Genesis 12:3 - them, him, and thee?

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Puritan Board Professor
Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Its often taught, perhaps mainly by dispensationalists, that that the beginning part of this verse is referring to how God will treat nations based on how they treat God's chosen people, the nation of Israel. For this reason, many Christians encourage our government to support the cause of the nation of Israel today, regardless.

I was wondering what thoughts you have about the beginning part of this verse. When it says "I will bless them or I will curse him", who do you think them and him refers to? When it says "bless thee or curse thee", who do you think the thee is referring to?

I searched the scriptures, trying to find a passage that uses this verse to indicate that a nation was either blessed or cursed based on how they treated the nation of Israel. My search engines haven't found any yet.

Reading the scriptures, I do see good things and bad things happening to nations, but not based on whether they bless or curse the nation of Israel. Good and bad things happened to both Israel and other nations based on how closely they walked with God. When Israel sinned, God allowed other nations to conquer them. When they repented, God gave them victories.

Any thoughts?


Puritan Board Junior

An excellent illustration of this may be found in the story of Balaam beginning in Numbers 22. Read it and draw your own conclusions.

But it is also safe to say that Egypt was cursed for what it did to Israel. And so were Assyria and Babylon.

What we may not say is that these actions continue to today. The actual Jewish people were destroyed in 70 A.D. All those that come after that are not Jews in God's eyes. They may be Jewish in their practice of the OT religion (and not even that for they no longer sacrifice according to Leviticus), but they are not the Israel of the Bible.

We are.

My mom is in a Dispensational church and every once in a while she asks me if I want to go to the "Friends of Israel" conference in Winona Lake, IN (Grace Seminary). I tell her that there is no reason to, since I am Israel and they are not talking about being my friend.

Although we are not a nationality with borders and the things that normally accompany a nation, any who stand against the Israel of God (the holy catholic and apostolic church) will be cursed by Him. As well, any who bless the church, will themselves be blessed.

I hope this helps.

In Christ,


[Edited on 2-24-2004 by kceaster]


Puritan Board Senior
Read Obadiah!

The Doom of Edom is spelled out and one of the main reasons that they as a nation are judged is because of their treatment of the Nation of Israel when they left Egypt.

In fact, Edom descended from Esau, and there is a history of consequences and judgments against the nation of Edom as a result of the way Esau treated Jacob and the way that their descendents acted toward one another.

I just preached a 2 part series from are my brief notes....(I will send you the sermons in a few weeks!):

[quote:fbd2367b61][b:fbd2367b61]The Vision of Obadiah[/b:fbd2367b61]

The Temple at Petra, near the capitol city of Ancient Edom, was literally carved into the rock of the canyon. It was thought to be impenetrable in battle.

However, when God through the Prophets Obadiah and Isaiah pronounced judgment on the people of Edom, He said that the land would be barren and uninhabited. The judgment was so severe that it was decreed that no one would live in Edom because it would lie in waste forever. The judgment of God, Isaiah recorded, "shall not be quenched forever - from generation to generation it shall lie in waste."

The Land once belonging to Edom has been permanently uninhabited for 26 centuries! It is a desolate wilderness visited only by wandering tribes and archeologists. No one has settled there in over 2500 years, and according to the Bible, no one ever will.


I. The Doom of Edom - Obadiah 1-14

A. The Humbling of the Pride of Edom (vs. 1-4)
B. The Plundering of the Wealth of Edom (vs. 5-7)
C. The Destruction of the Wisdom of Edom (vs. 8-9)
D. The Vengeance of God for Edom's treatment of Israel (vs. 10-14)

II. The "Day of the Lord" - Obadiah 15-21

A. The Judgment of Edom and Other Nations (vs. 15-16)
B. The Day of Judgment (vs. 17-21)

1. The Salvation and Riches of Israel(vs. 17)
2. The Destruction of Edom (vs. 18)
3. The Possession of the Land (vs. 19-20)
4. The Lord and Those Who Reign with Him (vs. 21)


This shortest Book in the Old Testament was written around 840 BC as a proclamation by God through His prophet Obadiah. It tells of the coming judgment for the nation of Edom which descended from Esau. Edom had mistreated Jerusalem and would do so again in the future. As a result of this mistreatment, Edom was indeed judged. Its land was captured by the Arabs in the fourth century BC and the people who had fled the land were wiped out in the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD.

[i:fbd2367b61]Edom and Israel:[/i:fbd2367b61]

Genesis 12:1-3 - "I will curse him who curses you."

Genesis 25:22 - Esau struggled with Jacob even while in the womb

Genesis 27:41 - Esau, at the hands of Jacob, loses his birthright and expresses his hatred for Jacob saying, "I will kill him."

