New Defender's Study Bible Notes
36:1 generations of Esau. This toledoth of Esau was probably acquired by Jacob when he and Esau came together for their father’s burial. He appended it to his own toledoth just before he affixed his closing signature at Genesis 37:2.
36:3 sister of Nebajoth. The names of Esau’s wives here seem to conflict with those at Genesis 26:34 and Genesis 28:9. However, it was not uncommon for a person to be known by one name early in life and another later in life (e.g., Abram: Abraham, Sarai: Sarah, Jacob: Israel). Possibly women were called by new names after marriage. Therefore, probably Adah, Aholibamah and Bashemath (in this record) were the same women as Bashemath and Judith (in Genesis 26:34) and Mahalath (in Genesis 28:9), respectively. Another explanation may be that Esau actually had six wives. A final possibility is that the names in one case are those in the native tongues of the women, and in the other case are their Hebrew names.
36:15 dukes. These “dukes,” or chieftains, had all risen to prominence by the time of Isaac’s death. Since Esau had married forty years before Jacob did, he had one more generation of descendants than Jacob. Fourteen such dukes are listed in Genesis 36:15-19.
36:20 sons of Seir. The Mount Seir region, later known as Edom (meaning “red,” another name for Esau), was originally settled by Horites, or Hurricans. The descendants of Esau had partially conquered these settlers by this time.
36:31 the land of Edom. The rest of Genesis 36 seems to have been inserted by Moses, at the time of the exodus, since he knew the Israelites would be encountering the Edomites when they left the wilderness. Moses knew that the Israelites would eventually have a king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), even though they still did not have one in his day.