A Study of Edom in Prophecy. Part One in a Series.
Esau is also known as Edom. He was the twin brother of Jacob. He is destined to be the arch-enemy of Israel. This is Part One of a study concerning Edom.
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19 This is the genealogy of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham begot Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah as wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Arami [Syrian].
We are now considering Esau father of the Edomites.
Esau was the twin brother of Jacob. Jacob is Israel the father of the Twelve Tribes. Esau was therefore their uncle. There is a close family relationship between Esau and Israel. Esau and Jacob were the twin sons of Isaac. Isaac was the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac and Ishmael. Ishmael gave rise to important family units amongst the Arabs and in many ways has had a determinative influence over them.
There is a family relationship between Esau, Israel, and Ishmael.
Esau is the ruling class of many nations in the East as well as of non-Israelite nations in Europe. Europeans in general if they do not belong to Israel are culturally under the suzerainty of Edom. They may be considered Edomites. In some cases the Europeans are physically descended from Edom or their leaders are and in other cases they are dominated by Edom in the spiritual cultural sense.
Isaac through Rebekah begat Esau and Jacob. Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel who also begat Laban the Arami (translated as Syrian). Laban was therefore the brother of Rebekah and the uncle of Esau and Jacob. The wives of Jacob were the daughters of Laban. They were therefore cousins of Jacob.
We see that the Israelites were therefore closely related to Laban the Arami and tot he Aramaean (Arami) peoples in general.
This is worth noting since the descendants of Esau (the Edomites) were also later to be closely associated with the Arami.
Jacob later was re-named Israel (Genesis 32:29, 35:10). The Israelites are to be identified with the present day Jews of Judah and with the Ten Tribes who are peoples whose forefathers came from the British Isles or from different areas of Western Europe.
Jacob and Esau were twin brothers. They shared something between them despite the differences that Scripture emphasizes. There is something of Esau in all of us just as there is much of Israel. We have two pathways before us. This may be a source of blessing or of damnation. This is something we should be aware of. Joseph especially has much within him that is parallel to that of Esau.
21 Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, 'If all is well, why am I like this?' So she went to inquire of the LORD.
23 And the LORD said to her:
'Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.'
# One people shall be stronger than the other #
# THE OLDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER #: In Hebrew "Rav [the elder] ya-avod [shall serve] Tsair [the younger]" is a mistranslation. It is misleading.
In the Hebrew original in THIS SENTENCE it is not certain who is the subject. It could be read either way. One shall serve the other.
If Israel merits and fulfills its destined tasks Israel will rule over others. If Israel does not do as it should it is liable to be ruled over. This is not necessarily morality but rather reality.
24 So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau's heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
Esau means "made already, complete". He was precociously developed.
He was reddish (Admoni) and so was King David (1-Samuel 16:12, 17:42). They both had the warrior quality of bloodshed but David directed this quality to the service of God.
Red in Hebrew is "Edom". This became another name for Esau.
Esau was described as "like a hairy garment all over". He was hairy.
Esau was red and hairy. From a physical anthropological point of view the most hairy people in the world are the Turks. The early Turks were also described by others as red-haired. Later they intermixed with other peoples and largely lost this quality. This is interesting because there are those who identify the Turks with Edom. Nevertheless, even though there may be some Edomites amongst the Turks most of them In our opinion are descended from other ancestors and not from Esau.
In Hebrew the word for hair is "seir."
In the Hebrew Bible names have significance. The Land in which Edom was to settle was also known as Seir.
The word "seir" can also connote goat (i.e. hairy goat) and satyr or demon.
There is a sinister side to Esau.
At all events, descendants of Esau were therefore probably to have a tendency to be red-haired and hairy.
Some of the Israelite Tribes were also destined to have many red-heads and blonds amongst them. Joseph especially was to be so characterized and many parallels exist between Joseph and Esau as we shall see later.
Perhaps there is also an Edomite element amongst the Russians? The name "Rus" can mean Red in some European dialects. The Communists (who Russia led) were called Red and red was a symbol of Soviet Russia. There is a common suffix "-usov" in Russian surnames. This sounds similar to the Hebrew pronunciation of Esau. On the other hand Red is also the color of Britain and of British officialdom, e.g. red tape, red postboxes, red buses. The British Empire was traditionally represented on world maps by the color red. Even though the British Peoples are to be identified as descended primarily from Joseph there may also be Edomites amongst them.
Nevertheless, Esau is to be identified primarily with elements amongst the Germanic Peoples, as we shall explain later.
