The Jews have been in a continuous ongoing conflict throughout history. No nation on earth has experienced the turmoil as that of Israel. Satan’s goal continues to be to exterminate the Jews in order to prevent God from fulfilling His covenant promises to them. A part of this conflict began with these incredible words from God.
“Esau have I hated.” (Rom. 9:13)
Paul was simply quoting scripture. Rebecca, Isaac’s wife was barren and Isaac asked God to give them a child and God answered his prayer (Gen. 25:21). Rebecca was having some pregnancy problems and asked the Lord about it (Gen. 25:22). Here is God’s answer!
“The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.” (Gen. 25:23)
The prophet Malachi’s take on this passage reads like this.
“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.” (Mal. 1:2-3a)
The words “love and hate” do not mean what we may think they mean. God is saying that He chose Jacob over Esau. God’s choice became evident throughout the rest of the Old Testament.
Esau became the father of the Edomites.
“These then are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.” (Gen. 36:9)
Esau married into the Canaanite line and had many children. The marriages were not with the blessing of his parents, Isaac and Rebekah.
“When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah.” (Gen. 26:35)
Thus began an ongoing conflict between the Jews (the sons of Jacob) and the Edomites (the sons of Esau). This conflict is reflected throughout the Old Testament and throughout the history of man. Esau’s family tree takes up a whole chapter in the Bible, a clue that he is going to play an integral part in history (Genesis 36).
Edom’s Conflict With Isaac
The Edomite Arabs refused to allow the Exodus generation of Jews to pass through their land on their way to Canaan (approx. 1440 BC).
“Then Edom said to him, ‘You shall not pass through my land, lest I come out against you with the sword.’ So the children of Israel said to him, ‘We will go by the Highway, and if I or my livestock drink any of your water, then I will pay for it; let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.’ Then he said, ‘You shall not pass through.’ So Edom came out against them with many men and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.” (Numbers 20:18-21)
The Jews had to go through Moab to get to Canaan. The Arab families of Ammalek, Moab, and Ammon, also tried to prevent Israel from moving into the land of Canaan during the Exodus (Ex. 17:8; Numbers 20:18; Num. 22: 4-6; Jos. 13: 25).
King Saul warred against the Edomites.
“So Saul established his sovereignty over Israel, and fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, against the people of Ammon, against Edom, against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines.” (1 Sam. 14:47)
David defeated Edom and annihilated most of their male population.
“For it happened, when David was in Edom, and Joab the commander of the army had gone up to bury the slain, after he had killed every male in Edom (because for six months Joab remained there with all Israel, until he had cut down every male in Edom), that Hadad fled to go to Egypt, he and certain Edomites of his father’s servants with him. Hadad was still a little child.” (1 Kings 11:15-17)
The little child, Hadad, became the leading Arab sheik. He escaped from David and tried to entice the Egyptians against David. He went into exile into Syria and became the greatest enemy of Solomon.
“He was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon (besides the trouble that Hadad caused); and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.” (1 Kings 11:25)
The Edomite Arabs were successful against Jehoram in Judah.
“In his days Edom revolted against Judah’s authority, and made a king over themselves. So Jehoram went out with his officers, and all his chariots with him. And he rose by night and attacked the Edomites who had surrounded him and the captains of the chariots. Thus Edom has been in revolt against Judah’s authority to this day.” (2 Chron. 21:8-10)
Amazia, king of Judah, carried out successful campaigns against the Edomites.
“He killed ten thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt, and took Sela by war, and called its name Joktheel to this day.” (2 Kings 14:7)
The Jews were never able to successfully subjugate the Edomite Arabs.
“At the same time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria to help him. For again the Edomites had come, attacked Judah, and carried away captives.” (2 Chron. 28:16-17)
When Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and carried Judah into the fifth cycle of discipline, the Edomite Arabs joined Nebuchadnezzar in the conquest. The Edomite Arabs joined Nebuchnezzar in the slaughter of the Jews because they despised the Jews. They cried out to Nebuchadnezzar to destroy completely the city of Jerusalem. The Psalmist reminds us that God does not forget.
“Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom. The day of Jerusalem, Who said, ‘Raze it, raze it, to its very foundation!” (Psa. 137:7)
Because of this hatred of Israel and this treachery, God made this astounding prophecy concerning the Edomites:
“‘Edom also shall be an astonishment; Everyone who goes by it will be astonished and will hiss at all its plagues; as in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah. And their neighbors,’ says the LORD, ‘No one shall remain there, Nor shall a son of man dwell in it.’” (Jer. 49:17-18).
Notice carefully that God said that Edom shall be overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah. Is this recorded anywhere in human history as having happened? Not yet!
Biblical Prophecy and the Edomites
“Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom, You who dwell in the land of Uz! The cup shall also pass over to you. And you shall become drunk and make yourself naked. The punishment of your iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion; He will no longer send you into captivity. He will punish your iniquity, O daughter of Edom; He will uncover your sins.” (Lam. 4:21)
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘I will also stretch out My hand against Edom, cut off man and beast from it, and make it desolate from Teman; Dedan shall fall by the sword. I will lay My vengeance on Edom by the hand of My people Israel, that they may do in Edom according to My anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance,’ says the Lord GOD.” (Ezek 25:13-14)
“Thus says the LORD: ‘For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever. But I will send a fire upon Teman, Which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.’” (Amos 1:11-12)
Edom and Christ’s First Coming
As a reward for helping Nebuchadnezzar, the Edomite Arabs received all the land of Judah, from Egypt to the Northern part of the Land. Esau’s children at one time had all the land. The Edomite Arabs remained for 400 years until the Maccabee’s (a Jewish family) subdued them and forced them into Judaism.
The Edomites changed their name to Idumeans. However this was conversion by coercion and that has never worked. The Arabs did not forget!
Now enter Herod the great, an Edomite, and Antipas, who was also an Edomite Arab. The Edomite Arabs took the land back from the Jews politically. Herod became the third in command in the Roman Empire behind Augustus and Agrippa.
Just before the siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., twenty thousand Arabs said they wanted to help Jerusalem, so they were allowed inside. But just as in the time of Nebuchadnezzar, as soon as they got inside they began to rape and pillage, rob and murder. They killed thousands of Jews before Titus came against the city.
Edom and Christ’s Second Coming
“Who is this who comes from Edom, with garments of glowing colors from Bozrah, This One who is majestic in His apparel, marching in the greatness of His strength? It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Why is Your apparel red, and Your garments like the one who treads in the wine press? 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. For the day of vengeance was in My heart, and My year of redemption has come. 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. I trod down the peoples in My anger and made them drunk in My wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.” (Isa. 63:1-6)
Who is this one coming from Edom? He is described with garments dyed bright red. This is a description of the Rider on the white horse of Revelation 19.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’” (Rev. 19:11-16)
Our Lord’s white robes are stained with blood, Arab and Mongolian blood. Bozrah is the capitol of Edom. This is a part of the slaughter of Armageddon. When the Lord Jesus came the first time, he was subjected to the cruelty of the Edomites, Herod and Antipas. The first time he stood before them, He said that if He were the king at that time, His subjects would fight. But He came with great humility in order to die for our sin. But the second time, he’s coming as a warrior. He is coming trampling upon grapes in the wine vat. The stain of the grapes finds its way to His clothes. This is a symbol of blood that will stain His clothing. This is a picture of a slaughter! Edomite Arabs will one day reap the vengeance of God.
New American Standard Bible
Logos Christian History Interactive
Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament
S. Lewis Johnson