Present Middle East hostilities between the Arabs and Jews can be traced to a disposition of hatred originating almost four thousand years ago. At that time God made an unconditional covenant with the Hebrew patriarch Abraham. Due to the inherent blessings contained within this covenant, the infamous family characters of the Bible, Hagar, Ishmael, Esau, Moab, Ammon, and Amalek, coveted the contents of this covenant. These jealous individuals and their descendants that followed came to hate the Hebrews, the heirs of this blessed covenant.
Throughout time the neighboring Gentile peoples of the region found it advantageous to embrace rather than resist this adversarial disposition. Ultimately it evolved into a cleverly conceived religious package giving it license to unleash itself in a holy war. The “Jihad”, as it is often labeled, presently underway in the Middle East, finds its justification in Islam, but its roots are in this longstanding hatred.
The Bible describes this disposition as an ancient hatred or in some translations a perpetual enmity. The two Hebrew words are olam ebah, and when used together they describe a condition stemming back long ago in ancient times, perpetuated throughout time, manifesting into hostility with no apparent end in sight. They are only paired together in the entire Bible in these two passages listed below:
“Because you have had an ancient (olam) hatred (ebah), and have shed the blood of the children of Israel by the power of the sword at the time of their calamity, when their iniquity came to an end.” (Ezekiel 35:5 NKJV; emphasis added)
‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because the Philistines dealt vengefully and took vengeance with a spiteful heart, to destroy because of the old (olam) hatred (ebah).” (Ezekiel 25:15 NKJV; emphasis added)
The first passage refers contextually to Mount Seir located in Edom, which is the territory of Esau. Today this area is known as Southern Jordan. In the Ezekiel 35:5 passage we see that the hatred was “had“, or spawned, in the territory most closely associated with Esau. In the second passage of Ezekiel 25:5 we find that the Philistines embraced what was already preconditioned (“because of“) in Edom by Esau.
Today what was formerly known as Philistia, the land of the Philistines, is now sometimes referred to as “Hamastan“, home of the Hamas, in the Gaza Strip. In both scriptures it is an enmity exhibited exclusively against the Jewish people. For a better understanding of the conflicts between the twin brothers Esau and Jacob, click here to read my article “The Twin Prophecies of Jacob and Esau“.
The Bible teaches that this continuous and contagious disposition of hatred will evidence itself in a final Arab – Israeli showdown. It predicts a major war in the Middle East between those Arab nations that have refused to abandon the angered ancient attitude of their ancestors, and the Jews.
It amounts to the final contest over the blessed contents contained within the Abrahamic covenant! The victor is once and for all exalted as the true heir apparent! This soon coming war is described in Psalm 83 and is the central theme of my book entitled, Psalm 83: the Missing Prophecy Revealed, How Israel Becomes the Next Mideast Superpower.
This article briefly identifies below the roots of the hatred through scriptural accounts centered on the main patriarchs of the modern day Middle Eastern peoples. Much of the population in the region has their heritage traceable back to the patriarchs contained within this article. These ancestors were notable characters on the world scene, from which several historical nations were born.
These individuals were involved in significant events relative to the plan of God intended for the benefit of man. Therefore their interactions proved to be consequential in the history and development of the Middle East. The attitudes they adopted have been kept alive in the region throughout time immemorial.
In order to understand the family feuds that took place between the Arab and Israeli patriarchs it helps to note that Abraham was a legendary figure during his day. By the time the blessed Abrahamic Covenant was issued and popularized throughout the Holy Land, Abraham had undergone several significant notorious events.
In the Genesis 12:10-20 encounter between Abraham and Pharaoh, Abraham’s notoriety became widespread throughout Egypt. Subsequently, Genesis 14 informs us that Abraham fought in a Mideast battle to redeem his nephew Lot from captivity. In the aftermath of Abraham’s victory we see that the seven influential kings of Shinar, Ellasar, Elam, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim, and Zoar esteemed Abraham mightily. A theme also picked up in Hebrews 7:1.
With Abraham’s fame firmly in place, rivalries began to take place between Sarah and Hagar, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, the Israelites and their cousins the Moabites and Ammonites, and lastly the Great-Great grandchildren of Abraham, the Hebrews and the Amalakites Genesis 36:12.
These family feuds centered on, Hagar’s, Ishmael’s, Esau’s, Moab’s, Ammon’s, and Amalek’s coveting of the content of the Abrahamic Covenant. The chapter called “The Ancient Arab hatred of the Jews” in my Psalm 83 book details the adversarial episodes that took place between the patriarchs according to the references below:
Sarah vs. Hagar – Genesis 16, Genesis 21
Isaac vs. Ishmael – Genesis 16 – 17, Genesis 21
Jacob vs. Esau – Genesis 25 – 28, Genesis 32–33
Israelites vs. Moabites and Ammonites – Numbers 22–25, Judges 3, Judges 10-11, 2 Kings 3, 2 Chronicles 20.
Hebrews and Amalakites – Numbers 14, Judges 3.
Disputes developed and festered over time throughout the Middle East among the above patriarchal kinships. All of them staked claim to portions of the Promised Land. As per Genesis 13:8-11, Moab and Ammon claimed rights to modern day Central and Northern Jordan. As per Genesis 36, Esau and his Edomite descendants declared sovereignty over modern day Southern Jordan. Additionally, several other ancient non-family related populations like the Philistines, Assyrians, Syrians, and Tyrians staked their own territorial claims around Israel as well.
Deep rooted concerns developed among these peoples over Israelite claims to the land promised them through Abraham as per Genesis 15:18. Even today, Arabs adamantly refute Israelite claims to this territory.
The reestablishment of the nation Israel on May 14, 1948 served as a deafening echo of the past to the surrounding Arab States of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The Arab nations responded with wars in 1948, and Egypt, Syria and Jordan again in 1967 and 1973 in an attempt to eliminate the Jewish nation to settle the territorial dispute. While all of these Arab States regained their national identity in the aftermath of World Wars I & II, most of them still refuse to recognize Israel’s right to exist as the Jewish State.
Whenever a Jew tries to raise a blue and white flag over more Middle East land, the Arab states turn red with anger as the ancient Arab hatred of Israel is re-kin-dled. Psalm 83:4 declares there are Arabs who hate the LORD. Psalm 83:6-8 identifies them as Hagar, Ishmael, Esau, Moab, Ammon, and Amalek.
Ultimately, this ancient Arab hatred of God’s covenantal promises to the Jews that has incubated in the Middle East for centuries will manifest into the Psalm 83 war. It is at that fateful point that the Israeli Defense Forces, empowered by the LORD, (Ezekiel 25:14, Obadiah 1:18) will put to rest the age old disposition of the Arab hatred toward Israel and conclusively settle the territorial disputes.
Ezekiel 37:10 foretells of today’s Israeli Defense Forces.
“So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.” (Ezekiel 37:10)
NOTE: This article was first posted on May 28, 2010.