Genesis25:23 And the LORD said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from your bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. 25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. ”
There are many ways we might understand this verse. Look at the present day; you might say the two nations are Christianity and Islam A few decades ago it might have been America and Russia. A century or so in this country it might have been the North and the South. Yet before it was America and England, then the settlers and the Indians. And so it goes.
Speaking in general the conquered nation is more or less consumed by the captive one.
In the millenium of the Old Testament it was successively Israel and Egypt; later the Israelits and the Philstines, later Israel and Nineveh. then Babylon.
Blake might have called these pairs of nations ‘contraries’, and there’s another way to look at them, a way that Blake used constantly, and a way opened to us by Northrup Frye. The book that made him famous was called Fearful Symmetry; that’s a term from Blake's poem, The Tyger.
Songs of Innocence and Experience
It was named from Blake’s poem which asked the question, “did he who make the Lamb make thee?” You might translate it as “did God make Good and Evil?”, or “did God kill my baby?”
In Frye's later book called The Great Code, or The Bible and Literature Chapter Four, Typology suggests that the various ‘pairs of nations’ make up a series of ‘type and antitype’. The type is in Genesis 25:23; that is the type; subsequent pairs of nations are antitypes. Another example might be David and the ‘Son of David’.
Some Blakean Contraries: From The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; (Erdman 34)
“Without Contraries is no progression. Attraction and
Repulsion, Reason and Energy, Love and Hate, are necessary
to Human existence.
From these contraries spring what the religious call Good
& Evil. Good is the passive that obeys Reason[.] Evil is the active
springing from Energy.
Good is Heaven. Evil is Hell."
In Jerusalem Plate 24: Albion (ashamed) says:
"What have I said? What have I done? O all-powerful Human Words!
You recoil back upon me in the blood of the Lamb slain in his Children.
Two bleeding Contraries equally true, are his Witnesses against me
We reared mighty Stones: we danced naked around them:
Thinking to bring Love into light of day,"