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Allow Me to Explain (28 of 439) – Will the Real Anah Please Stand Up?

August 3, 2011

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28. Who was Anah? Gen 36:2, 14 vs. Gen 36:20 and 1 Chron 1:38 vs. Gen 36:24 and 1 Chron 1:40

Look out, ladies and gentleman: It’s a three-way.

Genesis 36:2
Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite; Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite;

Genesis 36:14
These were the sons of Aholibamah, Esau’s wife, the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon. And she bore to Esau: Jeush, Jaalam, and Korah.

Genesis 36:20
These were the sons of Seir the Horite who inhabited the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah,

1 Chronicles 1:38
The sons of Seir were Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan.

Genesis 36:24
These were the sons of Zibeon: both Ajah and Anah. This was the Anah who found the water in the wilderness as he pastured the donkeys of his father Zibeon.

1 Chronicles 1:40
The sons of Shobal were Alian, Manahath, Ebal, Shephi, and Onam. The sons of Zibeonwere Ajah and Anah.

The first pair of scriptures, from the beginning of Genesis 36 tell us that Anah was the father of Esau’s wife, Aholibamah, and the son of Zibeon. Ya, Anah’s a man.

In our culture, Gensis 36:2 would seem to say that Anah was the daughter of Zibeon. We read it as, “Aholibamah was the daughter of Anah, who was the daughter of Zibeon.” That’s not what it says, though.

Remember that in ancient patriarchal cultures the names of mothers wasn’t very important. Ancestry is listed according to fathers; that’s how the family name came down. Further, we’ve discussed a couple of times how ancestors are often listed in Hebrew records as “fathers” and “mothers” to any generation after them. Genesis 36:2 would be read more like, “Aholibamah was the daughter of Anah, and, thus, the daughter of Zibeon.”

We know this is true because of the lineage that immediately follows. Genesis 36 and 1 Chronicles 1 start by introducing Esau’s wives, and then backs up to tell us where they came from.

The second set of scriptures introduces us to a man named Seir. He’s a Horite. Right away we know this is a different guy, different family. The Anah listed as his son, so far, has nothing to do with the Anah listed as Zibeon’s son. Nothing connects the two Anah’s except the region in which they lived. There’s more than one John in your town.

We read that two of Seir’s sons were Zibeon and Anah. In the verses that follow, as is common, the sons of those men are then listed, and – in the third set of scriptures – we read that one of Zibeon’s sons was named Anah.

Zibeon had a couple of boys, and named one after his brother. Genesis 36:25, not listed on the poster, continues the lineage by telling us about this Anah’s daughter, Aholibamah, which draws us back to where we began with Esau’s wives.

Genesis 36 began by telling us that Esau took wives from the daughters of the Canaanites. The rest of the chapter gave us the details.

Short answer: The first Anah was Seir’s son. The second was his grandson.

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