Notable Names in Esau’s Genealogy (Genesis 36:9)

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“These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of [c]the Edomites in the hill country of Seir”

Thus begins a long list of names and places and children and grandchildren of Esau. If you’ve reached this point in the book of Genesis, it would probably be very tempting to just skip to Genesis 37, where Joseph gets sold into slavery.

Don’t do that, though! Genealogies are important! They give background data and important information!

Or, at least, that’s what I’ve been told.

Truth be told, genealogies anywhere in the Bible are gold mines for creating depth to your Bible reading. They can be dry, to be sure, but they’re also relevant to thousands of other passages in Scripture.

Take Genesis 36:11-12. In those two verses, we find out that Esau had a child named Eliphaz, who, in turn, had a child named Teman (among other kids). No big deal, right?

Not unless you remember that one of Job’s friends in Job 2:11 was named Eliphaz the Temanite! And, since people were fond of naming towns after themselves or someone they were close to, it stands to reason that Eliphaz could have founded the town of Teman and named it after his son. That would make him “Eliphaz the Temanite.”

That would mean that one of Job’s friends who consoled him in Job 2 was the direct son of Esau, and the nephew of Jacob.

That may sound like a crazy conspiracy theory —- and, to be fair, there’s no direct proof backing it up — but there’s at least a kernel of truth there. Job is regarded by many scholars to be a pre-Mosaic book, so the dates of this Eliphaz and that Eliphaz aren’t as far apart as you may think. 

Consider also the name of Amalek in Genesis 36:12, 16. Most Bible students are probably at least somewhat familiar with that name, since the descendants of Amalek are Israel’s enemies for nearly the entirety of the Old Testament. 

The Amalekites are the ones who attack Israel immediately after they left Egypt (Exodus 17). They destroy the town of Ziklag in King David’s absence (1 Samuel 30). And it is the Amalekites who God tells Saul to “utterly destroy” in 1 Samuel 15

All of that pain and suffering begins with the lineage of Esau in Genesis 36.

So next time, before you skip right past the genealogies and brush them off as “irrelevant” to a modern-day audience, think again. You may just be missing out on some vital background info to major Bible stories down the road.