I'm trying to outline biblical geneology starting from page 1 as a personal project. Since I don't know what's going to be important until the end of the project, I'm trying to take notes on some things that might be key. I'd like it to be comprehensive, but the key thing is to go from Adam to Jesus, plus I want to have some idea of timing.

I'm reading the "Catholic Public Domain Version", and in Genesis 36:15 it says:

These were leaders of the sons of Esau, the sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau: leader Teman, leader Omar, leader Zepho, leader Kenez,

What are they are a leader of? Why is there more than one? Who are they a leader of? Is this the start of a country? (ie. the Moabites being the offspring of Moab)

I haven't compared this with other versions of this text but generally I expect the same confusion with other texts.

  • You might do well to take a look at this link which gives much evidence for the telescoping of genealogies in Scripture: godandscience.org/youngearth/genesis_genealogies.html Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 22:16
  • 1
    You should make a habit of checking other translations. Sites like Biblehub make it easy: biblehub.com/genesis/36-15.htm
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 22:46
  • I don't know if you are intent on doing the genealogy search yourself, or if you'd like to check/improve on the efforts of others. If the latter, there is marshallgenealogy.org/bible (not copyrighted). The first option (Descendants) goes by generations. If you want to use the underlying Hebrew interlinear, scripture4all.org has PDFs (as well as a great program ISA2 (ISA3 is beta and does not yet have all the features of ISA2).
    – tblue
    Commented May 25, 2021 at 0:26

2 Answers 2


Just as Jacob had 12 sons who became the respective patriarchs of 12 distinct tribes of Israel, so also Esau had a series of "sons" who became leaders of the descendants and tribes that came from Esau.

Ellicott sums it up this way:

(15) Dukes.—Duke is the Latin word dux, a leader; but the Hebrew word alluph signifies a tribal prince, It is derived from eleph, a thousand, used in much the same way as the word hundred with us for a division of the country. Probably it was one large enough to have in it a thousand grown men, whereas a hundred in Saxon times was a district in which there were a hundred homesteads. For this use of it, see Micah 5:2. Each alluph, therefore, would be the prince of one of these districts, assigned to him as the possession of himself and his seed.

Similarly, the Cambridge commentary suggests this:

  1. the dukes] Better, as marg., chiefs. The word “duke” has been introduced into the English version from the Lat. dux which translates the LXX ἡγεμών. The Heb. allûph is connected with eleph = 1000, or “a clan”; and hence is used for “the chieftain of a clan,” or “a chiliarch,” especially in Edom: cf. Exodus 15:15; Zechariah 9:7; Zechariah 12:5-6.

The Accordance software folk have added a very comprehensive genealogy module to their collection. I have seen a webinar that was very comprehensive but not tried it myself.

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