Bible Commentaries
Genesis 36

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-43

Genesis 36:1. The generations. The critics complain of the difficulties in this genealogy, arising from the same person having two names, a custom common to many nations. The ancients assumed new titles on propitious events.

Genesis 36:2. Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon; that is, grand daughter or descendant, it being the manner of the ancients to trace their line back to a prince.

Genesis 36:3. Bashemath. She is called Mahalath in Genesis 28:9.

Genesis 36:4. And Adar bare to Esau Eliphaz. The rabbins are much divided here. Very many think that Eliphaz was the ancestor of Job, and grandfather of Eliphaz, king of Teman, Job’s friend; and thus they make Job to be the fifth from Abraham. But others think that Job descended in the line of Nachor.

Genesis 36:6. From the face of his brother Jacob. Esau, who seems to have approached Isaac in his last moments, returned to mount Seir, or Edom, for the camps of the two brothers were too numerous to dwell together.

Genesis 36:11. Teman. Tema occurs in the poems of Ossian; and a similarity of names appears to indicate an identity in the origin of nations.

Genesis 36:15. Duke, a military title, from their being as it would seem, captains of a thousand men. Others are of opinion that the term merely denotes that they were heads of houses. The term agrees with the twelve princes in the line of Ishmael; and they undoubtedly exercised a sort of regal power in their several districts.

Genesis 36:20. Sons of Seir inhabited the land of Edom before Esau gained possession of it, and held the strong places of mount Seir. The dukes of Esau afterwards expelled the children of Seir; and as was usual with the patriarchs, called the land Edom after their own name. Psalms 49:11.

Genesis 36:24. Mules. The original word occurs in this place only, and hence its import is doubtful. Some think it signifies giants, whom Anah expelled: others contend that it means mineral waters, or hot-wells. Jerome follows this opinion in the Vulgate, as was the general belief of the rabbins, and the most probable, as mules never have foals: man may for once mar the works of God, but not a second time.

Genesis 36:31. Before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. The marginal illustration, as elsewhere, has here been copied into the text from 1 Chronicles 1:43, &c. We have no account of Esau’s death. No doubt he out-lived his brother Jacob, and his latter days, it would seem, were better spent than his earlier life.

Genesis 36:33. Jobab. Some of the Jews contend that this man was Job, the great model of patience; but others think, that he descended from Nahor, because Huz is mentioned. Genesis 22:21. There is however a strong probability that he descended from Esau.

Genesis 36:34. Temani, or Teman, the capital of Edom, not far from Bozrah, both of which are mentioned by the prophets. Isaiah 63:0. Jeremiah 49:0. Amos 1:0.


From this genealogy we see the faithfulness of God to Esau. The Lord prospered him according to the prophetic blessings of Isaac, and he rose to worldly power earlier than Jacob; but though the blessing was longer delayed to Jacob, it was more exalted than his brother’s when it came, and its glory shall never fade away. Then let the men of the world have the first glare; their day shall be short, and their names shall soon be forgotten; but the righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Genesis 36". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.