39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40 And by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you shall break his yoke from off your neck. 41 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 will I slay my brother Jacob.
There has been much debate on the actual translation of verse 39. At first glance, one might think that Isaac is handing out the very same blessing that he had given accidentally to Jacob. He is literally telling Esau that he will not dwell in the same blessings that his brother will.
New International Version
His father Isaac answered him, “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above.
New Living Translation
Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above.
English Standard Version
Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high.
New American Standard Bible
Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, “Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above.
Esau is very distraught. He did not go into the tent expecting to be the “bekhor” and he speaks of loosing this as something in the past. He did, however, expect some type of blessing. He didn’t want the hassles and responsibilities that came along with being named the “bekhor,” but he did want the wealth and power that it pertained but now he has lost this as well and he receives what only can be described as a curse rather than a blessing.
1. His dwelling place would not be rich and fertile.
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
The land of Esau, named Edom, was located at the south end of the Dead Sea, and then stretches to the Arabian Peninsula. This has always been a very dry and inhospitable place.
Some ancient Sages taught that Esau was a “type” of the Roman Catholic Church.
2. His dwelling place would not be permanent
40 And by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother;
He would have to live off the land and by the sword, serving his brother.
3. His dwelling place would impact prophecy
40 And by your sword shall you live, and shall serve your brother; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you shall break his yoke from off your neck.
There will come a time when he would break free from the yoke of his brother.
The Edomites appear all through the Old Testament, and in each instance, they are, and encounter nothing but trouble.
1. King David was the first descendant of Jacob to rule over Esau’s people for a very long time, up until King Ahaz lost control of them and they have not been dominated since then by an Israelite nation. This could probably help explain the determination of the Palestinians, who admit to being descendants of Esau, to be free from living under the thumb of Israel.
2. The book of Obadiah is devoted to God’s Word against Esau’s descendants.
3. Haman, from the book of Esther, was an Edomite, who sought to wipe the Jews from his sight.
4. Around the year 3000, the Nabateans moved into Petra, an area inhabited by the Edomites, thus forcing them to move around Hebron. They eventually became known as the Idumeans.
5. Judas Maccabaeus warred against them but it was John Hyrcanus who subdued them, imposing circumcision and the old Jewish Law of Assembly. The Idumeans became Jews religiously, but not ethnically.
6. Later on, Julius Ceasar appointed Antipater, and Idumean, as procurator of Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. His son, Herod, was crowned king of the Jews. Herod was a family name and each Herod who followed after was an Idueman, even the King Herod, who was around during the time of Jesus. This Idumean, as his ancestor Haman, tried to wipe out the Messiah. The very spirit of Antichrist.
7. In A.D. 70, the Roman General Titus besieged Jerusalem and was positioned to destroy the city. 20,000 Idumeans were allowed into the city to help defend it, according to Josephus, but when they were allowed within, they turned on the Jews there. He states that they received the same fate as the few surviving Jews when Rome eventually took over the city, thus Edom, or Idumea, ceased to be.
8. The remaining Idumeans migrated to Italy and settled down near Rome through the linkage of Herod, where their descendants remain to this day.
9. Danial 9 tells us that the antichrist will come out of the people who destroyed Jerusalem, Rome.
20 ¶And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.*n7 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.*n8 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.*n9*n10 24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.*n11*n12*n13 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.*n14*n15*n16 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.*n17*n18 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.*n19*n20*n21
10. The antichrist’s nationality will most likely be Roman, but he will be an Idumean, ethnically.
11. Natthew 24:15-16 tells us about the day that Esau will break his brother;s yoke from around his neck.
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
Antichrist, like his earlier fore-runner, Antiochus Epiphanes, will rise to power, setting his image up in the temple in Jerusalem.
Esau’s descendants have another part in history. Not only did he mix with the Canannites but he will eventually mix with that of the descendants of Ishmael, another group who have a good reason to hate Israel, at least in their thinking.
So much of the Arab Muslim world carries some connection to Esau and still holds a terrible grudge toward his brother Jacob.