So why exactly is chapter 36 in the book of Genesis when it is a family tree of Esau and the story is about Jacob? This is a question that should have jumped out at us as we were reading the text today.
Remember, as I have already noted Genesis alternates accounts of the non-elect patriarchs, Ishmael and Esau, with accounts from the chosen line-Terah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The opening section in chapter 36 should catch us as it shows Esau had migrated out of the promised land for economic reasons. Once again, this section shows us how the promises and blessings from God are being fulfilled. Esau leaving the promised land has left it all to Jacob for his blessings. Rebekah had been told by God that two nations were in her womb and that the older would someday serve the younger brother. The emergence in chapter 36 of a nation of Edom from Esau shows the promise of both nations as is later recorded, Edom will be subject to a nation of Israel under King David. This chapter shows that even minor promises from God can and will come true. Wow! How much more certain is the fulfillment of the central promises of God then to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and US today!