DO YOU HELP OR EXPLOIT?
Genesis 25:1-27:46 February 24 2008
Following Sarah’s death Abraham married again and
fathered six sons. but Isaac remained his sole heir. when
the sons reached adulthood, Abraham gave them gifts
and send them away from Isaac. At the age of 175,
Abraham died. Isaac and Ishmael buried him beside
Sarah. Ishmael died at age 137, having fathered 12
At 40 Isaac Married Rebekah. Isaac prayed to God and
Rebekah conceived twin boys. After Rebekah delivered
their sons , Isaac and Rebekah named the firstborn Esau
and the second Jacob. Esau enjoyed the life of a hunter,
while Jacob kept flocks and herds. One day when Esau
came home exhausted from an unsuccessful hunt , Jacob
sold him a bowl of soup in exchange for Esau’s birthright
Isaac avoided conflict and moved away from the
Philistine threat. After a reaffirming word from God.
Isaac and Abimelech made a covenant creating peace
between them. Esau’s marriage to two Canaanite women
marred Isaac’s and Rebekah’s happiness (Gen.26:1-35).
When Isaac was old and blind, he summoned Esau,
asking him to hunt for wild game and prepare a meal.
They would eat together and Isaac would bless his son.
Rebekah overheard the conversation and instructed
Jacob to pretend to be Esau and secure the blessing .
Jacob succeeded and received the family blessing,
leaving nothing for Esau. When Esau planned to kill
Jacob as soon as Isaac died, Rebekah had Isaac send
Jacob to visit her brother Laban to find a wife
1. Agree to Help Freely (Gen. 25:29-34)
Gen. 25:29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew,
Esau came in from the open country, famished. 25:30
He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red
stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called
Edom. ) 25:31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your
birthright.” 25:32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau
said. “What good is the birthright to me?” 25:33 But
Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath
to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. 25:34 Then
Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He
ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau
despised his birthright.
Sell me your birthright. In ancient times the
birthright included the inheritance rights of the
firstborn (Heb 12:16; Gen.25: 5). Jacob was ever the
schemer, seeking by any means to gain advantage over
others. But it was by God’s appointment and care, not
Jacob’s wits, that he came into the blessing.
Swear to me first. A verbal oath was all that
was required to make the transaction legal.
Lentil. A small pea-like annual plant, the pods of
which turn reddish-brown when boiled. It grows well
even in bad soil and has provided an important source
of nourishment in the Near East since ancient times
(2Sa 17:28; 23:11; Eze 4:9). Esau despised his birthright.
In so doing, he proved himself to be “godless”
(Heb 12:16), since at the heart of the birthright were
the covenant promises that Isaac had inherited from
2. Rejoice in Others’ Good Fortune (Gen 27:6-8)
Gen. 27:6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I
overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 27:7
‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food
to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the
presence of the LORD before I die.’ 27:8 Now, my
son, listen carefully and do what I tell you:
Rebekah. Throughout the Jacob story the author
develops a wordplay on “birthright” (Bekorah) and
“blessing” (Berakah), both of which Jacob seeks to
obtain; and Rebekah (Ribqah) does her best to further
the cause of her favorite son. Said to her son Jacob.
The parental favoritism mentioned in (Gen.25:28) is
about to bear its poisonous fruit.
My son, . . . Do what I tell you. Rebekah proves to
be just as deceitful as Jacob, whose very name
signifies deceit (Gen.27: 36; 25:26).
3. Act with Integrity (en. 27:15-19)
Gen. 27:15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of
Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and
put them on her younger son Jacob. 27:16 She also
covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck
with the goatskins. 27:17 Then she handed to her
son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.
27:18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”
Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?” 27:19 Jacob
said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have
done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of
my game so that you may give me your blessing.”
Your God. Consistent with Jacob’s language
elsewhere (Gen.31:5,42; 32:9). Not until his safe return
from Haran did he speak of the Lord as his own God
(Gen. 28:20-22; 33:18-20).
Rebekah said she would bear any curse that would
come, and Jacob id as his mother commanded
Rebekah dressed Jacob in Esau’s finest clothes. If
Isaac felt the texture of the clothes and smelled them,
he would recognize them as Esau’s. Jacob obedience
indicates he willingly participated in her plan.
4. Avoid Causing Harm (Gen. 27:34-36)
Gen. 27:34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he
burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his
father, “Bless me —me too, my father!” 27:35 But he
said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your
blessing.” 27:36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named
Jacob ? He has deceived me these two times: He took
my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then
he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
Indeed he will be blessed. The ancient world
believed that blessings and curses had a kind of
magical power to accomplish what they pronounced.
But Isaac, as heir and steward of God’s covenant
blessing, acknowledged that he had solemnly
transmitted that heritage to Jacob by way of a
legally binding bequest ((Gen.27: 4).
Loud and Bitter cry. Esau’s tears “could bring
about no change of mind” (Heb 12:17).
Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? (Gen. 25:26). He
took my birthright , and now he’s taken my blessing!
The Hebrew for “birthright” is Bekorah, and for
“blessing” it is Berakah (Gen27: 6). Though Esau tried
to separate birthright from blessing, the former led
inevitably to the latter, since both involved the
inheritance of the firstborn ( Heb 12:16-17).
in the Old Testament world the firstborn
son enjoyed a special status. He represented his
father’s strength (Gen.49:3) and constituted a special
gift from God that needed to be dedicated to Him
(Ex. 22:29). His privileges typically included receiving
a double share of his father’s estate and the primary
While Old Testament law protected the
firstborn son’s rights (Deut. 21:15-17), the patriarchs,
who lived before the giving of God’s law, often broke
with custom. Abraham gave Isaac, his second-born son
not just a double share, but everything he possessed
(Gen.24:36). Jacob skipped his oldest three sons due to
sins they had committed and blessed Judah (Gen.49:3-12)
and then blessed Joseph’s younger son Ephraim