Angelic Conflict part 117: Human history – Gen 25:19-34; 26:1-5; 27:30-40; Mal 1:2-3; Rom 9:10-13; Heb 12:15-17; .

Class Outline:

Title: Angelic Conflict part 117: Human history - GEN 25:19-34; 26:1-5; 27:30-40; MAL 1:2-3; ROM 9:10-13; HEB 12:15-17; .


Jacob and Esau: birth and struggle for birthright. Misconceptions about Jacob.


GEN 25:19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son: Abraham became the father of Isaac;


GEN 25:20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife.


GEN 25:21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived.


GEN 25:22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, "If it is so, why then am I this way?" So she went to inquire of the Lord.


GEN 25:23 And the Lord said to her,

"Two nations are in your womb [not fighting in there];

And two peoples shall be separated from your body;

And one people shall be stronger than the other;

And the older shall serve the younger."


We have the source of another conflict: Jacob will be Israel and Esau will be Edom. Edom greatly opposes Israel but Edom at times will be ruled by Israel and eventually destroyed by Babylon.


GEN 25:24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.


GEN 25:25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau [hairy].


GEN 25:26 And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob [heel catcher or God protected]; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.


Just so you don’t think I’m getting fast and loose with the meaning of the name Jacob: 


International Bible Encyclopedia-Revised Version; Complete Biblical Library translate “Jacob” as God guards or protects; Keil and Delitzsch, Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew Lexicon, and Strong’s Hebrew definitions translate “Jacob” as heel catcher with no negative connotation.  


This is not to say that Jacob didn’t deceive, he did, and so perhaps all are in view, but the meaning “God protects” is very often overlooked.


Back to GEN 25:27.

GEN 25:27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.


Like Nimrod, Esau was a skillful hunter, and that is not a positive context. In contrast to this we have Jacob described as a peaceful man, living in tents and because of this he has been depicted as a “mamma’s boy” or a wimp while Esau is the rugged outdoorsman.


This depiction of Jacob is incorrect.


GEN 25:27

Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. [NIV]


GEN 25:27

Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. [KJV]


 “peaceful,” “quiet,” “plain” - <T*[tam] = "to be complete, finished, perfect, spent, sound, used up, have integrity." (Vine's Expository Dictionary)


One can see that finished or complete could be construed as quiet, or in other words, there is nothing left to do so I am quiet, but why stretch it like that. The same word is used of Job and Noah and is translated “perfect.”


The word carries the concept of moral integrity or maturity and it is not translated this way, not because it doesn’t fit the text, but because of years of preconceived notions concerning Jacob as some kind of wimp or mamma’s boy.


Naturally tam doesn’t mean sinless perfection, for no one is, and certainly Job and Noah were not, but it means a certain integrity from understanding the things of God, an experiential righteousness, or a heart that is right towards God.


And then we have another misconstrued part.

GEN 25:27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.


The meaning of the phrase “living in tents” is to labor within the family clan unit or to chose to follow the family profession, which in this case was that of a shepherd.


Didn’t everyone live in tents? Isaac’s compound would have included dozens and dozens of tents. He was extremely prosperous since he was the direct beneficiary of the Abrahamic Covenant. They all lived in tents. This phrase simply means that Jacob was a shepherd and not a sissy, in fact, the job of a shepherd requires that one not be a sissy or mamma’s boy.


Esau, like Ishmael, is a hunter and therefore a wanderer. He cares little for the family business, which is caring for flocks and family needs. He cares little for the family seed or progeny, or the family worship and he runs back and forth, to and fro, as a nomad in search of game, while Jacob, who does care for all of it (family business, prosperity, progeny, seed, and worship) and in fact desires to carry all of it on in himself. But as the second born he cannot, at least by customary law.


Jacob, at least as a young man, is a far better man than I ever gave him credit for. But like all of us, he is going to make some major blunders. Conflict within, conflict without, it’s all around us and in us and always present, yet the power of God that is going to make a winner out of Jacob will also make a winner out of any believer who makes himself available to the communication of the word of God.


With a proper understanding of the person of Jacob we can better understand the conflict between him and Esau.


Now we have the parental differences.


GEN 25:28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.


Isaac’s love for Esau is not on a good basis. It’s not based on character or integrity in Esau but only because he likes the food that Esau kills and brings to him.


A parent may have a preference for one child over another and there is nothing wrong with that if it is based on the faith, integrity, and honor of the child.


MAL 1:2-3

I have loved you," says the Lord. But you say, "How hast Thou loved us?" "Was not Esau Jacob's brother?" declares the Lord. "Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau


HEB 12:16

That there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.


However, to love one child over another because of something material like one’s a better cook, a better athlete, gets better grades, etc. is playing favorites through selfishness. This doesn’t mean that a child should earn a parents love, but it does mean that an honorable parent will have a preference for an honorable child and will bless that child more because of their capacity for blessing. Jacob honors the family by being a part of the family business, desiring the family progeny’s destiny to produce the Messiah, and desiring the family priesthood over godless Esau. It may be that for these reasons that Rebekah loves him. It would seem that her love is legit because no reason is given for it, while a bad reason is given for Isaac’s preference.


At least in Rebekah’s case, her love lines up with God’s love for Jacob, MAL 1:2-3.


Next we have Jacob’s purchase of Esau’s birthright. Does he do so out of greed or does he do so because he desires to fulfill the covenant promises out of love for them and knowing, through years of experience with his brother, that Esau doesn’t care about the covenant at all?


GEN 25:29 And when Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished [this word means “tired”];


GEN 25:30 and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom [red - also for his hair].


