Esau Have I Hated!


The Nehpilim/Canaanite Connection!

            The title of this study should be quite familiar to most readers.  It is part of a famous quotation from the Bible, and apparently is considered of great importance, since we find it in both the Old and New Testaments.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he begins a long discourse in chapter nine with regard to Israel, their past and their future.  It contains some profound information, and the specific quotation from which the title of this article is taken can be found here.  In his discussion of how Israel was selected as the children of promise, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Paul makes the following statement:


“And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac (for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calls); It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.  As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but ESAU HAVE I HATED” (Rom. 9:10-13).


            And indeed it had already been written down, several hundred years earlier, by the prophet Malachi, the last of the writing seers of Judah, when he quotes God as saying:


“I have loved you, says the Lord.  Yet you say, Wherein have You loved us?  Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? says the Lord: yet I loved Jacob, and I HATED ESAU, and laid waste his mountains and his

heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness” (Mal. 1:2-3).


            When it is said that God laid waste the mountains of Esau, this does not mean that his descendants were utterly destroyed at that time, as the rest of this prophecy goes on to confirm.  We will come back to cover the remainder of this prediction a little later in our study. 



            What does the Eternal mean when He says that He hates Esau?  Does the famous wrestling match between Jacob and Esau in the womb of their mother Rebecca have significance beyond the event itself?  Are there important, even mandatory, reasons why we in the 21st century ought to better understand the nature, history, and perhaps even the future of this ancient rivalry?  These are some of the pertinent questions we will seek to answer in this study of the Word.


            In order to adequately cover this entire subject and the issues associated with it, a thorough study is required.  This article, therefore, will be detailed, and will, from time to time, take certain departures from the main topic.  It is imperative to follow the appropriate roads, and sometimes even the trails and dim paths, in order to successfully negotiate our way through the Biblical, historical, mythological, and prophetical material, bringing us hopefully to a fuller understanding at the conclusion of our journey.  I believe, however, that you will find the evidence presented to be interesting, convincing, and profitable, as this  story, though ancient in its origins, contains significant facts that pertain to our time and beyond, even to the end of the age.






            All Bible students are aware of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.  He is considered one of the three great patriarchs of  old.  By comparison, however, relatively scant attention is paid to his brother Esau.  And for this reason, the importance of the man and his lineage down through history is not nearly as widely understood as it should be, but it has critical implications.


            Jacob and Esau’s grandfather was Abraham, a man who once lived in the city of Ur, one of the great ancient Mesopotamian centers of  pagan worship.  Abraham, because of his willingness to unquestionably trust in and obey God, left behind his homeland, his friends, eventually even his own father’s house, and became designated as the father of the faithful.  So obedient was this man that no less than the apostle Paul describes those who come into the true faith of the Scriptures as being spiritual children of Abraham (Gal. 3:1-9).  Abraham became the recipient of the greatest promises ever given to human beings, culminating in the birth of Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah and Savior of the world.  The destiny of all mankind, therefore, is intimately related to Abraham and his progeny. 


            Abraham was a man greatly tested by God.  In many different ways, mostly in the form of trials, faith was developed and cultivated in his life.  Beginning with the special call he received to leave Ur of the Chaldees and journey to a place of which he knew not, to enduring 25 long years of faithful waiting until Isaac, the son of promise was finally born to him and his wife Sarah, Abraham experienced the intensity of God’s training.  During this ancient time, the Almighty was setting the stage for a great drama that was to eventually be acted out on a worldwide scale.  The divine promises given to Abraham, therefore, passed not to Ishmael, the firstborn, but rather to Isaac, and thus a holy lineage was established from father Abraham through Isaac. 


            Once married, Isaac and his wife Rebecca had twin sons, and their birth was fraught with unusual and profound complications.  This story is one of the most fascinating in all of human history, and it is by no means yet completed.  The final chapters are now, in fact, being written, and soon will unfold on a global scale.  These two sons were Esau and Jacob, names that have become very familiar to all of us.






            The Scriptures record that before Jacob and Esau were born  something very critical occurred.  We read about this well-known incident in Genesis 25 as follows:


“And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebecca to wife...and Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lord was entreated of him, and Rebecca his wife conceived.  And the children STRUGGLED together within her; and she said, If it be so, what am I thus?  And she went to inquire of the Lord.  And the Lord said unto her, TWO NATIONS are in your womb, and TWO MANNER OF PEOPLE shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:20-23).


            This struggling or wrestling of the yet unborn infants is representative of the contention that was to exist between these two individuals and their descendants.  Two related, yet quite different, people were to  emerge from the lineages of Rebecca’s sons.  It is clear, therefore, from the outset that major problems were in the offing.


            The Genesis account goes on to elaborate concerning the two children:


“And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.  And the first came out RED, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.  And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s


heel; and his name was called Jacob” (Gen. 25:24-26).


            In this short passage we are given two significant facts.  The most obvious of these is that Esau was red in color.  Most readers of the Bible put little stock in this point, but it is of the greatest importance, for as we shall soon see, Esau will become intimately associated with the color red, not only the man himself, but also his progeny.


            The order of birth on this occasion is very relevant as well, since Yahweh states that the elder will serve the younger.  Even though Esau was the firstborn, the fact that Jacob not only struggled with his brother before their birth, but also took hold of Esau’s heel, is indicative of a very particular attitude on the part of Jacob.  The second-born son of Isaac and Rebecca demonstrated from the very beginning his nature.  His name in Hebrew means supplanter, which indeed is what he became.  In time, Jacob would rise above Esau, and he would do so by great tenacity, combined with a healthy dose of deception.






            One of the signal event in the lives of these two brothers transpires when Esau, now a grown man and utterly exhausted from hunting, encounters Jacob cooking pottage, a red soup or stew that Esau craved.  So tired is Esau that he is about to


faint, and in his distress, he calls out to his younger brother:


“Feed me, I pray you, with that same RED pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called EDOM.  And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright.  And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?  And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.  Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:30-34).


            Here in this passage, we so clearly see the difference in the nature of these two young men.  One was weak, the other strong.  Esau was cunning and successful as a hunter, but he was far less so in the other areas of his life.  The sale of one’s own birthright for a mere bowl of pottage seems incredible, indicating the weakness of Esau’s character, and certainly one of the chief reasons for God’s feelings toward this man.


            On the other hand, you might also conclude that no loving person would ever think to take such advantage of his own brother, especially when he was in a state of suffering and great vulnerability.  And yet this is precisely what Jacob did, and it would not be the last time that he would get the best of Esau.  Indeed, as we shall discover, the nature of these two men would be passed down to their descendants, and the two great nations that were to come from them.  In addition, Jacob’s craftiness toward his brother in the matter of the birthright will eventually come to play a great part in the subsequent history of these two peoples.  This event would have repercussions thousands of years later when the modern-day descendants of the younger brother Jacob cleverly pull off the same sort of trickery against the latter-day peoples of Esau, only on a larger, indeed, even a worldwide, scale.


            Note in the previous passage that Esau receives another name at this time.  Many Bible students assume that Esau is also called Edom, meaning red, because of his color at birth, but this is not the reason.  He received this nickname at the time he sold his birthright, and it would prove to be quite significant down through history to this very day.






            Although Jacob’s natural inclination to take for himself that which God desired to give him asserts itself even from his birth, it is near the time of Isaac’s death that his true nature reveals itself most clearly.  His father is old, and Jacob knows he doesn’t have much time left.  Undoubtedly for some years something has been brewing in the back of his mind.  He already has Esau’s birthright, but that just isn’t enough to satisfy the insatiable younger brother.  He also covets the special blessing of the firstborn.


            Now Jacob doesn’t ask God for his father’s blessing, neither does he approach Isaac himself in any sort of straightforward manner, nor does he contact his brother Esau in the matter.  None of these more appropriate or legitimate possibilities for obtaining the blessing are even a consideration for Jacob.  No, he must submit to the drives within him, and do what he does best–steal the blessing through stealth, lies, and deception!


            The story of how Jacob obtains the blessing is very well-known to us all.  It involves conspiracy with his own mother, deception with regard to his father, and treachery in the fact that he literally steals what belonged to his brother.  Would God have given him this blessing without Jacob’s having to resort to such cunning?  Of course, He could have, but even if He chose not to work in this manner, He could easily have blessed Jacob in other ways, or made all the necessary arrangements for Jacob to fulfil the role of succeeding his father Isaac as patriarch of the divinely chosen line.


            In fact, although Jacob displays many strong, even admirable, attributes in all of his youthful attempts to gain things for himself, in reality, he pays a high price for depending on his own abilities and slyness.  As you well know, Jacob’s deception put enmity between he and Esau forever, and powerfully affected the life and destiny of their many descendants.  Additionally, Jacob ends up fleeing from his brother, and aligning himself with his wife’s uncle Laban, a decision he surely came to regret.  As a result, Laban actually deceives Jacob with respect to Rachel and Leah, forcing him to labor the grand total of 20 years in his service, an almost incomprehensible burden!  In all these difficult circumstances, Jacob learned much the hard way, especially with regard to leaning upon and trusting in Yahweh to be his provider and defender.  Would that his sons and their children had learned the same lessons.






            With all the negative acts perpetrated against him by Jacob, we might be tempted to conclude that the elder brother in this family had every right to be angry and at odds with his younger sibling.  But we are compelled to view the whole situation from God’s perspective, and there is more involved that we must take into consideration.


            We know, of course, that once Jacob has tricked Esau out of receiving the blessing, he becomes afraid for his life, and flees from his brother.  We read in Genesis 27 the following account:


“And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.  And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, your brother Esau, as touching you, does comfort himself, purposing to kill you.  Now therefore my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee you to Laban my brother to Haran; and tarry with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turn away; until your brother’s anger turn away from you, and he forget that which you have done unto him” (Gen. 27:41-45).


            In fact, Esau not only hated Jacob then, he continued to hate him, as did his descendants down through history.  Esau not only desired and planned to kill Jacob then, he passed this evil to his progeny after him as well.  Neither he nor those of his family who succeeded him ever forgot the deceit of Jacob, and never forgave the younger brother his treachery.  The significance of this ancient historical event is literally overwhelming, when one considers that even to this very day this same conflict continues to exist, and indeed has come to completely dominate the world scene during the last nearly 90 years!


            The great hostility that commenced while Esau and Jacob were both still unborn, and that was to continue for centuries and centuries, is alluded to in Genesis 27.  Jacob has obtained the birthright, and now has received the blessing of the firstborn from Isaac.  Esau is almost inconsolable in his sorrow and anger, and now approaches Isaac.  We pick up the account beginning in verse 34, where father and firstborn son confront each other:


“And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.  And he said, Your brother came with subtlety, and has taken away your blessing.  And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob?  For he has supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he has taken away my blessing.  And he said, Have you not reserved a blessing for me?...And Esau said unto his father, Have you but one blessing, my father?  Bless me, even me also, O my father.  And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.  And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, YOUR DWELLING shall be of the FATNESS of the earth, and of the DEW of heaven above; and by the SWORD YOU SHALL LIVE, and SHALL SERVE YOUR BROTHER; and it shall come to pass when you shall have the dominion, that you SHALL BREAK HIS YOKE from off your neck” (Gen. 27:34-40).


            In giving the only blessing possible to Esau, Isaac prophesies regarding his firstborn son.  It is obviously a long-term situation to which Isaac refers.  He predicts that Esau’s descendants will eventually inhabit a place where the fatness of the earth and the dew of heaven are to be found.  In other words, the people of Esau, known as Edomites after the nickname given to their father, are foreseen as dwelling in a land blessed with great natural resources.


            In addition, he prophesies that the Edomites will become a warring people, living by the sword; yet subservient to the descendants of his brother–until, that is, the time would come when Esau would finally break the yoke of Jacob off his neck.  This statement is the signal prediction in this whole passage, for it speaks of a then faraway future point in time when this set of circumstances would come to pass. 






