If the world began with two people, where did everybody else come from? On several occasions thus far, the ancestry of the world has been presented and now, of course, everyone is a descendant of Noah. In this chapter, God takes note of some who will figure prominently in the history of Israel. There are the descendants of Keturah, Abraham’s second wife. These receive an inheritance of Abraham and move away, but we shall meet at least some of them again. Ishmael, Abraham’s son by Hagar, Sarah’s maid-servant, is blessed by God and becomes the father of twelve tribes – the Arab peoples, but they are hostile to everyone – including Israel.
Chapter 25 completes the transition from the story of Abraham to the story of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, The heart of the chapter is actually in the last verse. Isaac and Rebekah have twin boys who have difficulty in getting along even while in the womb. Esau, the eldest of the twins is an earthy fellow who wants what he wants when he wants it – never mind the consequences. Though he is the legitimate heir as the firstborn, he trades away his birthright for a bowl of soup and becomes the poster boy for people who make rash and unspiritual choices.
Verse 23 of chapter 25 does not say that God determined to make the younger boy the heir of God’s blessings. It simply implies that’s the way it would be. I believe Esau’s birthright was his to throw away . . . and throw it away he did.
The message for Israel is plain: She constitutes the “people of God’s inheritance.” She can choose to value her birthright, or despise it and trade it all away for things of terminal value. Unfortunately, as the history unfolds, Israel constantly follows in the footsteps of Esau.
As the people of God today, Christians, unfortunately, do the same thing.