Men and women in the Bible



1. I would like to get information and some biblical references about Esau




Esau was one of the sons of Isaac and Rebekah; the other one was Jacob. Esau and Jacob were born on the same day because they were twins. First was born Esau and then Jacob. The Scripture gives some details about their birth. First of all, it says that their mother Rebekah was barren, but she conceived because Isaac prayed to God on behalf of his wife and the Lord answered his prayer (Genesis 25:21). Secondly, it says that before they were born, they struggled together within Rebekah, and so she went to inquire of the Lord, who said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23 – NKJV). God said these words to Rebekah so that – as Paul says – “the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls” (Romans 9:11 – NKJV). Is there unrighteousness with God? Certainly not, because God has mercy on whom He wills. But let us come back to Esau. Esau grew and was a skillful hunter, while Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. One day Esau sold his birthright to Jacob. Here is what the Scripture says: “And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:29-34). The author of the epistle to the Hebrews took the example of Esau to warn us against becoming profane, for he wrote: “See that no one … is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son” (Hebrews 12:16 – NIV). Under the law the firstborn had the right to receive a double portion of all that his father had (Deuteronomy 21:15-17), so the birthright of the firstborn was an important thing; under grace the birthright is spiritual in that the firstborn are all those who have become members of the Church of God through the new birth, as it is written: “….. you have come to … the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23 – NKJV), and also: “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created” (James 1:18 – NIV). What shall the firstborn of God inherit? They will inherit eternal life, the Kingdom, all things, being heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). That’s why the Scripture warns Christians not to become like Esau, because if they follow his example, they will lose their glorious inheritance, and they will go to perdition.

But let us continue to tell the story of Esau. After he sold his birthright to Jacob, when Esau was forty years old, he took as wives some Hittite women who were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Genesis 26:34-35). Then it came to pass that Jacob took away the blessing of Esau by deceiving his father Isaac. Here is what happened: “And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die. And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death. And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob. And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him. And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee. And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck” (Genesis 27:1-40). So Esau hated Jacob and determined to kill him. What Esau wanted to do became known to Rebekah, who told Jacob to flee to her brother Laban in Haran and stay with him a few days until his brother’s anger turned away from him, then she would send and bring him from there. Jacob obeyed his mother, and went to Haran, where he took as wives Leah and Rachel. Leah and Rachel, and Bilhah and Zilpah (Bilhah was Rachel’s maid, while Zilpah was Leah’s maid) bore Jacob twelve sons, who became the twelve patriarchs.

After twenty years, God commanded Jacob to return to the land of Canaan. During his journey, after he crossed over the ford of Jabbok and he wrestled with the angel of God at Peniel, Jacob met his brother Esau and they made peace.

Afterward, Esau took his wives, his sons, his daughters, and all the persons of his household, his cattle and all his animals, and all his goods, and went to a country away from the presence of his brother Jacob, for their possessions were too great for them to dwell together and the land where they were strangers could not support them because of their livestock. So Esau dwelt in Mount Seir, which is to the south of the land of Canaan (Genesis 36:6-8).

From Esau descended the Edomites (the Bible calls him the father of the Edomites – Genesis 36:9), who did not permit the Israelites to pass through their country (Numbers 20:14-21).