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Ole Copycat Esau Married the Daughter of Ishmael

Esau Observed Jacob’s Parental Obedience: Esau, the firstborn son of Isaac and Rebekah, saw his younger brother listen to his mother and father in counsel regarding marriage. It spurred him to take somewhat obedient actions in honor and respect of his father, Isaac.

Genesis 28:6-9 KJV

[6] When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;

[7] And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram; [8] Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; [9] Then went Esau unto Ishmael and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

Brief Comments

When Esau observed that Jacob listened to his parents and obeyed not taking a wife of Canaan, he decided to make a move. Esau saw his father Isaac blessed Jacob and sent him to Padanaram to find a wife from there.

Esau also observed that Isaac blessed Jacob, gave him a charge not to marry the daughters of Canaan. Most of all, Esau observed that Jacob obeyed his father and mother and went. Most young men would have done as Esau did, crying, murmuring, and bickering that they should be able to marry whomever they want.

Love is spontaneous right? Jacob obeyed and set out to Pandanaram of Syria. Esau finally got it; the daughters of Canaan do not please my father (he did care what his mother thought). He wasn’t about to go to Padanaram, but he went to the next closest relative; Ishmael.

Mahalath the Daughter of Ishmael

Esau wedded a daughter of Ishmael named Mahalath. Obviously, she wasn’t from the seed of Ham or Canaan, but directly from Abraham, his grandfather. Mahalath was the sister of Nebajoth (Genesis 25:13), Ishmael’s first son.

This was simply a ploy to make his father, Isaac, whom he loved, happy with him. It’s an olive branch of sorts to get in good on the blessings!

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  1. Beverly McGill Beverly McGill

    Ishmael’s mother Hagar was Egyptian, therefore from the lineage of Ham. So, Mahalath carried a mixed seed of Seth and Ham.

    • Hi Sis Beverly, you are correct, but Mahalath, being a daughter of Ishmael makes her the seed of Seth also, because Ishmael is the son of Abraham. A child belongs to the lineage of his or her father, although Ishmael’s mother was Egyptian and thus Ham, Ishmael would be considered a Hebrew. Therefore, Mahalath would also be a Hebrew who married Esau, who is a Hebrew. I pray this makes sense.

      Elder Ishe

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