If you missed church last night you missed a great meal of “country cooking”. It was almost Cracker Barrel. Also, you missed a great bible study.
Yeah Right – you might say. How, can Genesis 36 be great? It’s just 43 verses of names we can’t pronounce: the genealogy of Esau.
Through genealogy-like lists, this chapter provides a brief description of Esau and his descendants. I am sure there was much more to see than I was able to comprehend but there was one item that caught my eye.
Genesis 36:31 These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before any king reigned over the Israelites.
Who is writing Genesis? Moses. When was Moses born? Exodus 2:1-10; sixteen chapters later. Moses wrote Genesis [historically looking back] at least after the exodus (c. 1445 b.c.), but obviously before his death (c. 1405 b.c.).
So what do you think Genesis 36:31 could possibly mean; because Israel was not even a nation at this point. Genesis 17:6, 16 and 35:11 alludes to the idea of future kings. Even though it will be several centuries before Israel has a king, Deuteronomy provides legislation for that eventuality in Deut. 17:14-15 [a king whom the Lord your God will choose]. But no thought of an earthly king had ever been explicitly mentioned for Israel at the time of Moses writing. So how did he know?
Commentaries suggest that the author of Genesis 36:31 either lived after the Israelite monarchy was a reality [which would put vs. 31 totally out of place for Moses to be the writer]:
Or [the writer – Moses] clearly anticipated that a king(s) would be established. The pattern of tribal leaders eventually being replaced by kings [in Edom] would be repeated in ancient Israel.
Think about that in light of 1 Samuel 8:
1 Samuel 8:4-9 (4) Then all the elders of Israel [now a nation] gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah (5) and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” (6) But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD. (7) And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. (8) According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. (9) Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
Who brought the Israelites out of Egypt? Who would have firsthand knowledge of the Israelite peoples worship habits? Who would be familiar with their grumbling in the wilderness and lack of faith about water, food, worshiping idols and failure to follow the commands of the Lord at Kadesh Barnea? Moses of course!
“From the day Moses brought them up out of Egypt” by the strong arm of the Lord, he would have seen how the Israelites forsook the Lord and his commands. Moses personally witnessed Israel’s rejection of the one true God and how they chose to serve other God’s. He would have anticipated the rebellious Israelites demand for a “king to judge us like all the nations” – both logically and prophetically by the inspiration of the Lord.
Therefore, Moses’ statement in Genesis 36:31 is a whisper of things to come. Israel will have a king of “their own choosing”. But God’s will cannot be thwarted.
Just like the whisper that is made in Genesis 3:15 and completed with a roar in Revelation 21-22, we to will have a King. But His kingdom will not be like Edom. His kingdom will be eternal and glorious.
How’s that for genealogy?