Isaac and Rebekah had twin brothers, Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:24-26). Most of us are familiar with the stories of Esau and Jacob because we have either heard them in church or have had someone share them with us at some point in our lives. Why do people hate (dislike) Esau, I was recently asked by a young woman.
This was fascinating to me because she claimed that Esau was a man who had been harmed by his brother. She said that Jacob was not a decent person and could not be trusted since he was deceptive and manipulative.
To be honest, I’ve never really looked at the tale from Esau’s perspective when I’ve read or studied it. So, after speaking with her, I went home and replayed the story in my memory, opened my Bible, and read and pondered. I came to the conclusion that Esau has a valuable lesson for us to learn, and I felt compelled to share it.
What did Esau do wrong in the bible?
Esau was a complete moron.
My original reaction to the young woman was that Esau was a fool, and I haven’t changed my mind. However, I believe I need to go into further depth to explain Esau’s misguided behavior and to illustrate the lesson we can learn from him.
We’re all familiar with Esau’s decision to give up his birthright (over a bowl of red pottage). We also know that Jacob “took” the blessing that “belonged” to Esau. When referring to the benediction, I utilized quotation marks for a very specific reason.
The young woman was irritated by this because she saw the birthright and the blessing as two distinct things. She felt Jacob was in the wrong in both acts and was the “bad guy” in both. Let’s take a look at the story to see what the most essential lesson is.
The meaning of the term “birthright”
To begin, we must comprehend what the birthright entails. The oldest son had the birthright, which comprised crucial privileges, obligations, honors, and the inheritance that came with being their father’s oldest son. We must recall the promise that the Lord made to Esau’s grandfather, Abraham, and the promise that was passed down to his father, Isaac, in the case of Esau and Jacob.
Abraham was promised that the Lord would bless him and multiply his descendants like the stars in the sky and the sand on the beach. The promise that all the nations of the earth would be blessed was also contained in the covenant that the Lord established with Abraham (read Genesis 22:16-18). The Lord’s covenant with Abraham would have been passed on to Esau.
One of the young woman’s initial areas of dispute was that she believed Jacob was wrong to manipulate and deceive his brother over the birthright. You can read Genesis 25:29-34 if you’re curious about how Jacob obtained Esau’s birthright. When Esau arrived at Jacob’s house, he had been out in the fields, making some crimson pottage. Jacob saw an opportunity to gain what he desired – the birthright – when Esau begged for part of the pottage. Jacob was unafraid to admit that he lacked the birthright. Why was he so desperate for the birthright?
The inherited wealth
Isaac was a prosperous man. Abraham, Isaac’s father, was also a wealthy man. Jacob, I believe, desired the inheritance. It is unknown whether Esau or Jacob was aware of God’s covenant with their father and grandfather before Esau sold his birthright. Personally, I believe Isaac would have informed the twins about the covenant he had made with God.
I believe Jacob desired everything that came with the birthright, whereas Esau was unconcerned about his birthright – indeed, it is said that he despised it (Genesis 25:34). This is demonstrated by his decision to sell his birthright over a bowl of pottage rather than seek other means of subsistence. Was it wrong for Jacob to barter for the birthright?
Do you go for it when you see something you want? Jacob saw the birthright as a greater blessing and decided to pursue it. Jacob took one look at his brother and saw that he did not want his birthright, so he decided to take it. “No deal!” Esau could have easily told his brother.
Esau could have gone to his mother, Rebekah, and asked her to prepare something for him, but he did not. Esau sold his inheritance, his responsibilities, his honor, and God’s covenant – he didn’t think God’s covenant was important?
The biggest blunder that Esau could have made was not appreciating the full extent of his birthright. The birthright would have encompassed the rights, obligations, honor, and inheritance, as well as God’s covenant (the greater blessing). For whatever reason, Esau considered the birthright to be meaningless. Would you have given up this birthright, I wonder?
The good fortune
The young woman was then troubled by Jacob’s deception of an aged Isaac into giving him the blessing. She believed Jacob was the “evil guy” for deceiving Esau and taking what was rightfully his. I won’t deny that Jacob was a manipulator and a deception — he was unquestionably manipulative and deceiving. In the instance of the benediction, however, it was not his idea to ‘steal’ it.
Jacob’s scheme to earn his father’s blessing was devised by Rebekah. The Lord told Rebekah what would happen to her twin sons while they were still in her womb, which is commonly overlooked in the narrative of the twins. Esau and Jacob wrestled in her womb, as the Lord confirms in Genesis 25:22-23. “Two countries are in your womb,” the Lord says to Rebekah, “and one people will be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.”
When Rebekah heard that Isaac was about to bless Esau, she realized that the Lord had promised that the blessing would go to the younger son (Genesis 27:5-13). Rebekah was the one to whom the Lord talked about this, not Isaac. Rebekah devised the scheme, Jacob did not object, and he carried it out in order to secure his father’s approval.
You can’t take what is properly yours.
Jacob is frequently regarded as having ‘stolen’ the blessing, but I do not believe he did. Why? When Esau opted to give up his birthright, he forfeited his right to receive the blessing. While the sale of his birthright and receiving the blessing were two distinct events, they were linked.
By selling his birthright, Esau forfeited the right, the dignity, to receive the blessing. Esau was no longer the true heir to the blessing; Jacob was, and Esau would have known it. In the bible, the younger brother has usurped the older brother’s birthright on several occasions.
