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Bible verses about Esau and Jacob
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 25:22-23   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

God put this in perspective for her. In these two little babies were the seeds of two great peoples who would become populous and powerful nations that would compete with each other for many generations to come. When we consider that this contentious relationship has directly and adversely affected many nations throughout history, along with the resultant sufferings and deaths of millions of people, it is no laughing matter.

Notice that in His explanation, God predicted who would ultimately prove dominant: the younger, whom we know as Jacob or Israel. The apostle Paul comments on this in Romans 9:10-13:

And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, "The older shall serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated."

The apostle uses this situation to illustrate that God's choice, or election, is based entirely on His grace, not on any kind of human merit. The human reasons often advanced for the ongoing strife between the descendants of Esau and Jacob are therefore groundless, as God for His own purposes has chosen to show favor to the nations of Israel and not to Edom. However, despite their being denied national greatness, Esau's descendants are not without hope of salvation, though they must swallow their pride and admit that "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22), through the Messiah, who descends from Judah, son of Jacob (see Matthew 1:2, 16; Luke 3:23, 33-34; Hebrews 7:14).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
All About Edom (Part One)


 

Genesis 25:28-34   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

As the two became young men, their talents and personalities became evident, and it is here that another dimension enters into their rivalry. It seems that their parents played favorites, as unfortunately occurs too often in families. Such favoritism only heightens the competition between siblings.

This is the account of their first significant conflict, and the differences in their personalities come to the fore. Jacob had a nose for opportunity, and once he recognized that Esau was in a position of weakness, he started negotiating. He was very much a businessman and a wheeler-dealer, trying to get the advantage of his rival, but especially in the areas that really matter. Thus, he made a bold stroke, reaching for the birthright, that is, the double portion of inheritance that came to the firstborn.

By his reply, Esau showed that he had little grasp of the worth of the birthright. In fact, he valued his life far above his inheritance. He said to Jacob, in effect, "Look, if I survive, this birthright may be of some profit, but right now I will trade anything to live." In essence, he counted his birthright as worth no more than a meal! Esau's major problem was that he could not properly discern what was truly important. The Bible's portrait of him suggests that his complete attention fell on whatever was before him at the time, and thus he took no thought of the future, whether of blessings or problems or consequences. In wits, then, he was no match for cunning Jacob.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
All About Edom (Part One)


 

Genesis 27:34-37   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Even realizing what Jacob had done, Esau did not truly understand what had happened. He cried out, in effect, "It was all Jacob's doing! I don't bear any fault in all of this!" God looks at it a bit differently, however. As Paul explained, God had already chosen Jacob, and though He certainly did not approve of Rebekah and Jacob's tactics, He allowed the blessing to fall on Jacob because it fit into His purpose.

Hebrews 12:17 says that though Esau earnestly desired the blessing, "he was rejected," for he did not have the strength of character to handle it for God's purposes. He had already shown that he "despised his birthright," and God judged that he would have eventually shown the same scorn for the blessing. Esau is a classic example of a despiser of good (II Timothy 3:3).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
All About Edom (Part One)


 

 




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