"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21


June 10, 2013

in Esau/Edom

Page 1
by Alain de Benoist
Text published in “New School” (2012)
The image of Rome in the Jewish tradition is an extremely negative image, which extends
downstream of Western Christendom, and upstream Edom and Esau. Judaism calls indeed
Rome “Edom,” which is another name given to Esau in the Bible (Gen. 36.1). That
Romans are believed to be descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother, and like
heirs of biblical Edom may surprise those unfamiliar with this tradition. Article
The following is intended to explain the reasons for this assimilation.
Contrary to what we sometimes think, relations between Rome and the Jewish people
had not yet started badly. In II
century BC. AD, Rome had even
proclaimed the friend and ally of the inhabitants of Judea. A historical overview is necessary here.
After the battle of Pannion in – 200, the Greek Seleucid king of Syria Antiochus III had
took control of Judea, which was previously dominated by Egypt. In – 175, the Judeans
rebelled against his son, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, an intervention of the Roman fleet
constrain in – 168 to give his views on Egypt. In – 164, Judah Maccabee successfully
restore the Temple and, in order to obtain the independence of his country, he asked an alliance
the Romans. In – 161, he sent two ambassadors to Rome, and appointed Jason Eupolemus,
to “Romans offer friendship and alliance” with the hope that they would help her
people to free themselves from the Syrian yoke. This proposal was accepted without difficulty by the Senate,
which determined the clauses by placing the two partners on a strictly equal footing. This
treated successively renewed by the successor of Judah Maccabee, Jonathan, and after
the murder of Jonathan by supporters of the Syrian usurper Tryphon by his brother Simon
and finally by the successor of Simon, John Hyrcanus (- 132 – 104). This friendship cloudless
lasted nearly a century, exactly to the time of the conquest of Palestine
Pumped in – 63.
The Hasmonean dynasty established in Jerusalem by Simon and John Hyrcanus failed,
Indeed, to maintain long independence of Judea. In – 67, to death
Alexander Jannaeus – who succeeded John Hyrcanus – a conflict broke out between his son,
Hyrcanus the elder, whose chief adviser was then Edomite Antipater, Aristobulus and the
cadet. Having engaged in a civil war where they fought the throne, both
contenders had the idea of asking Rome to arbitrate their dispute. Pompey chose
support Hyrcanus. He landed his army in Palestine and besieged Jerusalem, which was
Aristobulus locked. Once victorious, Pompey entered the Temple with his retinue and lives
“Everything is forbidden to see other men, except the only high priests”

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(Jewish Antiquities, 14, 72). This move was seen as a desecration and humiliation
Supreme. “Through his unfortunate gesture, Pompey pitched against him, not only
supporters of Aristobulus he had conquered, but the rest of the Jewish population, which had
hurt the religious feelings “
The Romans then settled in Judea, they gradually took control and
they subjugated the tribute. They made Hyrcanus whose adviser, General Idumean
Antipater, they had acquired a sovereign in their pay – but limiting its powers
Jerusalem. The authority of the Sanhedrin was abolished by decree. After the civil war between
Caesar to Pompey, Caesar, having triumphed over his opponent, was granted Roman citizenship
Antipater and offered him the title of procurator (epitropos) of the Roman province of Judea.
Antipater and became the real masters of the country, ending the Hasmonean dynasty of the same
blow to exist. Antipater’s successor was his son Herod called the Great, who was also the
support of the Romans: the Roman Senate the same named “King of the Jews” in – 40, which it
allowed to recover the western part of Idumea and Samaria. Thereafter, the
Romanization of Judea still accentuated, including the construction of Caesarea,
completed in the year 10 BC. our era. All these events, which put an end to the independence
Israel, were the starting point of a time when relations between Jews and Romans
not ceased to deteriorate. Hatred then abruptly took over from friendship or
idealization. But no trace here the history of the Roman occupation of Palestine
known enough that it never ceased to encounter resistance of all kinds and results
finally that the Jewish historian Josephus called the “Jewish War”, that is to say the
Jewish war
And the destruction of the Second Temple in 70.
The opinion has frequently been suggested that the assimilation of Edom Rome
be explained by the fact that King Herod the Great Idumean imposed with brutal energy
power he held the Romans, and the first ally of the latter was his father,
Antipater the Edomite. Edomite and Idumean appear to be synonymous. However, the opinion of
Mireille Hadas-Lebel is that “the basis for the identification of Esau-Edom with Rome
is not to be found in any relationship with Herod the Edomite friend of Rome,
as has often been written, but in many prophecies directed against Edom that
Israel provide a contrast with the promise that if Esau has this world, he will have the
the future world. ” Both assumptions are, however, not exclusive of the other.
We must now turn to the character of Esau.
In the Bible, Esau (Esau) and Jacob (Yaakov) are the only two children of Isaac
(Yitzchak), son of Abraham, and they are twins. We read in Genesis that when she
was pregnant, their mother, Rebecca (Rivka), went to consult Yahweh because “children
faced by it. ” She received this warning: “Two nations are in thy womb, and
two peoples shall be separated from thy bowels; one people shall be stronger than the other, and
the bigger brother shall serve the small “(v. 25.22 to 24). According to the Talmud, HaShem (God)
would actually prophesied Rebecca: “Two nations are in your womb, two nations with
each its own universe, a Torah, the other sin “(Berachot 57b). In the
, We can deduce that the underlying trends of Jacob and Esau manifested from
before birth: whenever their mother passed a synagogue, Jacob tossed
to exit, while every time she passed a pagan temple, it is Esau
moved (GnR 63, 6)!
Genesis (Bereshit) then tells Esau came out first from the womb of his era: “The
first came out red, all over like a hairy garment was called Esau. Then came
his brother, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel”, was called Yaakov “(Gen. 25.25-26).
The allusion to the “heel” is not accidental. It first explains the name of the younger ‘âqev
means “heel”, “Yaakov” meaning “it talonnera.” But Yaakov is also the first
name of Israel, because its function is to carry the message of God, which means to attack

