Summary: God directs world events and gives to the righteous and the wicked according to His own purposes but still judges the inward man and remains faithful to the heirs of the covenant.
Genesis 36 is one of those passages that most people skip over with a quick glance. It’s not only a long list of names; it’s also the last chapter standing in the way of chapter 37 and the life of Joseph. But as eager as we may be to move on to the best part of Genesis, we have to remember that this chapter also is for our learning and it would be a mistake to ignore it.
To begin let’s outline the entire passage into manageable chunks:
Esau’s wives, children, and possessions (:1-14)
Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. 2Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; 3And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. 4And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; 5And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan. 6And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. 7For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. 8Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom. 9And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: 10These are the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. 11And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. 12And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife. 13And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. 14And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah.
Esau’s grandchildren (:15-19)
15These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, 16Duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah. 17And these are the sons of Reuel Esau’s son; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. 18And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau’s wife; duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. 19These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes.
Seir the Horite’s children and grandchildren (:20-39)
20These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, 21And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom. 22And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. 25And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah. 26And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran. 27The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan. 28The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran. 29These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah, 30Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir. 31And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. 32And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. 34And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. 35And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith. 36And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. 37And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. 38And Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead. 39And Baalhanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab.