36 1 These are the begettings of Esau, that is, Edom. 2 Esau took his wives from the women of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, Oholibamah the daughter of Anah son of Zibeon the Hittite, 3 and Basemath the daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. 4 Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, 5 and Oholibamah gave birth to Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sons of Esau born to him in the land of Canaan.
6 Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, persons of his household, his livestock, his cattle, and everything he had acquired in the land of Canaan and went to another land away from Canaan and from Jacob his brother 7 for their property was so great that they couldn’t settle together. The land of their sojourning couldn’t support all of their livestock. 8 So Esau settled in the high country of Seir—Esau, that is, Edom.
9 These are the begettings of Esau, the tribal-father of Edom, which lies in the mountains of Seir. 10 These are the names of Edom’s sons: Eliphaz son of Adah, Esau’s wife, and Reuel son of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, son of Esau, and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife. 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 14 These are the sons of Esau’s wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah, son of Zibeon: she bore to Esau, Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
15 These are the tribal chiefs from the sons of Esau: The sons of Eliphaz, firstborn of Esau: chieftain Teman, chieftain Omar, chieftain Zepho, chieftain Kenaz, 16 chieftain Korah, chieftain Gatam, and chieftain Amalek. These are the tribal chiefs of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah. 17 These are the sons of Reuel, son of Esau: chieftain Nahath, chieftain Zerah, chieftain Shammah, and chieftain Mizzah. These are the tribal chiefs of Reuel in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife.18 These are the sons of Oholibamah, Esau’s wife: chieftain Jeush, chieftain Jalam, and chieftain Korah. They are the tribal chiefs of Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. 19 These are the sons of Esau, that is Edom, and these are their tribal chiefs.
20 These were the sons of Seir, the Horite, who had settled in the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. These were the Horite tribal chiefs, sons of Seir, in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Heman, and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23 These were the sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. Anah is the one who found water in the desert while pasturing the donkeys of his father, Zibeon. 25 These are the children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah, daughter of Anah. 26 These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 27 These are the sons of Ezer: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uz and Aran.29 These are the Horite tribal chiefs: chieftain Lotan, chieftain Shobal, chieftain Zibeon, chieftain Anah, 30 chieftain Dishon, chieftain Ezer, and chieftain Dishan. These are the Horite tribal chiefs, listed according to their clans in the land of Seir.
31 These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Israelites. 32 Bela, son of Beor, reigned in Edom and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah from Bozrah reigned as king. 34 When Jobab died, Husham from the land of the Temanite reigned as king. 35 When Husham died, Hadad, son of Bedad, who struck down Midian in the land of Moab, became king and the name of his city was Avith. 36 When Hadad died, Samlah from Masrekah reigned as king. 37 When Samlah died, Shaul from Rehoboth-on-the-river reigned as king. 38 After Shaul died, Baal-Hanan, son of Achbor, reigned as king.39 When Baal-Hanan, Achbor’s son, died, Hadar reigned as king and the name of his city was Pau and the name of his wife was Mehetabel, daughter of Matred, daughter of Me-Zahab.
40 These are the names of Esau’s tribal chiefs according to their clans, their places, and their names: tribal chief of Timna, chieftain Alvah, chieftain Jetheth, 41 tribal chief of Oholibamah, chieftain Elah, chieftain Pinon, 42 chieftain Kenaz, chieftain Teman, chieftain Mibzar, 43 chieftain Magdiel, and chieftain Iram. These are the tribal chiefs of Edom according to their settlements in the land they held. That is Esau, the tribal father of Edom.
Ishmael’s tribes are twelve (36:12–15). Esau’s tribes are twelve (36:15–19). A pattern is established that prepares us for Jacob/Israel also having twelve tribes based on his twelve sons (35:23–26). Though, there will be a significant wrinkle regarding one of them who will not have a tribe named after him.
One difference that privileges the twelve tribes of Israel is that the mothers are from the extended family of Terah and their slavegirls. The “purity” of the line of mothers is as much a factor as G*D’s preference of Isaac over Ishmael and Jacob over Esau. If G*D is on your side, as well as your mother, that is a hard duo to beat.
Within the list of Esau’s chieftain descendants is Amalek. If he is counted, there are thirteen tribes. Note has been made of his mother being a concubine of Esau’s, not a primary wife or a designated wife through a primary wife. With such a mother, Amalek is subtracted from the list, making it twelve.
From the view of history, the tribe of Amalek became a hereditary enemy of Israel—the Amaleks are consistently antagonistic toward Israel. This is distinguished from the other Edomites (Esauians?) who had a variety of relationships with Israel, depending on the time and situation.
There are echoes in this genealogy (36:6–8) of the separation between Abram and Lot (13:5–12). The separation is not only biologic (mothers) or theologic (G*D’s preference), but economic, (land).
The larger setting of Edom includes other peoples. One of these is the Horites or Hittites, who came from what we would identify as Armenia. Their names indicated their assimilation with others in the land of Edom.
Of interest is the noting of Anah who found water in the wilderness. This indicates values beyond bloodlines may be involved with tribal leadership.
Readers also note here that there were “kings” in Edom before the Israelites begin to have kings over them.
Verses 40–43 appear to be from a different list of tribal leaders. This mixing of records is in keeping with the editorial practices of the time.