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Snake. In Gen. 3.15, God told the serpent: “I will put hatred between you and the woman, and
and between your offspring and hers. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel “
It is also significant that Esau is explicitly designated as a “red”
(Admoni), covered at birth of red hair. Genesis also states that he was a
hunter, suggesting that he liked to draw blood, which is red
(In the Bible, hunting is always presented pejoratively). But it is the same root
Hebrew which is the origin of words designating the red (adom ‘) and blood. The taste of Esau
to red or red appears even more clearly in the famous episode where he
abandons his birthright to his brother Jacob in exchange for a mess of pottage that
last prepared and he coveted: “Once, a soup prepared Jacob and Esau came in from
campaign, exhausted. Esau said to Jacob, “Let me swallow the red, then the red, I’m exhausted” –
That is why it was called Edom. – Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.”
Esau said, “Behold, I die, what will my birthright?” Jacob replied:
“Lend me first oath” he swore an oath to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then
Jacob gave him bread and pottage of lentils, he ate and drank, got up and left. That’s it
Esau was the case of the birthright “(Gen. 25.29-34). Whole passage in Hebrew plays
the etymology of words and names, the most significant being obviously means Esau
emphatically lenses as “that red, that red one” (mine hââdôme hââdôme
hazeh), and the text immediately adds: “That’s why it was called Edom” (vv. 25,30).
Edom is the second name of Esau, just as Israel is the second name of Jacob
. Esau
Edom is called because it is “carrying red hair and bloodthirsty.” It is Edom
because it is “the Red” (adom ‘). This equivalence is repeated many times in the
Torah: “Esau is Edom” (Gen. 36.1 and 36.8), “This is Esau, the father of Edom” (Gen. 36.43)
The Bible continues: “The children grew up, Esau was a man skilled in hunting, a
man of the field, and Yaakov was a simple man, who lived in tents “(Gen.
25,27). In plainer words, Esau was a sedentary hunter, Jacob a nomad. The parallel
with Cain and Abel is striking.
The complex relationship between Esau and Jacob in fact refer to the dialectic of the brothers (or
twins) in the biblical tradition, the eldest being considered the first in the order
simply biological, the second as the first in the spiritual order, the underlying idea
is that the real hierarchies, just hierarchies are unlike hierarchies
natural. Esau Jacob is less than in the same as it is the first in the order
natural. Esau is on the side of the world, the side of the power of men, while Jacob
is the other side of the world, the side of the spirit, the side of the power of God. The
conclusion is clear: the natural order must be broken, it must give way to its opposite, which
is spiritual. The natural hierarchy must be reversed because it is the will of God
This is why Esau input presented in a negative light, while Jacob is elected
of God. The natural superiority attached to the birthright is reversed, the reversal
corresponding to the episode of the “mess of pottage.” Father’s blessings addressed to
two brothers are significant in this regard. “Some people will serve you, and nations
will bow to you! […] Cursed is that curses you, and blessed who blesses you! “It is said to
Jacob. And Esau, “Your house will be the fertility of the earth and the dew of heavens
. above thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother: it is only when thou humiliate that
you loose his yoke from off thy neck “(Gen. 27.39-40). Another way of saying that Esau may
well conquer the world, but in doing so he unwittingly work for Yaakov to
that all material conquest eventually return. “I hated Esau and Jacob have I loved,” says
Yahweh (Malachi 1:2-3).
Just as the Bible emphasizes God’s love for Jacob, and insists she
hold hatred toward his brother Esau (Gen. 27.41). Very early, complaining of

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maneuvers it to deviate from the direction of the clan, Esau exclaimed, playing on the
name of his sister: “Is not that called him Yaakov? It has supplanted me [dogged]
two times: he took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing. “
Esau and Jacob, who already fought them in the womb, one will fight against
each other throughout their lives. And even those they generate will they be any time
called upon to face. ‘Amalekites (Amalek), the absolute enemy of Israel, is also the son
of Eliphaz, and thus the grand-son of Esau (Gen. 36.9 and 12). In Jewish tradition, the history of
Jacob and Esau has always been regarded as describing not only the past but also
the future. The lesson is that any time can never destroy Esau Jacob, that
Jacob will triumph. “The Esau hated Jacob says Mireille Hadas-Lebel, is
not only the hatred of vice to virtue, but also hatred of idolatry for
monotheism “
Telling the story of “Esau is Edom” (v. 36.1), Genesis provides immediately
after the death of his father Isaac, and after “took his wives from the daughters of Canaan”
Esau “went to the land of Seir” and s “in the hill country of Seir,” which begat the
Edomite people: “And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of
Seir, the field of Edom “(v. 36.6 to 8). The land of Edom is in fact often referred to in the
Bible as “Seir” (Judges 5:4), the “Mount Seir” (Deut. 1.2), the “country of Seir”
(Gen. 32.3 and 36.30), etc.. According to Josephus, the name “Seir” (S’R) refers to the fact
Esau was hairy (Jewish Antiquities, I, 18, § 1), but the Genesis itself indicates that
mountain received its name before the birth of Esau. Is a first indication of
Seir early fourteenth
century BC. AD in some Egyptian sources (document
Tell el-Amarna). The name of Seir perhaps hurrite people or Horite returns. In
passage where are listed the “chiefs of Edom,” Genesis speaks indeed “the son of Seir
Horite “(v. 20). The name Edom (“Udumi” in the cuneiform inscriptions) seems
However, more directly related to Western Semites who succeeded the Hurrians. Seir was
also been likened to the city of Petra.
The Edomites would have arrived at the end of XIV
or early XIII
century BC. our era
Palestine, where they would quickly become powerful enough to drive the Horites, first
occupants of the country, which, however, they adopted the lifestyle. Their territory extended
around the mountain Seir to the Dead Sea to the north and the Red Sea to the south. Border
north of Edom was the Zered (Wadi Al-Hesa) River, which was also the boundary
southern kingdom of Moab (Deut. 2:13-18; Judges 11.17-18, 2 Kings 3.8 to 9), and its
southern border town of Elath. The capital of Edom was probably Bozrah or
Bosra / Bozrah (Gen. 36.33), other major cities are Teman and Dédânn with Elath
as seaport They mainly worshiped deities of fertility, their major god
QoS is.
The Hurrians, who played a very important role in the history of the Middle East II
millennium BC. AD, were a non-Semitic people speaking an agglutinative language
related to urartéen and more distantly, to some languages of the Caucasus. During his
raid against Babylon – 1595 Hittite Mursil I
had to fight against the Hurrians, and it is
the constellation of kings Hurrites there emerged in the second half of the sixteenth
century BC.
BCE, the kingdom of Mitanni (whose kings did not, however, wore Hurrites names
but Indo-Aryan names. They also invoked the gods Mitra, Varuna and Indra). That is,
he appears in the first quarter of the fifteenth
century BC. AD items that Hurrians, mixed
to the Indo-Aryans had settled in Palestine. And it is in the XVIII
Egyptian that “Huru” appears in the Egyptian documents to designate the
Palestine and part of Syria. When the Hebrews came to establish themselves in
Palestine, perhaps in the second half of the thirteenth
century BC. AD, they were
probably in contact with Hurrites. However, the Bible does not speak of “Hurrians”

