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That's how God created the heavens and the earth.

The Garden of Eden

When the Lord God made the heavens and the earth, no grass or plants were growing anywhere. God had not yet sent any rain, and there was no one to work the land. But streams[a] came up from the ground and watered the earth.

(A) The Lord God took some soil from the ground and made a man.[b] God breathed life into the man, and the man started breathing. The Lord made a garden in a place called Eden, which was in the east, and he put the man there.

(B) The Lord God filled the garden with all kinds of beautiful trees and fruit trees. Two other trees were in the middle of the garden. One of these gave life—the other gave the wisdom to know the difference between right and wrong.

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  1. 2.6 streams: Or “mist.”
  2. 2.7 man: In Hebrew “man” comes from the same word as “ground.”

15 The Lord God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it. 16 But the Lord told him, “You may eat fruit from any tree in the garden, 17 except the one that has the power to let you know the difference between right and wrong. If you eat any fruit from that tree, you will die before the day is over!”

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Abraham Marries Keturah

25 Abraham married Keturah, and they had six sons: Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Later, Jokshan became the father of Sheba and Dedan, and when Dedan grew up, he had three sons: Asshurim, Letushim, and Leummim. Midian also had five sons: Ephah, Epher, Hanoch, Abida, and Eldaah.

5-6 While Abraham was still alive, he gave gifts to the sons of Hagar and Keturah. He also sent their sons to live in the east far from his son Isaac, and when Abraham died, he left everything to Isaac.

The Death of Abraham

7-8 Abraham died at the ripe old age of 175. 9-10 (A) His sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him east of Hebron[a] in Machpelah Cave that was part of the field Abraham had bought from Ephron son of Zohar the Hittite. Abraham was buried there beside his wife Sarah. 11 God blessed Isaac after this, and Isaac moved to a place called “The Well of the Living One Who Sees Me.”[b]

Ishmael's Descendants

12 Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar, the slave woman of Sarah. 13 Ishmael had twelve sons, in this order: Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, 14 Mishma, Dumah, Massa, 15 Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish, and Kedemah. 16 Each of Ishmael's sons was a tribal chief, and a village was named after each of them.

17-18 Ishmael had settled in the land east of his brothers, and his sons[c] settled everywhere from Havilah to Shur, east of Egypt on the way to Asshur.[d] Ishmael was 137 when he died.

The Birth of Esau and Jacob

19 Isaac was the son of Abraham, 20 and he was 40 years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel. She was also the sister of Laban, the Aramean from northern Syria.[e]

Almost 20 years later, 21 Rebekah still had no children. So Isaac asked the Lord to let her have a child, and the Lord answered his prayer.

22 Before Rebekah gave birth, she knew she was going to have twins, because she could feel them inside her, fighting each other. She thought, “Why is this happening to me?” Finally, she asked the Lord why her twins were fighting, 23 (B) and he told her:

“Your two sons will become
    two separate nations.[f]
The younger of the two
    will be stronger,
and the older son
    will be his servant.”

24 When Rebekah gave birth, 25 the first baby was covered with red hair, so he was named Esau.[g] 26 The second baby grabbed on to his brother's heel, so they named him Jacob.[h] Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.

Esau Sells His Rights as the First-Born Son

27 As Jacob and Esau grew older, Esau liked the outdoors and became a good hunter, while Jacob lived the quiet life of a shepherd.[i] 28 Esau would take the meat of wild animals to his father Isaac, so Isaac loved him more, but Jacob was his mother's favorite son.

29 One day, when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came home hungry 30 and said, “I'm starving to death! Here and now give me some of that red stew!” That's how Esau got the name “Edom.”[j]

31 Jacob replied, “Sell me your rights as the first-born son.”[k]

32 “I'm about to die,” Esau answered. “What good will those rights do me?”

33 (C) But Jacob said, “Promise me your birthrights, here and now!” And that's what Esau did. 34 Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the first-born.


  1. 25.9,10 Hebron: See the note at 23.16-18.
  2. 25.11 The Well … Sees Me: Or “Beer-Lahai-Roi,” (see 16.14).
  3. 25.17,18 sons: Or “descendants.”
  4. 25.17,18 Havilah to Shur … Asshur: The exact location of these places is not known.
  5. 25.20 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
  6. 25.23 two separate nations: Or “two nations always in conflict.”
  7. 25.25 Esau: In Hebrew “Esau” sounds like “hairy.”
  8. 25.26 Jacob: In Hebrew “Jacob” sounds like “heel.”
  9. 25.27 of a shepherd: Hebrew “in tents.”
  10. 25.30 Edom: In Hebrew “Edom” sounds like “red.”
  11. 25.31 rights … son: The first-born son inherited the largest amount of property, as well as the leadership of the family.

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