Genesis 25

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version

← Genesis 24   Genesis 26 →

1 Then again Abraham took a wife, and her name was Keturah.

2 And she bare him Zimran, and Jokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuah.

3 And Jokshan begat Sheba, and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Asshurim, and Letushim, and Leummim.

4 And the sons of Midian; Ephah, and Epher, and Hanoch, and Abida, and Eldaah. All these were the children of Keturah.

5 And Abraham gave all that he had unto Isaac.

6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country.

7 And these are the days of the years of Abraham's life which he lived, an hundred threescore and fifteen years.

8 Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.

9 And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre;

10 The field which Abraham purchased of the sons of Heth: there was Abraham buried, and Sarah his wife.

11 And it came to pass after the death of Abraham, that God blessed his son Isaac; and Isaac dwelt by the well Lahai-roi.

12 Now these are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham's son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah's handmaid, bare unto Abraham:

13 And these are the names of the sons of Ishmael, by their names, according to their generations: the firstborn of Ishmael, Nebajoth; and Kedar, and Adbeel, and Mibsam,

14 And Mishma, and Dumah, and Massa,

15 Hadar, and Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah:

16 These are the sons of Ishmael, and these are their names, by their towns, and by their castles; twelve princes according to their nations.

17 And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.

18 And they dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria: and he died in the presence of all his brethren.

19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham begat Isaac:

20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan-aram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.

21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.

23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

← Genesis 24   Genesis 26 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 115, 259, 1259, 1358, 1928, 1951, 2643, ...


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 331, 364, 406, 430, 659, 710

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

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Jeremiah 2:10

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Matthew 2

Luke 7, 3:34

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1 Corinthians 15:32

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

wife
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

Keturah
'Keturah,' as in Genesis 25:1, signifies divine truth spiritual, conjoined to divine good spiritual.

bare
'Small' refers to truth and 'round' refers to good.

Jokshan
Jokshan' signifies common lots of the Lord's spiritual kingdom.

Midian
'Simran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Jishbak, and Shuah,' as in Genesis 25:2, represent the general divisions of the Lord’s spiritual kingdom, in the heavens and in...

Ishbak
Ishbak' represents the common lots, or heritable divisions of the Lord's spiritual kingdom.

Shuah
'The daughter of Shuah' signifies evil, which is derived from falsity of evil.

begat
To beget or to be begotten is very similar in meaning to birth: It represents one spiritual state leading to the next spiritual state. "Beget,"...

Sheba
'Sheba, Havilah, Sabthah, Regmah, and Sabthecha,' the sons of Cush, as in Genesis 10:7, were several nations which were did not have internal worship, but...

Dedan
Dedan (Gen. 10) signifies the knowledges of celestial things of an inferior order, such as consist in ritual observances. Dedan, in Jer. 49:8 signifies rituals...

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

Letushim
'Letushim' signify varieties of faith.

Leummim
'Leummim' signify the good of faith and its varieties.

ephah
The Bible uses a somewhat dizzying array of unfamiliar measurement, leaving translators a choice between being accurate and confusing or inaccurate and clear. Since they...

Hanoch
'Hanoch' denotes those who are in the truth of faith.

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Isaac
'Isaac' represents spiritual love. 'Isaac,' in Genesis 17:19, signifies the rational divine. 'Isaac' signifies the Lord's divine rational in reference to divine good. Isaac' signifies...

Son
'A son,' as in Genesis 5:28, signifies the rise of a new church. 'Son,' as in Genesis 24:3, signifies the Lord’s rationality regarding good. 'A...

sons of the
The sons of the Javanites,' as in Joel 3:6, signify worship in externals, separate from the internal.

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

country
Generally in the Bible a "country" means a political subdivision ruled by a king, or sometimes a tribe with a territory ruled by a king...

days
"Day" describes a state in which we are turned toward the Lord, and are receiving light (which is truth) and heat (which is a desire...

life
According to Swedenborg, the Lord is life itself, and we are recipients of life. This is true even of the most evil spirits, who loved...

hundred
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

Fifteen
Fifteen, as in Genesis 7:20, signifies so few as to be scarce anything.