Page 5
but “Horites” (Horim). Deuteronomy relates, and, about the people of
Zamzumim that “Yahweh exterminated before the Ammonites, who settled in their place,
as he had done for the son of Esau, living in Seir, exterminating before them
Horites, they drove out to establish in their place to this day “(v. 2:21-22, cf. Also
v. 2,12). This passage seems to confirm that the Horites were the ancient people of Seir
dispossessed by the Edomites. Genesis also states that the Horites lived
Mount Seir to the time of Abraham (v. 14.6) and gives a list of clans Horites of Seir
(36.20 to 30). But this list only includes Semitic names, and there is no evidence
that historical Hurrites were ever installed in the area southeast of the sea
Died for the country of Edom. The identification of the Horites and Hurrites remains
It follows from the foregoing that the Edomites were a Semitic people of Western
Related to the Hebrews, but whose exact origins are unclear. The Bible makes
Esau the founding ancestor of the Edomite people can not know more – especially as,
according to Genesis, Esau married successively non-Jewish women, and Canaanite
Hittite (v. 26-34), Ismaili (v. 28.9) and Hivites (36.2).
Historically, in any case, the word “Edom” means both a people and a region. The
list of Edom kings mentioned in Genesis, which are not related to each
others, shows that it was more a confederation of princes ruling each of their city
as a line or a real dynasty monarchs. In Numbers, Moses
means the Edomites as “brothers of Israel” (v. 20.14 to 17), referring to their
. But soon, Edom, enriched by the toll or the plundering of caravans
journeyed from the East to Egypt, became a constant enemy of Israel. During the Exodus,
in particular, the people of Edom had refused to let the Hebrews go through
their territory, while Moses was reached Kadesh (Numbers 20.18-21). The Hebrews
would then chose not to confront them directly, but around the country (Numbers
21.4). Subsequently, numerous texts of the Bible (II Kings, II Chronicles, Psalms CXXXVII,
Amos 1.11 Ezech. 35.1-9, etc..) Show a stubborn hatred between the two peoples. Most
of them rely on the equivalence Esau-Edom to blame the Edomites have
consistently acted against Israel the little fraternal how Esau behaved towards
The history of the kingdom of Edom, which is fairly well known, is too complex to be
traced in detail here. In the Bible, Edom is cited among the nations hostile to Israel that the king
Saul would have faced (1 Sam 14,47). Edom was subsequently conquered by King David,
have killed 18,000 of its inhabitants in the Valley of Salt (2 Sam 8.13 to 14, 1 Chron.
18.12) – although this victory is attributed to Joab (or Joash) in the Psalms (Psalm
60.2 cf. also 2 Kings 14.7). Following this defeat, Edom was forcibly incorporated in
kingdom of Israel. The Edomites would nevertheless managed to recreate a kingdom
independent, before passing under the control of the kingdom of Judah after the division of Israel into
two separate kingdoms. They would then be freed from the dominion of Judah,
before becoming a vassal of the Assyrian people. To – 845 allied with other tribes
Arabs, Edomites looted the palaces of Jerusalem. Fifty or sixty years later,
Amaziah seized their fortress Sela (2 Kings 14.7;. 2 Chronicles 25.11-12), which was
long recognized in Petra or Bosra, but more probably stood south of Tafila.
They then participated in the conquest of Jerusalem by the Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar II
in – 587 or 586, taking advantage of the destruction of the city to invade southern Judea (some
ancient Jewish sources even attribute their destruction by fire of the First Temple). A
the same time, the VI
century BC. AD, nomadic tribes came to incorporate the people
Edomite, who was then settled in the Hebron area. From this date, the Edomites are
also called Edom, Idumea history lying south of Judea (cf. Gospel

Page 6
Marc 3.8, Ptolemy, Geography, v. 16).
The hostility between the Edomites and Jews still persisted in the Hellenistic era. During
the Hasmonean wars, the people of Edom also supported against the Seleucids
Judah Maccabee, who had taken over their territory. The Edomites were then beaten and
conquered by the Maccabees, and then forcibly converted to Judaism and the Jewish people included
under John Hyrcanus I
In 129 BC. AD (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, XIII, 9, § 1;
XIV, 4, § 4). After the death of King Herod the Great, – 4, Edom was incorporated into Judea
Samaria, before becoming part of the Roman province of Judea.
It should be noted, however, that the Edomites participated alongside Zealots to war
anti-Roman. Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70, 20 000
Edomites did in common cause and effect with the rebels to defend the city, but they
were decimated in Jerusalem, Idumea that when Simon Guérasa there made his bloody
disastrous expedition told by Josephus (Jewish War, IV, 9, 7). The name of the people
Edomite has now disappeared, and what remains is melted in the Arab peoples.
Jewish tradition says that Edom was (and will) be punished for their transgressions. This theme
constantly recurs in many books of the Torah. Isaiah emphasizes that destiny
fatal expected Edom: “Because Edom has exercised his revenge against the house of Judah, because
he went seriously guilty avenging her, well! thus saith the Lord
Yahweh: I will stretch out my hand against Edom and I will cut off man and beast. I will
desolation of Teman to Dedan they shall perish by the sword. I lay my vengeance against Edom
in the hand of my people Israel. It shall do in Edom according to my anger and fury and it
know my vengeance, saith the Lord Yahweh “(v. 25.12 to 14). Isaiah also describes
successively, and in terms of extreme violence, “judgment against Edom” and
“Triumph of Jerusalem”: “For my sword has drunk in heaven: behold it
fell on Edom, the doomed to anathema to punish people. The sword of Yahweh is full of
blood […] because it is a sacrifice to Yahweh in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. The
buffalo down with them […] For this is the day of vengeance for Yahweh, the year of
compensation in the case of Zion. The streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch, her dust
sulfur, the country will become burning pitch. Night and day it shall not be quenched, eternally
its smoke will rise from age to age it will be dry, forever and ever no one will
[…] Yahweh will tend cord chaos and the vacuum level “(34, 5-11).
The book of Obadiah (Obadia) is based on a prophetic vision that announces oracle, it
also the judgment of Edom by Yahweh and the restoration of Israel. The text, which is the shortest of
entire Torah consists of a single chapter divided into 21 verses
. It opens with a
“Sentence against Edom” pronounced by Yahweh: “Behold, I have made you small among the nations, you
are the lowest of contempt! “(V. 2), followed by the list of punishments that will hit the people
Edom: “As you have been devastated! As Esau was searched, his hidden treasures, explored!
They have driven you to the border, they played you, all your allies! […] Teman
, Your
Warriors will be frozen with terror, so that every man of the mount of Esau may be cut off.
For the carnage for the violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou
will disappear forever! […] The house of Jacob shall be a fire, the house of Joseph a flame,
the house of Esau for stubble! It’s ablaze and devour, and no one will survive the
house of Esau
: Yahweh has spoken! “(Vv. 5-18). In verse. 20 Obadiah predicted that “the son of Israel
inherit the land of the Canaanites to Zarephath, and the exiles of Jerusalem who are in
Sepharad shall possess the cities of the Negev. ” “Sepharad” was not identified. It is thought
But that “Zarephath” is the ancient Phoenician city of Sarepta (or
Sarepta), which is now the Lebanese town of Sarafand. (Note also that
Zarepath is also the name that the rabbinic tradition and modern Hebrew attribute
frequently in France). The text concludes with the following verse: “And [the Jews] release [of
exile] shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mountain of Esau, and the kingdom

