Genesis 25-26 Abraham was gathered to his people

From Genesis 25-26

01 Genesis thumbIn today’s post Abraham dies and we see what happens to his surrounding family. After Abraham died God blessed Isaac his son. What is are the blessings of God? Through Genesis God has been blessing Abraham and his family. There is a blessing that runs through Abraham’s line all the way to Jesus. Jesus himself pronounces blessings on his people. Have you been blessed?

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Abraham’s wife Sarah has died. Isaac is his firstborn. During Abraham’s life he took a concubine to be his wife. Through their union he has more children. Today’s post has a couple genealogies.

01 Abrahams family tree (Wood D. R. W. Marshall, I. H. 1996. In New Bible dictionary 3rd ed. Leicester, England Downers Grove, IL InterVarsity Press)

25 Abraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah. 2 She bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah.

3 Jokshan fathered Sheba and Dedan. The sons of Dedan were Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim.

4 The sons of Midian were Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.

All these were the children of Keturah.

5 Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. 6 But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country. (Gen 25:1–6)

Isaac wasn’t Abraham’s only child. God remained faithful to his promise to Abraham to give him offspring. He blessed Abraham with more children through Keturah his concubine (Gen 25.6; 1 Chr 1.32-33).

All of Abraham’s possessions went to Isaac, his firstborn. He will receive more.

01-abraham-gathered-to-his-people7 These are the days of the years of Abraham’s life, 175 years. 8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his people.

9 Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre, 10 the field that Abraham purchased from the Hittites. There Abraham was buried, with Sarah his wife.

11 After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi. (Gen 25:7–11)

Abraham had a good life, he lived 175 years.

Living to a ‘good old age’ and being ‘full of years’ is seen to be a blessing of God (cf. Pr 16.31; Isa 65.20). We idolise youth too much to value long life in the west.

Abraham is ‘gathered to his people’ (cf. Gen 35.29; 49.29,33; Num 20.26; 27.13; 31.2; Dt 32.50). Sounds like when someone returns home. The expression is associated with those who die. We will see below it doesn’t always apply to God’s chosen people either (Gen 25.17). It could refer to the afterlife. It could also mean his people gather around him when he dies, as we see even Ishmael has come to bury him. It could also mean he is buried at the family burial plot. Here with Sarah.

Isaac received his blessing as well. He received it directly from God. Isaac will pass it on to Jacob (his future son) himself. The blessing is immensely important for the line of Israel and Judah. The blessing carries the covenant and promises of God (Gen 12,15,17).

The author gives a brief genealogy of Ishmael’s line before continuing with the children of the promise (cf. Gal 4.21-31).

12 These are the generations of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, whom Hagar the Egyptian, Sarah’s servant, bore to Abraham.

13 These are the names of the sons of Ishmael, named in the order of their birth: Nebaioth, the firstborn of Ishmael; and Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah.

16 These are the sons of Ishmael and these are their names, by their villages and by their encampments, twelve princes according to their tribes.

17 (These are the years of the life of Ishmael: 137 years. He breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people.)

18 They settled from Havilah to Shur, which is opposite Egypt in the direction of Assyria. He settled over against all his kinsmen. (Gen 25:12–18)

“The genealogy of Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn, provides the author of Genesis another opportunity to show God’s faithfulness to his promises. The passage recalls the angel’s assurance to a tormented Hagar (Gen 16:10–12; cf. 21:18) and the Lord’s promise to a distressed Abraham (17:20b). Elsewhere too the author gives the lineage of the rejected son(s) before continuing with the appointed successor (e.g., Cain/Seth; Japheth and Ham/Shem).” (Mathews, K. A. (2005). Genesis 11:27–50:26 (Vol. 1B, p. 357). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.)

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

God blessed Abraham (Gen 12.1-3), God blessed Isaac his son (Gen 25.11; 26.3f), Isaac blessed Jacob his son (Gen 27.27-30) and Jacob blessed Judah (Gen 49.8-12).

The passed on blessing is significant. The person blessed will come under the covenant God made to Abraham and his offspring. He will be protected by the LORD. He will have offspring. The LORD will provide for him and look after his family. He and his family will inherit the promised land.

Beyond Genesis, the blessing is rarely mentioned. Quietly it passed on through the line of Judah to David and finally to Jesus.

Story of Jesus

In Jesus we see the fulfillment of the covenant promises of God. He also blesses people. But his blessing takes another form.

5 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Mt 5:1–13)

These blessings of the kingdom console, exhort and promise a bright future. Everyone in Jesus family has been blessed for the sheer fact of knowing him, experiencing his love and being saved.

Our God is one who blesses.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.