Updated: Oct 16
Scripture References: Genesis 25:19-34; Genesis 27:41-42; Genesis 35 and 36.
At little history lesson before we delve into this ancient struggle - reading the scriptures above we see the conception, birth, and division of Jacob and Esau. While still in the womb these two nations struggled for dominance:
Genesis 25:21 – 26 “Later, Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, since she was unable to conceive children, and the LORD responded to him—his wife Rebekah became pregnant. But when the infants kept on wrestling each other inside her womb, she asked herself, "Why is this happening?" So she asked the LORD for an explanation. "Two nations are in your womb," the LORD responded, "and two separate people will emerge. One people will be the stronger, and the older one will serve the younger." Sure enough, when her due date arrived, she delivered twin sons. The first son came out reddish—his entire body was covered with hair—so they named him Esau. After that, his brother came out with his hand clutching Esau's heel, so they named him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.”
Perhaps Jacob was clinging to Esau's heel because he was trying to prevent Esau from stomping him to death by crushing his head? After all, they had been struggling in the womb.
Historically, we should understand that Esau was the Father of the Edomites, or Idumaens in the Greek. His descendants were given the Mountain of Seir as an inheritance. Jacob (Israel) was the Father of the Israelites. His descendants were given the land of Canaan as an inheritance.
In Genesis 26:34 – 35 we read, “When Esau was 40 years old, he married Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. This brought extreme grief to Isaac and Rebekah.”
O, how many nights have parents lay awake because of the terrible decisions of their children? Unfortunately, this was not the only grief that Esau would bring to his parents.
Esau would have a perpetual hatred for his brother Jacob:
Amos 1:11-12, “This is what the LORD says: "For three transgressions of Edom—and now for a fourth—I will not turn away; because he pursued his brother with a sword, refusing to be compassionate. His anger was raging continuously; he kept up his unending wrath. So I will send down fire upon Teman, and it will devour the fortified citadels of Bozrah."
Bozrah was the capital city of Edom.
Also, we read about this hatred in Ezekiel 35:1-15, “A message came to me from the LORD and it went like this: "Son of Man, turn your attention toward Mount Seir and begin to prophesy against it. Tell them, 'This is what the Lord GOD says: "Watch out! I'm coming to get you, Mount Seir! I'm stretching out my hand to strike you, and I'm going to turn you into a desolate wasteland. I'm going to turn your cities into ghost towns, and you will become a ruin. Then you will learn that I am the LORD. Because of your undying hatred, you kept on making the Israelis experience abuse during the time of their calamity, even when they were in their final stages of punishment, therefore as I'm alive and living," declares the Lord GOD, I'm turning you over to bloodshed, and bloodshed will certainly overtake you, since you never have hated shedding blood. That's why bloodshed will certainly pursue you. "I'm turning Mount Seir over to ruin and desolation. I'm going to eliminate everyone who comes and goes, and I'll fill that mountain with the dead. Those who die by violence will cover your hills, and fill your valleys and all your ravines! I will turn you into an everlasting wasteland, and your cities will never be inhabited. Then you'll learn that I am the LORD! "Because you have claimed, 'These two nations and these two lands are going to belong to me, and we will take possession of them, even though the LORD is there,' therefore as I'm alive and living" declares the Lord GOD, "I'm going to deal with you as your anger deserves. When I judge you, I'll treat you like you did the Israelis—that is, with the same kind of envy that motivated your constant hatred of them. "That's how you'll know that I, the LORD, have heard every loathsome, reviling thing that you've had to say against the mountains of Israel, such as 'They're desolate, and we'll eat them for dinner!' Not only that, you've arrogantly reviled me many times over, and I've heard every word! "So this is what the Lord GOD says: 'Just as the earth rejoices, I'm going to turn you into a desolate wasteland. Just as you rejoiced when Israel's inheritance became desolate, I'm going to do the same thing to you. Mount Seir, you and Edom—all of you—will become a desolate wasteland.' Then they will learn that I am the LORD."'"
The descendants of the two nations, Israel and Edom, which came from Rebekah will continue to bear the blunt of this hatred till the end of this present age. This hatred by Esau would pass from generation to generation. In fact, it is this hatred that still boils in the Middle East today.
We know that Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of venison. Genesis 25:34 states that Esau “despised” his birthright. In the Hebrew (Strong's H959) this means that Esau had a very low regard or opinion of his birthright. What we find is that Esau wanted the privileges of the birthright but not the responsibility of the birthright. The descendants of Esau still battle the Israelites for rights to the land, but not because they really want or care about the land, but just because they don't want Israel to have it. What they really want is to destroy their brother!
Esau has always been a mortal enemy of Israel. The Edomites refused to let the Israelites pass through their land on the way to the Promised Land. Any enemy of Israel has always been associated with and called Amalekites (See Deut. 25:17-19). Amalak was a descendant of Esau. Amalek was the first to attack Israel when they came out of Egypt. Haman from the book of Esther was from Amalek. King Herod the Great, and all the Herods, were from Esau. Is it just a coincidence that Haman and Herod the Great both tried to wipe out descendants of Jacob? I don't think so!