Literally: “Let me gulp down some of this red red.” It implies an animal like voraciousness.


There is no word for “stuff” or “pottage” as the KJV has it. He repeats the word for red which probably refers to lentils. His fatigue and hunger makes his appetite voracious, and we all know how we can push and old lady out of the buffet line when we’re crazy hungry.


God uses the appetite to depict those who selfishly want what they want and do not want to think God’s way.


PRO 13:25

The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite [content],

But the stomach of the wicked is in want.


ECC 6:7

All a man's labor is for his mouth and yet the appetite [without God] is not satisfied.


EZE 7:19 [prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem]

They shall fling their silver into the streets, and their gold shall become an abhorrent thing; their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the Lord. They cannot satisfy their appetite, nor can they fill their stomachs, for their iniquity has become an occasion of stumbling.


HAB 2:5

"Furthermore, wine betrays the haughty man [false sense of worth],

So that he does not stay at home.

He enlarges his appetite like Sheol [grave],

And he is like death, never satisfied.

He also gathers to himself all nations

And collects to himself all peoples.


Esau didn’t stay at home, but Jacob did.


PHI 3:18-19

For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.


GEN 25:30 and Esau said to Jacob, "Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there [“Let me gulp down some of this red red.”], for I am famished." Therefore his name was called Edom [red - also for his hair].


The word for swallow is only used here in the Bible, a hapax legomina, and in other rabbinic writings it is used for cramming food down one’s throat.


Esau lives for the moment, but in a selfish way. He has no concern for the value of the things from God.


These are some of the types that satan uses to oppose God’s plan and God’s people. They have voracious appetites and are very selfish and so they are easily manipulated.


Certain things from God should be handled seriously, honorably, and with great reverence.


There is a good way of living in the moment and that is as Christ instructed, having no worry, casting all our anxiety upon Him because He cares for us, not worried about tomorrow for today has enough trouble of its own, etc.


Now, Jacob is willing to feed Esau, but at a price.


GEN 25:31 But Jacob said, "First sell me your birthright."


At the time a birthright was salable; the firstborn had the right to sell it.


We see that Esau doesn’t care about it. Could it be that Jacob cares for it very much and doesn’t want it to fall into the hands of his brother who will not honor it and will in fact defame it? This is quite a different motivation than greed or the strong desire for wealth. The birthright contained more than wealth and power. Jacob had a certain future with wealth, even as the second born, and power in this instance comes with quite a bit of responsibility as the family priest. Esau was turned off from all of this.



Physical benefits: double portion (DEU 21:17)

Spiritual benefits: priest of family (NUM 7:2)

Authority benefits: succeeded official title of father (2CH 21:3)

Seed benefits: in the line of the Messiah (GEN 49:10)


Jacob’s oldest son Reuben lost the birthright to Judah due to his sin of sleeping with his father’s concubine Bilhah (GEN 35:22; 49:4).


All Esau will care about is the first one. The others extend beyond the immediate earthly life of the heir and Esau is going to show us that he cares not for eternal things, only what he can get right now that satisfies his appetite.


Jacob definitely wants this and all the responsibility that goes with it; the temporal and eternal. And since he is described by God as having integrity and the perfection (moral integrity) of Noah and Job, I’m going to conclude that he loved the birthright legitimately and didn’t want to see his unfaithful brother get it.


Esau will agree and his rationalization is given:


GEN 25:32 And Esau said, "Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?"


All Esau had to do, especially as the first born son, was to walk over to another tent and get all the stew he wanted, for he lives with a very wealthy household.


Since Esau doesn’t care about the Seed or the priesthood or the family’s progeny as God’s nation, to him, after his death, all of this was meaningless.


Esau does care about the money and he will weep bitterly when he finds out that his father was tricked and he will no longer get the double portion.


In other words, “What good are all these things to me since they mean nothing after I’m dead?”


But they mean everything after he is dead, and still promises are to be fulfilled in the future from today. The Law, the promised land, Moses, David, Daniel, all prophets, writers of the Bible, and most of all the Messiah are all coming in the future after his death. He should care very much about them, but he doesn’t. They should excite him, but they don’t. One wonders if these things really excite Jacob, and I believe that they do and that’s why he wants them.


Plus it doesn’t hurt to know the promise that God gave to his mother:


GEN 25:23

And the Lord said to her,

"Two nations are in your womb [not fighting in there];

And two peoples shall be separated from your body;

And one people shall be stronger than the other;

And the older shall serve the younger."


GEN 25:33 And Jacob said, "First swear to me"; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.


The swearing makes the transaction legal.


GEN 25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.


Nothing in this passage implies that Jacob took unfair advantage of Esau. Esau could have gone elsewhere for food by taking only a few steps to the next tent. He despised it, or literally, he treated the birthright as worthless, and he freely, of his own free-will sold it to his brother for a bowl of lentil stew and some bread.


Esau had no spiritual sensitivity to the things of God; he had no desire to be the means of God’s program. Esau did not merely “sell” his birthright; he despised the birthright.


Two NT passages quote this event and give application. Satan has used both of them to teach hyper-Calvinism, when it is obvious that the free-will of the twins is in view.


ROM 9:10 And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;


ROM 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad, in order that God's purpose according to His choice might stand, not because of works, but because of Him who calls,


ROM 9:12 it was said to her, "The older will serve the younger."


ROM 9:13 Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."


HEB 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;


HEB 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.


HEB 12:17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.


It wasn’t his own repentance he was seeking, but the repentance of his father. He wanted Isaac to change his mind and Isaac refused.