            Even though Esau literally gave away his birthright in a moment of weakness and vulnerability, and lost the blessing of the firstborn through the treachery of his brother, he and his descendants have always been determined to make a comeback.  To arrange such a rise to power, much maneuvering, machination, and manipulation would necessarily have to be involved.  The Edomites never lost sight of their objective–to eventually cast off the yoke of Jacob from their necks.


            The interesting prophecy found in Malachi 1, written some  1400 years after the time of Esau, informs us that the return of Edom is still a great future event, as will be their ultimate destruction at the hand of the Almighty.  Beginning in verse 1, we read:


“The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel by Malachi.  I have loved you, says the Lord.  Yet you say, Wherein have You loved us?  Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? says the Lord: yet I love Jacob, and I hated Esau, and laid his mountains (political kingdoms) and his heritage (wealth of Abraham and Isaac) waste for the dragons of the wilderness.  Whereas Edom says, We are impoverished, but WE WILL RETURN and BUILD THE DESOLATE PLACES; thus says the Lord of hosts, THEY SHALL BUILD, but I WILL THROW DOWN, and they shall call them the BORDER OF WICKEDNESS, and, the people against whom the LORD HAS INDIGNATION FOREVER” (Mal. 1:1-4).


            Here the Edomites are described in terms that must not be forgotten or taken for granted.  In spite of the fact that Esau lost out in the beginning, the avowed purpose of this people has been and still remains to rise up against Jacob and slay him! In the words of Malachi, Esau is seen as bereft because of what Jacob committed against him.  From the outset, Esau is greatly disadvantaged, and suffers loss of national power and pride.  Yet, the desire to recover and rise again burns hot in the heart of Edom.  He testifies that indeed he will return, he will come back, he will rebuild and become great, at which time he will fulfil the prophecy of Isaac by breaking the yoke of Jacob from off his neck.  But his destruction is awaiting him, for Yahweh has determined the ultimate demise of Esau. 


            Remember that God states from the beginning, “Esau have I hated!”  God hated Esau because Esau hated Him, and despised the things of Him, including especially the chosen one, Jacob himself.  But it is even more than this. 


            Esau, it is said in Scripture, despised the birthright which God had designed to be bequeathed unto the firstborn son.  That defect can be summed up by saying that the appeal of food and the desire for the things of this life were simply more important to Esau than the things of the Spirit.  The older son of Isaac wanted what he could see, hold in his hand, and consume to assuage his ravenous appetite.  When he is tested with hunger and fatigue, he immediately capitulates, and lets his birthright be taken from him for a bowl of what can only be perceived as red poison!         


            Another major reason why the Eternal hates Esau has to do with a crucial decision he made.  It is recorded in Genesis 26, and it must be read carefully to sense the importance of what transpires.  Beginning in verse 34, we read:


“And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah” (Gen. 26:34-35).


            Why should Esau’s choice of a wife become such an occasion of sorrow for his parents?  First of all, he didn’t take one wife, as God would have preferred, but two, although this is by no means his greatest sin in this matter.  It is who he married, far more than how many wives he had.  What Esau did was something reprehensible in the sight of the Most High.  Of all peoples on the face of the earth, the Canaanites were the most despicable.  So idolatrous and evil were they that it was the will of God that every single one of them be destroyed, man, woman, child, and animal!


            We are told that Esau took unto himself two wives, both of them Hittites.  The Hittites are well-known in history.  A fierce fighting people that inhabited the land of Canaan, they, along with the Amorites, formed the ethnic foundation of the area that would one day be designated as Jerusalem (Ezek. 16:3, 45). 


            Although the historical development of the Hittites is fairly involved, for our purposes it is important that we take note of their origin.  The eponymous progenitor of this race is traced back to a character named Heth, Hittite itself meaning sons of Heth.  The name Heth is found early in the Scriptural record, being first mentioned in Genesis 10:15, where we read:


“And CANAAN begat Sidon his firstborn, and HETH, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, and the Girgasite, and the Hivite, and the Arkite, and the Sinite, and the Arvadite, and the Zemarite, and the Hamathite: and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.  And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as you come to Gerar, unto Gaza; as you go, unto Sodom and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha” (Gen. 10:15-19).        


            The Hittites, or sons of Heth, were therefore direct descendants of Canaan.   Canaan, as you will recall, was involved in a most notorious incident that transpired shortly after the cessation of the great Flood.  The account is in the previous chapter of Genesis, and reads as follows:


“And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and HAM is the father of CANAAN.  These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread.  And Noah began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.  And HAM, the father of CANAAN, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brothers outside.  And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.  And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.  And he said, CURSED BE CANAAN; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.  And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.  God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant” (Gen. 9:18-27).


            The question always arises as to who actually committed this lewd act upon Noah.  As the story unfolds, it might appear that Ham was the guilty party, and indeed that is the generally accepted understanding of this event, but that notion, it seems to me, is substantially dispelled by at least several other factors, one being that when Ham observes his father’s nakedness, he goes and tells his two brothers.  Why would Ham inform others of a heinous act that he himself had committed?  Such a reaction does not appear to be that of the actual perpetrator.  


            Take careful note also that twice in this same short passage Ham is specifically stated to be the father of Canaan, even though he had other older sons.  No mention is made, however, of Cush, Mizraim, or Phut.  In fact, the first of the two assertions that Ham is the father of Canaan is actually made before the incident in question even transpires, indicating Canaan’s indisputable connection to this immorality.


            Of course, the most compelling evidence of all is the fact that when Noah awakes from his stupor, he says absolutely nothing about his son Ham, but immediately places a curse upon his grandson Canaan.  So, it would seem that it was indeed Ham’s son who committed this apparent homosexual act upon Noah, or at least was somehow directly involved, and thus from the very beginning of the post-Flood world, the descendants of Canaan come under the condemnation of God.  Their character appears to have been inherited from that of their father, for, as we have already observed, the territory of the Hittites, descended from Canaan through his son Heth, ranged all the way down to the area of Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities


infamous for their illicit sexual practices.


            No wonder, therefore, that the marriage of Esau and the daughters of Heth, the son of Canaan, so grieved Isaac and Rebekah.  They knew the evil nature of the Canaanites, and how Yahweh felt about them and their abominations.  Under the circumstances, Esau’s decision was probably the worst choice he could have possibly made.  The initial significance has, of course, to do with the wickedness of this race, as seen in the early conduct of Canaan himself, and later in the  depravity and idolatry of the people in general, but there is more involved–something of even greater iniquity, something very, very deep-seated and diabolical, something that would cause the Almighty to want every single Canaanite annihilated from the face of the earth!  We must investigate this evil, for it has long-range, worldwide implications!






            The following information, though perhaps more related to the Canaanites and other peoples, has a definite and direct connection with Esau and his descendants as well.  When Israel was about to enter the Promised Land, Yahweh gave Moses the following instructions:


“When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land, and has cast out many nations before shall SMITE THEM, and utterly DESTROY THEM; you shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them: neither shall you make marriages with them...For they will turn away your sons from following Me, that they may serve other shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire...And you shall CONSUME all the people which the Lord your God shall deliver you; your eye shall no pity upon them...If you shall say in your heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?  You shall not be afraid of them: but shall well remember what the Lord your God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt...The Lord your God shall deliver them unto you, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.  And He shall deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall DESTROY THEIR NAME from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before you, until you have  destroyed them” (Deut. 7:1-5, 16-18, 23-24).


            Such utter destruction of so many nations, in a certain manner of speaking, makes the circumstances in the land of Canaan something of a type of the pre-Flood world.  In fact, there is a much closer relationship between these two historical eras than meets the eye. 


            One point of similarity that is easily discerned is the unspeakable evil present among both peoples.  Another parallel is that, from God’s perspective and for His purposes to be achieved, absolute total destruction of both societies was mandated.  Remember that such extreme action did not occur even at the infamous tower of Babel.  No, there was something about the sin of the Canaanites that was so disgusting and inimical to the plan of Yahweh, nothing short of total annihilation would be satisfactory with God.


            The ancient world is little understood or appreciated by most people.  Indeed, powerful forces, both religious and secular, have sought to conceal, or at best play down, the significance of the very ancient past.  You might ask why anyone would do such a thing, but the answer becomes fairly obvious when you consider that in hiding the truth about the earliest eras of human history, the very origins of this world’s power elite are also being camouflaged in the process!


            As a matter of quick review, as well as to establish the proper background to the situation in the land of Canaan, it should be noted that, in spite of the original sin in the Garden, followed by Cain’s rebellion and departure from the ways of the Elohim, there is no indication that God intended to severely punish mankind, much less completely decimate the entire planet, until, that is, the time of the great antediluvian patriarch Enoch.  This man, it is said, walked with the Almighty, a statement that clearly sets him apart from all the characters in the genealogy of Seth, except Noah.


            Although perhaps best remembered as the man who was translated by God, Enoch was a mighty preacher of righteousness, and a prophet.  Born 562 years after the creation of Adam, he lived for 365 years, dying in 927 A.A. (After Adam).  As you know, Jude, writing in the New Testament, quotes a specific prophecy from the Book of Enoch.  Beginning in verse 14, we read:


“And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him” (Jude 14-15).


            Why should Enoch suddenly issue such a dire prophetic utterance?  If you base your understanding solely on a strict reading of Jude, you might conclude that the warning of Enoch was directed only to the evildoers of the first century, the ones Jude is addressing in his short letter.  Most people, however, noting the language used in the passage, see in Enoch’s words a future prophecy, one that will be fulfilled at the return of the Messiah.  The fact is, of course, that both of these interpretations are correct and applicable, but there is yet another important consideration.


            Virtually all Bible prophecies, no matter when their ultimate fulfillment was destined to occur, still were either spoken or written to specific people and situations in the prophet’s own general era of time.  In the case of Enoch, this means that initially he was prophesying to the pre-Flood world at a point some 600 or more years after the creation of Adam.  Was the sinfulness of Cain and his immediate descendants so horrible by that fairly early date that God had Enoch pronounce such a dreadful prediction?  Frankly, it is highly unlikely that mankind, through personal human weakness alone, would have degenerated to such a depraved state.  And indeed, Enoch himself confirms this fact by telling us directly the circumstances that precipitated his frightful words.  This information is contained in the aforementioned Book of Enoch.


            It is sad to realize that this particular writing, once highly esteemed, both by Jewish, as well as early Christian leaders and scholars, fell out of favor in the 4th century A.D.  Although not a part of the canonized literature of the Bible, the Book of Enoch is a valuable addition to important extra-biblical knowledge that has been made available to those who wish to search it out.  But there is a problem with this composition, for it contains truth that many, both anciently and currently, would simply rather see vanish!  Therefore, at the Council of Laodicea, held in 364 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church banned the Book of Enoch, and prohibited it from being read by or found in the possession of any believer on penalty of being declared anathema from Christ!  By the way, this is the same synod that abolished Sabbath worship and the observation of any Jewish festivals, as well as establishing a veritable host of regulations designed specifically to divide the body of believers into two separate groups–the priesthood and the laity–with all the perquisites, of course, going to the bishops and their lackeys. 


            Why do you suppose the Roman church would legislate against the writings of Enoch, especially in light of its almost complete acceptance by ecclesiastics during the preceding 400 years or more?  The answer lies in the following information quoted from the Book of Enoch.  This revelation also provides us with the definitive explanation for Enoch’s powerful prophecy as well:


“Then I, Enoch, answered and said, The Lord will effect a new thing upon the earth.  This have I explained, and seen in a vision.  I have shown you that in the generations of JARED MY FATHER, THOSE who were FROM HEAVEN DISREGARDED THE WORD OF THE LORD.  Behold they committed crimes; LAID ASIDE THEIR CLASS, and INTERMINGLED WITH WOMEN.  With them also they transgressed; MARRIED WITH THEM, and BEGOT CHILDREN. A great destruction therefore shall come upon all the earth” (Chapter CV, p. 176).


