Genesis Study #9

Bible Class – Study #9 (Gen 24-25) – Notes and Discussion questions

Genesis Study #9: The foundation of Isaac’s family
Main passage of study: Gen 24:1 – 25:34

Related passages For:
Pt A: Ge 15:2, 17:8, 21:5, 25:20, 26:34-5, 28:1, 47:29; Ex 23:20; Mt 22:2; 2Co 6:14; Eph 1:3
Pt B: Ge 22:23; Ex 2:16; Jdg 18:5; Ru 4:14; 1Sa 9:11; Ps 118:25; Pro 3:6; Is 65:24; Jn 4:7
Pt C: Ge 29:5, 31:24; Nu 10:30; Jn 14:26; 15:26, 16:13-14; 1Jn 4:2
Pt D: Ge 16:14, 22:17; Ps 1:2, 45:10; Song 2:10; Mk 6:30; Jn 3:29; Re 21:9
Pt E: Ge 17:20, 20:1, 37:27-8; Nu 31:8; Jdg 8:22-26; 1Ch 1:32; Is 21:11-14, 60:6-7; Jn 3:35; Ro 8:17; He 1:2
Pt F: Ge 10:9, 36:31; 1Sa 1:27; 2Ki 8:20; Ho 12:3; Am 1:11; Mal 1:2-3; Ro 7:22-23, 9:10-13; He 11:9
Pt G: Ge 27:36; Pro 13:25; 1Co 15:32; He 12:16

Outline & Notes

A. A servant’s pledge – Genesis 24:1-9
    a. Abraham’s conditions – Genesis 24:1-4
    b. The servant’s concerns – Genesis 24:5-6
    c. Abraham’s confidence – Genesis 24:7-8
    d. The servant’s commitment – Genesis 24:9
B. A servant’s prosperity – Genesis 24:10-27
    a. The safe arrival – Genesis 24:10-11
    b. The specific ask – Genesis 24:12-14
    c. The speedy answer – Genesis 24:15-20
    d. The subsequent assurance – Genesis 24:21-25
    e. The suitable acknowledgement – Genesis 24:26-27
C. A servant’s plea – Genesis 24:28-58
    a. The introduction – Genesis 24:28-32
    b. The information – Genesis 24:33-49
    c. The interaction – Genesis 24:50-53
    d. The indecision – Genesis 24:54-55
    e. The insistence – Genesis 24:56-58
D. A servant’s presentation – Genesis 24:59-67
    a. A parting blessing – Genesis 24:59-61
    b. A praying bridegroom – Genesis 24:62-63
    c. A prepared bride – Genesis 24:64-65
    d. A precious bond – Genesis 24:66-67
E. A final breath – Genesis 25:1-18
    a. For Abraham
        i. Abraham’s descendants – Genesis 25:1-4
        ii. Abraham’s distinction – Genesis 25:5-6
        iii. Abraham’s days – Genesis 25:7
        iv. Abraham’s death – Genesis 25:8
        v. Abraham’s deposition in Machpelah – Genesis 25:9-10
    b. For Ishmael
        i. The settling of Isaac – Genesis 25:11
        ii. The sons of Ishmael – Genesis 25:12-16
        iii. The last of Ishmael – Genesis 25:17
        iv. The lands of Ishmael – Genesis 25:18
F. A foreshadowing birth – Genesis 25:19-28
    a. Isaac’s supplication – Genesis 25:19-21
    b. Internal struggle – Genesis 25:22-24
    c. Distinction in personal identification – Genesis 25:25-26
    d. Distinction in personal disposition – Genesis 25:27
    e. Distinction in personal attention – Genesis 25:28
G. A forfeited blessing – Genesis 25:29-34
    a. Esau’s exhaustion – Genesis 25:29-30
    b. Jacob’s exploitation – Genesis 25:31-32
    c. Esau’s exchange – Genesis 25:33-34

Abraham’s last great exercise before the end of his pilgrimage here below was to see his beloved Isaac united in marriage so that the Lord’s promises to him might proceed to the next stage of fulfilment in the establishment of Isaac’s family. The longest chapter in Genesis gives us this beautiful account, filled with pictures of God the Father’s designs to secure a bride for His own beloved Son. Then in chapter 25, the narrative gives us a summary of Abraham’s offspring by Keturah and then the earthly terminus of his remarkable journey of faith with the God who called him out of Ur. The descendants and death of Ishmael clears the stage for Isaac’s family with contrasting twin boys whose rivalry will lead to the prominence of yet another younger son, and the man who will be established as Israel, a prince with God.

Textual notes
● We are told that Abraham is “well advanced in age” in Genesis 24:1 but Genesis 25:20 tells us that Isaac was 40 when he took Rebekah as a wife, so Abraham must have been 140 years old.
● The “putting the hand under the thigh” (Genesis 24:2) was a way to make a binding and solemn oath.
● In Genesis 24:33, the servant says, “I will not eat until I have told about my errand.” It would have been customary to first share a meal with a visitor so this insistence by the servant indicates the importance of his business.
● In Genesis 24:50, when it says that Laban and Bethuel answered, the verb is in the singular, which would seem to indicate that Laban answered for both himself and his father. In Genesis 24:53, the servant gives gifts to Rebekah, to Laban and her mother but no mention is made of her father. So based on this, some think that Bethuel had already died or that he was absent at the time.
● Beer-lahai-roi (Genesis 24:62) is the well where the angel of the LORD met Hagar when she fled in Genesis 16:14. As we saw, the name means “well of the living one who sees”. It is the place that we are told Isaac settled in Genesis 25:11.
● In Genesis 25:1, we read that Abraham took a wife named Keturah. 1Ch 1:32 calls her a concubine. So she may well have been what has been termed a secondary wife who would not have had the household status that Sarah had, with her own servants and resources. The word for ‘wife’, incidentally, as throughout the OT, is just the normal word for ‘woman’.
● The name Esau means ‘hairy’, whereas Jacob means ‘supplanter’ or ‘heel catcher’.

Discussion questions

1. Why do you think that Abraham did not want his servant to take Isaac with him to find a bride? Would that not have been much simpler?
2. What is significant about the servant’s prayer when he arrives at the well in Genesis 24:12-14?

3. Does the servant’s prayer in Genesis 24:12-14 represent a model for us to follow? Should we test God in this way? How should we determine the will of God in specific situations?

4. Abraham’s servant is a beautiful type of the Spirit of God in Gen 24. Which details in the chapter allow us to appreciate this?

5. Which characteristics of the servant, evident in the chapter, have something to teach us about winning souls?

6. What lessons can we learn from the meeting between Isaac and Rebekah at the end of the chapter?

7. What can we learn from the distinction that Abraham made between Isaac and his other sons?

8. Note that in Genesis 25:8, the words ‘of years’ are not in the original text. So we could read it “Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full”. In what ways could we say that Abraham died as a “full” old man?

9. God had made and kept the promise to Abraham regarding his seed but we have not yet read of God making this promise to Isaac directly. Why then do you think that Rebekah had 20 years of barrenness? What were Isaac & Rebekah to learn from this?

10. How are the twins within the womb of Rebekah a picture of the two natures within the believer?

11. Esau was clearly a man controlled by his physical appetites. What does the New Testament have to say about controlling our physical appetites rather than the other way around?

12. Who is morally to blame in the account of Esau selling his birthright, as God’s will for Jacob to receive the greater blessing in the end would be realised?