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return to God “
The war of the Jews against the Romans in 66 began in the twelfth year of the reign
Nero. It leads to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70. The revolt of Simon Bar
Kokhba Bar Kokhba or / Cochebas (“Bar Kozba” in rabbinic sources) broke it,
during the reign of Trajan, in 132, and ended three and a half years later after the siege and capture
by the Romans in the city of Bethar. Under the reign of Hadrian, Trajan’s successor,
Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city called Aelia Capitolina, and
ancient Judea came under the total domination of Rome. A temple dedicated to Zeus was built to
the location of the sanctuary destroyed by the legions of Titus, and even the name of Judea was
All these events have obviously helped to explain the hostility of the Jews to
. “From about the middle of I
century BCE, observes Mireille
Hadas-Lebel, the moral image of Rome, fleetingly pure and glorious in the eyes of slides
Jews to the dark areas of absolute evil […] The hatred and contempt lead to
demonization of the enemy […] Rome combines indeed the vices inherent in paganism and
those cruel and tyrannical power […] Rome and the punishment of living in Israel
this world, its counterpart, its antithesis: what is good for one is bad for
another, as well as in Palestine all that is good for Caesarea, the seat of the Governor
Roman is bad for Jerusalem “
Even if the person of King Herod the Great, or his father Antipater, both
descendants of the Edomites, was able to facilitate or encourage the identification, the first
certificates of equivalence Rome Edom appear until well after the death of Herod the
Great, and even after the destruction of the Second Temple. Mireille Hadas-Lebel issued
the assumption that, in the context of the revolt of Simon Bar Kochba, between 130 and 136,
“Esau-Edom has been chosen to represent Rome preferably in Babylon because Edom
appears as an enemy who has harassed Israel throughout its history “
. It
seems that it is in the School of Akiba
, To 132, which has appeared for the first
After assimilation of Rome Edom, and thus Esau (see Yerushalmi Ta’anit, 1, 1, 64;
Bereshit raba, 65.21; Tanhuma Teruma, 3,. Pesiqta derav Kahan, 7.11, etc.), perhaps
to have a coded language in these troubled times, perhaps also from
of speculation about the passage where Isaiah announcing the fall of Edom, writes: “There is for
Yahweh a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom. Buffalo (re’emim) fall
with them .. “These” bars “have treated the Romans from a play on words. Rabbi
Meir, for example, proposed to read romiim (or romiyim), “Romans”, instead of re’emim,
From II
century exegesis of chapters 25-27 of Genesis is adversely affected by
this identification of the Edomite kingdom with the Roman Empire. In the comments,
the moral inferiority of the eldest son of Isaac is strongly emphasized, and the vices that he
ready are those that are traditionally criticized Rome. The Romans, in other
terms have inherited values and worldview that the Bible attributes to Esau-
Edom. At that time, says Mireille Hadas-Lebel, the verse: “Esau took hatred for
Jacob “(Gen. 27.41)” does not mean much more biblical characters, but the two
irreconcilable nations they are supposed to represent. ” “The equivalence between Rome and Esau-
Edom, she adds, is acquired so that everything that applies to one applies to the other.
This is explicitly stated in some texts where you can slip in Rome “kingdom
evil “Esau and vice versa”
. One of these texts present such a conversation

Page 8
fictitious between the governor and Tinneius Rufus R. Akiba. In Roman who asks:
“Why God hates us? “A. Akiba says, “It is written:” I hate Esau. ‘”
In the same generation, Rabbi Eleazar, son of Jose the Galilean, gives the word “Senator”
a fanciful etymology, based on the three Hebrew verbs sn ‘nqm and ntr (“He hates to
revenge and grudge “), which refers to the same verse of Genesis:” Esau took to
hatred for Jacob “(GnR 67, 8). As for Rome and the Roman emperors, the name Esau
is sometimes accompanied by a curse: “May his name be blotted out! “(GnR 65.2).
The equivalence Rome Edom generalizes quickly during tannaitic period (or
Mishnaic), and even more during the amoraïque (early III
the VII
century). A
tannaitic the time, Rome became in Jewish literature “Rome guilty” or
“Villain kingdom.” From the amoraïque time, his most common nickname in the
Talmud and Midrash is “kingdom of evil” or “wicked kingdom.” Added to its
Biblical nicknames: Esau or Edom, or “Babylon” (which destroyed the First Temple
like Rome destroyed the Second, a parallel is drawn between Nebuchadnezzar and then
Titus). All Bible verse where the word “wicked” (rasha) appears then commonly
assigned to Esau, that is to say in Rome. In the Midrash, the Emperor Hadrian is presented
as the “king of Edom” (Bereshit Tanhuma), while Rabbi Aben Ezra, referring
Emperor Constantine, also spoke of Rome as the “kingdom of Edom.” Esau
is so often presented as the founder of Rome, the city of Rome itself being
even identified as one of the cities listed at the end of chap. 36 of Genesis, while
everything that relates to Edom in the Bible is to systematically account
Romans. At the time grows aggadic kind of Midrash, “Israel’s fight against
Rome appears as an inescapable necessity, begun even before the birth of
two peoples and written in their destiny “
In the Midrash, Jose ben Halafta evokes Israel and Rome as Jacob and Esau (GnR
67, 7). An anonymous baraita, perhaps prior to the Bar Kokhba revolt, evokes the
terms the role of the Romans in 70 events: “The hands are the hands of Esau is
the kingdom of the evil that destroyed our Temple, burned our sanctuary and we were exiled from
our country “(Gittin, 57b). Rabbinic tradition identifies Rome offspring of Esau-
Edom (Sanhedrin 12a; Shemot Rabbah 35.5)
. The name of the father of Romulus and Remus
is not mentioned in the Roman tradition, some commentators do not hesitate to make
twin founders of Rome children “orphans” of Esau. “The day when Jeroboam
erected two golden calves, Romulus and Remus came to build two large huts in Rome “
also reads (Aboda Zara I, 1, 39 c). Much later, the anonymous author of Sefer
Yosippon, a text written in southern Italy in the middle of X
century AD that tells
Jewish history since the destruction of Babylon – 539 until the fall of Jerusalem
in 70, even invented a “Roman genealogy” based on a relationship between Aeneas and
Zepho, grand-son of Esau, the son of Eliphaz and therefore brother of Amalek. According to this text, Joseph made
Zepho his servant and took him to Egypt. After the death of Joseph, would Zepho
fled to Egypt to settle in Carthage, and would have won the “land of Kittim”, Italy, where
he would have founded a royal dynasty which would have left the Romans. It is even the grand-son of
Zepho, Latinus, which would give the Romans their language and alphabet! The hostility of Esau
to Jacob would be transmitted to the Romans through Latinus and
Zepho …
We just talked about the “land of Kittim.” Documents character frequently
apocalyptic discovered at Qumran – the famous “Dead Sea Scrolls” – and
including the roll War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness and various
Comments (pesharim) more or less well preserved, whose commentary on Habakkuk
(Habakkuk Habakkuk or) mention many times of pagan invaders
called Kittim. In the Roll of War, they are considered unequivocal