            Note the answers to the two issues at stake.  First, we now know why the Roman church was so insistent on rejecting the message of Enoch, and banning the book, for what the prophet has done is clarify the Hebrew record of Genesis 6:1-4, so that the powerful truth of what actually transpired can be understood.  In doing this, the Book of Enoch has, perhaps inadvertently, perhaps intentionally, revealed the actual source or origin of the power elite in this world, from the pre-Flood era to this very day, including the upper hierarchy of the Vatican in Rome.  Those evil entities which empowered the line of Cain before the Deluge, turning this earth into a hell-hole, are the precise same beings who resumed their sinful practices after the Flood, working primarily through the line of Ham, and who have continued to coordinate efforts to subjugate the human race under their control, even to our own time and beyond!  And when the Messiah states that the time of His return will be comparable to the days of Noah, He is telling us that the world will once again be brought to the brink of annihilation by the same evil spirit forces that were in effect before the great Flood.


            A short time after the Laodicean Council, the Roman Catholic Church opted to replace the true interpretation of the Genesis 6:1-4 passage with a concocted explanation supplied by Augustine, the famous bishop of Hippo.  This is the source, by the way, of the theory that the sons of God in Genesis 6:2 actually refer to the sons of Seth, and the daughters of men mean the daughters of Cain, a ridiculous contention that completely masks the  crucial impact of these verses.


            In addition to the clues with regard to the origins of the deadly evil prior to the Flood, Enoch also supplies us with pertinent information as to why he issued his famous prophecy quoted by Jude in the New Testament.  The initial outbreak of the fallen angelic activity that led to the nephilim and ultimately to the perversion of the human race transpired, he tells us, in the days of his father Jared.  Thus, it is not surprising at all that it would be Enoch, in particular, who was inspired to deliver the first recorded specific prophecy against this particularly egregious evil that was beginning to infect the earth.


            The controversial passage found in Genesis 6 gives us the following information:


“And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the SONS OF GOD saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.  And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with men, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.  There were GIANTS (Heb. NEPHILIM) in the earth in those days; and ALSO AFTER THAT, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.  And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.  And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth” (Gen. 6:1-7).

            If you haven’t proven to yourself the real meaning of this passage, it would behoove you to do so, as the right understanding is critical to correctly solving several otherwise puzzling aspects of both the past, as well as the future.  If you would like more information on this issue, please either consult or request the article entitled, Annihilation: The Rise & Fall of the Pre-Flood World.


            For our purposes, suffice it to say that the sons of God in Genesis 6, rather than pertaining to the line of Seth, which has been the traditional thinking on this subject in the various churches of God, is very definitely a reference to non-human entities, otherwise known as angelic beings.  Indeed, in addition to the Bible, the records of ancient Sumer, Akkad, Babylonia, and Assyria, in addition to numerous other civilizations, clearly attest to the fact that at some point prior to the Flood, supernatural beings began to lust after human women, and, in spite of the divine prohibition against such illicit activity, left their rightful station, descended to the earth, and had sexual relations with humans.  More than any other single event, this unspeakable sin precipitated the destruction wreaked by the great Deluge in the days of Noah.


            The resultant offspring of these wretched unions were known as nephilim, not simply giants, as the King James renders the term.  Nephilim is derived from the Hebrew word meaning fallen, thus these so-called giants were, in fact, the fallen ones.  The nephilim are not discussed in great detail in the Scriptures, but there is enough information provided to give us the necessary clues to the actual depth of evil that transpired prior to the Flood.


            I have a very strong sense that almost all believers look at the pre-Flood world as indeed being evil, but seldom stop to really grasp just what it would have taken to bring on the complete desolation of the entire human race.  Not only was it utterly unprecedented, it seems almost unthinkable!  I want you to just imagine how bad things must have been for the Almighty to be grieved in His heart that He had even made man.  Just think what it would have taken to force God to have destroyed every living creature on earth, including even innocent animals.  The fact is that none of us, no matter how fertile our imagination might be, can truly fathom the depths of evil that were plumbed in the latter half of the antediluvian world. 


            From the era of Jared, the father of Enoch, when the first outbreak of illicit angelic activity transpired, the world of old was on a certain and precipitous decline.  There is one reason, and one reason only, why Yahweh decided to annihilate the entire human race, and that is the fact that circumstances upon the earth due to the existence and activity of the nephilim threatened to completely wreck the divine plan of salvation.  God’s powerful reaction was absolutely mandatory.  According to the Biblical prophecies, not even in the end-time will the world reach a point where all flesh will literally be wiped out, a divine intervention occurring to cut short the days that would lead to such a destruction.

            A second and even more disruptive outbreak occurred several hundred years after the era of Jared, during the lifetime of Noah, and perhaps as close as 120 years prior to the Flood itself.  This is the famous and somewhat controversial record of Genesis 6.  It was not until after this second incursion of angelic sin and the resultant evil offspring produced by these illicit sexual unions, that Yahweh finally expressed His determination to carry out the death sentence upon all mankind.  Clearly man, left simply on his own, would surely have sinned and fallen woefully short of the glory of God, but would not have prompted the Almighty to utterly destroy His own creation.  That condition was brought upon the human race by powerful outside forces of evil–malevolent forces that have continued to ensnare the world in a web of deception, and that will once again bring it to the brink of annihilation, before they are defeated, imprisoned, and ultimately destroyed by the returning Messiah!


            Now, why go into all this ancient pre-Flood history?  After all, we are discussing an era well removed from that primordial time.  The answer is found in a seemingly innocuous statement almost buried in the text of Genesis 6:4.  In this passage, speaking of the evil offspring produced by the fallen angelic beings, those known as the nephilim, it is stated:


“There were GIANTS (Heb. Nephilim - fallen ones) in the earth in those days; and ALSO AFTER THAT, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men, which were of old, men of renown.”


            Very few readers of the Bible pay but scant attention to the fact that Genesis 6:4 not only states that there were nephilim in the latter stages of the pre-Flood world, but also AFTER THAT TIME as well.  Presumably, the pre-Flood nephilim were destroyed by the great Deluge, although Jewish legends and certain ancient Mesopotamian mythological stories claim that one of Noah’s sons, specifically not Shem, however, married into the lineage of the nephilim.  This would particularly be an interesting theory with respect to the family of Ham, since he himself is considered to have been the first ruler of Egypt, his son Mizraim literally giving his name to that ancient cradle of pagan polytheism; another of his sons, Cush, became a demi-god, along with his son, the notorious Nimrod; and his last son, Canaan, was the father of the numerous groups that later inhabited the Promised Land, all of whom were considered by God as not worthy of living, since He commanded Israel in no uncertain terms to completely destroy them from the face of the earth.  Thus, the line of Ham was totally contaminated from the progenitor on down through the centuries of time.  In fact, it was the clan of the Hittites, one of the most prominent and powerful of the Canaanite dynasties, into which the central character of our present study, Esau, married, taking not just one Hittite wife, but two. 


            Agreed, although the sad spiritual demise of Ham and his progeny does not constitute proof that the nephilim, in some manner, survived the Flood, suffice it to say that it is indeed in the line of Ham that the second of the only two Biblical references mentioning the nephilim by name is to be found.  In other words, when Genesis 6:4 states that there were nephilim before the Flood, as well as AFTER THAT, the latter occasion transpired not only in the line of Ham, but explicitly in the descendants of his son Canaan.






            In Genesis 14, we read the record of an ancient set of circumstances during the lifetime of Abraham after he had entered and settled in the land of Canaan.  The passage speaks of four great kings of the east, led by Amraphel, king of Babylon and Chedorlaomer, king of Elam.  Most Bible students are not aware that there is substantial corroborating evidence of the Genesis 14 events in ancient Sumerian and Babylonian history.


            The era of Abraham marked the end of the late Bronze Age (2100-2000 B.C.), a period of great unrest and violent change in ancient Palestine.  Lest we forget, Abraham was born in Ur, the major city of lower Mesopotamia.  At the time of his birth, Ur was under the control of the Gutian hordes, but they were overcome by Utu-Hegal of Uruk.  One of his governors, Ur-Nammu, usurped the throne, marking the rise to prominence of the Third Dynasty of Ur.  These names, while perhaps strange-sounding to western ears, represent the transliteration of the actual names on the ancient Sumerian king-lists.  The Biblical renditions would, of course, be different, so let us not get confused over the inclusion of these foreign names.  It was probably during this time of upheaval that Abraham was contacted by Yahweh and commanded to immediately depart Ur of the Chaldees.  If we turn back to latter portion of Genesis 11, we can pick up this story:


“Now these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran; and Haran begat Lot.  And Haran died before his father Terah in the land of his nativity in Ur of the Chaldees.  And Abram and Nahor took them wives...And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelled there.  And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran” (Gen. 11:27-32).


            Even though Terah is shown in the Genesis 11 account to have taken Abraham, Sarah, and Lot out of Ur, the likelihood is that this statement is made with regard to Terah’s position as the titular head of the family.  For all practical purposes, the Scriptures amply demonstrate that it was Abraham who was the actual responsible party for the hurried departure, for we read in verse 1 of chapter 12:

“Now the Lord HAD SAID unto Abram, Get you out of your country, and from your kindred, and from your father’s house, unto a land that I will show you...So Abram departed, as the Lord had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran” (Gen. 12:1, 4).


            The reference, therefore, in Genesis 11:31 “to go into the land of Canaan,” is an infinitive of result, not of purpose, for we are told that:


“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and he went out, NOT KNOWING WHERE HE WENT” (Heb. 11:8).


            So clearly, neither Terah nor Abraham knew ahead of time that they were actually going into the land of Canaan.  Also Genesis 12:1 makes it plain that the call to leave Ur of the Chaldees came directly to Abraham, not his father Terah.  We do not know Abraham’s age when he received the divine call to depart.  All we are told is that he and Sarah, his father, and his nephew Lot, took the first leg of their journey to Haran.  We do not know how long they sojourned in that area, but upon the death of Terah, when Abraham was 75 years old, the entourage left Haran for Canaan.


            Shortly after his arrival in Canaan, a famine struck the land, forcing Abraham to go south into Egypt.  From the Biblical record, we know very little of what transpired during this visit, other than Abraham’s lying about the identity of his wife Sarah, nearly wreaking havoc upon the royal court of the Pharaoh.  It would appear, however, that Abraham, hailing as he did from the advanced Sumerian civilization of which Ur was the capital, was no mere herdsman.  He apparently had received a very thorough education, and indeed was quite likely a much more prominent individual than we might otherwise assume.


            There is a noteworthy statement in the book of Joshua that sheds some light on Abraham’s background.  It is found in the 24th chapter as follows:


“And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus says the Lord God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side (meaning this side) of the Flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nahor: and THEY SERVED OTHER GODS” (Josh. 24:2).


            What does this information mean?  It indicates that Terah and his ancestors before him were involved in the pagan worship system of ancient Sumer, the center of which was located right in the city of Ur.  Ancient historical writings attest that Terah belonged to the Sumerian priestly line.  To what extent Abraham was directly involved in such practices and duties is not absolutely known.  It seems quite apparent, however, that Abraham was called by Yahweh from one life into another.  It is virtually unthinkable that he was a true worshiper of the Almighty in his younger years, nor does the Bible support such a position.  Certain Jewish historical records do indicate, however, that at some point prior to his leaving Ur, he indeed did become convinced that there was one supreme God, a major departure from the polytheistic culture of that era, and that he was bold in proclaiming this fact to the Chaldeans of his day.  Combining this reality with the abrupt change in the government of Ur, it is very likely that, in spite of their priestly heritage, Terah and Abraham both were considered rebels and perhaps even traitors at the time of their departure.


            With this brief background in mind, it is hardly any leap whatsoever to realize that Abraham was born into a relatively important family in Ur of the Chaldees.  Terah was apparently quite wealthy, as was Abraham after him, for we read in Genesis 13:


“And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and ll that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.  And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold” (Gen. 13:1-2).


            Being not only wealthy, but also a member of a priestly lineage, guaranteed Abraham the best of all that was available in the highly advanced southern Mesopotamian civilization of the late Bronze Age.  That this is surely a fact is attested to by both the Bible and the first-century Jewish historian Josephus.


