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Genesis 25 English Standard Version (ESV)
The Birth of Esau and Jacob
19 These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham fathered Isaac, 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. 21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” 24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau.26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents.28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Esau Sells His Birthright
29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob.34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
If time allows, read through the whole chapter to get a better picture of the family of Isaac. Controversy and quarreling among siblings are prevalent in most families and is a part of growing up. It can be contained, however, if it is dealt with consistently and fairly. But when the parents show partiality and take sides, this struggle often becomes malignant and fatal to family unity. This chapter opens with the joy of long-awaited birth. After twenty years, Isaac and Rebekah have not just one son but twins. As the boys grow up, parental partiality develops with tragic consequences for family relationships. In v28 we learned that “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” How does this parental favoritism work itself out in the struggle? Verse 34 states that Esau despised his birthright (his double portion of the inheritance and future role as head of the family). In what areas are you tempted to give up something spiritually valuable for the sake of something of little or no value? In what ways have you experienced the strength of your parents or been influenced by their weaknesses? How can you show impartial love and care to family members with radically different personalities? Ask God to show you how to encourage better relationships in your own family or living situation.