27 So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. 28 And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Esau was more of the he-man type to our way of thinking.
I grew up with comic books and an occasional movie. Today children grow up with constant TV and the Internet. There is an over-emphasis on sports and violence etc. This may have its place. It can help children develop. Nevertheless we should also give more emphasis and encouragement to intellectual acheivements. Children should be encouraged to read books, the Bible, mathematics, science, history, etc. This can be made exciting and interesting and it could help them in later life. In Western Society there may be too much emphasis on physical activity even though this too is important.
A lot of different peoples like hunting. Jews usually do not but nearly everybody else does.
The British also are enthusiastic hunters. Hunting has its positive aspects. It gives one a feeling of excitement, a becoming one with nature and the outdoors, a re-establishment of manhood and mastery of the forces around us. Orde Wingate (1903-1944) spent much time at the hunt. Orde Wingate was a British officer who helped train Jewish settlers in "Palestine" to defend themselves effectively against Arab predators. He helped lay the foundations for Israeli military doctrine and methods. While in England, Wingate dedicated a great deal of time and energy in hunting with the hounds. He explained that the hunt taught him to acquire a feel for the lay of the land and the hard riding of the hunt taught him courage. He used the hunt to train himself to be a better soldier and leader of others. Hunting was always very popular with the British upper classes. Jews on the other hand very seldom became hunters though professional Jewish hunters are recalled in the Talmud.
29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, 'Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.' Therefore his name was called Edom.
31 But Jacob said, 'Sell me your birthright as of this day.'
32 And Esau said, 'Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?'
33 Then Jacob said, 'Swear to me as of this day.'
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Here it says that Esau was called Edom because of the red stew he sold his birthright for. We saw previously that when he was born he was red or reddish in color. When the Bible says that someone or something was given a name because of a certain reason it can mean that an already existing name came into expression.
For example the city of Beer Sheva is listed as receiving its name for two different reasons on two separate occasions. In both cases the reason is connected with the word root "sheva" which may connote the number seven or an oath. Both connotations are given as the reason for Beer Sheva receiving its name i.e. The Well [Beer] of the Oath OR The Well of the Seven or both together.
Of Abraham it says:
30 And he said [to Abraham], 'You will take these seven [In Hebrew: SheBA or SheVA] ewe lambs from my hand, that they may be my witness that I have dug this well.' 31 Therefore he [Abraham] called that place Beersheba, because the two of them swore an oath [niSHBAu from the same SheBa word-root]] there.
Shortly after concerning Isaac we find:
30 So he made them a feast, and they ate and drank. 31 Then they arose early in the morning and swore an oath with one another; and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
32 It came to pass the same day that Isaac's servants came and told him about the well which they had dug, and said to him, 'We have found water.' 33 So he called it Shebah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
Here Beer Sheva [The Well, "Beer," of the Oath OR The Well of the Seven or both together] is described as receiving its name firstly because Abraham received seven [sheva] ewe lambs and swore an oath [sheva] there.
Beer Sheva is shortly afterwards AGAIN described as receiving its name because of the oath [sheva] that had been made there with Isaac. If the name had already been given in the time of Abraham why was it being given again (for a similar reason) in the time of Isaac.
The answer is that an already existing name was considered to foreshadow events that would be associated with the place.
So too, Esau may already have been nick-named Edom and this reflected an aspect of his personality and destiny that came to expression when he sold his birthright for the red stew.
We were told (Genesis 25:34) that Esau despised his birthright. Jacob wanted it. The Birthright entailed the duty to to learn and keep the Torah, to elevate mankind to a higher level and to rule over the nations.
This is not an easy task. Jabob took the birthright but his descendants also were not capable of keeping it at first in its full sense. They had to split into two different sections. Judah (the Jews) took the Torah while Joseph (the Ten Tribes) took the aspect of elevating and ruling over the nations. This meant that they themselves would loose their identity and spiritual uniqueness. They would descend to the level of the Heathen Gentiles and from there evolve upwards dragging the pagans up with them. Judah on the other hand kept the Torah but lost its political geographical placement. This has been explained by Rabbi Avraham Kook.
In the End Times Judah and Joseph will re-unite and the two different aspects will be shared by Judah and Joseph together. Esau (Edom) will try to present Joseph from doing this. There will be wars and Joseph will emerge victorious.
Esau (Edom) has also played a role in Human Development and world history and is destined to continue to do so, as we shall explain later.
Toldot-Generations: The Brit-Am Commentary to Genesis 25-28