            From the Biblical account, we know that Abraham and Sarah went from Canaan into Egypt.  If indeed Abraham were actually a mere nobody, how is it possible that both he and his wife attracted so much attention, and, not just from the street crowds, but from the crown princes of Egypt and even the Pharaoh himself?  There can be no doubt whatsoever that Abraham was a man of great distinction at this point in his life.  Indeed, even the Hittites in the land of Canaan referred to him as a mighty prince among them (Gen. 23:6).


            With respect to Josephus, note the following insightful commentary on Abraham:    


“Now Abram, having no son, adopted Lot, his brother Haran’s son...He was a person of great sagacity, both for understanding all things and persuading his hearers, and not mistaken in his opinions...Berosus mentions our father Abraham without naming him, when he says thus: ‘In the tenth generation after the Flood, there was among the Chaldeans a man righteous and great, and skillful in the celestial science.’  But Hecataeus does more than barely mention him, for he composed and left behind him a book concerning him.  And Nicolaus of Damascus, in the fourth book of his history, says thus: ‘Abram REIGNED at Damascus, being a foreigner, who came with AN ARMY out of the land above Babylon, called the land of the Chaldeans.’  But after a long time he got him up, and removed from that country also with his people, and went into the land then called the land of Canaan...Now the name of Abram is even still famous in the country of Damascus...Now, after this, when a famine had invaded the land of Canaan, and Abram had discovered that the Egyptians were in a flourishing condition, he was disposed to go down to them, both to partake of the plenty they enjoyed, and to became an auditor of their priests, and to know what they said concerning the gods...For whereas the Egyptians were formerly addicted to different customs, and despised one another’s sacred and accustomed rites, and were very angry one with another on that account, Abram conferred with each of them, and, confuting the reasonings they made use of, every one for their own practices, demonstrated that such reasonings were in vain and void of truth; whereupon he was admired by them in those conferences as a very wise man, of one of great sagacity, when he discoursed on any subject he undertook...He communicated to them ARITHMETIC, and delivered unto them the science of ASTRONOMY; for, before Abram came into Egypt, they were unacquainted with those parts of learning; for that science came from the Chaldeans into Egypt, and from thence to the Greeks also” (Antiquities of the Jews, 1.7/8, pp. 38-39).


            This ancient insight greatly enhances our understanding and appreciation of the patriarch Abraham.  The circumstances of his life were actually far different than most of us casually assume.  He was a powerful man.  He came out of Babylon with an army, and is said to have reigned at Damascus for quite some time.  The mention of Damascus, today the capital of Syria, and one of the great cities of the world, probably comes into play as  a result of the Biblical Haran, the place to which Abraham, Terah, and the others fled when they left Ur of the Chaldees.  During the beginning period of the 2nd millennium B.C., Haran was one of the key cities in all of northern Mesopotamia, and located on the major trade and travel route linking the cities of Erech, Ur, Nippur, Babylon, and Mari, with Damascus, Hebron, Kadesh-barnea, the Sinai, and the cities of lower Egypt.


            It is also of no mean significance that Abraham is credited by Josephus and other ancient commentators with introducing both arithmetic and astronomy to the Egyptians.  It is quite likely that this important knowledge was passed along to later generations in Egypt, including especially Joseph.  It is almost a certainty that Abraham’s influence and teaching laid the foundation for much of the incredibly accurate pyramid-building and other types of large-scale construction for which Egypt is so famous, including even the awesome Giza complex, aspects of which still baffle scientists to this day, due to the highly sophisticated and precise mathematics involved both in the design and building of the great monuments.


            All of this information paints a portrait of a man who, like Moses of a later era, received extensive education in the arts and sciences, as well as training in military operations, a skill that would come powerfully into play once Abraham reached Canaan.  Such a program would follow the appropriate course for someone of rank in ancient Sumer, someone bound for greatness, which indeed Abraham most certainly was, but perhaps not in the way he might have ever anticipated!


            Back now to Genesis 14.  Abraham has returned from his stay in Egypt, and the coalition of eastern kings invades southern Palestine in the area of what would soon become the Dead Sea, namely the cities of the Siddim Valley, the precise area where Lot had chosen to live.  According to the Sumerian and Babylonian histories, this key event

was led by Ur-Nammu, first king of the Third Dynasty of Ur. 


            It is, in fact, a distinct possibility that Abraham may have actually known this king, since he was from his own home city, and Abraham’s sudden departure from Ur of the Chaldees very likely coincided with Ur-Nammu’s abrupt and unexpected rise to power.  We might even do some further educated speculation concerning the possibility that, given the likely unpleasant circumstances under which Abraham, Terah, and Lot fled Mesopotamia, the eastern invasion forces, led as they were by the king of Ur, may well have been targeting the patriarch himself and his entourage.  Otherwise, why would such a compelling juxtaposition of peoples suddenly appear in Canaan at the very same time in history?  It is an intriguing notion that, quite frankly, needs further investigation, and yet, if correct, would certainly help explain this most unusual set of conditions discussed in Genesis 14.  Additionally, as we shall see, Abraham is by no means a mere unconcerned, uninvolved observer of the upheaval transpiring in Canaan at this time.  On the contrary, he soon is thrust directly into the midst of the conflict itself, only lending credence to the theory that at least one of the objectives of the Babylonian-led armies was to track down Abraham, who by this time was very likely considered a formidable enemy.


            According to Jewish oral teaching, not always totally reliable, but often useful in obtaining information on certain Biblical people and events not otherwise readily available, the Babylonian king who led the invasion was none other than Nimrod himself.  Other sources claim that this monarch was Hammurabi, author of the famous legal Code that bears his name.  The actual Chaldean records show this man as Ur-Nammu, which could be seen as linguistically related to both Hammurabi, as well as Nimrod (Nimrud), the preface Ur designating the city-state of which he was king.  Nimrod would almost surely have still been alive at this point in history, and we also know from the Scriptures that his kingdom was centered in the land of Shinar (Gen. 10:10), of which Genesis 14:1 states that Amraphel was king.  In fact, the more the various facts are considered, the more likely it appears that the leader of this huge military incursion into Canaan may well have been the notorious Nimrod.  At this period in time, he not only would have most likely been alive, and thus an older contemporary of Abraham, but unquestionably have been the most famous and powerful ruler in the known world.  In addition, given that Abraham became an avowed spokesman for Yahweh as the one true God, and that he hailed from Ur in Babylonia, in the land of Shinar, he would certainly have been Nimrod’s despised enemy, and probably the number one target of his fury!


            Louis Ginzburg, writing in his very interesting book, Legends of the Bible, makes the following statement, which I think ought to be of interest with regard to this subject:


“Terah married Emtelai, the daughter of Karnabo, and the offspring of their union was Abraham.  His birth had been read in the stars by Nimrod, for this impious king was a cunning astrologer, and it was manifest to him that a man would be born in his day who would rise up against him and triumphantly give the lie to his religion...One of his wise men, Anoko by name...said: ‘Know, O king...As long as Abraham lives upon the ground, you shall not be established, nor your kingdom.’  Nimrod took Anoko’s words to heart, and dispatched some of his servants to seize Abraham and kill him...Abraham...took refuge...where he lay in hiding a whole month...When Terah visited his son in his hiding place, Abraham proposed that they leave the land...and serve the God of creation” (V, pp. 87, 97-98).



            After engaging and defeating the kings of the plain, a treaty was negotiated between the Mesopotamian rulers and the city-states of southern Canaan, and indeed honored for some twelve years.  According to Genesis 14:4, Sodom, Gomorrah, and their sister cities under Babylonian hegemony rebelled in the 13th year, precipitating a second massive invasion from the east.  This military campaign proved devastating to the entire Jordan Valley.  Note from Genesis 14 exactly which peoples were attacked and defeated first:


“And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the REPHAIM in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the ZUZIM in Ham, and the EMIM in Shaveh Kiriathaim” (Gen. 14:5).


            This is the first mention in the Scriptures of these three strange-sounding peoples.  We are not given their ancestry, and this is probably for a good reason.  These tribes, though comparatively small, were fierce warriors, and had not the eastern armies been so huge, employing the very latest in battlefield technology of the time, it is unlikely they could have inflicted defeat on the Rephaim, Zuzim, and Emim in this fashion.  According to the ancient records of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the invading armies totaled somewhere between 800,000 and 1,000,000 soldiers, an awesome military presence.  It could also be that Yahweh Himself participated in their defeat at this time, for once we understood precisely who these people really were, such divine intervention would certainly not have been out of the question.


            While  Sodom and Gomorrah occupied the southern Jordan Plain, the Rephaim, Zuzim, and Emim had strongholds in TransJordan.  These people appear to have been aboriginal inhabitants of the land, most likely being present in the area before the major migrations of the Canaanites. 


            Who were these primordial peoples?  There is not an abundance of hard information in the Scriptures,

but what little we can determine about them is indeed quite revealing.






            With the possible exception of the infamous Goliath of Scripture or that well-known Jolly Green spokesman, most people today classify giants in the same category as fairy tales.  And, since this is true, perhaps we ought to ask just why these huge, powerful creatures play such a part in those old scary stories that most kids are told at some point during their childhood?  The reason is simple–they are real, not imaginary, and the Bible makes numerous references to them.


            For the most part, the giants of Scripture should not be categorized with typically tall people, such as professional basketball players, the occasional carnival side-show freak, or even the Guinness record-holder.  We all know that there is a minute percentage of the human population that, due to certain unusual genetic malfunction, are subject to the extremes of either dwarfism or giantism.  The giants of the Bible, however, are distinctly different. 


            First of all, there is not a single mention of a good or righteous giant.  Every one is evil.  Secondly, these men are not simply taller than average, they were huge, both in terms of height, weight, and, most especially, strength and might.  Many of them were not only giants in stature, but also in ability, both mental and physical.  Some, in fact, were even equipped with certain supernatural powers.   In the pre-Flood world, the giants or nephilim became the most formidable individuals on earth.  The Bible simply refers to them as mighty men or men of renown, but such brief descriptions somewhat cloak the full potency and domination of these ancient entities, and for good reason.


            Yahweh destroyed not only His most precious creation, mankind, but also every living thing upon the face of the earth–man, because he had become so utterly infected with evil as a result of the horrendous angelic sin mentioned in Genesis 6; and all animals, primarily because they too had been incorporated into the unprecedented system of wickedness promoted by the nephilim, the perverted offspring of the fallen angels and human women.  Every form and fashion of debauchery, idolatry, twisted sexual practices, human sacrifice, and cannibalism were forced upon human beings.  The occult world was introduced to human kind, and all of its hideous ungodly tenets.  The black magic arts had their origin in the pre-Flood world ruled by the nephilim, those mighty men of old.  Man, in fact, almost certainly would have never degenerated to the level requiring utter destruction were it not for the powerful impact and influence of the angels that sinned and their superhuman progeny.  This is precisely why the New Testament writers are so vehement in reporting God’s fierce anger at what they did.  Peter, for instance, tells us:


“For Christ also has suffered once for sins...being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (I Pet. 3:18-20).


“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; and spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly...the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations” (II Pet. 2:4-5, 9).


            And, writing just a few months after Peter’s second letter was completed, the apostle Jude states:



“And the angels which kept not their first estate (Gk. principality), but left their own habitation (Gk. spirit body), He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them IN LIKE MANNER, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after STRANGE FLESH, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 6-7).


            Their nefarious plans to completely control humanity having been dashed in the waters of the great Deluge, the evil angelic beings quickly rebounded from this setback, and resumed their criminal pursuit very soon after the departure of Noah and his family from the ark.  Finding the weakness they required in Ham and his sons, they set about to corrupt the fledgling human race, now entering into what should have been, not only a new world, but a priceless opportunity to reject the sinful practices of the old world and embrace the true God of heaven and earth.


            In Cush, the first-born of Ham, the adversaries of Yahweh found the opening they were looking for.  Cush, though strong physically, was weak spiritually, and easily corrupted.  He cultivated the same kind of character in his son, Nimrod.  When Satan saw this man, his heart must have skipped a beat, for here, on this side of the Flood, was the spitting image of the antediluvian despot, Cain!  It is truly uncanny how similar Nimrod is to Cain in so many ways, as though the dominator of the pre-Flood had been reincarnated in the person of Cush’s favorite son.  It goes without saying

that Nimrod fit perfectly into the plans of the devil.


