1. C. R. Phineas and R. Hilqiah in the name of R. Simon: "Among all of the prophets, only two of them spelled out in public [the true character of Rome, represented by the swine], Asaf and Moses.
D. "Asaf: 'The swine out of the wood ravages it.'
E. "Moses: 'And the swine, because he parts the hoof (Deut. 14:8).
F. "Why does Moses compare Rome to the swine? Just as the swine, when it crouches, puts forth its hoofs as if to say, 'I am clean,' so the wicked kingdom steals and grabs, while pretending to be setting up courts of justice.
G. "So Esau, for all forty years, hunted married women, ravished them, and when he reached the age of forty, he presented himself to his father, saying, 'Just as father got married at the age of forty, so I shall marry a wife at the age of forty.'
H. " 'When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri, the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite.'"
The exegesis of course once more identifies Esau with Rome. The roundabout route linking the fact at hand, Esau's taking a wife, passes through the territory of Roman duplicity. Whatever the government does, it claims to do in the general interest. But it really has no public interest at all. Esau for his part spent forty years ravishing women and then, at the age of forty, pretended, to his father, to be upright. That, at any rate, is the parallel clearly intended by this obviously unitary composition. The issue of the selection of the intersecting verse does not present an obvious solution to me; it seems that only the identification of Rome with the swine accounts for the choice. The contrast between Israel and Esau produced an anguished observation. But here the Rome is not yet Christian, so far as the clear reference is concerned. More compelling evidence that the radical change in the character of Rome lies behind the exegetical polemic derives from Genesis Rabbah LXXV:IV, which follows.
The theories of the meaning of history and the identification of Israel cannot be sorted out. The one imparts its character to the other, and together the two theories take up the pressing issue of the turning of the age, the meaning of the new era. That the whole bears a profoundly eschatological meaning emerges at the end. For, if we follow sages' thought to its logical conclusion, they express the expectation that after Rome will come Israel, so they have reframed history into an eschatological drama—in the here and now. The sequence of empires—Babylonia, Media, Greece, Rome—does not end the story. There will then come Israel, the conclusion and climax of human history. So Rome bears a close relationship to Israel in yet another respect, and the genealogical definition of who is Israel—and who is Rome—bears conse quences in a world-historical framework. Here Roman rule comes prior to Israel's:
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