Jacob and Esau
Study of Genesis 27–28
A temptation worth giving up my inheritance for
A thought of a few that applied when I was younger. Still, we aren’t always aware what carnal weaknesses lie within us.
“An easy life is not evidence of God’s favor.”
I really wish I knew that when I was much younger. My life was and still is far from easy. So, I spent too many years thinking I must be a disappointment to God.
The lesson on waiting continues.
- The reminder that patience is a fruit of the spirit and a sign of maturity encourages me.
- The examples set by Abraham and Isaac waiting for the promise of a child, reminds me that God is faithful.
- I must remember that taking matters into my own hands by deceiving or pressuring someone displays a lack of faith in God.
At his death, Abraham left everything to Isaac.
Isaac was the son of the promise from God. During his lifetime, Abraham gave gifts to Ishmael, but sent him away from Isaac.
In contrast, Isaac sought to bless Esau with everything even though Esau was NOT the one God had chosen. He also ignored the fact that Jacob was the rightful owner of the birthright.
Traditionally, the patriarchal blessing was given in the presence of the entire family just prior to the time of death. Isaac sought to do this secretly with only Esau present when he did not yet know the time of his death. His blessing, which he thought was given to Esau, left nothing for Jacob.
Isaac and Rebekah’s plots
- Isaac arranged to give Esau his blessing without the rest of the family there.
- Rebekah overheard and had Jacob bring her two choice goats so she could prepare them for Isaac. She would then have Jacob disguise himself as Esau.
- Jacob did as his mother directed. He lied to his father saying he was Esau.
How to avoid favoritism
- Treasure each family member, taking care not to prefer one over the other(s).
- Focus on their good qualities.
- Give loving instruction.
- Pray for each family member.
- Avoid taking sides.
- recognized Jacob as the one the Lord had chosen to carry out the promise
- nurtured Jacob
- talked to Isaac about seeing to it that Jacob did not marry a Hittite.
Rebekah conspired with Jacob to deceive Isaac into giving him the blessing intended for Esau.
The Perverse, violent, thieves, and abortionists come to mind.
We are to love the sinners. Jesus is our example. Love should be our number one objective rather than condemning sinful behavior.
- Abundant harvest of grain and grapes, fertile soil and ample rain – absence of famine and drought. Cultivating land would require a stable rather than nomadic lifestyle.
- Other nations and peoples would become his servants and bow down to him.
- He would be the patriarch over his brother Jacob and his offspring. Interesting that the NIV says “brothers” since Jacob is his only brother. It may be extending to Ishmael and his offspring. It’s also interesting that he says “sons of your mother” which sounds like a jab at Rebekah for her favoritism toward Jacob.
- Those who curse him will have the curse turned against them and those who bless him will themselves be blessed.
“…and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through him and shall bless themselves by him” Genesis 18:18b AMP
Regret usually means something didn’t turn out the way you hoped or planned.
The reason you wish you had not done something (or wish you had) isn’t necessarily because you know you did something wrong. It does not represent a change of heart or intention. Repentance, on the other hand, is regret plus turning in a different direction toward doing things God’s way. It is recognizing you made a wrong choice, and you choosing to act differently.
In Genesis 27:26-41, I don’t see repentance in Isaac or Esau.
Isaac “trembled violently” wondering who in fact received the blessing. (vs 33)
When Esau heard the news, he “burst out with a loud and bitter cry” and begged his father to bless him also. (vs 34)
Isaac put the blame on Jacob saying he obtained the blessing by deceit. (vs 35)
Esau said “this is the second time he has taken advantage of me.” (vs 36)
In vs 41, Esau, still unrepentant, vows to kill Jacob after Isaac’s death.
Esau let his carnal nature rule over him.
He ignored his spiritual heritage and the promises God gave to go along with it.
He also married Canaanite women and a descendant of Ishmael.
We behave like Esau when we choose to please ourselves.
We choose to live a life oblivious to God as our creator, our redeemer, our friend, our comforter, our helper, our peace, our provider, our healer, our protector, our deliverer, our counselor.
If we are oblivious, we are not partakers of His divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)
Esau dearly loved his father and enjoyed the special bond between them.
His father, Isaac, was the only son of Abraham. It seems he would have benefited from knowing the spiritual heritage from which he came.
God calls me faithful because He knows my heart follows hard after Him.
My family seems to know that. However, because I no longer equate following God with a lifelong commitment to a particular denomination or fellowship of believers, those who do likely find me “flaky.” Also, because I am divorced from someone who professes to be a Christian, I think some would not agree. I suppose I myself find it difficult to agree. I don’t feel like I have the right to pat myself on the back because I remember all too well the tests and temptations I’ve failed along the way. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit reminds me of grace.
What became of Esau’s family?
Numbers 20:18-21 – “You will live by the sword” – Edom refused to allow the Israelites to pass through their land, threatening them with swords.
2 Samuel 8:14 – “and you will serve your brother.” – “… all the Edomites became subject to David.”
2 Kings 8:20-22 – “But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.” – “Edom rebelled against Judah and set up its own king.”
2 Kings 14:7 – “You will live by the sword” – …defeated ten thousand Edomites…”
“Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness” – they were defeated “in the Valley of Salt”
2 Chronicles 28:17 – Live by the sword – the Edomites attacked Judah again and took prisoners.
Obadiah 1:10-15 – Prophesy of judgment against Edom for its violence toward Jacob
Matthew 2 – King Herod, an Edomite, issued the decree to kill all of the male infants after he heard the Messiah was born.
Jacob was deceived by Laban when he gave Leah to him instead of Rachel.
Laban continued to make Jacob jump through hoops until he finally broke away, returning to his homeland. There was contention between the two sisters and because of his favoritism toward Rachel, God prevented her from becoming pregnant. God later gave her two sons. Jacob favored them over Leah’s sons. Her sons resented Joseph and intended to kill him, but instead sold him into slavery, telling Jacob he was killed by wild animals. Jacob mourned deeply, then clung to Benjamin.
Rebekah was tormented by Esau’s wives, and after she sent Jacob to find a wife from her relatives, it seems she never saw him again.
- Do not marry a Canaanite woman.
- Go back to Padan Aram and marry one of Laban’s daughters.
- May God Almighty bless you.
- May you be fruitful and multiply.
- May you become a community of people.
- May God give you the blessing of Abraham.
- May you possess this land – the same land God promised to Abraham.
Jacob saw a ladder that touched the earth and reached to heaven.
He saw angels traveling up and down the ladder. God spoke directly to him, restating the covenant made to his grandfather. God also promised to be with him wherever he went.
Jesus says that He has become the only way to the father.
Jacob’s land –
“I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.”
Jacob’s descendants –
“Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”
“All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”
God’s presence with Jacob
“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”
- The Lord will be my God
- This stone I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house
- I will give you a tenth of all that you give me.
Our response when we believe in Jesus as our Redeemer
- We make Jesus the Lord of our life.
- We become a temple of the Holy Spirit.
- All that we have is His.
Another lesson that reminds us not to take matters into our own hands.
God can and will make a way where there seems to be no way.
Legacy post originally published March 2013 following BSF homework questions. The questions changed in 2020-2021.