            Utilizing the Cush/Nimrod tandem, power and control could now be exerted upon human beings in a very effective way.  Nimrod, according to legend possibly a giant himself, became the most renowned person of the new post-Flood world.  Through this man, the demonic forces would attempt to impose the identical system of false worship that had just a little earlier put an end to the human race.  This was accomplished by empowering Nimrod supernaturally, eventually raising him to the status of a demi-god.  As you well know, he is considered by most Bible authorities and many secular mythologists and historians to be the post-Flood model for the chief deity of the later Assyrian, Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pantheons.  By having a willing human subject such as this, the evil spirit world was able to subtly direct human worship toward itself.  This is precisely what had transpired before the Flood.  Through Cain and certain corrupted members of his lineage, particularly the twelve specific individuals listed in Genesis 4, the same thing was accomplished.  Worship of man is one thing, but worship of fallen angels and demon entities is something else again!


            At the same time Cush and Nimrod were organizing things politically and militarily, Canaan, the youngest son of Cush who had been cursed by Noah, along with his descendants, began their migration into what would become the Promised Land.  It was through this line that the most perverse and wretched of religious practices were incorporated into the human experience.  It was also through Canaan that the second great outbreak of the nephilim occurred, for it is precisely in Palestine where the Biblical record testifies that the offspring of the evil angels are next found.


            The land of Canaan, originally promised to Abraham and the chosen seed through Isaac and Jacob, had been inhabited for centuries by the evil descendants of Ham’s youngest son.  Remember, as we read earlier, that Canaan is the father of Sidon, his name being given to the chief city of the coastal area which, along with its neighbor Tyre, comprised a formidable axis of evil in the ancient world.  In addition, his second son Heth became the father of the Hittites.  And furthermore, he is also the progenitor of the Jebusites, Amorites, Girgasites, Hivites, Arkites, Senites, Arvadites, Zemarites, and the Hamathites, all paganized tribes inhabiting the Promised Land.  Indeed, when Abraham was called from Ur in ancient Sumer, we read the chilling statement in Genesis 12:


“And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their substance that they had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan...And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Morah.  And THE CANAANITE WAS THEN IN THE LAND” (Gen. 12:5-6).


            This reference to the Canaanite then being in the land should not be taken lightly, for it is meant to convey more than the simple fact that the Promised Land was inhabited.  The term the Canaanite is a specific phrase intended to identify that a unique, particularly strange, powerful, and evil people populated this area.  Their sinful practices actually superceded the wretched idolatry from which Abram had recently been delivered, for Ur of the Chaldees was a veritable maelstrom of human degradation and pagan worship.


            The entire eastern approach to Canaan was guarded by a number of obscure tribes, several of which we have named–the Rephaim, the Zuzim, and the Emim.  There were others as well, including the Horim, the Zamzummin, and the Avim, which we will mention momentarily.  The major Rephaim stronghold was in the ancient area of Hebron, a place that became closely associated with the Biblical patriarchs and the later Israelites.  Joshua 14:15 provides some important information with regard to Hebron, for we read:


“And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba; which Arba was a great man among the ANAKIM.”


            This short verse actually gives us the connection we need to understand who and what the Rephaim really were.  Before the time of Joshua and the children of Israel, Hebron, we are told, was known as Kirjath-arba, named after the man Arba, the father of Anak, whose name was given to his progeny, known as the Anakim, or, at times, simply the sons of Anak.  With respect to the cities apportioned to the Levites, the book of Joshua further testifies:


“And they gave them the city of Arba the father of Anak, which city is Hebron, in the hill country

of Judah, with the suburbs thereof round about” (Josh. 21:11).


            Anak and his offspring, the Anakim, were fearsome warriors of great size and strength.  In fact, they were giants in the truest Biblical sense of the word.  Moses speaks of this awesome tribe in the book of Deuteronomy as follows:


“Whither shall we go up?  Our brethren have discouraged our heart, saying, The people is greater and taller than we; the cities are great and walled up to heaven; and moreover we have seen the SONS OF THE ANAKIM there...And the Lord said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give you of their land for a possession; because that I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.  The EMIM dwelt there in times past, a great people, and many, and tall, as the Anakim; which also were accounted GIANTS, as the Anakim; but the Moabites call them Emim.  The HORIM also dwelt in Seir beforetime...And when you come nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give you of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession.  That also was accounted a land of GIANTS; giants dwelt therein in old time; and the Ammonites call them ZAMZUMMIN: a people great, and many, and tall, as the Anakim...and the AVIM which dwelt in Hazerim, even unto Azzah” (Deut. 1:28; 2:9-12, 19-23).


            In just these several references we have now received pertinent information on all of these bizarre-sounding peoples, the Anakim, the Emim, the Zamzummin, the Avim, and the Horim, each one of which occupied strategic strongholds on the eastern side of the Jordan River, along with several in the west.


            All of these related tribes were giants, and, for the most part, they were evil.  It appears, however, that Abraham must have made some sort of arrangement with certain of the Rephaim, since he made his abode in the plain of Mamre (Gen. 13:18), which is within the fortress of Hebron, one of the seats of Rephaim power.  Mamre himself was an Amorite, and he, along with his two brothers, Eshcol and Aner, became confederates of Abraham.  It is very likely that either these three brothers were Rephaim, and thus giants, or that they commanded Rephaim troops in Hebron. 


            We have not yet looked into the Amorites, a major line descended from Canaan.  The Akkadians called the Amorites Amurru, meaning Westerners, and they became so prominent that their name at times is used in the Scriptures for the Canaanites in general.  Traditionally, these were among the most wicked of Middle Eastern peoples, and come under great divine condemnation.  At this early point in history, however, it is clear that the evil of the Amorites had not yet come to full fruition.  The Bible itself confirms such a contention in Genesis 15.  Yahweh, in establishing the Abrahamic Covenant, caused a deep sleep to come upon the patriarch, during which He appeared unto him, conveying the fate of his progeny.  Beginning in verse 13, we read:


“Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; and also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.  And you shall go to your fathers in peace...but in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the INIQUITY OF THE AMORITES IS NOT YET FULL” (Gen. 15:13-16).


            Even though God had Abraham journey all the way from Ur of the Chaldees to the land which He promised to give him, it would still be hundreds of years before Israel, the chosen Abrahamic descendants, would come into Canaan, and the reason given is that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full.  In point of fact, by the time Israel came up out of Egypt, the Amorites were ready for destruction.  They had continued in their wicked ways, waxing worse and worse.  There were many giants among the Amorites, including two of the most famous–Sihon, king of Heshbon, and Og, king of Bashan.  We will come back to them a little later in our study.


            While the meaning of the term nephilim is fairly well-known and accepted as being derived from the Hebrew word for fallen, and thus can be understood as the fallen ones, a most apt description indeed, the definition and even usage of Rephaim is a bit more difficult to pinpoint.  We can say with no uncertainty that the word is used as a geographic place name, such as the Valley of the Rephaim, which can be seen from Jerusalem.  There are also certain personal names that contain the element rapha or raphah.  Apparently, the ancient ancestor of the Rephaim as a race was one named Raphah, and the specific Canaanite tribe most infected by the Rephaim was the aforementioned Amorites.


            The closest lexical meaning that can be ascertained for the word Rephaim is the shades of the dead, a rather ominous title for such entities.  The Emim, Zamzummim or Zuzim, and the Avim, all were of the Rephaim, but occupied different parts of Canaan, and thus were locally known by their individual names.


            In the Ras Shamra texts found in the Canaanite city of Ugarit, the Rephaim are described as both divine, as well as human, beings.  They were considered to be servants of the Amorite god Ba’al, mighty warriors of gigantic stature.  Ba’al himself, in fact, was also believed to a giant of extremely tall height.  The Amorites worshiped an entire underworld pantheon of fallen spirit entities.  In effect, the Rephaim became the new nephilim, the post-Flood replication of those early fallen ones, who once again insinuated themselves into the affairs of both God and man, utilizing the descendants of Canaan as the fertile breeding ground for their evil purposes.


            At the time of the second Mesopotamian invasion of Canaan, the first bastions to be attacked were the fortresses held by the nephilim and their offspring.  This decision proved to be a strikingly successful military maneuver, for it achieved the goal of dividing the forces of the Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, and Horim, and thus gaining a strategic victory over these formidable allies of the southern kings (Gen. 14:5-6).  This recurrence of evil angelic offspring was despicable in the eyes of God, and he used these invading armies from Babylon and Elam to severely curtail the ability of the giants.


            Following their stunning success against the eastern border forces, the invading armies of Ur-Nammu (the Genesis 14 account mentions Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer, and Tidal, as the four united Mesopotamian kings, Ur-Nammu, being king of the Third Dynasty of Ur, would correspond to Amraphel of the Biblical record) turned their ferocity toward Kadesh, defeating the Amalekites and the Amorites, thus effectively cutting off all military support for the kings of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other city-states of the salt plain, all, that is, except for Abraham and his allies,

a strategic military blunder that would lead to their undoing.


            The Mesopotamian armies then drew out the southern kings into the precarious Siddim Vale, wherein were dangerous slime pits.  In a shocking display of military prowess, the Babylonian-led forces defeated their opponents, looting the cities, and immediately commencing a rapid forced march northward up the Jordan Valley toward Damascus, and apparently a return to their home area.  Among the prisoners taken in this crushing victory was Abraham’s nephew Lot, a resident of Sodom, and a substantial figure among the southern Canaanite cities. 


            I think it is an appropriate time to ask a definitive question, and that is, why was Lot taken captive?  Obviously, it could have been simply a matter of chance, but this is highly unlikely given the facts that we already know.  Lot, unlike virtually any of the other citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah, was known by Ur-Nammu and his military advisors.  He was an associate of Abraham and Terah, both men of power and renown in Ur of the Chaldees.  In addition, Lot and Abraham both were so rich in herds and people that they were forced to divide their hosts, since the land where they were could not contain them.  This information puts Lot in a rather unusual set of converging circumstances. 


            Once again, Ginzberg relates some very interesting information concerning this issue.  He writes:

“The departure of Lot (his separation from Abraham) had a serious consequence, for the war waged by Abraham against the four kings is intimately connected with it...The impious kings planned first to make war upon Sodom on account of Lot, and then advance upon Abraham...The victors despoiled Sodom of all its goods and victuals, and took Lot, boasting, ‘We have taken the son of Abraham’s brother captive,’ so betraying the real object of their undertaking; their innermost desire was to STRIKE AT ABRAHAM!” (Ibid., V, p. 104).


            It is altogether possible that Lot was taken prisoner on his own merits, but an even greater likelihood is that it was the intention of the eastern kings to perhaps use him as bait to draw out and divide the forces of Abraham, and thus destroy their nemesis.  Whatever the reason for the kidnaping, it proved to be a major mistake for the Sumerian hordes.


            When the word came to Abraham of the horrible defeat inflicted upon the cities of the salt plain (an area now partially covered by the Dead Sea), and the capture of Lot in particular, he acted with the determination and alacrity of a well-trained general.  The Bible states that Abraham took 318 of his trained warriors.  What does this really mean?  Let’s take quick stock for a moment.  The Babylonian combination has successfully invaded Canaan, defeating the fierce Rephaim, Zuzim, Emim, Horim, and Avim fighters at several of their various strongholds on the eastern front.  They have also staged strategic victories over the Amalekites and the Amorites, and then overpowered and vanquished the southern armies in the battle of the Siddim Vale.  True enough, the Mesopotamian troops have been greatly depleted in these difficult forays, but still they present a formidable foe.


            How could Abraham, being a trained military leader himself, possibly consider going after the rapidly moving eastern invaders with such a paltry force of only 318 men?  Of course, such a decision would have been ridiculous and indeed rejected out of hand, and yet this is customarily assumed to have been what actually happened.  Not so.  The mention of 318 trained men belonging to Abraham, rather than being mere soldiers, were far more likely men capable of military leadership.  Do not forget that Abraham was not in this undertaking alone.  He had help from his three Amorite allies, Mamre, Eshcol, and Aner, each of which commanded their own troops, and had much influence with other fighting forces in the area.  Combined, Abraham was at the head of a major military power, capable of moving far more swiftly than the fleeing Babylonian armies, and far more familiar with the territory.


