28 Jan. Genesis 25:19-21,24-34

28 Jan. Jacob 'the trickster' is born

"When Abraham's son, Isaac, was 40 years old, he married Rebekah, who came from North West Mesopotamia. She was Bethuel's daughter and the sister of Laban the Aramean."

"Isaac's wife could not have children, so Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD heard Isaac's prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant..."

"When the time came, Rebekah gave birth to twins. The first baby was born red. Since his skin was like a hairy robe, he was named Esau [meaning 'hairy']."

"When the second baby was born, he was holding onto Esau's heel, so that baby was called Jacob [meaning 'heel']. Isaac was 60 years old when they were born."

"When the boys grew up, Esau became a skilled hunter. He loved to be out in the fields. But Jacob was a quiet man and stayed among the tents. Isaac loved Esau because he hunted the wild animals that Isaac enjoyed eating. But Rebekah loved Jacob."

"One day Jacob was boiling a pot of vegetable soup. Esau came in from hunting in the fields, weak from hunger. So Esau said to Jacob, 'Let me eat some of that red soup, because I am weak with hunger.' (That is why people call him Edom [meaning 'red'].) "

"But Jacob said, 'You must sell me your rights as the firstborn son.' Esau said, 'I am almost dead from hunger. If I die, all of my father's wealth will not help me.' But Jacob said, 'First, promise me that you will give it to me.'"

"So Esau made a promise to Jacob and sold his part of their father's wealth to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and vegetable soup. and he ate and drank, and then left. So Esau showed how little he cared about his rights as the firstborn son."

                    (Genesis 25:19-21 & 24-34)


In c.1760BC, after many years of trying, Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.

Before their birth, Rebekah had felt the babies struggling inside her. She was told by God that her twin sons would argue with each other, and one - the younger - would be stronger than the other (see Genesis 25:22-24).

When they were born, the first baby was red and hairy - so he was called Esau, meaning 'hairy'. The second baby was holding onto the heel of the other child, so was called Jacob, meaning 'heel'. In Hebrew, 'holding onto someone's heel' is a saying indicating that you are tricking them. So from birth, Jacob was known as 'the trickster'.

Years later, when they had both grown up, Esau arrived home famished after being out hunting all day. Jacob, meanwhile, had been preparing a tasty meal. Grasping the opportunity to trick his elder brother, Jacob insisted that Esau could only share the food if he gave away his privileges as the elder son.

Esau was starving, so he recklessly promised his rights as the first-born son to Jacob in return for a bowl of soup. Esau may, in time, have forgotten his rash promise; but Jacob never did.

Some years later, Jacob also tricked his father to ensure that he received all that had been rashly promised to him by his elder brother.

The photo shows an 18th century depiction (by Zacarias Gonzalez Velazquez) of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob.

You can read more about Jacob and Esau @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/24-the-journeys-of-isaac-jacob-joseph/jacob-cheats-esau-and-flees-to-mesopotamia/


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