Page 9
“Lot of Belial”, that is to say to the Sons of Darkness. The exact identity of these was
hotly debated – we saw them as Syrian Greeks, Cypriots or alternatively,
Kittim as presented in Genesis (10.2 to 4) as descendants of Japheth were
probably Kittion residents on the island of Cyprus, where the reference to “islands
Kittim “in Jeremiah (v. 2.10) – but the prevailing opinion, which was already one of André
Dupont-Sommer, is that we see them as a coded term for the Romans.
The first reference to Kittim appears in the book of Daniel: “The vessels of
Kittim will come against him and he will be discouraged. He will return and will rage furiously against
Holy Alliance “(vv. 11-30). Daniel was possibly referring to the Cypriots. But after
the Roman occupation of Palestine, these “ships of Kittim”, also mentioned in the
Numbers (24.24) will be assimilated to ships of the Romans. In the Greek version of
Septuagint, the “Kittim” referred to the book of Daniel will also translated “Rômaioi.”
In the twelfth
century Ibnz Zra (Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra) will say again: “Rome is the seed
of Kittim. “
The same hostility to the Romans is found in the Psalms of Solomon, from the
circles Pharisees Palestine. The third book of the Sibylline Oracles, the oldest
This apocryphal book the author presents as originating in Babylon, although
Whether it’s obviously an essentially Jewish work, produced in the Diaspora
Alexandrian, it also contains a number of clearly directed against Rome oracles.
The fifth book is going to attack the Gauls and Britons (probably
auxiliaries of the Roman army), “because they also hurt the children of God” (v. 202).
All these texts show the fall of Rome as a conviction based on confidence
divine justice. “The dominance of Kittim shall cease to belittle impiety so that
there is no rest and without a survivor of all the Sons of Darkness “read it already
Roll in the War (I, 6-7). The two Jewish apocalypses II Baruch and IV Ezra
written around 100, develop the same theme. Civilization was born in Rome is dedicated to
disappear. It is predicted that the Rabbi Meir II
century: “One day they will say, here was his
palace, theater, his court. One look at the site and there will be nothing. ” The
for Rome, guilty of having been subjected to a “holy nation” an undeserved fate,
and fits into a context of messianic apocalyptic.
In the Apocalypse, which has good reason to believe that this is the origin of a written
revised by Jewish Christians (who attributed to the apostle John), Rome becomes the Beast, name
which will also be awarded in the Talmud. It is also represented by a woman
sitting on seven heads represent seven hills on his forehead “a name written, a
mystery: Babylon the great, mother of harlots and of the horrors of the earth “(v. 17.5). The
text announces fall gleefully: “She has fallen, fallen is Babylon the
high which, far from the wrath of her fornication, she made all nations “(v. 14.8).
The “red” associated with Esau obviously evokes the purple of imperial power, the
red coat Legionnaires and the symbolic color of the war. Like the Romans,
Esau the hunter saw his sword. Chief Rabbi Alain Goldmann up view
Esau “prototype of all the misfortunes of Israel”, wrote: “Our sages see in Rome, the
Ancient Rome, the personification of Edom, which generally refers to Esau and all those who
live according to his way of being. To give an illustration, let us know that Rome had
Indeed no respect for law and humanity, never ceasing to use all the means of
violence and cunning. It thus managed to have a strength rarely equaled. Such as
Esau implacable enemy of his brother, and it was Rome mercilessly for Israel, while
Jacob-Israel is driven by a deep sense of justice, love of neighbor “
Rome-Edom also plays a role in the famous prophecy of the four empires. In the Bible,
God revealed to Daniel (2.32 to 33) before the arrival of the Messianic era, four great empires
dominant have been called to reign. These four empires are represented in a statue described

Page 10
as follows: the head of the statue was made of pure gold (Babylon), its chest and arms
money (Medes and Persians), its belly and thighs of bronze (Greece), his legs
iron, his feet part of iron and part clay (Rome). The fourth empire, it is said that
will be “hard as iron”, but it will be fragile: “As iron crushed, pulverized and
crushes all, this kingdom will crush and crush the previous. And as you saw the feet and
toes of the statue is part clay, part of iron, the kingdom shall fail unit. It
shall be in it of the strength of iron, as you saw the clay mixed with iron. But toes
where iron and clay were mixed show that the kingdom shall be partly strong and
fragile part, they also indicate that kings conclude human alliances, but they
not hold any more than the alloy of iron and clay “(2.40 to 43). In the Midrash and
the Talmud, identification with Rome the fourth element of the vision of Daniel, of course.
The most ancient midrashic proof is in the Mekhila of Rabbi Ishmael, where she
is attached to a teaching Tanna Rabbi Nathan on the verse from Genesis that
introduced the appearance of Yahweh to Abram / Abraham (“as the sun was going down, a
torpor fell upon Abram and behold, a great terror seized “, c. 15:12): “Frightening is
the Babylonian empire, darkness is the Median empire, great is the Greek empire fell,
this is the fourth empire, Rome’s guilty. “
A similar reasoning was applied to the first sentence of Genesis. According to
the biblical text at the beginning of the universe, the world was that “hurly burly”, that is to say
“Chaos and destruction”, while “darkness lay on the face of the deep.” However, in the
Talmud, Rabbi Shimon (Simeon) ben Lachish close this passage from the prophecy concerning
four empires. He writes that the four elements mentioned actually refer to the four exiles
Israel: “chaos” informs (hustle) returns to Babylon, “desolation” (burly) Medes
and Persians, the “darkness” in Greece and “abyss” in Rome-Edom (Genesis Rabbah).
Why the dark she returns to Greece? Because the goal of Greece was
to “obscure the eyes of the Hebrews.” And why is there a link between Rome and the abyss?
Because the covenant of the abyss and darkness (the Greco-Latin) has plunged the
Jewish people in exile for two thousand years, and because the wickedness of Rome is also
a bottomless abyss …
Speculations of this kind, which all refer to the Danielic vision were
advanced from the four tanks of Zechariah’s vision of the four rivers of Eden (Gen.
2:10-11), the four kings made war with Abraham, etc.. In the Midrash, Rabbi Simeon
also links the four empires and the four exiles with their corresponding four
unclean animals: the camel (gamal) with Babylon, the Medes with the badger, hare
with Greece, the pig (hazir) Rome with Edom. He then answered the question: why
can be applied to Rome verse from Deuteronomy: “And the pig, because it has the cloven hoof”?
The answer is this: “Just as the pig, when it sets, presents its first
hooves as if to say: I see as pure, and the empire of Edom [Rome] is
claims to establish courts of justice even though it commits its violence and
looting “(Midrash Rabbah on Vayikra [Leviticus] 13.5). The parallel would be required between
the hypocrisy of the Romans, who hide their atrocities under the guise of justice, and that
the pig, who hides his impurity highlighting its cloven hooves (GnR 65, 1).
In several rabbinic texts, Rome is also represented by a boar, from
the allegorical exegesis of a passage from the Psalms (80.14): “Why did you do a
breach its walls for passers What vendangent road to the ravages
boar in the forest. ” The first appearance of this exegesis also dates from the mid-II
century. But the book of Enoch, which could have been written Maccabean period, this
Esau already in the guise of a boar, wild boar as representing the Edomites. The
boar or “pig forest”, we quickly passed all short pork. The amora Rabbi Isaac, the
middle of the third
century, considered hazir, “pork” as another name Esau commenting on