            Perhaps the biggest question in this entire episode is why would the victorious eastern armies have retreated so quickly from Canaan.  Once they captured Lot, they pushed north up the Jordan River Valley as fast as they could possible travel.  This would otherwise remain a puzzling situation were it not for the fact that Sumerian records of this period indicate that king Ur-Nammu, the leader of the eastern coalition, was severely wounded during the battle of the Siddim Vale, and his now weakened forces beat a quick retreat in order to transfer the king as rapidly as possible back to the capital at Ur, not wishing to take the risk of engaging Abraham and his army, whom they strongly suspected would not be pleased with what had transpired!  Not only was this an understatement, it also constituted a great under-estimate of Abraham’s fury and determination to re-claim Lot.


            Acting with immediate decisiveness, Abraham marshaled his troops and those of his confederates, and began one of the swiftest military pursuits on record.  When the armies reached Dan in what would later be the northern boundary of the Promised Land, Abraham, typical of both earlier and later successful military generals, strategically divided his forces against the enemy, and, under cover of night, attacked simultaneously on several fronts, initially inflicting serious losses, and then continuing the pursuit all the way to just outside Damascus.  So sudden, unanticipated, and complete was Abraham’s route of the eastern militia, that he was able to regain all the captives, including Lot, and all the booty that was simply abandoned by the dazed and beaten troops. 


            Is it possible that the Babylonian king Ur-Nammu did not, in fact, survive this difficult military campaign.  This very well may have been the case.  We know for certain that he was seriously and perhaps fatally wounded.  If Ur-Nammu can in fact be identified with Nimrod, this would present an interesting situation.  It has been known from ancient time that Nimrod met a violent death, and that he was assassinated by someone prominent, and someone who was considered either righteous or a member of a righteous line.  A number of possible contenders have been suggested, including, among others, Noah, Shem, Asshur, and even Abraham himself.  If indeed Abraham did slay Nimrod, it almost certainly would have happened during the events of Genesis 14.  From the recorded material available, such a conclusion is certainly feasible and reasonable.


            It is little known, but, all in all, Abraham’s impressive victory, guided and blessed by the Almighty, literally changed the course of history in more ways than one.  Not only did it open the way for the plan of God to unfold as He desired, through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but it also devastated the military might of Babylon, Sumeria, and Elam for years to come.  Considering the implications, the short story related in Genesis 14 is one of the most historically interesting and significant in all the Scriptures.






            The Rephaim and their fellow nephilim-related giants controlled most of ancient Canaan for hundreds of years after the Flood.  Though they sustained significant losses during the second Babylonian invasion, they by no means were destroyed at that time.  Rather, they remained the formidable power in the future Promised Land, and their presence there was just as detrimental and disastrous as it was in the pre-Flood world.  They continued to be empowered by demonic forces, implementing and enforcing all of the ancient mysteries, occult practices, hideous sacrifices, unspeakable pagan rites, and immoral and illicit conduct throughout all the descendants of Canaan.


            After his successful military campaign, Abraham had relative peace throughout the rest of his 175 years of life.  Isaac and Jacob each had their respective trials, especially Jacob, some of which were related at the beginning of this article.  As God had told His friend Abraham, his progeny, through Jacob (Israel), did indeed go into an alien country.  It was, of course, Egypt, which became both savior, sovereign, and slave-master of these chosen people.  Abraham had gone there early on in his Canaanite journey.  Years later, Jacob did the same thing.  Interestingly, in both instances a famine was involved.  Joseph, the favored of all Jacob’s children, became ruler under the Pharaoh and

spared his brethren at a time of critical need.  


            After the call of Moses, and the subsequent liberation from Egyptian bondage, the time finally came when Yahweh was ready to take His people into the Land of Promise.  Moses, therefore, according to God’s command, arranged to send a reconnaissance team into Canaan to spy out the land in preparation for the planned Israelite invasion.  One man from each of the twelve tribes was selected, Joshua and Caleb, representing Ephraim and Judah respectively.  We pick up the narrative in Numbers 13:21:


“So they went up, and searched the land...and they ascended by the south, and came unto Hebron; where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of ANAK were...And they returned from searching of the land after forty days.  And they went and came to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel...and brought back word unto them...and showed them the fruit of the land.  And they told him, and said, We came unto the land where you sent us, and surely it flows with milk and honey...Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the CHILDREN OF ANAK there...We be not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger that we.  And they brought up an evil report of the land...saying, The land, through which we have gone to search, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and ALL the people we saw in it are MEN OF GREAT STATURE.  And there we saw THE GIANTS (Heb. Nephilim), the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Num. 13:21-33).


            We all are quite familiar with this passage, because the event triggered God’s punishment upon that entire generation of Israelites that had come up out of Egypt.  Not only were they condemned to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, they all perished there, none but Joshua and Caleb of that original group of adult Israelite slaves surviving and entering the Promised Land.  As you know, this even applied to Moses and Aaron, both of whom were disqualified by God, Moses missing his opportunity at the infamous waters of Meribah.  With respect to our study, however, it is the evil report that the spies brought back to the people that is of greatest interest.


            Note carefully that whatever or whoever these twelve men saw in the land of Canaan, at least ten of them were frightened nearly out of their wits, and this in spite of the fact that they clearly witnessed the incredible bounty of the land, indeed a veritable paradise on earth!  What was it that sparked the evil report the men brought back?  It was not just that the inhabitants of Canaan were many or even that they constituted a strong force against which Israel would have to contend.  Yes, this was part of what they encountered, but there was more than that, much more, and their reaction cost them and the entire congregation their golden opportunity to cross the Jordan and inherit the land of milk and honey that Yahweh had provided for them, and ultimately their own lives as well!


            Of course, the answer is right in front of us in plain black and white!  In the physical realm, the ten spies who produced the evil report had excellent reason for being fearful.  In fact, even Joshua and Caleb, the two righteous witnesses who sought to encourage the people to put their faith in Yahweh for deliverance, would have had good reason, humanly speaking, to be frightened by what was observed in Canaan.  For this contingent of Israeli agents came upon something that struck abject fear, not only in their minds, but in the hearts of all men everywhere upon the earth.  In clear, unmistakable language, they confessed:


“The land, through which we have gone to search, is a land that eats up the inhabitants thereof; and ALL the people we saw in it are MEN OF GREAT STATURE.  And there we saw THE GIANTS (Heb. Nephilim), the sons of Anak, which come of the GIANTS (Heb. Nephilim): and we were in our sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight”     


            Recall, if you will, that the nephilim are specifically mentioned by name on only two occasions in the entire Bible, in Genesis 6:4 concerning the pre-Flood world, which also includes an allusion to the second instance, indeed the one recorded in the Numbers 13 passage we just read.   So, when Genesis 6:4 states that there were nephilim on the earth before the Flood, and also AFTER THAT, one of the most obvious fulfillments of this statement is the encounter of the Israelite spies in the land of Canaan.



            We now see the dreaded nephilim still alive and well over 1,000 years after the Flood, and right where we might expect to find them–in the land where the descendants of Canaan dwelt.  What conclusions, therefore, can we draw with respect to this fact?  There are a couple of choices–either the nephilim somehow survived the Flood, perhaps through the wife of one of Noah’s sons, most likely Ham, or there was another literal eruption of the identical angelic sin that transpired prior to the Deluge which produced the nephilim in the first place.  I don’t see any other logical, accurate conclusion that can be drawn.  Personally, I would adhere to the second of these two possibilities, but either way, we do know for certain that the egregious sin which produced these offspring did indeed show up exclusively in the family of Ham, and, with only a few possible exceptions, they were all in the line of Canaan, Ham’s youngest and most corruptible son.


            Earlier we read the divine command which God gave through Moses to Joshua and the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites, man, woman, and child, that their name no longer remain on the earth.  Under the leadership of Joshua, Israel was mostly obedient, and enjoyed success in defeating the inhabitants of the numerous fortified cities in the land.  After Joshua passed from the scene, however, it became another story indeed.  The Israelites became lax during the time of the Judges, waffling back and forth in their faithfulness and obedience to God.  In doing so, the most significant command given the nation was often ignored or relegated to a place of lesser importance.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the people failed to completely destroy the Canaanites, a fact which caused them problems for years and years, and which will yet have ominous implications for the future.






            Esau’s marriages into the lineage of Canaan, the cursed son of Ham, and the most despicable of all the nations, greatly contributed to perverting the progeny of these relationships.  Esau, a major problem character in his own right, had, through this detestable intermarriage, set the stage for the ultimate abasement of his descendants.  His mother, Rebekah, complained in near despair to Jacob, saying:


“I am weary of my life because of the DAUGHTERS OF HETH: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?  And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, You shall NOT TAKE A WIFE OF THE DAUGHTERS OF CANAAN” (Gen. 27:46; 28:1).


            Take careful note of just how important this issue was with both Isaac and Rebekah.  Had Jacob violated this command, he might well have been rejected by the Almighty as the chosen son.  That’s how serious an offense this would have been.  And so with these words


ringing in his ears, Jacob rises up and flees from the wrath of Esau. 


            Indeed, in spite of certain respites in his hostility, Esau remained the enemy of Jacob for as long as he lived.  After the death of Jacob, Joseph, vizier to the Pharaoh, and effectively the ruler of all Egypt, took the body of Jacob to the family burial site at the cave of Machpelah, purchased years earlier by Abraham from Ephron the Hittite.  Ancient Rabbinic literature teaches that Joseph confronted and killed Esau at Machpelah on this occasion.  While Scripture cannot be used to prove this contention, it is still a very tenable notion, which indeed could account for the following statement in Genesis 50:


“And Joseph went up to bury his father: and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt.  And all the house of Joseph, and his brethren, and his father’s house: only their LITTLE ONES, and their FLOCKS and their HERDS they left in the land of Goshen.  And there went up with him both CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN: and it was a very great company...And when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians” (Gen. 50:7-9, 11).


            Two points need to be considered in this passage.  First, Joseph appears to have taken great caution in not bringing any of the children or any of the animals belonging to his house or that of his brothers.  Secondly, and even more intriguing, is the fact that Joseph took with him both chariots and horsemen from Egypt.  Egypt, we must not forget, was at this time among the most advanced and powerful of all the nations of the civilized world.  If indeed it is correct that Joseph slew Esau at the burial of Jacob, the statement that the chariots and horsemen of Egypt accompanied the entourage may well imply that they were along to protect Joseph in case of retaliation from Esau’s family or confederates.


            Were Esau to have been killed by one of Jacob’s sons, who would be the most likely candidate?  The answer is clearly Joseph, and for several good reasons.  Joseph was unquestionably the most highly favored of the twelve.  He was by far in the most powerful position politically and militarily to have done such a thing and to have gotten away with it unscathed.  Most importantly, however, is that Jacob trusted and confided in Joseph above all his other sons.  He pronounced a special blessing upon Joseph, as well as his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh.  According to God’s will and Jacob’s wish, the tribe of Joseph would carry the name of Israel, and thus would also bear the responsibility for leadership among the tribes.  It is interesting that even with respect to the later arrangement of the camp, the tribes of Joseph (Ephraim & Manasseh) were positioned closer to Yahweh than the others, for they occupied the western flank of the tribal formation.  In terms of the divine pattern, the tabernacle would be situated in such a fashion as to face the east, making the Holy of holies and the seat of God’s presence to be in the west.  All in all, if indeed the Jewish perspective on the death of Esau is correct, Joseph clearly would be the

candidate of choice to have done such a thing.


            The death of Esau, however it was accomplished, served only as a temporary reprieve for the descendants of Jacob.  True, Esau was a powerful man and a potent enemy while he was alive, but, in reality, it was only after his passing from the scene, that the Edomites truly become the great nemesis of Israel, and, to a very large extent, of the whole world.


