I find it unsettling that four of Israel’s major enemies are “family.” Now at times, they were civil towards one another and we have to remember that Ruth, David’s and Jesus’ grandmother, was a Moabitess. But Edom, Moab, and Ammon are frequently mentioned together as joining forces to fight Israel and in many of the Prophetic Books, they are together when the Lord is handing out judgment.
It should also be noted that God warns Moses and the Israelites about fighting with them on the way back to the Promised Land. In Deuteronomy 2:5,9,19 it is stated that each of them had been given that land by the Lord and Israel was not to start trouble.
Lot is the father of Moab and Ammon (see Timeline) by his daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30 – 38). Now a question that has been asked is whether they should have ever been there, to begin with! Abraham was to leave his country and family and go to the Promised Land but there is Lot with his uncle as he leaves the rest of the family.
Esau (Edom) is also a shadowing of personal/family troubles but he is more complicated even than Ishmael. When Jacob was sent off to find a wife Esau did something interesting, he went to Ishmael for a third wife. At one time I thought that was to make Isaac and Rebekah mad but I now think it was just the opposite; in an attempt to please mom and dad he went back to “family” just like Jacob was doing (Genesis 28:6-9). Esau married Mahalath, Ishmael’s daughter. So all of the types and shadows that may apply to Ishmael live on in Esau’s family. ( see Part 1 and Three Books)
Now the bad blood, remember it started in Rebekah’s womb (see Timeline), that had existed between Esau and Jacob (Genesis27: 41-45) seems to have been forgiven in the 20 years that they were separated (Genesis 33) but you have to wonder if Jacob’s mistrust was well-founded or did he create another offense when he did not travel back right away to the family area.
I am sure it was different then but he certainly had two interesting names, Esau means “hairy” and Edom means “red.”
Edom and Israel were always fighting in the Old Testament and all of the Major and Minor Prophets have sections that talk about the destruction and downfall of Edom. Since this area corresponds to modern-day Jordan you just know that this story is not over yet.
Josephus is a Jewish historian, his writings may seem a little frightening but I only read the section that corresponds to what I am reading in the Bible. My copy is a Nelson’s Super Value Series book and it does a good job of describing what each section covers and the parts in the “books” are very well labeled. It adds an interesting perspective to the Bible passages that I am studying.
These are the first-born children of both Abraham and Isaac. Hagar gave birth to Ishmael but he was not considered the “promised child” and Esau (see Three Books and The Day) sold his birthright to Jacob. So neither of these men received the rights of the first-born; this is in agreement with the shadowing of Adam and Jesus. ( FYI Muslims say they are the spiritual children of Abraham through Ishmael.) You can read that both of these men maintained a relationship with their fathers because both of them showed up to help bury their fathers; Genesis 25:9 for Abraham and Genesis 35:29 for Isaac. Josephus, a Jewish historian, actually uses the death of Isaac as a dividing point for his history book The Antiquities of the Jews.
Ishmael is an interesting “type and shadow” he was born from an Egyptian and got an Egyptian wife; Egypt for Christians is associated with our bondages and addictions before we are saved. So even though Egypt still holds that shadow Ishmael takes on an added shadowing because he is something personal/family in our lives. One of the last mentions of him is in Genesis 25:18 which refers to the fact that his descendants lived in hostility (or to the east of) all of their brothers. According to Josephus Ishmael became the father of the Arabians. (see Part 2)
Now the Arabians do show up later in Scripture in some interesting places. In 2 Chronicles 17 Jehoshaphat has tribute brought to him by Arabs, Jehoram is attacked by them in chapter 21, and in chapter 26 Uzziah is beating them again with God’s help. Nehemiah has trouble with them because of Geshem and they are mentioned in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel where they are condemned to the sword or are under God’s wrath. But a scripture that ties all of this together is in Galatians 4:21 – 31. Hagar represents Mount Sinai (the Law) that is in Arabia and Paul links that to physical Jerusalem while the heavenly Jerusalem is linked to Sarah.
References:1.12.2 The Antiquities of the Jews, Zondervan NIV Exhaustive Concordance
Have you ever noticed in the Old Testament who claims God as their Lord? We know Balaam as the guy who had a donkey talk to him to refocus his thinking; even that did not help him by the end of his story. In Numbers 22:18 Balaam, son of Beor, claims the Lord as his God when he is talking to the princes of Moab. This is pretty amazing since he clearly was not an Israelite. In Numbers 22:5 it says his native land was near the River (Euphrates). According to verse 6, the king of Moab credits him with the blessing of Abraham. How? My best guess is he was a grandchild of Abraham from his third wife – Keturah (Gen. 25: 1) or he was a descendent of Edom (Esau) because he is a “son of Beor” (Genesis 36:32); remember Abraham was a man who would teach his children about God (Genesis 18:19). Balaam knew God and could talk with Him, but he still became a “seed type #2” in Luke 8: 13.
King Saul after an amazing call to be king. Enjoyed many victories that clearly had come from God. He even had Samuel, the prophet for his tutor. Saul reached a point when he becomes a “your God” person. After a great victory against the Amalekites, he forgets God and surrenders to fear and greed. When Samuel confronts King Saul about his disobedience in 1 Samuel 15:15 King Saul says that the cattle were for sacrificing to the Lord your God. Why not say the Lord our/my God? It is a shame that his thinking and his words showed that even though he had known the Lord he stopped claiming Him as his God; he became “seed type #3” in Luke 8:14.
Part of this year’s Bible study has brought me to read Ezekiel and Obadiah at the same time. This has been good because it made me think how those two men and Jeremiah (Daniel was at this time also but he will be another day) were all hearing God and writing at the same time and how they fit into the time line in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. Ezekiel was in Babylon, as part of the first wave of deportees, using time stamps to place his writings with Jeremiah’s and what was happening in Jerusalem at that time. Ezekiel 24 through 31 is the same time period of the second and final attack on Jerusalem. In chapter 32 Ezekiel starts writing about the “twelfth year”; so this was after the fall of Jerusalem and corresponds to Jeremiah 39 through 45. Now Obadiah comes in to this mix because his twenty-one verses are all about the destruction of Edom (Esau, Isaac’s first son and Jacob’s fraternal twin) because of how they mistreated Israel in their time of need. So if you read Obadiah, Ezekiel 35 and Jeremiah 49:7 – 22 it shows a unified picture of God’s thoughts toward Edom. Resources: The Holman Illustrated Study Bible