The hatred and animosities of Ishmael and Esau toward the Jews were instilled in their descendants.[1] There has been a continuous, perpetual hatred of the descendants of Esau and Ishmael against the Jews that is characterized especially by the Ishmaelites, descendants of Ishmael, and the Edomites, descendants of Esau. An example that shows how early the descendants had this animosity is found in Numbers 20:14‑21.

By the time this passage takes place, it would appear that the tables were indeed reversed; it would appear that the Arabs had all the blessings and the Jews had all the curses. The descendants of Esau had established their nation in the mountains ofMt.Seir; they had king after king and had become a strong and mighty people. But Jacob and his descendants went intoEgyptand eventually became slaves of the Egyptians. NowIsraelhad been rescued and was moving toward her inheritance¾theLandofCanaan. The shortest route to their homeland would be to go by way of thelandofEdom. Again, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, the twin brother of Jacob. A request had to be issued, and this is found in Numbers 20:14‑21:

From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus your brother Israel has said, ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us; that our fathers went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. ‘But when we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. ‘Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. We will go along the king’s highway, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.'” Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, nothing else.” But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy force and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

A simple request is made on the basis of the blood relationship between these two nations. When Moses writes his letter, he says: Thus says your brother Israel. Although this is a simple request only to pass through without doing any damage to the territory, the answer of the Edomites is “no.” Although about four hundred years had passed by this time, the perpetual animosity that had begun with Esau had been instilled in Esau’s descendants against the Jews. To make sure the Jews do not cross their country, the Edomites come out with their army to their border to force the Jews to take a much longer route to their own homeland, even though the Edomites had already settled in theirs.

In the Book of Judges, we often read of Ishmaelites, Edomites, and other descendants of these two men inflicting damage upon Israel. Even afterIsraelsettled in her own Land, we find the animosity still there.

[1] This post is a modified version of Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s original Messianic Bible Study. The full version may be obtained here.