The Bible contains many prophecies concerning Esau and I thought it might be useful to review what we know about him, gleaned from the Bible and the Book of Jasher, which supplies some details that are omitted in the Bible account. When God answered Isaac’s prayer for Rebecca, she was found pregnant with two children, who were fighting in her womb. She sought an answer to this occurrence and consulted with such people as Abraham, and at Mount Moriah, Shem and Eber. But it was the LORD who gave her the answer. Genesis 26:23. She was told that two children were in her womb and that two nations would rise from them and one nation would be stronger than the other and the greater would serve the younger. The first came out red all over like a hairy garment and was called Esau and the second, holding Esau’s heel was named Jacob. The colour red seems important, because later the nation was called Edom, which also means red. This is reaffirmed three times in the Bible. First, Genesis 36:8-9,”Thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir; Esau is Edom. And these are the generations of Esau, the father of the Edomites.” Second, Deut 2:22, “As He did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Mount Seir, when He destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day.” Third, Joshua 24:4, “And I gave unto Isaac, Jacob and Esau: And I gave unto Esau Mount Seir, to possess it but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.” So, we learn that Esau is Edom.

This is important because many of the prophecies refer to Edom.

In Jasher, we are told that there was an enmity between Esau and Nimrod. Nimrod possessed the garments that the Lord had fashioned for Adam. After the flood, Ham stole them from Noah, passed them to his son Cush, who passed them to Nimrod. The garments were deemed to have power because Adam had been given dominion over the earth and Nimrod credited the garments for his conquests. Esau was hunting in the field and spotted Nimrod; he took cover and when Nimrod approached, He sprang on him and cut off his head with his sword. Then he fought desperately with Nimrod’s two guards, killing them both; then he stole Nimrod’s garments and fled home from the remainder of Nimrod’s hunting party. So, he was ready to murder to acquire the dominion associated with Adam’s garments. It was at this time that he thought he was about to die that he sold his birthright to Jacob for his red pottage. Genesis 25:30, “And Esau said to Jacob, feed me for I am faint; therefore was his name called Edom.” So, Esau was a violent man.

Something to Think About When You Think of Esau

While the Jewish Encyclopedia confirms that Esau was incorporated into Jewry, there are scholars who claim his descendants also migrated into other nations, primarily Turkey and from there into the Khazarian nation, which later converted to Judaism. Nevertheless, we must remember that a characteristic of Esau was that he was “cunning”. So, considering that Jacob used trickery by pretending to be Esau to gain God’s blessing through the blessing by Isaac, it is very likely that Esau can be found throughout Christianity and Islam as well. After all, if Jacob could pretend to be Esau, then Esau can pretend to be Jacob? Interestingly, considering the clarification by the Jewish Encyclopedia that Esau was absorbed into Judaism, are they not pretending to be the “people of the book”?

Jasher tells us that Isaac sent his son Jacob to the house of Shem and Eber where he learned the instructions of the Lord and Jacob remained in the house of Shem and Eber thirty-two years and Esau did not go for he was not willing to go. So, we see that Esau was only concerned with his own brand of righteousness, not the Lord’s. Indeed, Jasher says that Esau was a designing and deceitful man who inveigled the minds of men. When hunting in Seir, he met a Caananitish woman and married her and other women, the daughters of Heth. This disturbed Isaac and Rebecca greatly. At that time Jacob decided to return from the house of Eber, where he had stayed fourteen years. Esau decided to kill Jacob and sent his son Eliazer to do the task; in short, Jacob bought him off and Esau was indignant with his son and the men he had sent because they did not put Jacob to death. Here he shows no compassion whereas Eliazer had not done so, although commissioned to commit murder. When Jacob returned from his sojourn with Laban, Esau met him with 400 men, but accepted the present of Jacob and there was no fighting. Esau returned to Mount Seir and Jacob set his household in Succoth.

Now, the story of how Rebecca and Jacob designed to steal the blessing from Esau, which was made possible because Isaac was blind, is well known. When hearing of this deception, Esau begged his father for a blessing. It is worth reproducing, Genesis 27:39-40, “And Isaac his father lifted his voice and said unto him; Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and from the dew of heaven from above. And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” The immediate result of this blessing is recorded in the next verse, “And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him; and Esau said in his heart, the days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will slay my brother Jacob.”

When Moses was leading the children of Israel through the desert of Sinai, they were attacked by the children of Amelek, Esau’s grandchild. The Israelites prevailed as long as Moses raised his arms. The Lord took an oath of enmity between Himself and Amelek in perpetuity. Later, when Saul was king in Israel, the Lord sent his battleax (Israel) to destroy the Amelekites but Saul was interested in taking a spoil and immediately lost the support of the Lord, leading to his ultimate demise.

In the Bible, we find some profound truths. In John 8:39, “They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father; Jesus said unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.” And verse 40, “But now ye seek to kill Me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God; this did not Abraham.” Perhaps, by the same reasoning, it would be truthful to say, Ye do the works of Esau, as his children would do.

Finally, the book of Obadiah, contains prophecies concerning Edom. It is a book of one chapter. Verse 2-4, I find interesting, “Behold, I have made thee small among the heathen; thou art greatly despised. The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefs of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou shalt exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down saith the Lord.” I find this phrase, “nest among the stars”, interesting because we have been told that Satan tried to exalt himself above the stars and he was brought down to earth by God. Verses 9-10 proclaim the ultimate destruction of Esau and one of the reasons, “And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one of the mount of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off forever.” This shame refers to the exile of Judah, when Edom supported Nebuchadnezzar and gloated in Judah’s troubles. Cut off forever!! Some legacy!!

Those who identify with Edom would do well to repent and seek the Lord’s mercy; we can see from current events that the end of the Christian age is soon upon us when we expect Obadiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled.