It is essentially a prophecy of doom for the nation of Edom (Esau’s descendants). In the first nine verses God starts by railing against them for their pride and arrogance.
Your presumptuous heart has deceived you –
you who reside in the safety of the rocky cliffs,
whose home is high in the mountains.
You think to yourself,
‘No one can bring me down to the ground!’ (verse 3)
He follows that with a litany of the destruction that he would bring against them. He promises things like this and more:
“You will be totally destroyed!” (verse 5)
“Esau will be thoroughly plundered!” (verse 6)
“Your trusted friends will set an ambush for you that will take you by surprise!” (verse 7)
“Everyone will be destroyed from Esau’s mountain!” (verse 9)
Now this seems like a harsh punishment for anyone, but especially Esau’s descendants. Remember that Esau was Abraham’s grandson, Isaac’s son, and Jacob’s twin brother. Shouldn’t that give them some leverage with God?
What could possibly have happened that would cause God to promise this destruction when they had someone like Abraham in their family tree? Here it is:
“Because you violently slaughtered your relatives, the people of Jacob,
shame will cover you, and you will be destroyed forever.” (verse 10)
Verses 10-14 reminds them that they stood by and watched Israel be attacked and didn’t lift one finger to help. Instead, the Edomites actually helped Israel’s enemies! While this almost certainly refers back to the incident when the Israelites were marching toward Canaan after leaving Egypt, it appears that Edom was constantly a pain in Israel’s back side.
The final result, according to God, will be the complete elimination of Edom – “There will not be a single survivor of the descendants of Esau!” (verse 18)
OK, what does this mean for today? Honestly, I don’t know if Esau has any descendants alive today. If so, well, their herd is going to become extinct by the end of the great Judgment Day. Regardless, this isn’t for them.
I’m thinking of the great war that is happening in the Middle East right now. OK, yeah, there’s supposed to be a cease-fire. Big deal – there’s always a cease-fire over there, but people don’t cease firing, so I don’t think one more is going to make a difference.
God has promised that one day – regardless of how big or strong their enemy is – Israel will come out victorious. And the nastier the enemy fought, and the worse they hurt Israel, the harder they will one day fall.
“For the day of the LORD is approaching for all the nations!
Just as you have done, so it will be done to you.
You will get exactly what your deeds deserve.
For just as you have drunk on my holy mountain,
so all the nations will drink continually.
They will drink, and they will gulp down;
they will be as though they had never been.
But on Mount Zion there will be a remnant of those who escape,
and it will be a holy place once again.
The descendants of Jacob will conquer
those who had conquered them.” (verses 15-17)
I’m not worried about whether Israel makes it out intact. That’s already been confirmed. I just hope that the American government chooses to remain on the side of Israel and not become one of “the nations” that commits suicide by standing against God.