Genesis 25* Abraham's family by Keturah, His death and burial. (1-10) Godblesses Isaac The descendants of Ishmael. (11-18) The birth ofEsau and Jacob. (19-26) The different characters of Esau andJacob. (27,28) Esau despises and sells his birth-right. (29-34)1-10 All the days, even of the best and greatest saints, arenot remarkable days; some slide on silently; such were theselast days of Abraham. Here is an account of Abraham's childrenby Keturah, and the disposition which he made of his estate.After the birth of these sons, he set his house in order, withprudence and justice. He did this while he yet lived. It iswisdom for men to do what they find to do while they live, asfar as they can. Abraham lived 175 years; just one hundred yearsafter he came to Canaan; so long he was a sojourner in a strangecountry. Whether our stay in this life be long or short, itmatters but little, provided we leave behind us a testimony tothe faithfulness and goodness of the Lord, and a good example toour families. We are told that his sons Isaac and Ishmael buriedhim. It seems that Abraham had himself brought them togetherwhile he lived. Let us not close the history of the life ofAbraham without blessing God for such a testimony of the triumphof faith. 11-18 Ishmael had twelve sons, whose families became distincttribes. They peopled a very large country that lay between Egyptand Assyria, called Arabia. The number and strength of thisfamily were the fruit of the promise, made to Hagar and toAbraham, concerning Ishmael. 19-26 Isaac seems not to have been much tried, but to havespent his days in quietness. Jacob and Esau were prayed for;their parents, after being long childless, obtained them byprayer. The fulfilment of God's promise is always sure, yet itis often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patienceexercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome whenthey come. Isaac and Rebekah kept in view the promise of allnations being blessed in their posterity, therefore were notonly desirous of children, but anxious concerning every thingwhich seemed to mark their future character. In all our doubtswe should inquire of the Lord by prayer. In many of ourconflicts with sin and temptation, we may adopt Rebekah's words,"If it be so, why am I thus?" If a child of God, why so carelessor carnal? If not a child of God, why so afraid of, or soburdened with sin? 27,28 Esau hunted the beasts of the field with dexterity andsuccess, till he became a conqueror, ruling over his neighbours.Jacob was a plain man, one that liked the true delights ofretirement, better than all pretended pleasures. He was astranger and a pilgrim in his spirit, and a shepherd all hisdays. Isaac and Rebekah had but these two children, one was thefather's darling, and the other the mother's. And though godlyparents must feel their affections most drawn over towards agodly child, yet they will not show partiality. Let theiraffections lead them to do what is just and equal to everychild, or evils will arise. 29-34 We have here the bargain made between Jacob and Esauabout the right, which was Esau's by birth, but Jacob's bypromise. It was for a spiritual privilege; and we see Jacob'sdesire of the birth-right, but he sought to obtain it by crookedcourses, not like his character as a plain man. He was right,that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that hetook advantage of his brother's need. The inheritance of theirfather's worldly goods did not descend to Jacob, and was notmeant in this proposal. But it includeth the future possessionof the land of Canaan by his children's children, and thecovenant made with Abraham as to Christ the promised Seed.Believing Jacob valued these above all things; unbelieving Esaudespised them. Yet although we must be of Jacob's judgment inseeking the birth-right, we ought carefully to avoid all guile,in seeking to obtain even the greatest advantages. Jacob'spottage pleased Esau's eye. "Give me some of that red;" for thishe was called Edom, or Red. Gratifying the sensual appetiteruins thousands of precious souls. When men's hearts walk aftertheir own eyes, #Job 31:7|, and when they serve their ownbellies, they are sure to be punished. If we use ourselves todeny ourselves, we break the force of most temptations. Itcannot be supposed that Esau was dying of hunger in Isaac'shouse. The words signify, I am going towards death; he seems tomean, I shall never live to inherit Canaan, or any of thosefuture supposed blessings; and what signifies it who has themwhen I am dead and gone. This would be the language ofprofaneness, with which the apostle brands him, #Heb 12:16|; andthis contempt of the birth-right is blamed, ver. #34|. It is thegreatest folly to part with our interest in God, and Christ, andheaven, for the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world; itis as bad a bargain as his who sold a birth-right for a dish ofpottage. Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied hisappetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, withoutany serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he hadmade. Thus Esau despised his birth-right. By his neglect andcontempt afterwards, and by justifying himself in what he haddone, he put the bargain past recall. People are ruined, not somuch by doing what is amiss, as by doing it and not repenting ofit.
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