3228. CHAPTER 25
This chapter treats of the sons of Abraham by Keturah, and also of the sons of Ishmael, whose names are given; afterwards it treats of Isaac and Rebekah, in that Esau and Jacob were born to them, and finally that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a pottage of lentils. Everyone can see that these subjects are of such a nature as may indeed be of use for the church history of that time, but are of little value in regard to spiritual life, for the sake of which however the Word is given. What does it benefit a man to know who were the sons of Abraham by Keturah, and who were the sons of Ishmael? and that Esau, weary with hunting, craved the pottage of lentils, and that Jacob by means of it shrewdly procured the birthright for himself? And so in the following chapter, where it is said that the herdsmen of Abimelech quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac concerning the wells they had dug, in about the same way as they had previously contended with the herdsmen of Abraham (chapter 21). Moreover in some places there are mere lists of names, as that of the posterity of Esau (chapter 26); and the same in other chapters. Insofar as these are historical matters there is so little of the Divine in them that you can in no wise say that that Word was Divinely inspired in regard to every expression, and even to every jot, that is, that it had been sent down from the Lord through heaven to the man who wrote it; for what has been sent down from the Lord is Divine in all things both in general and in particular. Thus there is nothing Divine in regard to historical things (since these are transactions of men) except from things contained deeply hidden in the historicals, all of which both in general and in particular treat of the Lord and His kingdom. The historicals of the Word are unlike all other historicals in the universe, in that they contain such things within them.