36:1 What follows is the account of Esau (also known as Edom).1
sn Chapter 36 records what became of Esau. It will list both his actual descendants as well as the people he subsumed under his tribal leadership, people who were aboriginal Edomites. The chapter is long and complicated (see further J. R. Bartlett, “The Edomite King-List of Genesis 36:31–39 and 1 Chronicles 1:43–50,” JTS 16 : 301–14; and W. J. Horowitz, “Were There Twelve Horite Tribes?” CBQ 35 : 69–71). In the format of the Book of Genesis, the line of Esau is “tidied up” before the account of Jacob is traced (37:2). As such the arrangement makes a strong contrast with Jacob. As F. Delitzsch says, “secular greatness in general grows up far more rapidly than spiritual greatness” (New Commentary on Genesis, 2:238). In other words, the progress of the world far out distances the progress of the righteous who are waiting for the promise.