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

good
It seems rather circular to say that “good” in the Bible represents good, but in a general sense it’s true! The case is this: The...

old
Swedenborg tells us that space and time in the physical world correspond to states of life in the spiritual world. So when the Bible talks...

Age
“Age” is used in slightly different ways in natural language, and those differences are reflected in the word’s spiritual meanings. All the variations, though, reflect...

man
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

people
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

Ishmael
'Ishmael' represents the first rationality pertaining to the Lord. 'Ishmael' signifies rationality separate from good. 'Ishmael' signifies the Lord's merely human rational. Ishmael, in Genesis...

buried
'Being buried' or 'put into monuments' signifies resurrection and continuation of life.

cave of
'The cave of Makkedah,' as in Joshua 10:28, signifies dire falsity originating in evil.

Machpelah
'Macpelah,' as in Genesis 23:17, signifies regeneration by truth, which relates to faith.

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

Ephron
Ephron (Gen. 23:8, 17) signifies those with whom the good and truth of faith, which are the constituents of the church, might be received.

Hittite
'A Hittite' in a good sense, signifies the spiritual church, or the truth of the church. The Hittites were among the upright Gentiles who were...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

Heth
The daughters of Heth, as mentioned in Genesis 27:46, signify the affections of truth from a ground that is not genuine. Here they are the...

Sarah
'Sarah' denotes truth joined to good. Sarai was called 'Sarah' so she would represent the divine intellectual principle by adding the 'H' from the name...

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

came to pass
The phrase “it came to pass,” often also translated as “it happened,” generally indicates the end of one spiritual state and the beginning of a...

Pass
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

well
A pit,' or 'well which has no water,' as in Jeremiah 2:13, signifies doctrines which have no truths.

generations
To “generate” something is to create it, and that idea underpins the meaning of a “generation” of people – it is a group that was...

Hagar
Hagar, as mentioned in Genesis 16, signifies the affection of sciences of the outward self and also the life of the outer or natural self.

handmaid
'A handmaid' signifies the affection of rational and scientific things. 'A handmaid,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:3, signifies the affirming medium of conjoining inner truths...

names
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

firstborn
When the Bible talks about generations or birth order, the internal meaning has to do with the progression of spiritual states and their relative importance....

Kedar
'Kedar' or 'Arabia' signifies spiritual good. Kedar' denotes people of the Gentiles who are in simple truth. 'Arabia' signifies the same thing.

Mibsam
'Mibsam' means things pertaining to the spiritual church.

Massa
'Massa' signifies things pertaining to the spiritual church.

Hadar
Hadar represents things of the spiritual church.

Tema
'Tema' represents aspects of the spiritual church among the Gentiles.

Jetur
Jetur' represents the spiritual church among the gentiles.

Naphish
'Naphish' represents things in the spiritual church.

Kedemah
Kedemah' represents things of the spiritual church among the Gentiles.

Castles
(Gen. 25:17) signify the intellectual things of faith and of the church.

twelve
'Twelve' and 'twenty-four' signify everything, and refer to truths.

Nations
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

Thirty
'Thirty' has a twofold significance because it is is the product of five and six, and also three and ten. From five multiplied by six,...

Seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

Havilah
'Havilah,' as mentioned in Genesis 10:28, signifies a ritual of the church called Eber. 'The land of Havilah,' as mentioned in Genesis 2:11, signifies the...

Shur
'Shur,' or 'Assyria,' signifies the Lord's state when He first received instruction in matters of doctrine regarding charity and faith.

egypt
In the Bible, Egypt means knowledge and the love of knowledge. In a good sense that means knowledge of truth from the Lord through the...

goest
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

Brethren
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

forty
'Forty' means completeness because 'four' means what is complete, as does 'ten.' Forty is the product of four and ten. Compound numbers have a meaning...

daughter
Marriages among people – both in the Bible and in life – represent spiritual marriage. Women represent the desire to be good and to do...

Bethuel
Bethuel (Gen. 24), signifies the origin of the affection of good.

the Syrian
'Naaman, the Syrian,' as in 2 Kings 5:10, represents people who falsify the knowledges of truth and good from the Word. Naaman being healed of...

