(Image courtesy of freebibleimages.org)
If you’re a Christian, you have probably heard the story of Jacob & Esau. There are many Bible cartoons portraying Jacob as the younger brother with smooth skin and Esau as the older brother with hairy skin. The story goes that their father was very sick and could not see very well. He requested a meal and was ready to give a blessing to his oldest son Esau. However, Jacob’s mom did not want Esau to have the blessing, so she told Jacob to gather food for the meal, put hairy animal skin on his arm and pretend that he was Esau so he could inherit the blessing. Jacob questioned his mother, but then did what he was told. He thus entered his father’s room and stole his brother’s blessing.
At first glance, one may look at Jacob and say “what a liar! what a thief! how unfair to steal from his brother!”
However, there is more to the story.
Genesis 26:34 states, “when Esau was 40 years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.”
Esau chose to dishonor his parents by marrying two women from Hittite. Hittite women are from the land of Canaan and do not follow God. Thus the “source of grief.”
Later, after Esau learned that Jacob took his blessing…
“he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, ‘Bless me–me too, my father!'” (Gen 27:34)
“This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing! Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?” (Gen 27:36). The “second time” Esau is referring to is when Esau gave up his birthright to Jacob in exchange for a bowl of stew. You can read about this in Genesis 25:27-34.
“Esau said to his father, ‘Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!’ Then Esau wept aloud.” (Gen 27:38)
“Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’ “ (Gen 27:41).
The story ends with Esau still trying to get a blessing…
“Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman, and that Jacob obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.” (Gen 28:6-9)
So yes, it was wrong of Jacob to lie to his father to inherit the blessing, however, he was actually being obedient to his mother. Esau’s heart was not right with God from the very start.. marrying not one, but two ungodly women from Hittite (Canaan), being filled with fury and anger, crying and whining over not receiving any blessings, holding a grudge, plotting to kill his brother, then later marrying a godly woman in order to receive blessings, even though he already had two wives.
Esau does not have a heart after God. He seems to only be concerned with his own selfish wants and desires. There appears to be no repentance or forgiveness. He only wants to please his father, if there is something (potential blessings) he can get from it. There is no desire to please his father for the sake of honor, righteousness and obedience.
Are you after the heart of God or only desiring blessings? Do you make choices to please your Heavenly Father because you love Him, or only because you are hoping to get something from Him?