2. A. "And Jacob sent messengers before him:"
B. To this one [Esau] whose time to take hold of sovereignty would come before him [namely, before Jacob, since Esau would rule, then Jacob would govern],
C. R. Joshua b. Levi said, "Jacob took off the purple robe and threw it before Esau, as if to say to him, 'Two flocks of starlings are not going to sleep on a single branch [so we cannot rule at the same time.'"
B. Even though he was Esau, he was still his brother.
Numbers 2 and 3 make a stunning point. It is that Esau remains Jacob's brother, and that Esau rules before Jacob will. The application to contemporary affairs cannot be missed, both in the recognition of the true character of Esau—a brother!—and in the interpretation of the future of history. Rome claims now to serve the Messiah. But Esau, meaning Rome, will fall by the hand of the Messiah. The polemic is of course unmistakable. Not only is Rome not the messianic kingdom, but Rome will fall before the messianic kingdom that is coming.
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