Padan-Aram
'Padan Aram,' as in Genesis 28:2, signifies the exterior knowledges of good and truth.

Sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

Laban
Laban' signifies the affection of good in the natural self, or the affection of external good, and properly collateral good of a common stock. The...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

Barren
"Sarai was barren, she had no child" (Gen 11:30), signifies that evil and falsity were not productive.

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

Womb
'Womb,' as in Genesis 49:25, signifies the conjunction of good and truth. The term 'belly' is used where truths are being discussed, and the term...

Bowels
Bowels (Exod. 25:33) signify scientific truths derived from the good of charity.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

elder
In general, things that are “elder” in the Bible represent spiritual states that come before others. For example, of the two sisters Jacob married, Leah...

serve
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

Younger
In general, birth order in the Bible reflects the progression of spiritual states, but the specifics of those states depends greatly on context: who the...

Fulfilled
When the Lord said that all things which were written concerning him were fulfilled, he meant that all things were fulfilled in their inmost sense.

Twins
'Twins in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:24, signifies that both good and truth, represented by Esau and Jacob, were conceived together.

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

over
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

Hairy garment
'A hairy garment' signifies the truth of natural ideals.

Garment
It is said, in Deuteronomy 22:11, "Thou shalt not wear a garment of diverse sorts; as of woolen and linen together…”. This means that the...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

Esau
Esau (Gen. 28:5, etc.) signifies the truth of good in the natural principle. Esau (Gen. 32:3) signifies celestial good in the natural principle.

brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

hand
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

hold
On a natural level, "clinging" to someone clearly indicates a desire to be close to them and conjoined with them. It often has a negative...

Heel
'The heel' signifies natural things of the lowest order. 'The heel which the serpent should bruise,' as mentioned in Genesis 3:15, signifies the lowest natural...

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

cunning
'A skilled man' relates to the affection of truth, or people in the affection of truth.

man of the
'The man of the right hand,' as in Psalm 80:17, signifies the Lord with respect to the Word. He is called 'the man of the...

Plain
'A plain' signifies good and truth in the natural self, because 'the people who dwell in plains,' or 'beneath mountains and hills' are in the...

dwelling
Many people were nomadic in Biblical times, especially the times of the Old Testament, and lived in tents that could be struck, moved and re-raised...

Tents
'Ohalim' or 'tabernacles' signify the holy part of what is good.

loved
To some degree, there really is no spiritual meaning to the word “love” in the Bible. Why? Because if you truly love another, that is...

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

Venison
'Venison,' as in Genesis 26:2, signifies the truth of the natural which the good of life comes from.

feed
When the Bible talks about "feeding" it is generally referring to instruction in spiritual things – teaching people the true concepts that can lead them...

Edom
'Edom' or 'Idumea,' as in Isaiah 34:5, signifies those who are in evil and in falsities thence derived.

Sell
'To sell,' as in Genesis 41:56, means transferring to another as their own, because what is sold becomes the property of the one who buys...

die
Death in the Bible represents spiritual death, or the destruction of everything that is good and all true beliefs in someone. This happens when people...

Sware
'To sware' is a binding. 'To sware' is a binding.

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

drink
Food in the Bible represents the desire for good, and water and other drinks represent the understanding and true ideas we need to recognize what...

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

Way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Birth of Jacob and Esau, Jacob Steals Esau's Blessing
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jacob and Esau
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Jacob and Esau
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 Jacob and Esau
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18

 Jacob and Esau - Good from Difficult Experiences
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Jacob and Esau - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Esau selling his birthright to Jacob, make a collage showing that the Lord loves everyone, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob and Esau - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob stealing Esau's blessing, make a pictorial chart showing the differences between Jacob and Esau, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jacob and Esau - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: head or heart role play, map activity on the peaks and valleys of Canaan, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Jacob and Esau - Level D
Complete lesson with activity choices: mask making activity on unmasking our hidden potential, philosopher's chair activity on which is more important--the will or the understanding, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 15 - 17

 Overview of Jacob and Esau Levels A B C D for ages 3-18
An overview of the Youth Journey Program "Jacob and Esau", Levels A, B, D, and D, for ages 3-18.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 18

 Work for the Ideal
Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18


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