Pristine Grace

Gen 25:21-26, (GILL)
21  And Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife,.... Was very earnest and constant in his supplications for her, as the word signifies, as is observed by Jarchi; or, "before his wife" [a], she being present, and joining with him in his prayers: the reason was,

because she [was] barren; which appeared by the length of time they had been married, which was near twenty years, see Ge 25:26. The Jewish writers [b] say, that, after twenty years, Isaac took her and went with her to Mount Moriah, to the place where he was bound, and prayed that she might conceive; putting the Lord in mind of the promise he there made of the multiplication of Abraham's seed, Ge 22:17:

and the Lord was entreated of him; he granted him his request; for, though God has purposed and promised to do many things for his people, yet he will be sought unto by them to do them for them:

and Rebekah his wife conceived; two sons at once, as it follows.

[a] wtva xknl "praesente uxore sua", Munster, Fagins. [b] Pirke Eliezer, c. 32. Targum. Jon. in loc. Shalshalet Hakabala, fol. 3. 1.

22  And the children struggled together within her,.... When she was quick with child: this was some time before her delivery, and was not a common and ordinary motion felt by women in such circumstances, but an extraordinary one; the two children in her strove with each other, as if it was for mastery, or who should get out first before the proper time; which not only gave her great uneasiness of mind, but pain of body: this was an emblem of the future difference between those two children, Esau and Jacob, and of the contentions that would be between their respective offspring, and of the enmity and war between good and bad men in all ages, and of the conflict between flesh and spirit in all good men:

and she said, if [it be] so, why [am] I thus? that is, either if it be so with me as is not with others in the like condition; for, as Aben Ezra suggests, she had inquired of other women, whether it had ever been so with them, and they replied, no: then, says she, how comes it to pass that it should be different with me from others? or, if those children by struggling should kill one another, or be abortive and kill me, why should I have been so desirous of conception? or prayed for it, as Jarchi observes? or, if so it is, and this will be the case, "why am I thus" [c]? this unhappy woman, to be in such circumstances, to endure so much pain, and to no purpose? why have I conceived and carried my burden so long, and at last cannot be delivered, or bring forth a live child? all my prayers and pains have been in vain:

and she went to inquire of the Lord; to the school of Shem the great, say the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem, and so Jarchi: the Arabic writers say [d], she inquired of Melchizedek; and, according to Aben Ezra, of some prophet, or of Abraham, who lived fifteen years after this event: and indeed, if she inquired of any particular person of note for religion, and as a prophet, there is none so likely as he, who was the friend of God, and had great intimacy with him, and to whom he revealed his secrets. But perhaps no more is meant by it, than that she went either to some proper and private place, and prayed unto the Lord that he would show her the reason of what had happened unto her; or to some public place of worship, and where prayer was wont to be made, and where she inquired by means of such as were engaged therein concerning this matter; see Ps 73:17.

[c] ykna hz hml "eur ego hoc?" Tigurine version, Montanus, Fagius. [d] Patricides, apud Hottinger, Smegma Oriental. p. 335. Abulpharag. Hist. Dynast. p. 15.

23  And the Lord said unto her,.... Either by one or other of the above persons she acquainted with this affair, and entreated to seek the Lord for her; or by an impulse upon her own mind:

two nations [are] in thy womb; or two persons, from whom two nations will spring, the Edomites and Israelites, the one from Esau, the other from Jacob:

and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; different in their bodies, complexions, manner of life, religion, as well as place of abode:

and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people: the Edomites, the posterity of Esau, were a very potent people, and had a succession of dukes and kings, before the Israelites, the posterity of Jacob, made any figure in the world, and while they were slaves in Egypt, see Ge 36:1; though in later times the Israelites became the stronger:

and the elder, or "greater",

shall serve the younger, or "lesser": the offspring of Esau, the eldest, should become tributary to the posterity of Jacob, the younger; which was verified in the times of David, when the Edomites were subdued by him, 2Sa 8:14; and still more in the times of Hyrcanus, when the Edomites or Idumeans became one people with the Jews, and embraced their religion [e], rather than to be dispossessed of their country; and will have a further accomplishment in the latter day, when the prophecies in Ob 1:18 shall be fulfilled. Of the use which the Apostle Paul makes of this passage, See Gill on "Ro 9:11",See Gill on "Ro 9:12".

[e] Joseph. Antiqu. l. 13. c. 9. sect. 1.

24  And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled,.... The nine months were up from the time of her conception; or, as the Targum of Jonathan, when the two hundred and seventy days she went with child were completed:

behold, [there were] twins in her womb; as was perceived by the midwife; a double mercy was granted, more given than asked for; probably only one child was asked for, but two given.

25  And the first came out red,.... Either his body, or rather the hair it was covered with, red; which was a sign, as Jarchi observes, that he would be a shedder of blood, fierce and cruel as were he and his posterity:

all over like an hairy garment; his body was all over full of hair, which stood as thick as a garment made of hair, and was a sign of the roughness of his disposition, as well as of the strength of his body:

and they called his name Esau; his parents, and those present at his birth, all that saw him thus covered with hair; for he had his name not from the colour of his body or hair; for the word does not signify "red", but comes from a word which signifies "to make", he being a "maker": that made his way out before his brother, or an active man as afterwards, or because of his hair was "made" or born more like a man than a child; and so the Targum adds,

"because he was wholly perfect, with the hair of his head and beard, and with his teeth and grinders:''

but chiefly because of his hairiness, for Esau in the Arabic language signifies "covered" [f], as he was with hair: some say, a word in that language signifies a hairy garment made of camel's hair [g].

[f] "texit", "operuit", Castel. col. 2930. [g] Vid. Stockium. p. 923.

26  And after that came his brother out,.... Out of his mother's womb, either by his own strength, or by the help of the midwife:

and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; to pluck him back and get out first; and this was not casual, but was so ordered in Providence, and had a meaning and mystery in it:

and his name was called Jacob; by his parents and others, and that for the above reason, because he took his brother by the heel, which his name has the signification of, and Esau has respect to in Ge 27:36:

and Isaac [was] threescore years old when she bare them; and so it was twenty years after he had been married to her; so long was his faith tried and exercised about the promised seed that was to spring from him.

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