1 Chronicles 1:43
Now these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel; Bela the son of Beor…
The historical and geographical relations of the two nations may be given. Those of Israel are familiar, those of Edom may be thus indicated: Mount Seir, where Esau settled, was a rugged tract, east of the great valley of the Arabah. It consisted of limestone hills, with red and variegated sandstone cliffs and ridges, marked by that peculiar ruddy tinge of colour so consonant with the name of Edom (red). Kings reigned in Edom long before any descendant of Jacob occupied a throne. Eight Edomitish monarchs are enumerated in the early records. The refusal of Edom to allow Israel to march through the country on the route to Canaan both expressed and intensified the family enmity which came as the fruitage of Jacob's deception. No friendly intercourse could be expected between the nations. The relations between the two peoples, descended from one parent, may be used to illustrate the way in which family and social wrong-doing will work out into practical evil in the succeeding generations. And, so treating the history of these two peoples, we may learn the valuable and impressive lesson that the sinner may be forgiven and personally accepted with God, but the natural and necessary fruitage of his wrong-doing cannot be stopped, and cannot always even be checked. Vindicate the Divine goodness and righteousness in thus permanently attaching penalties of suffering to sin, and letting these come upon others beside the wrong-doer. From the history the following topics may be fully detailed: -
I. THE ORIGINAL WRONG. It was a double wrong. Esau was meanly defrauded of his birthright by his brother taking unfair advantage of his fatigue and hunger. And he was, by a wicked scheme, dodged out of his paternal blessing. Because he was so manifestly the wronged party, we may fail to appraise aright Esau's personal character; but we cannot wonder that he went forth to life with the sense of the grievous wrong done to him rankling in his mind. It was a grievous and shameful wrong, which nothing can extenuate or excuse; an utterly selfish and unbrotherly act. Such an act as bears its natural penalty in hatred, and all the mischief that hatred can contrive to do.
II. THE DIVINE FORGIVENESS. Give the scene at Mananaim, and show how it bore relation to the sin as against God. Scripture urges that sin seemingly committed against our brother is really committed against God. "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." So Divine forgiveness has ever to be sought first.
III. THE BROTHERLY RECONCILIATION. This seems to have been complete and satisfactory, yet it was too much a matter of impulse. Jacob was afraid to presume on it. And too often such reconciliations only prove temporary, and the old enmities come back again; and the "last state is worse than the first."
IV. THE NATIONAL ENMITIES AND ENVIES. These had been started before the reconciliation of the brothers, and they could not be stopped. They grew in strength as the years rolled by. They formed a predisposition to judge each other unworthily, and see each other on the bad side only. And as time wore on the evil broke out into open war, and brother races shed each other's blood (see 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:14; 1 Kings 11:15, 16; 1 Chronicles 18:19, 20, etc.). In some of these wars and sieges such cruelties were practised as can only be explained by the intensity of the national feud and hatred. So the early wrong worked out into misery for both parties. "He that soweth to the flesh ever reaps corruption." Earnestly warn against wrong-doing in family and in social relationships; they are often the secret cause of long feud, war, and woe. We need to "think, not on our own things, but on the things of others;" we should be found jealous of our brother's rights. In the way of righteousness and. brotherliness and charity ever flow life and peace and fellowship, all human blessedness, and the all-hallowing Divine favour. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel; Bela the son of Beor: and the name of his city was Dinhabah.