What does Genesis 28:9 mean?
ESV: Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.
NIV: so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.
NASB: and Esau went to Ishmael, and married, besides the wives that he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.
CSB: so Esau went to Ishmael and married, in addition to his other wives, Mahalath daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son. She was the sister of Nebaioth.
NLT: So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife’s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.
KJV: 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.
Verse Commentary:
This concludes the thought begun the previous verse. Esau seems to have become newly aware that his marriage to two Canaanite wives displeased Isaac. Either Isaac had never communicated this to Esau before or after he married the Hittite women, or Esau had rebelled against his parents' wishes in marrying women from a tribe in the land of Canaan.

Now Esau takes action to try to repair the damage and perhaps earn back his father's approval. He marries a third wife. This one, however, is not from one of the tribes of Canaan. She is also not from Rebekah's family in Mesopotamia. Instead, Esau marries the daughter of one of Abraham's other sons, Ishmael. Her name is Mahalath. It's likely Ishmael was dead by this time. So in saying Esau was "going to Ishmael," this passage likely means he went to the people of Ishmael. Some relationship between Ishmael's offspring and Isaac's family apparently still existed. It was now made official by this wedding.

We're not told if Esau's new marriage pleased Isaac or Rebekah, but it did not change his standing in the family. Esau still bore Isaac's near-curse. He was still not chosen to carry on the covenant promises of Abraham. In addition, the woman he married was from the daughter of another son not chosen to carry those covenant promises.
Verse Context:
Genesis 28:6–9 describes Esau's reaction to learning that Isaac instructed Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman. It seems likely that Esau only now realizes how greatly his two Canaanite wives have displeased his father. Apparently to earn Isaac's approval, Esau marries one of the daughters of Isaac's step-brother Ishmael. Her name is Mahalath.
Chapter Summary:
Isaac sends Jacob away from his household to find a wife in Mesopotamia, in Paddan-aram, where Rebekah's brother lives. First, though, he gives to Jacob the full blessing of the promises of Abraham. Esau marries one of the daughters of Ishmael to try to please Isaac. The Lord appears to Jacob in a dream, giving to him the promises of Abraham personally, along with the assurance that He will be with Jacob to Mesopotamia and back again. Jacob vows that if the Lord does this, he will make the Lord his God and will worship Him and tithe to Him.
Chapter Context:
The previous chapter concluded with Rebekah urging Jacob to run for his life to her brother's household in Mesopotamia to escape the wrath of Esau. Now Isaac, too, sends Jacob to Laban, except to find a non-Canaanite wife. Hearing this, Esau marries one of the daughters of Ishmael. On the road to Mesopotamia, the Lord appears to Jacob in a dream. God personally delivers the covenant promises of Abraham and assurances to be with Jacob. In awe and fear, Jacob renames the place Bethel, ''house of God,'' and vows to worship the Lord as his God. In the next chapter, Jacob will get a taste of his own deceptive medicine, as he seeks a wife.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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