Fair warning, this is going to be another dreadfully boring chapter.
Before I get into this horrendously long list of names, I just want to point out an issue with Genesis 36:31, where the authors write: “These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites.” Now, tradition has it that Moses is the author of Genesis, and yet Moses died before the Israelite monarchy was established. As John Collins points out (A Short Introduction to the Hebrew Bible, p.28-29), passages such as this prove that the Mosaic origin of the Torah is “problematic.”
The descendants of Esau
We’re told again about the wives of Esau:
- Adah, daughter of Elon the Hittite
- Aholibamah, daughter of Anah, daughter of Zibeon the Hivite
- Bashemath, daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebajoth
If you remember back from Genesis 26, we’re told that Bashemath was the daughter of Elon the Hittite, not Ishmael. And in Genesis 28, we’re told that he marries Ishmael’s daughter Mahalath, who doesn’t appear in this list at all. Speaking of disappearing women, Esau’s second wife listed in Genesis 26 is Judith, daughter of Beeri the Hittite. Where’s she?
Esau also has a bunch of kids. Here are the kids, listed by their moms:
- Adah’s children: Eliphaz.
- Bashemath’s children: Reuel.
- Aholibamah’s children: Jeush, Jaalam, and Korah.
In Genesis 36:6, we get a nice long list of Esau’s possessions, and we’re told that he had to leave with them to live in the hill country of Seir. The reason is that he and Jacob both have too many possessions, so they can’t both occupy the same land. This is the same reason that forced Abraham and Lot apart back in Genesis 13. Once again, the Bible puts concerns over wealth ahead of family.
Just in case you didn’t get it the first time, the children a listed a second time before we can get into their sons.
- Sons of Eliphaz: Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz.
- Son of Eliphaz by his concubine, Timna: Amalek.
- Sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah.
Now we get to hear the whole genealogy again, but this time all the names have the title of “chief.” Seriously, most boring chapter evar.
Children of Seir the Horite
Now we get a genealogy for Seir the Horite!
- Sons: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. They are all named as “chiefs” (or “dukes,” if you’re reading the King James) of the Horites.
- Daughter: Timna.
And on to Seir’s grandchildren:
- Children of Lotan: Hori and Hemam.
- Children of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam.
- Children of Zibeon: Ajah and Anah. We are also told that this Anah is the one who found mules in the wilderness while he was out feeding his father’s asses (Gen. 36:24). That’s quite a distinguishing accomplishment! Another note on Anah: S/he is listed as male here, but as female in Genesis 36:2, 14 (although my RSV corrects this to “son of Zibeon” with a note at the bottom, in teensy-tiny font, saying that the Hebrew says “daughter of Zibeon”).
- Children of Anah: Dishon and Aholibamah (this latter is a daughter).
- Children of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran.
- Children of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan.
- Children of Dishan: Uz and Aran.
The kings of Edom
Now we get to read about a succession of kings. Brace yourselves.
- Bela, son of Beor. His city was Dinhabah.
- Jobab, son of Zerah of Bozrah.
- Hasham of the land of Temani.
- Hadad, son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab. (It’s unknown if this is the same Midian who is the son of Abraham, seen in Genesis 25. Either way, it’s a better distinguishing factor than having found a bunch of mules.) The name of his city is Avith.
- Samlah of Masrekah.
- Saul of Rehoboth.
- Baalhanan, son of Achbor.
- Hadar. The name of his city is Pau. His wife’s name is Mehetabel, daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab.
To conclude the chapter, we’re told that the following chiefs/dukes come from Esau: Timnah, Alvah, Jetheth, Aholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram, and that Esau is the father of the Edomites.
Phew, we made it! The next one has a plot, I promise!