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wine :' and much the same is said to Esau, · Behold thy dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above.' In this manner the latter clause is translated in Jerome's and the old versions ;* but some modern commentators (Castalio, Le Clerc,t &c.) render it otherwise, that his dwelling should be • far from the fatness of the earth, and from the dew of heaven :' and they say that Idumea, the country of the Edomites, was a dry, barren, and desert country. But it is not probable, that any good author should use the very same words, with the very same prepositions, & in one sense, and within a few lines after in a quite contrary sense. Besides Esau solicited for a blessing ; and the author of the epistle to the Hebrews saith, xi. 20, that · Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau ;' whereas, had he consigned Esau to such a barren and wretched country, it would have been a curse rather than a blessing. The spiritual blessing indeed, or the promise of the blessed seed, could be given only to one; but temporal good things might be communicated and imparted to both. Mount Seir and the adjacent country was at first the possession of the Edomites ; they afterwards extended themselves farther into Arabia ; as they did afterwards into the southern parts of Judea. But wherever they were situated, we find in fact that the Edomites, in temporal advantages, were little inferior to the Israelites. Esau had cattle, and beasts, and substance in abundance, and he went to dwell in Seir of his own accord; and he would hardly have removed thither with so many cattle, had it been such a barren and desolate country, as some would represent it.-Gen. xxxiv. 6, 7, 8. The Edomites had dukes and kings reigning over them, while the Israelites were

• In pinguedine terræ, et in rore cæli desuper. [In the fatness of the earth, and in the dew of heaven from above.]

+ A terræ pinguitudine aberit-Cast. [He shall be far from the fatness of the earth---Castalio.) A pinguedine quidem terræ remota erit sedes tua, neque rore cæli fecundabitur.Nec sane Idumæa fecunda aut pingni solo, aut tem pestivis pluviis rigata fuit.---Clericus in locum. [Thy habitation shall be remote from the fatness of the earth, nor shall it be fertilized by the dew of heaven. Idumaa neither has a rich soil, nor is it watered by seasonable showers.---Le Clerc on this passage.] Ver. 28,

pinguedinibus de et, cæli [earth the of fatness the of and, heaven of dew the of] Ver. 39, desuper coeli sore de et,

pibguedinibus de. (above from heaven of dew the of and, earth the of fatnees the of] {'The Hebrew being read from right to left, the translation is made in the same order.)






rore de.







slaves in Egypt. In their return out of Egypt, when the Israelites desired leave to pass through the territories of Edom, it appear that the country abounded with fruitful fields and vineyards : • Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country; we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells.'—Numb. xx. 17. And the prophecy of Malachi, i. 2. which is commonly alleged as a proof of the barrenness of the country, is rather an argument to the contrary—“And I hated Esau, and laid his mountain and his heritage waste, for the dragons of the wilderness ;' for this implies that the country was fruitful before, and that its present unfruitfulness was rather an effect of war and devastation, than any natural defect and failure in the soil. If the country is barren and unfruitful now, so neither is Judea what it was formerly. The face of any country is much changed in a long course of years : and it is totally a different thing, when a country is regularly cultivated by inhabitants living under a settled government, than when tyranny prevails, and the land is left desolate. It is also frequently seen that God, as the Psalmist saith, cvii. 34, turneth a fruitful land into barrenness for the wickedness of them that dwell therein.'

IV. The elder branch should delight more in war and violence, but yet should be subdued by the younger. • And by thy sword shali thou live, and shalt serve thy brother.' Esau himself might be said to live much by the sword, for he was a cunning hunter, a man of the field.'-Gen. xxv. 27. He and his children gat possession of mount Seir by force and violence, by destroying and expelling from thence the Horites, the former inhabitants, Deut. ii. 22. We have no account, and therefore cannot pretend to say, by what incans they spread themselves farther among the Arabians; but it appears,* that upon a sedition and separation several of the Edomites came, and seized upon the south-west parts of Judea during the Babylonish captivity and settled there ever afterwards. Both before and after this, they were almost continually at war with the Jews; upon every occasion they were ready to join with their enemies : and when Nebuchadnezzar besieged Jerusalem, they encouraged him utterly to destroy the city, saying Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.'— Psal. cxxxvii. 7.

Even long after they were subdued by the Jews, they still retained the same martial spirit, for Josephus in his time giveth them the character

Prideaux Connect. Part !.

• Strabo. lib 16. p. 1103. Edit. Amstel. 1707. Book 1 Ann, 740.

of " a turbulent and disorderly nation, always erect to commotions and rejoicing in changes, at the least adulation of those who be

seech them beginning war, and hastening to battle as it were to “ a feast.”*

Agreeably to this character, a little before the las: siege of Jerusalem, they came at the entreaty of the zealots to assist them against the priests and people, and there together with the zealots committed unheard-of cruelties, and barbarously murdered Ananus the high-priest, from whose death Josephus dated the destruction of the city.

