Yet maybe, besides digging deeper into genealogies and figuring out intriguing things, which might not be everyone's cuppa tea - these passages are there for other reasons. Maybe in the midst of the boring line after line of names there is something else that should pop out. It's sort of like this picture...
Things are not always as they appear at first glance. A boring series of lines may well have something amazing within it. A boring series of lines...."This is the account of the family line of Esau...Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah and granddaughter of Zibeon the Hivite, also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth...." (Gen 36:1-2) Zzzz...lines, boring lines! I'm asleep and we are only at verse 2!
Or is there something in the lines and lines of names? Maybe we just need to step back and we may see something.
A message in the lines
I do not doubt that there are many messages but one easy way to find a message is look for what stands out when you "step back" - so to speak. What is different in this long list of names? It's easy, when there are line after line of names, any variation leaps out like a turbo-charged kangaroo. Let's see if you can spot it....
Spot the message
20 These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were living in the region:
Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah,
21 Dishon, Ezer and Dishan. These sons of Seir in Edom were Horite chiefs.
22 The sons of Lotan: Hori and Homam. Timna was Lotans sister.
23 The sons of Shobal: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho and Onam.
24 The sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the water in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon.
25 The children of Anah: Dishon and Oholibamah daughter of Anah.
26 The sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran and Keran.
"This is the Anah who discovered the water in the desert while he was grazing the donkeys of his father Zibeon." (Gen 36:24)
What's the message?
It seems Anah found "water" in the desert. It's interesting that his name means "an answer". Was he searching for an answer? He was part of the lineage of Esau, a lineage that wandered away from God. A family that was all about power, rulership, possessions. A family that lived in harsh, arid deserts. Was Anah wondering if there was more, if there was relief? Was Anah looking for an answer to the great question - "Who can save me from this wretched life?"
And there in the midst of the harsh, dry desert who finds water - life giving water. In the midst of his everyday duties, in the midst of dry, nothing, he discovers water. And this discovery would be the only single discovery, in fact the only single interesting point, mentioned in 43 verses. Anah found the answer - water!
So have we found the answer? Do we have a life that is harsh and unforgiving, dry and dying? Do we live amongst people who seem to care so little, who seek only their own goals and well-being? Are we in a desert place? For surely then if we seek we too will find the amazing spring of water.
"Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life." - Jesus (John 4:14)
So, look again...sometimes a beautiful message is hidden in the seemingly mundane stones of life!