“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.” Genesis 25:23
We have been looking at Bible characters who took a plunge to disaster, to discover what we can learn from them, so that we won’t follow in their footsteps. Today, we consider the story of Esau.
Esau’s story begins in the maternity ward where his mother, Rebekah, is giving birth to twins. It had been a difficult pregnancy because Jacob and Esau were struggling with each other inside her (25:22). It was the beginning of a struggle that was to continue between the nations that would descend from these two boys.
It seems that they were struggling over which one should be born first. Esau won, but not by much, because no sooner was he born than Jacob came out, arm first, hanging onto Esau’s heel. Jacob would have made a great football player, maybe a linebacker, because no running back would get very far with Jacob hanging onto his heel.
The point of this story is that the firstborn received a double portion of the inheritance. That was no small thing. But in this family, it was especially important. God had made special promises to Esau’s grandfather, Abraham. There would be someone in the line of people descended from Abraham who would bring God’s blessing.
The Old Testament follows the story of the line of Abraham. His son was Isaac, and when Isaac and Rebekah had these two twin boys, the obvious question was which of them would inherit God’s promise? Through which of them would God’s purpose of blessing the world continue? Into which line would the Savior of the world be born? That is what this story is all about.
Was there any competition in your own family, growing up, between your brothers and/or sisters and you?