The entire book of Obadiah is about the judgment of Yah upon Edom. Yah has a perpetual indignation against Esau forever because of his hatred and miss-treatment of his brother, Jacob. We read in Malachi 1:1-5 “ A declaration: a message from the LORD to Israel by Malachi. "I've loved you," says the LORD. "But you ask, 'How have you loved us?' "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the LORD, "yet I loved Jacob, rejected Esau, turned his mountains into a wasteland, and gave his inheritance to desert jackals. Even though Edom may claim, 'We were crushed, but we will return and rebuild the ruins,' this is what the LORD of the Heavenly Armies says: "They may rebuild, but I'll demolish. People will call them 'The Wicked Land,' and 'The People With Whom the LORD is Forever Angry.' Your own eyes will see this, and you will say 'Great is the LORD even beyond the borders of Israel!'"
It is recorded by the prophet in Isaiah 63:1-8, “"Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah, in garments stained crimson? Who is this, robed in such splendor, marching in his great might? It is I, speaking in vindication, mighty to save. "Why is your clothing red, and your garments like those worn by the ones who tread in the winepress? "I have trodden the winepress alone, and from my people no one was with me, I trampled them in my anger and trod them down in my wrath; their lifeblood spattered on my garments, and I stained all my clothing. "For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year for my redeeming work had come. I looked, but there was no helper, I was appalled that there was no one to give support; so my own arm brought me victory, and as for my wrath, it supported me. I trampled people in my anger; in my wrath I made them drunk and I poured out their lifeblood on the ground." I will recount the gracious deeds of the LORD, the praiseworthy acts of the LORD, according to all the LORD has done for us—yes, the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his gracious love. For he said, "Surely they are my people, children who won't act falsely." And so he became their savior.
Here we read about the end of Esau and his descendants. Yeshua’s garment will be dipped in blood at His return because His wrath will be poured out upon Edom, the haters of Israel. Remember, Bozrah was the capital of the Edomite kingdom.
Revelation 19:11-15 “Then I saw heaven standing open, and there was a white horse! Its rider is named Faithful and True. He administers justice and wages war righteously. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many royal crowns. He has a name written on him that nobody knows except himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is called the Word of God. The armies of heaven, wearing fine linen, white and pure, follow him on white horses. A sharp sword comes out of his mouth to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod and tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.”
If you take a look at what is going on in the Middle East today through the lenses of Bible history, you will find things become a lot clearer. Many claim that Ishmael is the problem. Historically, the majority of the Ishmaelites lived at peace with the children of Israel.
Esau is, and always has been, the problem!
We should quit expecting peace to reign in the Middle East, for this will not happen until the coming of the Promised One. Israel will not exist as a land of peace until He comes but they will continually have to be on guard and watch from within and without for Esau seeks to destroy them. The truth of the matter is that Esau would not be satisfied regardless of concessions made by Israel. Israel has made many concessions in the past for peace. Esau will not be satisfied unless they get one thing- the death of all things “Israel”.
The truth of the matter is that if Israel lay down all of her weapons today, she would be eradicated from the earth in a short time. If her enemies lay down their weapons, there would be peace in the middle east.
World History itself should tell us that appeasement doesn’t work with bullies. The popular misconception of some leaders is that if you appease your enemy enough that they will leave you alone, but this is in fact a lie! Many tried to appease Adolf Hitler. Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best remembered for his appeasement in foreign policy. In 1938 he signed the Munich Agreement, giving the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Did this appease Hitler away from the United Kingdom? Well, everyone should know that answer!
The Word of God also teaches similar lessons regarding appeasement of an enemy. Kings of Judah/Israel (Northern and Southern Kingdoms) often tried appeasing their enemies by giving gifts, paying tribute, etc. One such story is found in the book of II Chronicles Chapter 28. In this story King Ahaz sought to appease the King of Assyria by giving him gifts or bribes. King Ahaz actually took things from the temple of YHVH and the princes of Judah and gave to the King of Assyria but the King of Assyria still did not help him.
An aggressor cannot be appeased. They are thirsty for blood! In this case- Israel's. No amount of appeasement or concessions will stop them. A two- state solution will not stop them. The only thing that will stop them is if they have their way to wipe Israel off the map entirely.
We are commanded to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”. Let us keep this command knowing that as we pray this we are praying for the return of the Messiah. He alone will bring true “shalom” (peace) to Jerusalem, all of Israel, and indeed to the whole world.
Messiah Yeshua warned that when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies to flee. We are given a picture in scripture of that final battle. Messiah will return just in the nick of time to save His people (the tents of Judah will be saved first according to Zechariah 12:7). Is this current conflict escalating to the battle of Armegeddon? Only time will tell. We must be watchmen on the wall! We must stand with Israel. No, they are not perfect- neither are we. Pray for their national repentance. The prophet Daniel declares that Messiah will not rescue them until the power of the holy people has been crushed (Daniel 12:7). Yeshua Himself declared that He would not return until they cried out: Baruch ha'ba b'Shem Adonai (Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD - Matthew 23:39).
May we all repent while there is still time. The midnight hour approaches for the return of the Son of Man to come in the clouds (Daniel 7:13).
All scripture is from the ISV unless otherwise noted.