Gen. 25:12-18 Promise to Ishmael
Gen. 25:12 "Now these are the generations of Ishmael,
Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto
Abraham: 13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their
names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael,
Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam, 14 And Mishma, and Dumah,
and Massa, 15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah: 16 These are
the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by
their castles; twelve princes according to their nations. 17 And these
are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven
years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his
people. 18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt,
as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his
The above passage is the fulfillment of the promise that God
made unto Abraham concerning Ishmael: Gen. 17:18 "And Abraham said unto
God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy
wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac:
and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant,
and with his seed after him. 20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee:
Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will
multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make
him a great nation." Thus, according to God's promise to Abraham,
Ishmael did become a great nation and he did beget twelve princes.
God's providence and blessings were upon Ishmael and the establishment
of the nation and twelve princes that came forth from him. However,
Ishmael and that nation were not favored nearly as much as Isaac and the
nation of Israel that would come forth from him.
Moreover, God promised concerning Ishmael that he would
dwell in the presence of his brethren: Gen. 16:12 "And he will be a wild
man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against
him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." According
to our passage above this promise was also fulfilled.
God always fulfills his promises.
Gen. 25:19-21 Rebekah
Gen. 25:19 "And these are the generations of Isaac,
Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac: 20 And Isaac was forty years old
when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of
Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian. 21 And Isaac entreated the
LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of
him, and Rebekah his wife conceived."
The importance of prayer is illustrated above. Isaac
entreated the LORD for Rebekah his wife who was barren. The LORD
answered Isaac's prayer and blessed Rebekah to have twins. Isaac and
Rebekah had been married for twenty years before that Rebekah
conceived. Now we know that Isaac and Rebekah were going to have a son
based on the promise that God had made unto Abraham. However, God used
the occasion of Isaac's prayer to bring forth the conception.
Rebekah was the second of seven barren women in the
scriptures who later had a son. Each of these women were blessed to
bring forth a son who was greatly favored in the eyes of God to perform
some important deed or function. These seven barren women, their sons
name, and the important deed or function are listed below:
1. Sarah Isaac- he was the son of promise and
his birth is used to illustrate to us the miracle of the new or
spiritual birth. (Gal. 4:28)
2. Rebekah Esau and Jacob These twins are
used to illustrate God's sovereign election of a people to be his chosen
people. (Rom. 9:10-13)
3. Rachel Joseph One of the strongest types
of Christ in the bible.
4. Wife of Manoah Samson Nazarite.
5. Hannah Samuel Great prophet.
6. Great woman who lodged Elisha the prophet
her son raised from the dead.
7. Elizabeth John the Baptist forerunner of
Gen. 25:22, 23
Gen. 25:22 "And the children struggled together within her;
and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the
LORD. 23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and
two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one
people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall
serve the younger."
Often in the scriptures the Lord uses two individuals by
comparison and contrast to illustrate great spiritual lessons. We saw
this previously with Cain and Abel and Ishmael and Isaac. Now we have
Esau and Jacob who are twin brothers that the Lord uses to illustrate
another great spiritual lesson. The lesson that these two illustrate is
the doctrine of God's election of a people to be his people.
Again, we see the name God uses in this passage is the word,
LORD, which as we have previously pointed out refers to God as the
covenant making covenant keeping God. This passage of scripture
centers on the subject of God's covenant. In the covenant of redemption
in Rom. 8:29, 30 we read: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did
predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be
the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate,
them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and
whom he justified, them he also glorified." The first part of this
covenant is the statement that God foreknew a people. In Eph. 1:4-6 we
read of God's choice of a people: According as he hath chosen us in him
before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without
blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of
children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of
his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made
us accepted in the beloved."
God chose a people in Christ before the foundation of the
world. Jacob and Esau are set forth as an example of God's election of
a people. We read in Rom. 9:10-13: "And not only this; but when Rebecca
also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; (For the children
being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the
purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of
him that calleth;) It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the
younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated."
This tells us that God through his sovereignty made choice between two
unborn boys that had done neither good nor evil. Thus God's choice was
not based on works at all. There was nothing that either boy had done
to warrant God's choice. Yet, God chose and loved Jacob and did not
choose and hated Esau.
This is exactly how God's purpose according to election
stands. The choice of a people to be God's covenant people in the
covenant of redemption is strictly made by the sovereign act of God and
is solely by the grace of God. This principle of grace in election is
stated in Rom. 11:5, 6 "Even so then at this present time also there is
a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then is
it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of
works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Moreover, the choice was made by God and not by the boys.
Nor was it made for the boys by their parents. God in his sovereignty
did the choosing. In like fashion God in his sovereignty does the
choosing in the covenant of redemption.
"Two nations are in thy womb
" We know that according to
biblical history, both the descendents of Esau and Jacob became
nations. Esau became Edom and Jacob became Israel.
"Two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels
Both Esau and Jacob were sinners. They were sinners by nature and both
sinned. Then we must ask ourselves since both boys were sinners, then
how were they two manner of people? The answer is that Jacob was a
sinner justified by the atoning blood of Christ and Esau was a sinner
unjustified. Every man in the earth fits one of those descriptions.
"And the one people shall be stronger than the other
" This can be taken one of two ways. It can be said that Israel
as a nation was stronger than Edom as a nation and that is true. It can
also be said that God's elect people are stronger than those who are not
his elect people. In the eyes of God, those whom he chose have faith
and therefore have more strength with God that God has given them. This
also is correct.
"And the elder shall serve the younger." This seems to be a
direct reference that Edom was prophesied to serve Israel. This is
exactly what happened according to the history of the Old Testament