and as it is also the term for a

thousand, which is a grand capital or leading number, probably

the alluphey or dukes had this name from being leaders

of or captains over a company of one thousand men; just as those

among the Greeks called chiliarchs, which signifies the same; and

as the Romans called those centurions who were captains over one

hundred men, from the Latin word centum, which signifies a hundred

The ducal government was that which prevailed first among the

Idumeans, or descendants of Esau. Here fourteen dukes are

reckoned to Esau, seven that came of his wife, Adah, four of

Bashemath, and three of Aholibamah.

Verse 16. Duke Korah] This Dr. Kennicott pronounces to be an

interpolation. "It is certain, from Ge 36:4, that Eliphaz was

Esau's son by Adah; and from Ge 36:11, 12, that

Eliphaz had but six sons, Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, Kenaz,

and Amalek. It is also certain, from Ge 36:5, 14, that

Korah was the son of Esau (not of Eliphaz) by Aholibamah; and as

such he is properly mentioned in Ge 36:18: These are the sons of

Aholibamah, Esau's wife: duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, DUKE KORAH. It

is clear, therefore, that some transcriber has improperly inserted

duke Korah in Ge 36:16; from which interpolation both the

Samaritan text and the Samaritan version are free."-KENNICOTT'S

Remarks. Everything considered, I incline to the opinion that

these words were not originally in the text.

Verse 20. These are the sons of Seir the Horite] These Horites

were the original inhabitants of the country of Seir, called the

land of the Horites, and afterwards the land of the Idumeans, when

the descendants of Esau had driven them out. These people are

first mentioned Ge 14:6.

Verse 21. These are the dukes of the Horites] It appears pretty

evident that the Horites and the descendants of Esau were mixed

together in the same land, as before observed; and Calmet has very

properly remarked, that if we compare this verse with Ge 36:30,

there were princes of Seir in the country of Seir, and in that of

Edom; and in comparing the generations of Seir and Esau, we are

obliged to consider these princes as contemporary.

Verse 24. This was that Anah that found the mules in the

wilderness] The words eth kaiyemim, here translated

mules, has given rise to a great variety of conjectures and

discordant opinions. St. Jerome, who renders it aquas calidas,

warm springs, or hot baths, says there are as many opinions

concerning it as there are commentators.

The Septuagint has τονιαμειν, which seems to be the name of a

man; but this is expressed in a great variety of ways in

different MSS. of that version.

The Syriac renders it [Syriac] may�, waters; the author of this

version having read in the Hebrew copy from which he translated.

mayim, waters, for yemim, the two first letters

being transposed.

Onkelos translates the word gibbaraiya, giants, or

strong or powerful men.

The Samaritan text has [Samaritan] haaimim, and the Samaritan

version [Samaritan] am aimai, the Emim, a warlike people,

bordering upon the Horites.

The Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel paraphrases the place thus:

"This is the Anah who united the onager with the tame ass, and in

process of time he found mules produced by them." R. D. Kimchi

says, that "Zibeon was both the father and brother of Anah; and

this Anah, intent on heterogeneous mixtures, caused asses and

horses to copulate, and so produced mules." R. S. Jarchi is of the

same opinion. See his comment on this place.

Bochart believes the Emim are meant; and argues forcibly, 1.

That matsa, he found, never signifies to invent, but rather

the meeting with or happening on a thing which already exists. 2.

That mules are never called yemim in the Scriptures, but

peradim. 3. That Anah fed ASSES only, not horses. And, 4. That

there is no mention of mules in Palestine till the days of David.

From the whole he concludes that the Emim are meant, with whom

Anah fought; and he brings many places of Scripture where the same

form of expression, he or they found, signifies the onset to

battle, Jud 1:5; 1Sa 31:3; 1Ki 13:24; 2Ch 22:8;

Nu 35:27; Ge 4:14; with many others. See the Hierozoicon, vol.

i., cap. 21, p. 23S., edit. 1692.

Gusset, in Comment. Heb. Ling., examines what Bochart has

asserted, and supposes that mules, not the Emim, were found by


Wagenseil would credit what Bochart has asserted, did not

stronger reasons lead him to believe that the word means a sort of


From the above opinions and versions the reader may choose which

he likes best, or invent one for himself. My own opinion is, that

mules were not known before the time of Anah; and that he was

probably the first who coupled the mare and ass together to

produce this mongrel, or the first who met with creatures of this

race in some very secluded part of the wilderness. Is it not

probable that from this Anah, or enah, the Enetae derived at

least their fabulous origin, whom Homer mentions as famous for

their race of wild mules?



