Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Esau’s Family

When Isaac died, his sons Esau and Jacob buried him. Then Esau took his wives, sons, daughters, servants, animals, and worldly goods and moved to a country far away from Jacob. The land where they were dwelling was not big enough to support both Jacob and Esau, so Esau moved to Mount Seir.

Genesis 36 gives an account of Esau’s family including his wives Basemath, Adah, and Aholibamath, and his son’s concubine Timna. Adah and Aholibamath were Esau’s first wives who brought grief to his parents. Their names were changed, though, when they married. Basemath was Esau’s third wife who he married out of spite when he realized that his parents didn’t like his other Canaanite wives.

At some point, Esau was named Edom, which means red earth. It’s a reference to the color of the lentil soup he bought from Jacob in exchange for his birthright. The descendants of Esau became known as Edomites.

The genealogy of Esau repeatedly mentions which wife bore which sons. It includes which of the sons became chiefs among the Edomites. The land of Edom had kings before the Israelites had kings. Genesis 36 includes the history of kings including Bael-Hanan whose wife’s name was Mehetabel.

In Genesis 25:23 God prophesied to Rebekah, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” This was true not only of the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, but the generations to follow.

Esau married foolishly, choosing ungodly idol-worshiping women. As a result, their children followed in the ways of the ungodly.

How often do we make rash decisions, thinking only of the moment and not the long term. May you be wise in all you do, seeking God in every decision.

Esau’s wives in Scripture: Genesis 36.

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