The country of Edom was located on the southeast border of Israel. Esau, the older twin brother of Jacob, and his descendants established this country. Esau willingly gave up his birthright in order to fulfill his immediate desire to have something to eat. At a later point in time their mother helped Jacob deceive his father into receiving the blessing of the firstborn. This blessing created great animosity between the two brothers so that Esau said in his heart “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” (Gen 27:41)
Esau never carried out his murderous thoughts. He and Jacob appeared to be reconciled several years later when they meet and embraced. (Gen 33:4) Yet Esau’s descendants continued to hold enmity against the people of Israel. They forbade the Israelites passage through their land. The first king of Israel, Saul, fought against the Edomites. According to the prophet Obadiah, God’s judgment will come upon them for violence against their brother Jacob as well as for rejoicing when destruction came upon their brother.
The prophet Ezekiel also spoke concerning Edom that they shed the blood of the children of Israel at the time of their calamity because of an ancient or perpetual hatred. (35:5) It seems that though Esau and Jacob reconciled, Esau’s descendants retained that hatred. It looks as if Esau had a change of heart but his children, grand children, did not. Were they angry because Jacob received the blessing, the better land, the promises of God? Maybe they thought their line of descendants were cheated…they did not get what they deserved?
Whatever took place in their thought process they spread that hate from one generation to the next. It is a hatred that God will judge one day once and for all. (Ez 35:12-15)
Is there anyone against whom you have animosity or hate? Are you passing any hate onto the next generation? Who do you detest…a politician, a boss, a teacher, a neighbor, a parent, a brother? Are you an Edomite in your heart?
Jesus said, “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. … Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:27, 28 ,36)