GENESIS 25 – 26
Bible Study Notes Rev. Betsy Perkins
The Next Generations
The story of Abraham is brought its conclusion and with only a brief account of Abraham’s son Isaac, Abraham’s grandson Jacob is introduced. It is his story that will dominate the next 13 chapters of Genesis. It is from Jacob, later renamed Israel, that the nation of God’s covenant people will take their name.
Abraham’s Great Nations (25:1-18):
o While Isaac will inherit everything that Abraham owns, how did Abraham take care of his other children? Which sons attended to his burial? Why would that be important to mention?
o The lists of chapter 25 contain more names of places than names of people, making them more geographical lists than genealogy lists. The nation of Israel will later be in conflict with people living in these areas. How might these place/people lists inform and guide their interactions?
o How do we see God fulfilling His promises to both Hagar (16:10) and Abraham (17:20)? How is the prophesy about Ishmael in 16:12 being fulfilled?
By God’s Grace – Twins! (25:19-26):
o Like Sarah, Rebekah is unable to have children. What is Isaac’s response to this problem?
o When Rebekah finally gets pregnant after 20 years of marriage, she has a concern. What is her response? What does it mean “to inquire of the Lord”? Have you ever done that?
o What is the problem and what does it forecast? As a mother, how do you think Rebekah felt about the prophesy of conflict between her children?
o Esau (Seir) ~ hair; Edom = red. These names not only characterize this child, but are characteristics associated with the people of Edom. Could racial prejudices have been a problem then as well?
o Jacob = he grasps; ~ heel. Why is the second-born child given the name Jacob? What will he be grasping for?
Jacob and Esau (25:27-35):
o The two brothers may be twins, but they have very different personalities. Describe the differences between Esau and Jacob. (“quiet” can also mean upright, having wholeness or integrity, loyal)
o How do the parents, Isaac and Rebekah, contribute to the conflict between the two boys?
o The birthright (bekora) involves the inheritance of a father’s profession, the succession as patriarch, and the portioning of a family estate. Read Deuteronomy 21:15-17. What portion of the inheritance was Esau’s birthright?
o Jesus told a parable in Matthew 13:45-46 comparing the Kingdom of heaven to a merchant finding a pearl of great price. Which brother best illustrates that merchant?
o Both brothers show weaknesses. What are Esau’s? What are Jacob’s? How does God respond to these weaknesses?
Like Father Like Son – The Blessing (26:1-6):
o Name some of the challenges that Isaac has to deal with that are similar to the challenges his father Abraham faced.
o Not only does Isaac share the same challenges, but he also shares the same promises. What are the blessings and promises passed on to him?
o Why does God command him not to go to Egypt? Are the promises contingent on Isaac’s obedience to stay in the land where God tells him?
Like Father Like Son – The Contention and Sin (26:7-35):
o We learn a lot from watching our parents – both good and bad. When Isaac fears for his life due to his wife’s beauty, what does he do? Are there unhealthy responses to fear or stress that you have learned from your parents? How might Isaac have changed that unhealthy pattern?
o Verse 26:8 contains another pun on Isaac’s name, ‘he laughs’. Why is there laughter?
o Name some of the ways God shows grace to Isaac and his family despite his struggles and shortfalls.
o Name some ways God has shown grace to you despite your struggles and shortfalls.
In light of this passage and our discussion, what one truth about God and about yourself stand out as something to “take to heart” this week?
Are there steps you will take, by God’s grace, to more fully apply it to your life?
Resources: Robert Alter, Genesis, 1996
John Goldingay, Genesis for Everyone, 2010
Max Lucado, Life Lessons with Max Lucado: Book of Genesis, 1997