23 The Lord said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger. ”
When you begin to look into the subject of this question and really research the history of these two brothers (Jacob and Esau) in genealogy you begin to see great evidence of this scripture taking part in their lives. Even while still in the womb, God made it the will of Esau and Jacob that the younger would battle with the elder for supremacy. In Genesis 25:22 Rebekah was recorded asking God why her children were so violent within the womb.’ 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.’ It was verse 23 that would explain the rest of the future of humanity down the line of the family. There are many theories on exactly what God mean in this particular chapter about this subject. Many argue that this wasn’t a one-time event, but that it is a continuing struggle even today through both of what’s left from remaining bloodlines. It is obvious that Esau’s descendants (Edomites) land would be held by the Israelites (Jacob’s descendants) soon after King David ruled Israel. Understand that this situation was not well understood by many in this day due to social traditions of the middle-eastern societies of that day.
Upon looking further into history the story begins to get more interesting today as we look at the Roman society, who was believed to be the descendants of the bloodline of Esau. You might ask, “Why would Esau’s family line produce a great civilization like Rome if he was the servant?” Just because Esau would serve the younger did not mean he was weak. The Romans would later on embrace Christianity as a faith which would again fulfill the promise of God by accepting the God of Israel, which was the bloodline of Jacob. In this way the elder would also serve the younger.
Even to this day many say that this struggle continues and that God’s will through this scripture is being lived out daily in some fashion. Many believe that the nations of the United States and Great Britain are descendants of the lineage of Jacob and that Esau’s descendants continue to serve us in another capacity. Some also believe that this was a pre-runner of what was to come with Jesus being the oldest serving his brothers who were younger as disciples. Either way the God of Jacob will one day come back to this earth to proclaim his kingdom and take it away from Satan. I just think in all this is part of the will of God to make this happen in the end. Soon, Jesus will reign victoriously!
Davis, John J. Paradise to Prison. Salem, WI: Sheffield Publishing Co., 1998. ISBN: 978-1-879215-35-7.
Walton, John H. Chronological and Background Charts of the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1994. ISBN: 978-0-310-48161-4.
Ronald N. Brown, Notes and Observations “And the older shall serve the younger” A Midrashabout Jesus, Harvard Theological Review (July 1, 1994), 366.
The Holy Bible. NIV. Crossway. Wheaton Illinois. 2007