What does Genesis 36:38 mean?
ESV: Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his place.
NIV: When Shaul died, Baal-Hanan son of Akbor succeeded him as king.
NASB: Then Shaul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor became king in his place.
CSB: When Shaul died, Baal-hanan son of Achbor reigned in his place.
NLT: When Shaul died, Baal-hanan son of Acbor became king in his place.
KJV: And Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead.
NKJV: When Saul died, Baal-Hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his place.
Verse Commentary:
Edom is the nation which came from Esau (Genesis 36:1). Their people took over the country of Seir (Genesis 36:6–8), conquering it from the Horites (Genesis 14:6; Deuteronomy 2:12). During this period, the nation which came from Esau's twin brother, Israel (Genesis 35:10) spent centuries enslaved (Exodus 12:40). Even after they were freed, it was many years before Israel had a king (Judges 21:25; 1 Samuel 8:45).

After the death of King Shaul (Genesis 36:37), Baal-hanan took the throne. His name means "Baal is gracious," an overt reference to the main idol of the Canaanites. Scripture provides no details about his father, or why he was given the name Achbor, literally meaning "mouse."

For the first time in this list, no city name is given along with the king.
Verse Context:
Genesis 36:31–43 lists eight kings of Edom, the nation which descended from Esau (Genesis 36:1), all apparently ruling from a different city. This passage pointedly notes that Edom's kings all reigned before Israel had kings of her own. While Edom is conquering Seir (Genesis 36:9), Israel must endure centuries of slavery (Exodus 12:40). This was followed by a long period under a series of "judges" (Judges 21:25) before their first appointed king (1 Samuel 8:4–5). Finally, in this section, the clan leaders are listed, each likely representing a specific region in the land of Edom.
Chapter Summary:
Genesis 36 describes the generations of Esau, mostly focusing on the genealogy and rulers of the land of Edom. Repeatedly, the chapter emphasizes that Esau is Edom, repeating an association made earlier in Genesis (Genesis 25:25, 30). The Edomite people are his descendants. The regions in the land of Edom are named for his offspring. The chapter diverts briefly to give the genealogy of the Horite people (Genesis 14:6) who occupied the land before it was conquered (Deuteronomy 2:12). Finally, the chapter lists eight kings of Edom, along with the chiefs whose names became associated with the regions their clans occupied.
Chapter Context:
Genesis 35 concludes with the death of Isaac. It marks the end of the story arc which focused on him (Genesis 25:19). Genesis 36 briefly describes the generations of Esau, Jacob's twin brother, listing his sons, grandsons, and the kings of Edom, the nation that came from Esau. This is parallel to how Genesis 25:12–18 relayed the fate of Ishamel, another son who did not carry the line of promise. Genesis 37 begins the generations of Jacob, focusing mostly on the story of Joseph.
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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