V, However there was to be a time when the elder should have dominion, and shake off the yoke of the younger. And it shall come to pass when thou shalt have dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.' The word which we translate · have dominion' is capable of various interpretations. Some render it in the sense of laying down' or shaking off,' as the Septuagint and the Vulgar Latin, and it shall come to pass that thou shalt shake off, and shalt loose his yoke from off thy neck. Some again render it in the sense of mourning' or ' repenting' as the Syriac, ' but if thou shalt repent, his yoke shall pass from off thy neck.'I But the most common rendering and most approved is, 'when thou shalt have dominion ;' and it is not said or meant, that they should have dominion over the seed of Jacob, but simply have dominion, as they had when they appointed a king over their own. The Jerusalem Targum thus paraphraseth the whole, “And it shall be when the sons of Jacob attend to the law, and observe the precepts, they shall impose the yoke of servitude upon thy neck; but when they shall turn away themselves from studying the law, and neglect the precepts, behold then thou shalt. shake off the yoke of servitude from thy neck."S David imposed the yoke, and at that time the Jewish people observed the law. But the yoke was very galling to the Edomites from the first : and towards the latter end of Solomon's reign, Hadad, the Edomite of the blood royal, who had been carried into Egypt in his childhood, returned into his own country, and raised some disturbances, 1 Kings xi. but was not able to recover his throne, his subjects being overawed by the garrisons which David had placed among them.* But in the reign of Jehoram, the son of Jehosaphat, king of Judah, 'the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, and made themselves a king.' Jehoram made some attempts to subdue them again, but could not prevail. 'So the Edomites revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day,' saith the author of the book of Chronicles -2 Chron. xxi. 8, 10. And hereby this part of the prophecy was fulfilled about nine hundred years after it was delivered.


• Ατι θορυβωδες και άτακ7ον έθνος, άει το μετεωρον προς τα κινημαία, και μιλαξιλαις χοιρου, προς ολιγην δη κολακειαν των δεομενων τα όπλα κινην, και καθαπερ είς εορτην εις τας ταραταξεις επειγομενον. Utpote gentem tumultuosam et ordinis impatientem, ad motus intentam semper et mutationihus gaudentem, ad modicam vero qui supplicant adulationem arma moventem, et ad prælia quasi ad festum properantem.--De Bell. Jud. lib. 4. cap. 4. sect. 1. p, 1177. Edid. Hudson. See too the following chapter, [Translated in the text.]

+ 'Eso δε ήνικα εαν καθιλης και έκλυσης τον ζυθον αυλα απο τα τραχηλα σο.---Sept. Tempusque veniet cum excutias et solves jugum ejus de cervicibus tuis.--Vuly "Translated in the text.]

# At si pænitentiam egeris, præteribit jugum ejus a collo tuo.-Syr. [Translnted in the text)

Et erit cum operam dabunt filii Jacob legi, et servabunt mandata, impovont jugun servicmis super collum tuam: quando autem averterint se filii Jacob et non etid. deant legi, nec serraverint mandata, ecce tunc abrumpes jugum servitutis corum a colo too.---Targ. Hieros. [Translated in the text.]

VI. But in all spiritual gifts and graces the younger should be greatly superior, and be the happy instrument of conveying the blessing to all nations. In thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed :' and hitherto are to be referred in their full force those expressions, Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee; Cursed be every man that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.' The same promise was made to Abraham in the name of God, 'I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee :'_Gen. xii. 3 : and it is here repeated to Jacob, and is thus paraphrased in the Jerusalem Targum: “He who curseth thee, shall be cursed, as Balaam the son of

and he who blesseth thee, shall be blessed, as Moses the prophet, the lawgiver of Israel.”+ It appears that Jacob was a man of more religion, and believed the divine promises more than Esau. The posterity of Jacob likewise preserved the true religion and the worship of one God, while the Edomites were sunk in idelatry. And of the seed of Jacob was born at last the Saviour of the world. This was the peculiar privilege and advantage of Jacob, to be the happy instrument of conveying these spiritual blessings to all nations. This was his greatest superiority over Esau: and in this sense St. Paul understands and applies the prophecy, ‘the elder shall serve the younger.'-Rom. ix. 12. The Christ, the Sa


+ Joseph. Antiq. lib. 8. cap. 7, sect 6. p. 361. Edit Hudson.

• Quisquis maledixerit tibi Jacob fili mi, erit maledictus, sicut Balaam filius Beor; quisquis autem benedixerit tibi, erit benedictus, sicut Moses propheta, legislatur Israelitarum.---Targ. Hieros. [Translated in the text.]

viour of the world, was to be born of some one family: and Jacob's was preferred to Esau's out of the good pleasure of Almighty God, who is certainly the best judge of fitness and expedience, and hath an undoubted right to dispense his favours as he shall see proper ; for he saith to Moses' (as the apostle proceeds to argue, ver. 15.) •I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.' And when the Gentiles were converted to Christianity, the prophecy was fulfilled literally, · Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee;' and will more amply be fulfilled, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in, and all Israel shall be saved.'

We have traced the accomplishment of the prophecy from the beginning; and we find that the nation of the Edomites hath at several times been conquered by and made tributary to the Jews, but never the nation of the Jews to the Edomites, and the Jews have been the more considerable people, more known in the world, and more famous in history. We know indeed little more of the history of the Edomites, than as it is connected with that of the Jews : and where is the name or the nation now? They were swallowed up and lost, partly among the Nabathæan Arabs, and partly among the Jews; and the ery name was abolished and disused* about the end of the first century after Christ. Thus were they rewarded for insulting and oppressing their brethren the Jews, and hereby other prophecies were fulfilled of Jeremiah, (xlix. 7. &c); of Ezekiel, (xxv. 12, &c.); of Joel, (iii. 19.); Amos, (i. 11. &c.); and Obadiah. And at this day we see the Jews subsisting as a distinct people, while Edom is no more. For agreeably to the words of Obadiah, ver. 10— For thy violence against thy brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever :' and again, ver. 18.—there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau, for the Lord hath spoken it.'

• See Prideaux Connect. Part 1. Book 5. Anno 129.

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