Now this is the genealogy of Esau, who is Edom. Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite; Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth (Genesis 36:1-3)
If the Bible goes to the trouble of listing all the names in a group of people, it might suggest there is more to be learned than just a birth record. It might be trying to teach us something concerning this group of people in regards to their character, either good or bad. Where Esau is concerned, commentators note that the listing in this chapter makes it clear that many of his off spring were born as the result of incest and illegitimate unions.
This kind of behavior is forbidden for God’s people but is in perfect agreement with Esau’s nature. He was always impulsive and in need of instant gratification. The name Edom is the reminder of this fact because this is the name that was given to him when he foolishly sold his birthright for a bowl of red stew (in Hebrew, Edom). In short, Esau’s nature despises what is holy in deference to something as common as a bowl of soup. This is why Jacob and Esau could not live in the same land; and this is why we can’t coexist with those who are of the world.
When Paul wrote to those in Corinth that we are not to be “unequally yoked,” he did not reveal something new; he reaffirmed something that is true. As the children of light, we are not to have fellowship with darkness; we are temples of the Holy Spirit and should not acquaint ourselves with what is unclean. This is not to say that we are to isolate ourselves from the world but we are to be set apart from the world. We are to be the light that those in darkness need to see that they are in darkness.
Frankly, “Edom” is our adversary and we should not think that we can be friends; Edom hates God’s people and intends to destroy them given the chance. While we certainly do not have the same intentions for our enemies, we mustn’t make the mistake of trying to co-exist with them. Instead, let us be the “city set upon a hill” so that the light that dwells in us may shine unto all the world.
Blessings and Shalom,