5 Talking Points From The Story Of Jacob And Esau.
Disclaimer: This is by no means to question God and his awesomeness, it is just an article that highlights one of the mysterious and unexplainable findings in the holy bible.
Before birth while in their mother’s belly: ‘and the children struggled together within her; and she said, if it be so, why am I thus? And she went and enquire of the lord. And the lord said unto her, two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger(gen. 25:22–23)’.
Therefore from the verses highlighted above;
- Esau is the older half of the twin,
- The prophesy was that Jacob was going to be stronger than him,
- Still inutero, he I mean Esau is assumed to be pure and ‘sin-free’, same with Jacob at this point.
- It seems to me that he was already ‘condemned’ or ‘doomed’ to be lesser than his younger brother while he was still a fetus, but why?.
- Also, it seems the struggle that the mother felt was caused by his ‘dear’ brother who actually already started ‘struggling’ with his elder brother to take his place, oh well! Maybe I’m accusing the poor little guy too prematurely. Let’s watch and see what’s next.
At birth: ‘and the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob(gen. 25:25–26)’.
- Esau came out first, which earns him the ‘firstborn’ title,
- His younger brother was said to have been born while holding on to his heel as if he was trying to pull him back into the womb so that he could earn the ‘firstborn’ title.
- The name Jacob means he grasps the heel which is a Hebrew idiom for deceptive behavior.
- Therefore, its possible that while still in their mother’s belly, Jacob already tried ‘bullying’ his brother into yielding the firstborn title to him but Esau refused, so he had to be more physical, forcefully trying to achieve his heinous act. Well, or maybe he was trying to show that he loves his brother or he is making an apology or trying to raise a white flag before they come out of their mother’s belly by holding on to his heel? Well then, we need to probe further.
Birthright concession: ‘and Jacob sod(cooked) pottage; and Esau came from the field; and he was faint; and Esau said to Jacob, feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint. And Jacob said to Esau, sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?(25:29-32)
- Let’s stop and think at this point that why will my younger brother ever think of blackmailing me into concession of my birthright to him when infact we have no ‘badblood’ between us or even if we did?
- Why did he have to wait till the most vulnerable time/circumstance before making a move?
- Since when does it become a norm/right to blackmail your brother into such?
- Apparently, he has always ever conspired against his brother for no reason whatsoever, well it is not so much of a surprise, it started far back.
- In contemporary everyday life, that act would have been reprimanded and frowned at from all quarters, so why was it allowed to slide?
- In the interpretation of Daniel J. Elazar, “Esau acted impulsively: Esau demonstrates that he does not deserve to be the one who continues Abraham’s responsibilities and rewards under God’s covenant, since he does not have the steady, thoughtful qualities which are required... Jacob shows his willingness as well as his greater intelligence and forethought...” Like really! I believe that view of the scenario only supports the common saying that ‘the end justifies the means’. Obviously, that does in no way connote that the ‘means’ is right.
Who receives the blessing of the firstborn?
Pronouncing the blessing was considered to be the act formally acknowledging the firstborn as the principal heir. Isaac their father was old, his eyes were dim and he couldn’t see.
In Genesis 27:5–7, Rebekah overhears Isaac tell Esau, "Bring me venison and prepare a savory food, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death." Rebekah councils Jacob to pretend to be Esau, in order to obtain the blessing in his brother’s stead. He dressed himself in Esau’s best clothes and disguised himself by covering his arms in lamb skin so that if his blind father touched him, he would think Jacob his more hirsute brother. Jacob brought Isaac a dish of goat meat prepared by Rebecca to taste like venison. Isaac then bestowed the blessings, which confers a prophetic wish for fertility (v. 27–28) and dominion (v.29), on Jacob before Esau’s return. After Esau came back, the rest is ‘history’.
- Why on God’s given earth will a mother conspire with one son to betray his other son? That to me is a ‘domestic treason’ ….irrespective of how much love she got for the preferred son.
- Jacob already achieved his objective ‘physically’, he wasn’t convinced much, he had to go an extra mile to consolidate it ‘spiritually’. So it wasn’t an inadvertent act, he had the ‘mens rea’ to carry out ‘actus reus’. That to me is called ‘wickedness or selfishness’ which is not honorable.
Reconciliation; how it went.
Genesis 32–33 tells of Jacob and Esau’s eventual meeting after Jacob had spent more than 20 years staying with Laban in Padan-Aram.
The two men prepare for their meeting like warriors about to enter into battle. Jacob divides his family into two camps such that if one is taken the other might escape. Jacob sends messengers to Esau, as well as gifts meant to appease him.
After the encounter with the angel that he wrestled and twisted his hip after which he got his name Israel , Jacob crosses over the ford Jabbok and encounters Esau who seems pleased to see him.
However, Jacob evidently does not trust his brother’s favour to continue for long, so he makes excuses to avoid traveling to Mount Seir in Esau’s company, and he further evades Esau’s attempt to put his own men among Jacob’s bands, and finally completes the deception of his brother yet again by going to Succoth and then to Shalem, a city of Shechem, instead of following Esau at a distance to Seir.
The next time Jacob and Esau met is at the burial of their father, Isaac, in Hebron.
The so-called reconciliation is thus only superficial and temporary.
- Jacob suddenly realizes that he has wronged his brother, so he reached out to reconcile(better late than never).
- At the point in his journey where he wrestled with the angel, many readers/Christians believe that he was asking the Angel for wealth and riches alone! Truth be told, i am of the opinion that he actually was feeling insecure and the most important reason why he wrestled and never let go of the angel was that he needed ‘a life assurance’(gen 32:30). So he accepted that he is guilty as charged.
- Also some believe that it was the gift that he presented to his brother Esau that worked the magic for him. No, gen 33:4 reads ‘And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept’, this is a topnotch kind of forgiveness and love exhibited by someone who lost virtually everything from deception by his ‘so called brother’
- Record has it that ‘he initially rejected the gifts from his brother…(33:9. And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself)…this again was a high level of maturity and warmheartedness portrayed by the so-assumed impulsive, foolish, stubborn and miscreant of a man.
In conclusion, I believe Esau was just unlucky and unfortunate to have been a victim of circumstances. However, it would be unfair to continue to portray him as a negative figure he is construed to be among the Christian folks.
He was never the one who put himself first and cared less about the love bond within and among the family...he held his end even till the end.
Thanks for reading.