IL., lib. ii., v. 852.

The Paphlagonians Pylaemenes rules,

Where rich HENETIA breeds her SAVAGE MULES.


The Enetae or Henetae, who were a people contiguous to

Paphlagonia, Cappadocia, and Galatia, might have derived their

origin from this Anah, or Henah, out of which the ενετοι of the

ancient Greek writers might have been formed; and according to

Theophrastus, Strabo, and Plutarch, the first mules were seen

among these people. See Ludov, De Dieu and Scheuchzer.

Verse 31. Before there reigned any king over-Israel.] I suppose

all the verses, from Ge 36:31-39 inclusive, have been

transferred to this place from 1Ch 1:43-50, as it is not likely

they could have been written by Moses; and it is quite possible

they might have been, at a very early period, written in the

margin of an authentic copy, to make out the regal succession in

Edom, prior to the consecration of Saul; which words being

afterwards found in the margin of a valuable copy, from which

others were transcribed, were supposed by the copyist to be a part

of the text, which having been omitted by the mistake of the

original writer, had been since added to make up the deficiency;

on this conviction he would not hesitate to transcribe them

consecutively in his copy. In most MSS. sentences and paragraphs

have been left out by the copyists, which, when perceived, have

been added in the margin, either by the original writer, or by

some later hand. Now, as the margin was the ordinary place where

glosses or explanatory notes were written, it is easy to conceive

how the notes, as well as the parts of the original text found in

the margin, might be all incorporated with the text by a future

transcriber; and his MSS., being often copied, would of course

multiply the copies with such additions, as we have much reason to

believe has been the case. This appears very frequently in the

Vulgate and Septuagint; and an English Bible now before me written

some time in the fourteenth century, exhibits several proofs of

this principle. See the preface to this work.

I know there is another way of accounting for those words on the

ground of their being written originally by Moses; but to me it is

not satisfactory. It is simply this: the word king should be

considered as implying any kind of regular government, whether by

chiefs, dukes, judges, &c., and therefore when Moses says these

are the kings which reigned in Edom, before there was any king in

Israel, he may be only understood as saying that these kings

reigned among the Edomites before the family of Jacob had acquired

any considerable power, or before the time in which his twelve

sons had become the fathers of those numerous tribes, at the head

of which, as king himself in Jeshurun, he now stood.

Esau, after his dukes, had eight kings, who reigned successively

over their people, while Israel were in affliction in Egypt.

Verse 33. Jobab the son of Zerah] Many have supposed that Jobab

is the same as Job, so remarkable for his afflictions and

patience; and that Eliphaz, mentioned Ge 36:10, &c., was the same

who in the book of Job is called one of his friends: but there is

no proper proof of this, and there are many reasons against it.

Verse 35. Smote Midian in the field of Moab] Bishop Cumberland

supposes that this was Midian, the son of Abraham by Keturah, and

that he was killed by Hadad some time before he was one hundred

and nine years of age; and that Moses recorded this, probably,

because it was a calamity to the ancestor of Jethro, his

father-in-law.-Orig. of Nat., p. 14.

Verse 40. These are the names of the dukes that came of Esau]

These dukes did not govern the whole nation of the Idumeans, but

they were chiefs in their respective families, in their places-the

districts they governed, and to which they gave their names.

Calmet thinks that those mentioned above were dukes in Edom or

Idumea at the time of the exodus of Israel from Egypt.

Verse 43. He is Esau the father of the Edomites.] That is, The

preceding list contains an account of the posterity of Esau, who

was the father of Edom. Thus ends Esau's history; for after this

there is no farther account of his life, actions, or death, in the


1. As Esau is so considerable a person in polemic divinity, it

may be necessary, in this place especially, to say something

farther of his conduct and character. I have already, in several

places, endeavoured, and I hope successfully, to wipe off the

odium that has been thrown upon this man, (see the notes on chap.

xxvii. and chap. xxxiii.,) without attempting to lessen his

faults; and the unprejudiced reader must see that, previously to

this last account we have of him, his character stands without a

blot, except in the case of selling his birthright, and his

purpose to destroy his brother. To the first he was led by his

famishing situation and the unkindness of his brother, who refused

to save his life but on this condition; and the latter, made in

the heat of vexation and passion, he never attempted to execute,

even when he had the most ample means and the fairest opportunity

to do it.

