Genesis 25

* Abraham's family by Keturah, His death and burial. (1-10) God

blesses Isaac The descendants of Ishmael. (11-18) The birth of

Esau and Jacob. (19-26) The different characters of Esau and

Jacob. (27,28) Esau despises and sells his birth-right. (29-34)

1-10 All the days, even of the best and greatest saints, are

not remarkable days; some slide on silently; such were these

last days of Abraham. Here is an account of Abraham's children

by Keturah, and the disposition which he made of his estate.

After the birth of these sons, he set his house in order, with

prudence and justice. He did this while he yet lived. It is

wisdom for men to do what they find to do while they live, as

far as they can. Abraham lived 175 years; just one hundred years

after he came to Canaan; so long he was a sojourner in a strange

country. Whether our stay in this life be long or short, it

matters but little, provided we leave behind us a testimony to

the faithfulness and goodness of the Lord, and a good example to

our families. We are told that his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried

him. It seems that Abraham had himself brought them together

while he lived. Let us not close the history of the life of

Abraham without blessing God for such a testimony of the triumph

of faith.
11-18 Ishmael had twelve sons, whose families became distinct

tribes. They peopled a very large country that lay between Egypt

and Assyria, called Arabia. The number and strength of this

family were the fruit of the promise, made to Hagar and to

Abraham, concerning Ishmael.
19-26 Isaac seems not to have been much tried, but to have

spent his days in quietness. Jacob and Esau were prayed for;

their parents, after being long childless, obtained them by

prayer. The fulfilment of God's promise is always sure, yet it

is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience

exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when

they come. Isaac and Rebekah kept in view the promise of all

nations being blessed in their posterity, therefore were not

only desirous of children, but anxious concerning every thing

which seemed to mark their future character. In all our doubts

we should inquire of the Lord by prayer. In many of our

conflicts 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 careless

or carnal? If not a child of God, why so afraid of, or so

burdened with sin?
27,28 Esau hunted the beasts of the field with dexterity and

success, till he became a conqueror, ruling over his neighbours.

Jacob was a plain man, one that liked the true delights of

retirement, better than all pretended pleasures. He was a

stranger and a pilgrim in his spirit, and a shepherd all his

days. Isaac and Rebekah had but these two children, one was the

father's darling, and the other the mother's. And though godly

parents must feel their affections most drawn over towards a

godly child, yet they will not show partiality. Let their

affections lead them to do what is just and equal to every

child, or evils will arise.
29-34 We have here the bargain made between Jacob and Esau

about the right, which was Esau's by birth, but Jacob's by

promise. It was for a spiritual privilege; and we see Jacob's

desire of the birth-right, but he sought to obtain it by crooked

courses, not like his character as a plain man. He was right,

that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that he

took advantage of his brother's need. The inheritance of their

father's worldly goods did not descend to Jacob, and was not

meant in this proposal. But it includeth the future possession

of the land of Canaan by his children's children, and the

covenant made with Abraham as to Christ the promised Seed.

Believing Jacob valued these above all things; unbelieving Esau

despised them. Yet although we must be of Jacob's judgment in

seeking the birth-right, we ought carefully to avoid all guile,

in seeking to obtain even the greatest advantages. Jacob's

pottage pleased Esau's eye. "Give me some of that red;" for this

he was called Edom, or Red. Gratifying the sensual appetite

ruins thousands of precious souls. When men's hearts walk after

their own eyes, #Job 31:7|, and when they serve their own

bellies, they are sure to be punished. If we use ourselves to

deny ourselves, we break the force of most temptations. It

cannot be supposed that Esau was dying of hunger in Isaac's

house. The words signify, I am going towards death; he seems to

mean, I shall never live to inherit Canaan, or any of those

future supposed blessings; and what signifies it who has them

when I am dead and gone. This would be the language of

profaneness, with which the apostle brands him, #Heb 12:16|; and

this contempt of the birth-right is blamed, ver. #34|. It is the

greatest folly to part with our interest in God, and Christ, and

heaven, for the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world; it

is as bad a bargain as his who sold a birth-right for a dish of

pottage. Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his

appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without

any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had

made. Thus Esau despised his birth-right. By his neglect and

contempt afterwards, and by justifying himself in what he had

done, he put the bargain past recall. People are ruined, not so

much by doing what is amiss, as by doing it and not repenting of

it.
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