Page 11
verse of Genesis “and he was named Esau” (25.25), he attributes to Yahweh remarked: “You
gave a name to your pig. ” In another passage in the Midrash, the same Rabbi Isaac
opposes new Rome to Israel indignant that “pork is treated according to the law and that
holy nation be treated, not according to the law, but barbarism. ” It should also be noted that Edom,
in the ancient literature, is often likened to a boar black (for example, in
Jubilees 37.20 to 24). Assimilation Esau-pig therefore seems logical.
Pork is thus directly related to Esau in the Talmud (Midrash Rabbah on
Bereishit [Genesis] 63.8), and by extension to Rome, whose inhabitants were great
pork consumers and whose legions sometimes represented boars on their
signs. Hazir the word “pig” is found in medieval Jewish literature as
substitute or equivalent casual Edom. Rome is also commonly compared to a pig
or wild boar (Leviticus Rabba 13). In the Midrash Rabbah, a commentary on Leviticus. 13.5
to R. Phinehas and R. Holkiah equates Rome a wild boar or a pig. However, in
Torah, the pig is described as an abominable animal. The prophet Isaiah ton against
anyone “sacrifice in gardens, burning incense on bricks, spends the night in the
corner, eats pork and puts in his flat pieces unclean “(65.4), and
announces that Yahweh punish “those who eat pork, and the abomination
and rat “(66.17, cf. also 66.3). The prohibition of eating pork found in several
times in the Bible. Thus in Deuteronomy: “You shall not eat anything that is
abominable […] You can eat any animal that has a cloven hoof split into two
nails, and ruminates. However, among ruminants and among animal hoof and
split, you can not eat these: the camel, the hare, and the coney, but ruminating
did not the hoof; unclean for you. Or pork, which has the hoof
cloven and split but does not chew the cud, you will stand for unclean “(14.3 to 8). This
prohibition is repeated in Leviticus: “Ye shall defile the pig because,
having the hoof, split into two nails, it does not chew the cud “(v. 11.7). Being acceptable
in appearance (it has the hoof), but impure reality (it does not chew the cud), the pig
become the symbol of hypocrisy
. And, as we have seen, it is this hypocrisy that
Jewish tradition attributes to the Romans.
In the Talmud, the pig is considered a kind of itinerant latrine – the term
“Latrine” meaning frequently “idolatry,” that is to say, paganism (Meg, 25b).
(Recall that the three sins which Jewish tradition prohibits fall even
escape death, idolatry is always mentioned first, before the unions ‘unclean’ and
murder). “We can understand that Rome idolatrous power par excellence, of sacrificatrice
pigs, and moreover worst enemy of Israel, says Mireille Hadas-Lebel, has since been
long associated with this unclean animal or perhaps allegorically designated by him “
Several Roman legions, the X
Fretensis stationed in Judea from the time
Titus and whose presence is attested to Aelia Capitolina (formerly Jerusalem) until about
250, had as its emblem a boar. There were also several pieces of boars
Roman coin used in Palestine from Hadrian. The hatred of the army and
the Roman coins have promoted reconciliation between Romans and pork. Of
Mireille Lebel-Hasa, however, the comparison of Rome with pork instead of
scriptural foundations. Noting that the Jewish population had only few reports
with X
Fretensis, Jews were banned from Aelia Capitolina, she recalled that
“Well before the boar became the symbol of a Roman legion stationed in Judea, the
Pork was the most repulsive symbol of paganism in general “
. Referring to the
prophecy of the four empires, she adds: “For moral justifications plus a
eschatological justification favored also by word games. The three
ruminants (Maale gera) symbolize the empires that have led (garar) each to
Following their successor. Pork, not brooding, does not imply anything after him, proof that