Dr. Shuckford has drawn an impartial character of Esau, from

which I extract the following particulars: "Esau was a plain,

generous, and honest man, for we have no reason, from any thing

that appears in his life or actions, to think him wicked beyond

other men of his age or times; and his generous and good temper

appears from all his behaviour towards his brother. When they

first met he was all humanity and affection, and he had no

uneasiness when he found that Jacob followed him not to Seir, but

went to live near his father. And at Isaac's death we do not find

that he made any difficulty of quitting Canaan, which was the very

point which, if he had harboured any latent (evil) intentions,

would have revived all his resentments. He is indeed called in

Scripture the profane Esau; and it is written, Jacob have I loved,

and Esau have I hated; but there is, I think, no reason to infer,

from any of those expressions, that Esau was a very wicked man, or

that God hated or punished him for an immoral life. For, 1. The

sentence here against him is said expressly to be founded, not

upon his actions, for it was determined before the children had

done good or evil. 2. God's hatred of Esau was not a hatred which

induced him to punish him with any evil, for he was as happy in

all the blessings of this life as either Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob;

and his posterity had a land designed by God to be their

possession, as well as the children of Jacob, and they were put in

possession of it much sooner than the Israelites; and God was

pleased to protect them in the enjoyment of it, and to caution the

Israelites against invading them with a remarkable strictness,

De 2:4,5. And as God was pleased thus to bless Esau and his

children in the blessings of this life, even as much as he blessed

Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, if not more, why may we not hope to find

him with them at the last day, as well as Lot or Job or any other

good and virtuous man, who was not designed to be a partaker of

the blessing given to Abraham? 3. All the punishment inflicted on

Esau was an exclusion from being heir to the blessing promised to

Abraham and to his seed, which was a favour not granted to Lot,

to Job, to several other very virtuous and good men. 4. St.

Paul, in the passage before cited, only intends to show the Jews

that God had all along given the favours that led to the Messiah

where he pleased; to Abraham, not to Lot; to Jacob, not to

Esau; as at the time St. Paul wrote the Gentiles were made the

people of God, not the Jews. 5. Esau is indeed called profane,

(βεβηλος,) but I think that word does not mean wicked or immoral,

ασεβης or αμαρτωλος. he was called profane for not having that due

value for the priest's office which he should have had; and

therefore, though I think it does not appear that he was cut off

from being the heir of the promises by any particular action in

his life, yet his turn of mind and thoughts do appear to have been

such as to evidence that God's purpose towards Jacob was founded

on the truest wisdom."-SHUCKFORD'S Connections, vol.ii., p.174, &c.

The truth is, the Messiah must spring from some ONE family, and

God chose Abraham's through Isaac, Jacob, &c., rather than the

same through Ishmael, Esau, and the others in that line; but from

this choice it does not follow that the first were all necessarily

saved, and the others necessarily lost.

2. To some the genealogical lists in this chapter will doubtless

appear uninteresting, especially those which concern Esau and his

descendants; but it was as necessary to register the generations

of Esau as to register those of Jacob, in order to show that the

Messiah did not spring from the former, but that he did spring

from the latter. The genealogical tables, so frequently met with

in the sacred writings, and so little regarded by Christians in

general, are extremely useful. 1. As they are standing proofs of

the truth of the prophecies, which stated that the Messiah should

come from a particular family, which prophecies were clearly

fulfilled in the birth of Christ. 2. As they testify, to the

conviction of the Jews, that the Messiah thus promised is found in

the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who incontestably sprang from the

last, the only remaining branch of the family of David. These

registers were religiously preserved among the Jews till the

destruction of Jerusalem, after which they were all destroyed,

insomuch that there is not a Jew in the universe who can trace

himself to the family of David; consequently, all expectation of a

Messiah to come is, even on their own principles, nugatory and

absurd, as nothing remains to legitimate his birth. When Christ

came all these registers were in existence. When St. Matthew and

St. Luke wrote, all these registers were still in existence; and

had they pretended what could not have been supported, an appeal

to the registers would have convicted them of a falsehood. But no

Jew attempted to do this, notwithstanding the excess of their

malice against Christ and his followers; and because they did not

do it, we may safely assert no Jew could do it. Thus the

foundation standeth sure.

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