Joseph and Judah versus Edom
Duration: 25. 42 minutes
Abraham the first Hebrew begat Isaac. Isaac begat Jacob and Esau who was also known as "Edom" (Genesis 25:30, 32:3, 36:1, 9). Jacob was re-named Israel (Genesis 32:28, 35:10). Jacob had four wives one of whom was Rachel. The sons of Jacob from Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. Another wife was Leah. Jacob begat Judah from Leah. Other sons of Leah included Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulon.
From Bilhah, the maidservant of Rachel, Jacob begat Dan and Naphtali.
From Zilpah, the maidservant of Leah, Jacob begat Gad and Asher.
From these 12 sons came the 12 Tribes of Israel. Joseph is usually counted as 2 Tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. Actually there were 13 or 14 tribes depending on how one counts them. Scripture however when listing the Tribes usually always maintains a quorum of 12. It does this by not lasting one of the Tribes (Levi or Simeon) or by conflating 2 Tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh) together. See Nachmanides, Quorum of 12.
Joseph and Judah are brother Israelite Tribes, sons of Jacob who was re-named Israel. Judah and Joseph are only two out of the 12 Tribes but they represent two separate halves of all of the Tribes. Judah represents the present-day Jewish People whereas Joseph stands for the Lost Ten Tribes.
Esau was the twin-brother of Jacob. Esau became the arch-enemy of Israel. Esau plotted to kill Jacob (Genesis 27: 41-42). In the course of history Esau will have persecuted Judah and revenge will be taken for this. The reason why Esau persecuted Judah may be that only Judah remains as a recognizable Israelite Entity. Joseph has lost conscious of his identity and is not identifiable as of Hebrew origin.
Descendants of Edom were to found Rome and become the ruling military elites in many nations. Both Rome and Germany were associated with Edom (Talmud, Megilla 6).
The present-day Jews represent mainly the Tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi. Judah also encompasses minority elements from all of the other Tribes. Historically, the 12 Tribes had divided into two. Ten Tribes were in the north, headed by Ephraim, a branch of Joseph. They were taken into exile by the Assyrians and lost consciousness of their ancestry. In the End Times the Ten Tribes (represented by Joseph) will return and re-unite with Judah, i.e. the Jews. See: Ezekiel 37: 19-23, Isaiah 11:12-13, Jeremiah 31: 18, Jeremiah 31: 1, 7-12, 15-21, 31-34. THE RETURN OF EPHRAIM: Zechariah 10: 7-10, Micah 7:12-15.
The Sages said that Esau (Edom) can only be defeated by Joseph (Talmud, Baba Batra 123;b), or in other versions (e.g. Midrash Rabah) by the Sons of Rachel meaning either Benjamin or Joseph.
"... The seed of Esau is not to be defeated by any other than the offspring of Joseph, as it says, [Obadiah 1:18] "Then the house of Jacob will be a fire; And the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau will be as stubble" (Talmud, Baba Batra 123b).
" By the hand of who is the Kingdom of Edom defeated? By the hand of the Anointed Savior for War who comes out of Joseph" (Midrash Breishit Rabah 92;2).
According to parallels in Rabbinical Exegesis one may say that the Primary Fulfillment of these verses requires the participation of the full force of Joseph. A partial or preliminary victory may be achieved by Judah or the other Tribes since they will have elements from Joseph or from Benjamin (brother of Joseph and son of Rachel) within them.
There follows a Midrash which explains the situation by elucidating from the verse concerning the birth of Joseph.
22 Then God remembered Rachel, and God gave heed to her and opened her womb. 23 So she conceived and bore a son and said, 'God has taken away my reproach.' 24 She named him Joseph, saying, 'May the LORD give me [Hebrew: "Yosef"] another son.' 25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, 'Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country.'
An Explanation from the Midrash:
The Midrash Yalkut Shimeoni expounds on these matters. The Midrash "Yalkut Shimeoni," or simply "Yalkut," is a compilation of older interpretations and explanations of Biblical passages, arranged according to the sequence of those portions of the Bible to which they referred. It dates from about the 1200s CE but uses much older material.
Midrash Yalkut Shimeoni 130: The Almighty told Jacob that he could return to the House of his father after the birth of Joseph, the adversary of Esau....'May the LORD give me [Hebrew: "Yosef"] another son.' ["Another son" [is also translatable as "a different son" or] a "contrary son" - for controversy [Joseph was to have a controversy with Judah]. "Another son," -Who will be exiled. The Ten Tribes were exiled beyond the Sambation. The Tribe of Judah and Benjamin are scattered all over the earth. Due to the prayer of Rachel the Ten Tribes [Joseph] did not share in the fate of Judah and Benjamin: "You [i.e. Joseph] will act in a contrary way."
"Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph" (Genesis 30: 25). Once the adversary [i.e. Joseph] had been borne Jacob [could return home].
Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani said: It is a legendary tradition in our hands that Esau does not fall [cannot be defeated] at the hands of anybody but the sons of Rachel [i.e. Joseph and Benjamin]. It is written "surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock" (Jeremiah 50: 45). [In Hebrew the expression "little" can also connote "younger."]
45 Therefore hear the plan of the LORD which He has planned against Babylon, and His purposes which He has purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: surely they will drag them off, even the little ones of the flock; surely He will make their pasture desolate because of them.
i.e. the little ones of the flock shall drag away the enemies of Israel.
[Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani continues] Why are they [i.e. those who will be drag the enemy away] called "the little ones of the flock"? They are given this name since they [Joseph and Benjamin] were the youngest of the Tribes [of the 12 sons of Jacob].
[From here on the Midrash Yalkut Shimeoni gives an account also found in the Talmud (Baba Batra 123;b)]:
Genesis 30:25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, 'Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country." What difference should the birth of Joseph have made? Jacob foresaw that the seed of Esau will not be delivered into the hand of any other than the seed of Joseph, as it says,
Obadiah (NASB) 1:
18 Then the house of Jacob will be a fire
And the house of Joseph a flame;
But the house of Esau will be as stubble.
And they will set them on fire and consume them,
So that there will be no survivor of the house of Esau,
For the LORD has spoken.
It was replied by someone: [as a counter argument] [that we find Esau being defeated by Israelites who were not from the tribes of Joseph or Benjamin[:
17 David slaughtered them from the twilight until the evening of the next day; and not a man of them escaped, except four hundred young men who rode on camels and fled.
[We see here how David from the Tribe of Judah defeated the Amalekites who were descendants of Esau. If Esau can only be defeated by descendants of Joseph how was David from the Tribe of Judah able to do it?]
He [Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani] replied:.... [David had been joined by Israelites from the Tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph] as it is written,
1-Chronicles 12: 20 As he went to Ziklag there defected to him from Manasseh: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, captains of thousands who belonged to Manasseh (cf. Talmud, Baba Batra 123;a).
So too, descendants of Manasseh [son of Joseph] helped the Children of Simeon.
42 From them, from the sons of Simeon, five hundred men went to Mount Seir, with Pelatiah, Neariah, Rephaiah and Uzziel, the sons of Ishi, as their leaders. 43 They destroyed the remnant of the Amalekites who escaped, and have lived there to this day.
Ishi [says Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani] was from Manasseh. [He had joined Simeon , as had others from Manasseh] as we find the name "Ishi" in 12-Chronicles 5:24) where the Children of Manasseh are listed.
The Israelites headed by Joseph will take revenge from Edom because of what Edom did to Judah and/or intended to do again (Ezekiel 25:14, Obadiah 1:18, Isaiah 34:5-8, 63:1-6, Lamentation 4:22, Psalms 137:7). Other verses indicate that Judah will also participate in this (Isaiah 11:14).
Rabbinical Commentaries indicate that other Tribes will be invovled, perhaps all of them. The Bible speaks of Judah and Ephraim uniting to fight their mutual enemies (cf. Isaiah 11:14).
The Commentary, "Ahavat Yehonatan", Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz, 1690-1764, on Genesis "VaYishlach":
# You may ask, since the House of Jacob [i.e. Judah] is [symbolized by] fire [Obadiah 1:18] they should be able to overcome Esau alone. Why then should they need Joseph? The answer is that the power of Jacob to fight against Esau is applicable only if Esau comes within the boundaries of Israel. In order to offensively penetrate the borders of Esau we need Joseph since the seed of Esau falls only before the children of Rachel. The intention here is to Joseph who was born outside of the Land of Israel...
The Commentary "Daat Sofrim," (Rabbi Chaim Dov Rabinowitz, 1909-2001, on the Book of Obadiah:
# Edom is not a nation of one pure constitution. It is composed of the descendants of Esau and of the Horites who intermingled together. As a result of this foreign qualities were added to those that naturally belonged to Esau.
# The prophecy is apparently directed not only to the period when this people [Esau] dwelt in its land but also to the days when it would be assimilated amongst the peoples of the world and fulfill its great role beginning with Rome.
Edom will be punished for persecuting Judah: The name "Zion" represents Judah and Jerusalem.
Isaiah 34: 5 For My sword is satiated in heaven, Behold it shall descend for judgment upon Edom, And upon the people whom I have devoted to destruction....
8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance, A year of recompense for the cause of Zion.
Zion here means Judah and Jerusalem.
God’s Vengeance on the Nations
Isaiah (NASB) 63: 1 Who is this who comes from Edom... 3 “I have trodden the wine trough alone, And from the peoples there was no man with Me. I also trod them in My anger, And trampled them in My wrath; And their lifeblood is sprinkled on My garments, And I stained all My raiment. 4 “For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come. 5 “I looked, and there was no one to help, And I was astonished and there was no one to uphold; So My own arm brought salvation to Me, And My wrath upheld Me. 6 “I trod down the peoples in My anger, And made them drunk in My wrath, And I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”
In the verses Edom is being punished as vengeance for his treatment of a portion of Israel.
Lamentations (NASB) 4:22 The punishment of your iniquity has been completed, O daughter of Zion; He will exile you no longer. But He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will expose your sins!
Psalm 137:7 Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, “Raze it, raze it To its very foundation.”
Ezekiel 25: 12 ‘Thus says the LORD God, “Because Edom has acted against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and has incurred grievous guilt, and avenged themselves upon them,” 13 therefore thus says the LORD God, “I will also stretch out My hand against Edom and cut off man and beast from it. And I will lay it waste; from Teman even to Dedan they will fall by the sword. 14 I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel. Therefore, they will act in Edom according to My anger and according to My wrath; thus they will know My vengeance,” declares the LORD God.
Adapted in part from:
Is it true that only Joseph can defend Judah (tribe) and defeat Esau as God's end time army? Why does Judah need protection? Will all the tribes fight together as one?