Jacob and Esau

Source: Genesis 23-28

After the test that God gave Abraham and Isaac, life was quiet and uneventful for Isaac as he grew from a boy into a man. When Isaac was thirty-seven years old, his mother Sarah died. After burying Sarah, Abraham realized Isaac needed to marry and start a family of his own. Isaac took as his wife a woman by the name of Rebekah, who was from his relatives back in Haran. Like Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah had to wait many years for a child. After Isaac asked the Lord to help them, Rebekah became pregnant and bore twin boys, Esau and Jacob.

Esau, the oldest twin, was an immature, carefree individual who loved to hunt and was the favorite son of Isaac. Jacob, the younger twin, was a more mature, Godly man and was the favorite son of Rebekah. One day Esau returned from hunting and was tired and hungry. Jacob was cooking soup, and Esau could not wait to eat and begged Jacob for a bowl of soup. Jacob agreed to give Esau a bowl of soup if Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. By tradition, the birthright belonged to the oldest son, and it gave the oldest son twice as much inheritance as the other sons as well as the spiritual leadership of the family. Esau had no respect for his birthright and foolishly sold it to Jacob for a bowl of soup. 

Some time later, Isaac decided it was time to transmit his blessing to his favorite son, Esau. Isaac was getting older and his eyesight had become very poor. He was not sure if he would live much longer and decided it was time for the blessing. Isaac told Esau to go hunting, and to prepare some of this meat for Isaac to eat. After eating the meat, Isaac would bless Esau.  

Rebekah overheard Isaac's plans to bless Esau. She felt it was wrong for Isaac to bless Esau instead of Jacob. Jacob was more deserving of the blessing because he was a smarter, more mature, and more Godly man than Esau. While Esau was out hunting, she quickly crafted a plan to make sure that Jacob would be blessed instead of Esau. Because of his poor eyesight, Rebekah's plan was to trick Isaac into thinking Jacob was Esau and Isaac would then bless Jacob by mistake. Jacob was reluctant at first to trick his father, but Rebekah finally convinced him to do it.   

Rebekah prepared meat for Isaac to eat, and she put animal skins on Jacob's arms. Esau was a very hairy man, and she knew that Isaac would touch Jacob's arms to see if they were hairy. Jacob came to his father with the meat and told him that he was Esau. Isaac thought the voice he heard was Jacob's, and just as Rebekah suspected, asked to feel Jacob's arms. Feeling the animal skins, he mistakenly decided that it was Esau. After eating the meat, he blessed Jacob.

Not long after Jacob had received the blessing and left Isaac's tent, Esau returned from hunting. He dressed the animal and prepared the meat and entered Isaac's tent and asked for the blessing. Isaac asked who it was, and Esau replied that it was Esau. Isaac shook all over as soon as he realized what had happened. He told Esau that Jacob had received the blessing intended for Esau. Esau begged for his father's blessing as well, but it was too late. Esau left his father's tent, angry at what his brother had done. He was so angry that he planned to kill Jacob after Isaac died. Rebekah, fearing for Jacob's life, suggested to Jacob and Isaac that Jacob should leave home and go to Haran to find a wife from amongst Rebekah's family there. Isaac agreed, and soon Jacob was on his way to Haran.