            The family of Esau is quite large, and its tentacles have gone out into the world in many different directions.  Anyone today who looks only to the ancient home of Edom in the Middle East, assuming that they

will find all of Esau’s descendants there, will be sadly mistaken.


            It is noteworthy that with respect to most of the great non-Israelite nations of antiquity, fairly scant coverage is given them in the Scriptures.  For instance, Ishmael’s descendants are covered in only seven verses in Genesis 25, and all the tribes of the Canaanites are disposed of in but six verses in Genesis 10.  This, however, is not true concerning Esau and his descendants, the Edomites.  For instance, the book of Obadiah, though extremely short, is still totally devoted to a prophecy against Edom, which we shall cover later in this study, and there are several other key passages dealing with the descendants of Esau, including the entire 36th chapter of Genesis, which go far more thoroughly into the Edomite lineage than any other non-Israelite people.  The reason for this is that the descendants of Esau are quite significant, and bear close scrutiny.


            As noted earlier, Esau took himself two wives from the daughters of Heth, the son of Canaan, and the progenitor of the fierce Hittites.  He also married a third wife.  Genesis 36:3 states that she was Bshemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth.”  In other words, Esau, the rejected son of Isaac, not only marries into the line of Canaan, but then turns around and does the same thing in the line of Ishmael, the rejected son of Abraham.  But this is only par for the course with regard to Esau.


            The descendants of Esau are many.  All of his children were born in Canaan, but it was not long before the family moved.  Genesis 36:8 tells us that “thus dwelt Esau in Mount Seir: Esau is Edom.”  This change of venue resulted in the line of Esau intermarrying with the Horim, for Mount Seir took its name from one Seir the Horite, a man of some distinction and renown, though little is spoken of him in the Bible.  We have, however, already encountered the Horim, one of the giant races that were akin to the Rephaim and the Anakim.  So, we now have Esau’s family line breeding with the Canaanites, the Ishmaelites (we will return to this particular intermarriage a little later), and the Horim in the


land of Seir, all of whom constituted profound enemies of God.


            It is quite telling that Moses was led to devote the entire 36th chapter of Genesis just to listing the rulers of the Edomite empire, and what an interesting group they comprise.  Here are a few of the more significant names from the lineage of Esau/Edom:


“Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom...And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; and Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan...These are the DUKES of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn...duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek...And these are the sons of Reuel Esau’s son; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah” (Gen. 36:1, 4-5, 15-17).


            Key players from the line of Esau include his sons Eliphaz, who will come into play with regard to one of the most famous of all Biblical characters, as we shall see, and most especially Amalek, along with his grandsons Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, and Korah. 






            The mention of Eliphaz, the first-born son of Esau brings to mind a very intriguing passage of Scripture.  After discussing Esau’s family record, Genesis 36 then proceeds to list the kings of the Edomites.  Beginning in verse 31, we read:


“And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.  And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah.  And Bela died, and JOBAB the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead” (Gen. 36:31-33).


            One does not have to be an expert in linguistics to discern that the name Jobab is quite similar to, if not the very same as, the great man of patience, Job himself.  Is it possible that Job was a descendant of Esau, and indeed a king in Edom?  The answer is yes.  There are a number of additional convincing reasons why Jobab can be connected with Job.  One, for instance, is the fact that they both lived in the same area.  Jobab was from Bozrah (Gen. 36:33), located on the eastern side of the Wadi Arabah, not all that far from Sela or Petra.


            On the other hand, Job, we are told, lived in the land of Uz.  We now know that Uz was a large geographic area that included the Edomite kingdom at this time in history, and, in fact, much later as well, and the Scriptures corroborate this in Lamentations 4:21, which states:


“Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of EDOM, that dwells in the LAND OF UZ; the cup also shall pass through unto you: you shall be drunken, and shall make yourself naked.”


            It would appear that the land of Uz is derived from a descendant of Seir, the eponymous progenitor of the Horites, some of whom were giants of the Rephaim class, possibly including Seir himself, an ancient figure of prominence, yet one shrouded in mystery and legend.  Uz is listed in both Genesis 36:28 and I Chronicles 1:42 as the son of Dishan, and thus the grandson of Seir the Horite. The Horites lived in the land of Seir, the territory to which Esau migrated after his stay in Canaan, and with whom his descendants intermingled during the initial stage of their settling in this land.  They had established themselves fairly early, for we read in Genesis 14 that  the terms Horites and Seir were already well known before Abraham entered the land of Canaan.  Later the Edomites were able to dispossess the Horites.  Suffice it to say that we can, therefore, confidently conclude both Job and the Edomite king Jobab lived in the same geographical area.


            The land of Seir, or Mount Seir, as it is often referred to in the Bible, seems at times to be in different locations, on one occasion being described as lying east of the Wadi Arabah, on another as being west.  This need not be a source of confusion, since these are only indicators of the progressive westward expansion of the Edomite kingdom, a subject that will come into play in the next section of our discussion. 



            In addition to occupying the same area, there are other similarities between the patriarch Job and the Edomite king Jobab.  Jobab, for instance, was obviously a rich and powerful man.  In fact, as ruler, he would have been considered the supreme individual in Edom.  Job, of course, was known as “the greatest of all men of the east” (Job 1:3), a most appropriate description for a monarch.  Furthermore, King Jobab, we know, belonged to and ruled over a pastoral people.  He himself had great herds and flocks, even as it is said of Job in the Scriptures:


“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job...his substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great household” (Job. 1:1, 3).


            The reference to a very great household in verse 3 is most likely not simply to reiterate what is conveyed in verse 2, that Job had seven sons and three daughters, since that would be redundant.  Rather it almost surely is telling us that this great man Job had a very large retinue of servants and other personnel that were a part of his estate, a description very fitting for someone of Jobab’s high status.


            It is also apparent that both Job and king Jobab were alive at the same time in history.  Both of them lived after the departure of Ishmael from Abraham, and the establishment of the Ishmaelite tribes of northern Arabia.  Job speaks of the troops of Tema (Job 6:19), who was one of the sons of Ishmael, and of the companies of Sheba, whose father was Jokshan, one of the later sons of Abraham by his second wife, Keturah.  So Job’s seeming familiarity with these individuals would place him in the same historical era as the early kings of Edom, and, in this particular case, of Jobab.


              Job’s closest friend was a man named Eliphaz.  Interestingly, it just so happens that the first-born son of Esau was also named Eliphaz.  In fact, this son of Esau is the only Eliphaz in the Bible for which we have any genealogical reference.  Given the historical time-setting of Job, Eliphaz would have been a fairly old man during the era covered by the story of Job in the Bible, and indeed this is precisely what we discover, for we read in Job 15:10 the words of Eliphaz, saying:


“What do you know that we do not know?  What do you understand that is not also in us?  With us are both the gray-headed and very aged men, much older than your father” (Job 15:9-10).


            Eliphaz is called a Temanite in the story of Job, and it should not be all that surprising that the father of Teman is this same Eliphaz, son of Esau.  Teman not only inherited much from his aged father, but also greatly expanded his own personal empire, of which we will discuss more later.  Eliphaz had retired in his old age and lived with his son, and thus became known, as did any who lived in that area, as a Temanite.  So the connection of Job with the family of Esau in general, and with Jobab in particular, is made even stronger.

            Job’s other two close friends, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamahthite, may not be as easy to identify compared to Eliphaz, but both of them have at least some possible, if not likely, connection to Esau.  The meaning of Bildad’s name is uncertain, although it has been suggested in scholarly circles that it might be rendered as Bel loves, the term Bel, of course, referring to the Babylonian counterpart of the pagan Canaanite deity Baal, a god apparently adopted by the Edomites.  In addition, the last portion of Bildad’s name (dad) is also the name of a lesser Edomite divinity.


            Zophar the Naamahthite may have a somewhat stronger relationship to Esau and the Edomites than Bildad.  The main reason for this is that the Septuagint rendering of Genesis 36:11 has Sophar (Zophar), as opposed to the Masoretic Text’s Zepho, as one of the descendants of Esau.  While this may not indicate that Job’s friend was actually the same individual identified in the Genesis record, it still provides at least a basis for the name having been of Edomite origin.           

            The book of Job, while portraying the main character as a very great man, does not necessarily mean that he was a king at the time the story transpired.  Note the following statements of Job, and see what you make of them:


“Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me...When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared MY SEAT in the street.  The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.  The PRINCES refrained talking, and laid their hands upon their mouth.  The NOBLES held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.  When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me...I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a ROBE and a DIADEM...And I broke the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth...Unto me MEN GAVE EAR, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.  After my words they spoke not again; and my speech dropped upon them.  And they waited for me as for the rain...I chose out their way, and SAT CHIEF, and dwelt AS A KING in the army, as one that comforts mourners” (Job 29).


            As you can easily determine, Job was a great man indeed, and not just in his own mind!  It would not be out of the question at all to conclude that he could well have been second only to the king at the time he spoke these words.  Clearly he was not only a man of immense wealth, but also of wisdom, and especially authority.  He apparently sat as head of the ruling national council, and plainly was held in the highest possible esteem by all others who were in authority.


            After his great trial we know that he was blessed with double his former wealth, and with an additional 140 years of life.  With the passing of Bela, the first kind of Edom, and given the even increased high status accorded Job, he (Jobab–which can possibly mean father Job) would almost surely have been the most logical choice to assume the throne. 


            And, by the way, the connection of the patriarch Job to king Jobab of Edom is not some extreme or novel idea, for it was unquestionably the Jewish understanding at the time the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures was accomplished about 250 B.C., for the LXX identifies the two as being one and the same person.  At the conclusion of the book of Job, we read the following from the Septuagint:


“This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis, on the borders of Idumea (Edom) and Arabia: and his name before was JOBAB; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon.  And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the SONS OF ESAU, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraham.  And these were the kings who reigned in Edom, which country HE ALSO RULED OVER: first Balac (Bela), the son of Beor...but after Balac, JOBAB, who is called JOB” (The Septuagint with Apocrypha, Conclusion to the book of Job).






            The marriage of Esau to the daughter of Ishmael, mentioned earlier, also deserves a further comment as well, for she herself was not of full Abrahamic blood, but also Egyptian.  If you will recall, Hagar, the mother of Ishmael, was from Egypt.  Why bring up what might appear to be a fairly insignificant point?  The reason is that the family line of Esau has a most intriguing historical connection with the land of Egypt.    


            When the children of Israel were set free from Egyptian bondage, it was, as you well know, accomplished by God through a series of increasingly devastating plagues that befell the land, the water, the animals, and the people of this great nation over an extended period of time.  The result was catastrophic, leaving the country in utter defeat and despair.  On top of all the decimating scourges, the Scriptures indicate that the entire Egyptian army was destroyed in the calamitous event at the Red Sea, including even the Pharaoh, who was regarded as a god by the Egyptians.  Moses writes in his famous song of triumph to Yahweh in Exodus 14 and 15:


“And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out your hand over the sea...and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared...and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them...Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider has He thrown into the sea...Pharaoh’s chariots and his host has He cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea...For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of sea upon them” (Ex. 14:26-28; 15:1, 4, 19).             

            Given this set of adverse, virtually unprecedented circumstances, Egypt was ripe for change and alarmingly vulnerable to attack and takeover, which, as fate would have it, is precisely what transpired.  Indeed, as Israel was in the process of pressing eastward toward Mt. Sinai and their dramatic encounter with Yahweh in the desert, we read of the following event in Genesis 17:


“Then came AMALEK, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek...And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.  And the Lord said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.  And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it YHWH-nissi (The Lord [Yahweh] my banner): for he said, Because the Lord has sworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (Ex. 17:8-9, 13-16).


            Now you might be asking why quote a passage having to do with someone called Amalek, but there is good reason for doing so.  Amalek, you may recall, was one of the sons of Esau (Gen. 36).  He is the father of the Amalekites, a people who would become the most feared and fierce of Israel’s ongoing enemies.  They opposed God’s people from their very inception as a nation, even before they entered the Promised Land, and for centuries to come.


