Online Bible Commentary
Those Who Curse Israel are Cursed
Hebrews 11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. (NIV)
The writer of the book of Hebrews is in the process of honoring those great men and women of faith. It can be said that they are members of God’s Hall of Faith. So far in this chapter he has honored Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah, Abraham’s wife. In this verse, Isaac, the son of Abraham, is honored as a great man of faith.
Isaac was the son Sarah bore to Abraham. He was the son who held God’s promise to Abraham to father a great nation. Isaac married Rebekah, his cousin, at the wish of Abraham. Isaac was forty years old when he married and was sixty years old when he had two sons, Esau and Jacob, who were twins.
Esau was born first, and thus retained the birthright. The name Esau means “hairy”, a name based on his appearance. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew and bread one day when he was famished. When Esau sold his birthright he was renamed Edom, which means “red”, for his red, ruddy, complexion.
Edom (Esau) settled east of Canaan (now Israel) in an area that has been called Edom, Mount Seir, and Idumea. He fathered the Edomites. Edom was thoroughly a Bedouin, a man of the desert. After unhappy marriages, he married the daughter of Ishmael. Ishmael was the illegitimate, first child of Abraham, from Hagar, a concubine.
Abraham was eighty-six years old when he fathered Ishmael. Ishmael and his mother were sent packing at the order of Sarah, Abraham’s wife. The sons of Ishmael settled in the north and west areas of the Arabian peninsula, and eventually formed the chief portion of the Arab nation. So, Ishmael lost his birthright to Isaac, and later Esau lost his birthright, and blessing, to Jacob, who was later named Israel. For this reason, Ishmael was jealous of his step-brother Isaac, as was his son-in-law, Esau, of his brother Jacob. Ever since, these Bedouin Arabs have plagued the nation of Israel. Many are the Muslims of today.
“By faith Isaac blessed Jacob” (v. 20a).The faith for which Isaac was commended was a result of him accepting God’s promise that Jacob would rule over the land (Gen. 28:13). Esau had been the favorite of Isaac. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, and then later Isaac was tricked into giving his blessing to Jacob, instead of Esau (Gen. 25-27). Rebekah helped to trick Isaac into blessing Jacob, because she favored Jacob. Isaac, at first, protested. But then he accepted, in faith, God’s promise that Jacob would rule over the land. He did not understand this, but he accepted it by faith.
Isaac’s blessing to Jacob was as follows: "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. May God give you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness-- an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed." (Gen. 27:27-29).
“By faith Isaac blessed….Esau” (v. 20b). But Esau’s blessing was different: "Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck" (Gen. 27:39-40). Isaac’s blessing to Esau called for him to serve his brother, Jacob. Obviously, this was not pleasing to Esau. He vowed to kill Jacob. Fearing for Jacob’s safety, Rebekah sent him to live with her brother for a time. Even though Isaac’s blessings had been reversed he accepted the change because of his faith in God.
By faith, Isaac blessed “in regard to their future“(v. 20c). The blessings were in regard to their futures. The blessing for Jacob and his descendants, Israel, was favorable. The blessing for Esau and his descendants, mostly Muslims, was not so favorable. Both groups contend that they worship the God of Abraham. However, the God of Abraham chose to favor Israel. The blessing specifically blessed Israel, and cursed those who curse Israel. Therefore, Muslims who curse Israel are cursed by the God of Abraham, the same God that they say chose Muhammad as a prophet.
Christians also should not curse Israel. According to Scripture if we curse Israel, we will be cursed by God. When America curses Israel, it is cursed by God. My prayer for America is that our leaders would bless Israel and, if they continue not to do so, that God will bring us leaders who will.