By birthright, Joseph, one of Jacob’s sons, will eventually displace Reuben (Genesis 49:3-4, 1 Chronicles 5:1-2). Another significant birthright supplanting will occur later between David’s sons Adonijah and Solomon. King David’s three oldest sons had died, and Adonijah had inherited the throne.
Adonijah was Solomon’s older brother, and he had a genuine claim to be David’s successor as king of Israel by birthright. The Lord, on the other hand, promised that Solomon would replace David as king of Israel. Despite the fact that Adonijah held the birthright, David chose to bless and name his younger son Solomon as his successor.
The blessing of Isaac
Jacob received Isaac’s blessing. He did not take away that blessing even after he realized he had been duped. What exactly was this gift? We must comprehend the nature of this gift. The blessing was a prayer that had something to do with the birthright.
Isaac prayed to the Lord for the dew of heaven, the fatness of the ground, and plenty of food and wine (Genesis 27:28). Isaac prayed to the Lord that people would serve Jacob and those nations would bow down to him (Genesis 27:29). His prayer included his brothers and his mother’s sons bowing to him.
Because it is a prayer concerning what one would get through the birthright, it is linked to the promise of the birthright. As I previously stated, Esau would have inherited a considerable fortune in addition to the covenant that God had established with Abraham and Isaac. The difficulty is that Esau had given up his birthright, therefore receiving such a blessing/prayer from Isaac would have been pointless — it was no longer his to receive.
So, what are the main points to remember from all of this? “Because he was still blessed,” the young woman ended her thought, Esau was not as horrible as people make him out to be. Esau married two Canaanite women, despite the fact that it was not illegal at the time. His father and grandparents, however, were against marriage to Canaanite women. Esau did go on to have the Edomites as his sons. Esau, on the other hand, missed out on the greater blessing because he discounted the greater blessing, which came from God, and sold it.
Lesson – Don’t dismiss what God has planned for you. Don’t throw away what God has planned for you!
We should never underestimate what the Lord has planned for us. Let me say it again: never underestimate what the Lord has planned for you. Because he was the oldest son, Esau was assured of receiving a large inheritance and the promise. Esau, on the other hand, sold his birthright and even swore to Jacob over a bowl of pottage when he gave up his birthright.
The young woman contended that Jacob had wronged Esau by taking advantage of him when he was weak. Nobody cares if you are weak or not. This is a lesson we learn a lot in life. Predators, like people, are continuously looking for a method to get an advantage.
If others do it, you can bet the great deceiver, Satan, and his henchmen are always on the lookout for methods to exploit you. Satan, like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), waits for you to be at your most vulnerable before attacking. Keep in mind the following: After Jesus had fasted for forty days, Satan tempted him (Matthew 4:1-11).
Even when you’re feeling weak, you can’t give up on the Lord or what He has planned for you! When Satan came to test Job, he begged the Lord to remove the hedges, the shield (Job 1:10-12). The thorn in Paul’s flesh caused him to cry out three times. “My grace is sufficient for you,” the Lord replied (2 Corinthians 12:9), “because my power is made perfect in weakness.” What God has planned for you is really significant, and you should treat it as such. We can’t be like Esau and ignore what God has offered to us.
God’s assurance to us
What promises has God made to us? God has promised us a heavenly abode in which there would be no harm, no troubles, and no anxieties. God has promised us a celestial home where we will be able to live forever in His splendor. God promises that He will dwell in us and be with us at all times while we are on this earth.
God promises to grant us our heart’s desires and to meet all of our needs. God promises to forgive us and cleanse us of all our sins, iniquities, and unrighteousness. We should not dismiss these assurances as insignificant.
Because we now know what Esau gave up — a bigger blessing – history does not look kindly on him. Esau is called a profane person in Hebrews 12:16 for selling his birthright for a scrap of meat. Esau exchanged the Lord, a precious object, for something to eat, demonstrating how little the larger blessing was to him.
We must be conscious of how we treat the Lord’s promise as Christians, as believers in the holy promise – we must not regard it as if it is insignificant or unimportant. The nonbeliever does not consider the Lord’s promise to be essential or relevant; they believe it is either a falsehood or a joke, and as a result, they have become profane.
Esau’s transgression against God
I explained to the young woman that Esau had sinned against God, but she couldn’t figure out how or where in the Bible he had done so. She believed that because he had received a blessing and had also become a nation, he had done nothing wrong and that the Lord had still rewarded Esau. It is not my position to comment on the Lord’s final judgment on Esau, but I do have something to say regarding people the Lord chooses to bless.
Solomon realized that all things come to both the virtuous and the wicked (Ecclesiastes 9:2) in his study of trying to live without God — that’s life, right? “[The Lord] is gracious to the unthankful and evil,” Jesus remarked (Luke 6:35). We must recognize that the Lord rewards both believers and nonbelievers. However, there is a greater blessing available to those who believe: eternal life in His presence.
What is the lesson behind the story of Jacob and Esau
So let’s come to a halt right now. Here’s the lesson: don’t dismiss the Lord’s larger favor because you think you’re doing well in this life. Do not overlook Esau’s lesson. Let us not be like Esau, who missed out on God’s larger blessing.