            Why did the Amalekites suddenly show up and cross Israel’s path at Rephidim, especially considering that they were still quite close to Egypt, and the fact that Egypt was reckoned as one of the mightiest empires in the world?  First of all, let us not forget that by this point in history, the Edomite domain was quite extensive, spanning from the Euphrates River in the east to the very borders of Sinai in the west.  This great geographic area even included the home territory of the Ishmaelites, with whom Edom had strong family ties.  By the time that Israel was being delivered from bondage, the Edomites controlled virtually of the huge Arabian peninsula!  In addition to the Ishmaelites as allies, the Edomite forces also included support from the Hittites, into whose family Esau had originally married, the Hivites, and the remaining remnant of the Horites.  In fact, the two great kingdoms of Egypt and Edom were virtually side-by-side, so it can hardly come as a shock that hostilities should break out between these two powerful forces.


            The strong likelihood is that the Amalekites had heard the dire reports regarding what had transpired during the Exodus, particularly the destruction that had been heaped upon the Egyptians.  It appears that this great fighting force was pushing westward toward the border of Egypt when they happened to encounter the Israelites going the other way!  Since Israel had escaped Egypt laden with gold, silver, precious stones, and other valuables, why not just stripped them of their gain, and march right on into Egypt?  In other words, the Amalekites had opportunistic designs on invading and conquering the badly depleted and bereft Egyptians, whose king, army, chariots, horses, and weapons of war, all lay dead and/or buried beneath the waters of the Red Sea! 


            Under the existing conditions, it probably would not have taken all that substantial a fighting force to gain the ascendency over Egypt.  The Amalekites, however, were by no means a meager military power.  Although Israel managed to defeat their army at the Battle of Rephidim, the victory was clearly due to the Almighty’s intervention, for we are told in Exodus 17 that the battle turned in Israel’s favor only as long as Moses was able to hold up his outstretched arms.  Whenever they tired and were lowered, the Amalekites prevailed.  Finally, as you know, Aaron and Hur actually had to literally support Moses’ hands, and thus the victory was achieved.  Such a situation cannot help but remind us of the outstretched arms of the Messiah as He hung on the tree of crucifixion, the embracing of which brings divine triumph to the weak and undeserving.  The Amalekites, however, defeated, but by no means depleted, did not submit to Yahweh, but moved on westward as planned and swept into the land of Egypt virtually unopposed.


            Was there truly a significant change of leadership and government in Egypt at a time of ultimate national disaster?  Did a foreign tribe of shepherds literally come out of the eastern desert and occupy Egypt?  As a matter of fact, the answer is yes, and it is documented in one of the most significant discoveries in the history of Egyptology–the Ipuwer Papyrus.  This document constitutes the only known record, outside the Bible, that presents a first-hand, direct eyewitness account of the events surrounding the Exodus from Egypt.


            The following are a few quotations from the Ipuwer Papyrus.  Although the document is rife with exclamations of devastation in the land of Egypt, so much of which jibes perfectly with the Biblical record of the great plagues poured out by Yahweh, the Exodus itself is not the object of our study.  Therefore, almost all of the sayings will deal with the fact that Egypt has indeed been invaded by a foreign power precisely at the time of this great destruction that has rained down upon the country.


“Indeed the face is pale; the bowman is ready, wrongdoing is everywhere, and there is no man of yesterday [No one from the NOBLE FAMILIES is left to maintain order]...Indeed, hearts are violent, PESTILENCE is throughout the land, BLOOD is everywhere, DEATH is not lacking, and the mummy-cloth speaks even before one comes near it.  Indeed, MANY ARE BURIED IN THE RIVER; the stream is a sepulcher and the place of embalmment has become a stream.  Indeed, noblemen are in distress...Every town says: ‘Let us suppress the powerful among us’...Indeed, the land turns around as does a potter’s wheel...Indeed, the RIVER IS BLOOD, yet men drink of it...Indeed, men are few, and he who places his brother in

the ground is everywhere...Indeed, the plunderer is everywhere.”


“A man regards his son as his enemy...Come and CONQUER...The virtuous man goes in mourning because of what has happened in the land...the TRIBES OF THE DESERT HAVE BECOME EGYPTIANS EVERYWHERE...The desert is throughout the land, the homes are laid waste, and BARBARIANS FROM ABROAD HAVE COME TO EGYPT.  Indeed, MEN ARRIVE, and indeed, there are NO EGYPTIANS ANYWHERE...Indeed, every dead person is as a well-born man.  Those who were Egyptians have become foreigners and are thrust aside...Indeed, the Delta in its entirety will not be hidden...Behold, it is in the HAND of THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW IT like those who know it.  The DESERT DWELLERS are skilled in the crafts of the Delta.  FOREIGNERS are squeezing out the native craftsmen...Men–they have come to an end of themselves; none can be found to stand up and protect themselves.  Everyone fights for his own sister and saves his own skin.  Is it NUBIANS?  Then will we guard ourselves; warriors are made many in order to ward off FOREIGNERS.  A NUBIAN TRIBE has become soldiers and police...How comes it that every man kills his brother?  The troops whom we marshaled for ourselves have turned into FOREIGNERS and have taken to ravaging.  What has come to pass through it is INFORMING THE ASIATICS OF THE STATE OF THE LAND.  They are awed by the collapse of a once great land...Indeed, PUBLIC OFFICES are opened and their inventories are taken away.  Indeed, the private COUNCIL-CHAMBER, its WRITINGS are taken away, and the mysteries which were in it are laid bare.”


            Although there are a number of excerpts from other sections that could be cited, the quotations above should be sufficient to establish that indeed Egypt, at some point between 1400-1500 B.C. was struck with unprecedented devastation involving confusion, pestilence, water turning to blood, violence, squalor, homes laid waste, animal herds destroyed, fruitful land becoming desert, utter ruin, death everywhere, great weeping and mourning, even many men dying in a river, and finally, the death of the Pharaoh, while simultaneously being invaded by Asiatic desert dwellers who learn about the plight of Egypt, foreign herdsmen from the east who come in and take advantage of the horribly weakened condition of the nation, a Nubian tribe who, sensing the loss of all royal authority in the land, takes the reins of power for themselves!


            Josephus, quoting the ancient Egyptian historian Manetho, states of this same historical period:


“There was a king of ours, whose names was Timaus.  Under him it  came to pass that there came MEN OF IGNOBLE BIRTH out of the EASTERN PARTS...and had boldness enough to make an expedition into our country, and with ease subdued it by force, yet without our hazarding a battle with them” (Against Apion, I, Sec. 14, p. 611).


            The rampaging Amalekites constituted a fierce fighting force, even though they were indeed desert-dwelling herdsmen from the east.  The accounts of both Ipuwer and Manetho are describing one and the same historical event–the invasion by a foreign power from the east who subdued Egypt at a point coinciding with the worst possible internal circumstances ever faced by the empire.  These alien rulers became known as the Hyksos, meaning shepherd-kings.  They ruled Egypt with a reign of cruelty after the devastation of the Exodus for many, many years.  They introduced a new deity to the Egyptian pantheon in the form of Seth, who was actually just another incarnation of the Canaanite deity Baal, the worship of whom had been adopted by the Edomites, once they had rejected Yahweh.  During the Hyksos period, the image of Seth was carved and sculpted innumerable times.  The Amalekite/Hyksos were an uncouth, heathen, peasant kind of people, whose personal habits were detested by the Egyptians.  After all, they had been used to their kings being considered gods–intelligent, well-educated, well-bred.  The Hyksos were quite a different race, to say the least. 


            In virtually every respect, the description of the Hyksos matches perfectly with that of the Amalekites. For instance, the Egyptian name of the first Hyksos king was Apop, whereas that of the Amalekites was Agog, for all practical purposes linguistically identical.  The Egyptian term for the Hyksos was Amu, undoubtedly a variant of Amalek or Amalekite.  It is also interesting, as well as compelling, that after the takeover of Egypt by the Hyksos or Amu, there is almost no contact between Egypt and Israel until the reign of king Saul, indeed at the precise time when the Hyksos were finally being defeated and driven out of Egypt.  This can hardly be chalked up to a mere coincidence.


            Here is a brief comparison of the Edomite/Amalekites and the Egyptian/Hyksos.  Both groups were identical in the following areas:


1.      Both empires existed at the same time.

2.      Both empires were exceedingly large, and existed side-by-side geographically.

3.      Both peoples were of Semitic origin.

4.      Both included a strong Horite  element.

5.      Both were connected to the Hittites.

6.      Both had horses (at a time when many tribes and nations did not), and were skilled in using them in warfare  (whereas even most of the groups that did have horses were not able to use them effectively in open warfare).

7.      Both were a shepherd people.

8.      Both were linked with the Arabians, and came out of Arabia into Egypt.

9.      Both groups originated to the east of Egypt.

10.  Both peoples were nomadic desert-dwellers.

11.  Both were linked with the Canaanites.

12.  Both were perceived by the Egyptians as barbarians.

13.  Both worshiped Seth (Setekh) or Baal.

14.  Both had capital cities not in their own country.

15.  Both were a cruel, domineering people.

16.  Both peoples were plunderers, especially invading at harvest time in order to take a spoil.

17.  Both groups ruled for some 400 years (it is interesting that the time span from the Exodus to the reign of King Saul of Israel was about 400 years).

18.  Both nations were defeated when their fortress city was besieged by a foreign poser (King Saul surrounded the Edomite capital - I Sam. 15:5).


            Although not conclusive, it is interesting to compare the first three Hyksos kings with the last three kings of Edom listed in Genesis 36.  According to the Bible, these Edomite rulers were as follows:


“And Samlah died, and SAUL of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead.  And Saul died, and BAAL-HANAN the son of Achor reigned in his stead.  And Baal-hanan the son of Achor died, and HADAR reigned in his stead” (Gen. 36:37-39).


            Here we see that the last three kings of Edom in the Genesis 36 list were Saul, Baal-hanan, and Hadar.  The first king of the Hyksos dynasty in Egypt was Salatis.  The two names are linguistically similar, but there is another factor to consider as well.  Salatis’ capital city was Avaris (Tanis or Zoar in a different era), whereas Saul based his later operations in the region of Avim.  Again the similarity is striking.


            Baal-hanan is the next-to-last Edomite ruler in Genesis 36, whereas, according to the historian Manetho, quoted by Josephus, the second Hyksos king was Beon, which over time and transliteration could well have originally been a shortened or contracted version of Baal-hanan.


            Finally, the last king of Edom listed is Hadar, whose alternative name is Agena.  The third Hyksos ruler is listed by the Egyptian historian Manetho as Apacnas.


            One last and possibly quite significant bit of information comes from the Scriptures, and is found in Psalms 78.  The gist of this writing has to do with the great deliverance wrought by Yahweh on behalf of Israel, particularly when they were in Egypt, and later in their long trek out of bondage.  Beginning in verse 42, the various plagues thrust upon the Egyptians leading up to the Exodus are listed.  Note the following:


“They remembered not His He had wrought his signs in Egypt...and had turned their rivers into blood; and their floods that they could not drink.  He sent divers sorts of flies among them...and frogs, which destroyed them.  He gave also their increase unto the caterpillar, and their labor to the locusts.  He destroyed their vines with hail...He gave up their cattle also to the hail, and their flocks to hot thunderbolts.  He cast upon them the fierceness of His sending EVIL ANGELS among them” (Psa. 78:42-49).


            We know of no plague remotely resembling evil angels that came upon the Egyptians.  How intriguing it is that by the elimination of a single silent letter, the phrase sending of evil angels becomes sending of KING-SHEPHERDS!  This is the precise meaning of the term Hyksos, and perfectly describes the Edomite invaders who spoiled and gained control of Egypt in the wake of Israel’s exodus.


            The available evidence connecting the Amalekites with the Hyksos dynasty of shepherd-kings in Egypt is overwhelming.  There can be no serious question that the descendants of Esau through his son Amalek established themselves as the cruel, infamous, opportunistic Hyksos rulers in the land of Egypt.  But that hardly represents the extent of the Edomite empire, as we shall see, when we continue the investigation of precisely why God exclaims: “Esau have I hated!”   



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