Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Demise of Edom (Part II)

"For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea. And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion." (Isaiah 34:5-8)

As the longstanding enemy of Israel, Edom is placed under the judgment of God's sword. The name Edom actually appears in the Hebrew text. Idumea is a Greek form referring to the territory of Edom in New Testament times. Edom's early hostility against Israel may be seen in her refusal to give the Jews passage through her land (Numbers 20:20-21). Later, Edom would aid in the destruction of Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar (Psalm 137:7, Obadiah). The Edomites never lost their hatred of God's chosen people, and this very fact is one reason why God's anger was stirred against the nation of Edom (Amos 1:11).

God calls them the people of my curse. Malachi uses similar language when he titles them The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever (Malachi 1:4). To resist the will and worship of God while persecuting those whom He has blessed is to court certain death. The Edomites were not randomly picked out by God to be those whom He especially hated. Esau's rejection of God's righteousness and the resultant rejection of God by Esau's offspring are responsible for the divine curse brought upon the country.

God pictures His judgment upon Edom as a sacrifice of the finest animals. Each ruler and officer would become, for all intents and purposes, as helpless as a sacrificial lamb in the presence of God's righteous indignation. Paul illustrated the futility of resisting God when he said, "...All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:13)." The city of Bozrah in the land of Moab is likely not the location to which God makes reference (Jeremiah 48:24). The Bozrah mentioned here was located in Edom proper and seems to have been a major city. The name Bozrah means a sheepfold. This name seems to suggest that flocks of sheep and goats were a major source of industry for the city (Micah 2:12). The Holy Spirit is making a play on words as he foretells a sacrifice of sheep and goats in the city named sheepfold. Again, Edom is the name behind Idumea.

The unicorn likely refers to an ox. The bullock is the young bull or steer. The word behind bulls means mighty or valiant. Both the great and the small would fall together. The picture is one of both strong and expensive sacrificial animals as well smaller and more inferior ones coming down together. God does not respect persons in judgment. Every Edomite, both small and great, was trusting in the security of his position; yet, each would be destroyed on God's altar.

Continuously at odds with Israel and her right to the land promised her by God, Edom's disputes against Zion would be answered by the LORD of hosts.

But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it (Obadiah 17-18).

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