Page 12
Rome is the last empire in history and will have no successor. Better yet, a
etymology connected the name of the pig (hazir) to hzr root “return” based insurance
the last empire back to its rightful owner, that is to say to the people of God, a crown
temporarily usurped “
But the Bible passages referring to Esau-Edom have not only been reported
Ancient Rome. In the Talmudic tradition and medieval Jewish literature, “Rome”
means much more than the Roman civilization. The word is actually referring to all
the Western world of Christianity, it is perceived as coming from “Rome”
that is to say as an extension (or development) of pagan Rome. That relates
Rome can be put down to the Western world – it is merging with or
Amalek (“Amalek), hereditary Israel (which, however, should not forget that enemy
is the grand-son of Esau), nor Ishmael (Yichm’âel), which is the Arab world. In the
Talmud, Rabbi Bechai in his Kad Hakkemach says Christians who “shake their
fingers here and there “(which make the sign of the cross), that” we are called Edomites “
(Commentary on Isaiah). The Talmud also presents Jesus as an impostor and a bastard
(Mamzer) “possessed by the soul of Esau.”
Isaac Abravanel (or Abarbanel), famous philosopher and Portuguese Jewish commentator (he
born in Lisbon in 1437 and died in Venice in 1508), which was particularly the opponent of
Maimonides, and to whom we owe many books, said one of them in the design
Jewish relations between Edom and Rome, then adds: “The truly wise accept as
tradition that the soul of Esau reappeared as the soul of Jesus, the Christian […] and that the
why he was called Yeshua, which is [Hebrew] an anagram of Esau. This is the
why all those who adhere to his religion, belief and worship,
should more accurately be called the children of Edom, because Jesus is Esau is Edom. This
religion began in Rome and this is also where his roots are. The Roman Caesars and
Christian kings were the first to accept it, as all Christians who adhere to the
religion of Jesus are they without a doubt people of Edom, descent
Esau “
At the end of XIV
century, a Jew expelled from Spain, scholar, preacher and Kabbalist
Abraham ben Jacob Saba, says the following about the anti-Jewish persecution taking place
then in Castile, “The kingdom of Edom, which experienced a steady climb since Esau
who is Edom, first accessing the principality, and the principality to commoner status, [is
foreshadowing] the fall that awaits the new kingdom of Edom, as it is written: “From this
I’ll make you fall “(Obadiah 4) understood: this degree, and it is a very large
conclusion for Israel, and because it appears that despite the fact that the kingdom of evil seems
now reach the clouds, we are absolutely confident that the fall which will
she can not get up, “and reemim fall” (Isaiah 34.7), verse to interpret
according to our sages, reading not reemim but romiyim [Romans] […] This is
exegesis I once developed in Castile before a panel of wise and they
leased “
. At that time, in environments from the expelled, especially among
historians as Eliahu Capsali Edom sometimes refers specifically kings
Catholic Ferdinand and Isabella of Castile.
Just as Yahweh blessed the hand of Jacob over Esau, as the Jews do they expect
the final fall of Rome, which lead to their final deliverance. The last exile
Jewish people Galut Edom, means in fact the two millennia have passed since the destruction
the Second Temple in 70, and that’s the end of the last exile the Jewish tradition involves
the arrival of the Messiah. “The Wailing invectives against the” daughter of Edom “(4.21 to 22) read
each year on the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple, as well as all
Biblical prophecies concerning Edom, support the idea that the fall of Rome is inevitable,
emphasizing his deserved punishment. The Midrash Rabbah relies on them to announce the

Page 13
vengeance. He cites the last verse of the prophecy of Jeremiah against Edom (49.22), so
to evoke the whole oracle. He cites Isaiah announcing that the divine sword will make a great
slaughter in the land of Edom (34.6) and the Avenger returning from Edom (63.1) the tread
enemies of God in his wrath. He cites Ezekiel promised: “I will stretch out my hand against
Edom […] I turn my vengeance against Edom in the hands of my people Israel “
(25.13 to 14). He quotes Psalm 65, 10: “Concerning Edom will I cast out my shoe” […] In preparing for
revenge of Jacob, we are preparing for the end of time and the coming of the Messiah announced by
prophets and linked to the fall of Edom “
The opposition between Rome and Jerusalem becomes the metaphor for the conflict between the
center of an empire called to dominate the world by his power and the sanctuary of a
spirituality known to dominate the spirit, and more generally the opposition between
paganism and biblical monotheism. It is “always against Rome that is formulated
messianic hope, he stresses Mireille Hadas-Lebel. That Rome was founded
for the sins of Israel will only disappear when Jacob to take his revenge on Esau
[…] What we defend the most land design or the most mystical of the Messianic era,
the end of Rome is always the beginning of the redemption of Israel “
It is also said in a passage in the Talmud that “Rome will one day fall into the hands of
Persia “,” Rabbi bar Hana received his Master, Rabbi Yohanan, who received himself
his master, Rabbi Yehudah bar ilai: “Rome will fall one day, in the hands of Persia.
This is logical and can be inferred from what happened at the time of the First Temple. ‘”
The explanation given is paradoxical. The First Temple was destroyed by the Kasdiim
(Babylonians), which subsequently fell into the hands of the Persians, who helped the
construction of the second Temple. However, Kasdiim were destroyed by the Persians, for
destroying a temple that the Persians had not helped build, let alone the
Romans will they fall into the hands of the Persians, they destroyed a temple that
the Persians had helped build! This type of reasoning is common in the Talmud.
Another idea of Orthodox Judaism is a final fight one day oppose “Rome” and
the “Persians”. We see the announcement of an inevitable conflict between the West and Islam, it
last headed the modern Persia, that is to say, Iran. This conflict is supposed to precede
immediately upon arrival of the Messianic era, corresponding to the time of “Deliverance
end of Israel. ” It is likened to the war of Gog and Magog, which would be a war between
Edom and Ishmael.
We see the assimilation of Rome Esau-Edom extensions that go away.
Mireille Hadas-Lebel confirms in his own way, writing that “for the future
Judaism were not, ultimately, that of the impact of the tragic confrontation of the Jews
with the Romans in the vicinity and at the beginning of the Christian era “
Alain de Benoist
1. Mireille Hadas-Lebel, Jerusalem against Rome, Cerf, Paris 1990, p. 32.
2. The story of the war of the Jews against the Romans (De bello Judaico) was written by Josephus to
the year 75 AD. His Jewish Antiquities, in twenty books, was completed in 95. Josephus originally belonged
to one of the great families that formed the ruling class in Jerusalem in the first century
era. When the troubles broke out 66-70 years, he agreed to organize the resistance of Galilee
but when the outcome of the confrontation became unfavorable to the insurgents, he went to the legionaries
Vespasian, then rallied to Flavian, becoming the protege of the great patrician families.