Genesis 36:8 - "So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir. Esau is Edom."

Numbers 20:14-21 - As the children of Israel were journeying to the Promised Land after the Exodus from Egypt, they were denied passage through Edom - the best route for the journey - and in fact were forced by the leaders of Edom to completely bypass the territory.

2 Samuel 8:14 - The animosity continued and Edom rebelled against Israel, opposing the rule of Saul and David. David did subdue them and annexed the territory.

1 Kings 11:14-16 - Edom revolted against Israel under Solomon, but the revolt was put down.

2 Kings 8:20-22 - while under the rule of Jehoram, Edom revolted again and won freedom, declaring independence and naming a king.

2 Chronicles 21:8-11 - the Edomites continued to fight with and oppose Israel and Judah, they were conquered by Amaziah but freed themselves again during the reign of Ahaz.

Edom was later controlled by Assyria and Babylon. They were forced from their territory in the fourth century by the Arabs and moved to southern Palestine. They became known as the Idumeans. The most infamous of the Idumeans was King Herod the Great who came to rule as a puppet of Rome in 37 BC. The fued between Jacob and Esau is seen even in the attempt by Herod, the Edomite, to kill the infant child Jesus, a descendent of Jacob and the Messiah!

Isaiah 34:40 - a description of the time Edom will lie in waste after its judgment from God. The judgment "shall not be quenched forever - from generation to generation it shall lie in waste." The land of Edom has been uninhabited for over 2500 years.

Ezekiel 36:5 - Edom "gave themselves" the Land promised by God to Israel and "spitefully used it."

Joel 3:19 - Edom will be a "desolate wilderness."

The Idumeans rose up against Rome in rebellion with Israel and were defeated in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Titus in 70 AD. They had once applauded the destruction of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7) when Babylon conquered Judah in 586 BC, but then later they fought and died to defend Jerusalem in AD 70. The Edomites were destroyed in the fall of Jerusalem and have not been heard from since!

[i:fbd2367b61]Word Studies:[/i:fbd2367b61]

Obadiah - "Servant of the LORD"

Verse 2 - The "vision" - a "Divine communication" of things to come
"I will make" - the resolution of God is such that the fulfillment is as certain as if it had already happened, was complete and finished. "despised" - thoroughly despised to the point that it turns people's stomachs

Verse 3 - "pride" - presumptuous insolence, thinking you are more important than you really are, an
attitude that leads to rebellion against God "deceived" - to deceive oneself

Verse 7 - "those that eat your bread shall lay a trap for you" - those who share your food, those upon who
you depend and with whom you fellowship will be the ones that wound you. They are "under you" to support you, but will become "under you" an affliction.

Verse 17 - "deliverance" - an escape [u:fbd2367b61]after[/u:fbd2367b61] judgment

Verse 18 - "The Lord has spoken" - An action that has already been done by God, it is completed and was decreed before it happened. God spoke the judgment of Edom as a completed judgment before the events would be fulfilled.

Verse 21 - "saviors" - heroic men who save the nation time and again in times of war. Christ and the Church!


Study the following verses on the effects and results of pride - Psalm 10:2; 12:3-4; 31:23; 59:12-13; 101:5; 119:21; Proverbs 6:16-19; 8:13; 11:2; 13:10; 16:5, 18; 18:12; 21:4, 24; 28:25; 29:23; Matthew 23:12; 1 Peter 5:5.

Study the following verses regarding wealth and self dependence- Job 21:13; 31:25-28; Psalm 49:6-10; Proverbs 5:1-14; 13:11; 23:4-5.

Study the following verses relating to wisdom - Proverbs 1:7; 10:21; 11:12; 14:6-9; Romans 1:22; 1 Cor 1:18-20, 27.

Read these verses to understand why Edom was cursed by God - Genesis 12:1-3; 27:29

Explain how Obadiah 17-21 gives us a picture of Christ.



Puritan Board Professor
kc and Pastor Way,
Thanks for your responses. They were very helpful.

I would have responded sooner, but your posts got me thinking about the "changing of the guard", from the OT to the NT. I'm trying to think of scriptures that could be used to explain (to myself and others) what the scriptures teach about it. Some of the scriptures that come to mind include:

Acts 3:22,23 (cf Deu 18:18,19) For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.

Zec 13:7-9 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

Mat 3:9,10 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

Do you agree that these scriptures speak of this? (I don't want to take them out of context) What other scriptures do you think speak about the passing of the baton from the OT to the NT. I'd really like to be able to understand it in a way, first of all that makes sense to me, and secondly so I could explain it to somebody else (Dispensational brothers, for example) in a way that at least makes sense to them.

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