Page 14
3. The Midrash (plural midrashim), which is the “Oral Law” is a compilation of comments on the
text of the Torah that have not found a place in the Talmud. This is a particular method of exegesis
hermeneutics, comparative and homiletics, which makes great use of parables, allegories, metaphors,
puns, etc.. The term refers to darash verb “require, query, consider” where “interpret
depth. ” There are usually halachic midrashim, producers halakha, that is to say,
jurisprudence (the main halachic collections from the school of Rabbi Ishmael or that of Rabbi
Akiva, the II
century AD), the aggadic midrashim aggada producers, that is to say stories
edifying, and midrashim pesharim, in which an ancient story is repeated mutatis mutandis. The study of
Midrash can also understand the literary and spiritual background of certain texts of Christianity
primitive. The infancy narrative contained in the Gospel attributed to Matthew was able to be interpreted as a
midrash on the story of Moses.
4. The Zohar, written 1800 years ago by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, Esau explicitly compares the Serpent
original (nachash kadmoni), indicating that when the Book of Genesis tells how, at birth, the hand
Jacob was holding Esau’s heel, she said at the same time how Jacob will then proceed with his brother and
rival, it will crush him. This means that it is useless to want to behave with those
misbehave. This is what is also said in the book of Samuel, it must be pure to the pure, but with cunning
rogues (II Sam 22:27). The sages of Israel, also sometimes described the final stage of exile as “the
heel of the Messiah. “
5. However, according to some commentators, Esau received its name at the time he gave up his right
of birthright to Jacob. This interpretation is based on precisely Gen. 25.30.
6. See Levi Ngangura Manyanya, Brotherhood of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25-36). What elder brother to Jacob,
Labor et Fides, 2009 Geneva. See also John R. Bartlett, “The Brotherhood of Edom” in Journal for the Study
of the Old Testament, 4, October 1977, p. 2-27.
7. Op. cit., P. 466.
8. See the communication of P. Roland de Vaux, “The Hurrites history and Horites of the Bible,” in
Minutes of meetings of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, CXI, 1967, 3, p. 427-436.
9. See also Deut. 23.8: “You will not hold for the Edomite abominable, because he is your brother.”
10. In Jewish tradition, Obadiah is considered one of the last prophets. The date of composition
Text remains controversial, especially as nothing is known of the biography of its author. Some
commentators make it a contemporary of Jeremiah, drawing a parallel between Jeremiah and Obadiah 1-9.
49.7 to 22, verses could refer to a common source. Obadiah would have lived around 853-841, the
the invasion of Palestine by the Philistines, but most researchers believe that it would rather
lived around 605-586, during the attack of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, the consequence of which was the exile of the people
Jews in Babylon. Obadiah would then simply be inspired by Jeremiah.
11. Some Protestant fundamentalists thought they could bring “Teman” name of “Turks”!
In fact, “Teman” means “south” in Hebrew. It is also the name for a descendant of Esau (cf. Gen. 36.11).
12. The prediction that after the judgment of God, “no one will survive the house of Esau” contrast
with the opinion of the prophet Amos, which instead refers to the “remnant of Edom” (v. 9.12) in a passage
fully reflected in the Acts of the Apostles (15,17).
13. Other curses against Edom are in Psalm 137, the famous “Song of the Exile”
“Remember, Yahweh, against the son of Edom the day of Jerusalem, when they said:” Down! Shave up
seat! ‘”(v. 7). See also in the Talmud comments on Amos 1:11-12, Numbers 24,18, 1 Samuel
14.47, 8.14 2 Samuel, 1 Chronicles 18.11-13, Isaiah 34.5, 34.6 and 63.1, etc.. Also in the Talmud, a
quarrel opposes some commentators, based on Deuteronomy (23.8 to 9), considered a child
of a marriage between a Jew and an Edomite could not be accepted as a Jew until the fourth
generation, Rabbi Simeon, according to which this limitation was applicable only to male descendants
(Yeb., 76b).
14. After the Jewish war, and especially after the suppression of the Bar Kokhba revolt, the Romans

Page 15
will be accused of having caused the death of untold multitudes. Rabbi Yohanan wrote as “the voice of Caesar
Hadrian killed Bethar 80,000 myriads “absolutely fantastic figure, since myriad cash 10,000
men, the total number of deaths was 800 million! “The Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 57b), confounding
Vespasian and Hadrian, says it would have massacred myriad Bethar 400 4000 or by other
myriads writes Mireille Hadas-Lebel. These figures obviously do not want to mean specific. The
number forty himself from the Bible and the Talmud symbolic value inherits from the use of this number or
its multiple by assigning frequently indeterminate value “(op. cit., p. 369).
15. Op. cit., P. 343, 351 and 359.
16. Ibid., P. 456.
17. Rabbi Akiba (or Akiva) ben Joseph (Yosef), one of the most important masters of the third
generation of teachers of the Mishna, is generally considered the founder of rabbinic Judaism.
Many times mandated by the Judeans as ambassador to Rome, he would have killed for defying the
Roman power. The Babylonian Talmud assigns a decisive role in the compilation of the Mishnah. After
compilation of the Mishnah, to 200, the sages of Israel undertook to deepen his study, both in
Palestine (which gave rise to the Jerusalem Talmud, written from the IV
century AD) and the
Babylonian diaspora (which gave rise to the Babylonian Talmud, compiled around the VI
18. It may be amusing to note that in Latin literature I
century BC. our era, “Edom”
means instead of Judea (cf. Virgil, Georgics, III, 12; Valerius Flacus, Argonautica, introduction, etc..).
19. Op. cit., P. 465.
20. Mireille Hadas-Lebel, op. cit., p. 462.
21. See Mireille Hadas-Lebel, “Jacob and Esau and Israel and Rome in the Talmud and Midrash,” in Review
the history of religions, 201-204, 1984, p. 369-392. See also Nathan Wasser Die Stellung der Juden
gegenueber den Römern rabbinischen nach der Literatur, Posy-Shoulson Press, Jersey City in 1933.
22. Alain Goldmann Vayichla’h parsha, 23 November 2002. Rabbi Ken Spiro said in turn that
in the Jewish tradition, the Romans are primarily known for their “brutality”, it is mostly expressed
“In their way of making war.” “This analysis, he writes, is the Jewish way of looking
descendants of Esau, who was gifted with the power to dominate physically, while his twin brother, Jacob, was
received that dominate spiritually “(” The Romans “text online website <Lamed.fr>). Rome, finally, is
the epitome of manly power, while the name “Israel” is feminine in the Bible (Yisrael is both
the wife and mother).
23. A reconciliation between hazir, “pig”, and hazar, “restore”, however, caused some
commentators to imagine that in the Messianic age, the pork itself could become kosher.
24. Jerusalem against Rome, op. cit., p. 382.
25. Ibid., P. 480.
26. Ibid., P. 481-482.
27. Isaac Abravanel, Maschima Ieschoua, 36d, quoted by Daat Emet, “Esau, Edom, Rome, and the
Christians “, 5 September 2007. Abravanel obviously not aware that this identification was Edom-Rome
challenged by the Christians: “The reason why Christians and Romans were called Edom is a
great question, and many Christians deny the thing “(Ma’yene hayeshu’a, 401). See Gerson
Cohen, “Esau as Symbol in Earlier Medieval Thought,” in Alexander Altmann (ed.), Jewish Medieval and
Renaissance Studies, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1967, p. 19-48.
28. Abraham ben Jacob Saba Zeror hamor, commentary on the Torah, Venice, 1522, quoted by Jacqueline
Genot-Bismuth, “The Myth of the East in the eschatology of Jews from Spain at the time of conversion
and forced expulsion, “in Annals. Economies, societies, civilizations, XLV, 1990, p. 820.
29. Mireille Hadas-Lebel, Jerusalem against Rome, op. cit., p. 471-472.

Page 16
30. Ibid
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