The Birth of Jacob and Esau

Scripture Passage: 
Genesis 25:19-34

INTRODUCTION:  This lesson gives several examples, both negative and positive, of waiting on God.  Isaac waited on the right bride.  He also waits on the promised offspring (as opposed to his father who went in to Hagar).  He seeks God’s help through prayer.  Rebekah prays for an answer to the dilemma of the struggle in her womb and God gives her special insight into His plan.

On the negative side of waiting on God, we have both Jacob and Esau.  We hear most about Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright, but Jacob is not waiting on God either.  He uses advantage, and bargains for that which God would have eventually given him anyway.

  1. GODLY MARRIAGE (Genesis 25:19-20)
    1. The Generations of Isaac – from Terah’s sons
      1. Haran – Lot
      2. Nahor – Bethuel – Laban & Rebekah
      3. Abraham – Isaac – Jacob & Esau
    2. Isaac’s Marriage to Rebekah
      1. He took her to wife
      2. When he was forty years old
  2. ANSWERED PRAYER (Genesis 25:21-23)
    1. Isaac’s Prayer for Children (Genesis 25:21)
      1. Isaac’s intercessory prayer – he “intreated the LORD for his wife.”
        1. To intreat means to make an earnest appeal.
        2. Done as a subject approaches a king (Proverbs 18:23; Proverbs 19:6)
      2. Isaac’s answer to prayer – his wife conceives.
    2. Rebekah’s Prayer for Understanding (Genesis 25:22-23; James 1:5)
      1. The cause of her prayer (Genesis 25:22)
        1. The struggle in her womb
        2. The doubts in her soul
          1. “If it be so” – If God has answered our prayer in giving us a child
          2. “Why am I thus?” – Why is God’s blessing causing such a struggle in me?
      2. The answer to her prayer (Genesis 25:23)
        1. She has twins.
        2. The twins will head two different nations.
        3. The twins represent two different manner of peoples.
        4. The “elder shall serve the younger.”
  3. BIRTH OF TWINS (Genesis 25:24-26)
    1. The Day of Delivery (Genesis 25:24)
    2. The Birth of Esau (Genesis 25:25)
      1. Born first
      2. Red in appearance
      3. Hairy all over
      4. Named Esau, which means hairy
    3. The Birth of Jacob (Genesis 25:26a)
      1. Born second
      2. His hand held Esau’s heel.
      3. Called Jacob, which means heel-catcher or supplanter (Genesis 27:36)
    4. The Age of Isaac (Genesis 25:26b) –sixty years old
  4. THE BOYS GREW (Genesis 25:27-28)
    1. Esau
      1. A cunning hunter
      2. A man of the field
      3. Esau was the strong, silent type who loved manly activities like the hunting.  He took what he wanted by force.
      4. Favored by Isaac (because of his venison)
    2. Jacob
      1. A plain man
      2. A dweller in tents
      3. Jacob was by no means effeminate.  However, he did not stand out among men as did his brother Esau.  He was “plain” in that he did not impress with his stature or bearing.
      4. Favored by Rebekah (probably because of the prophecy)
  5. THE BARTERED BIRTHRIGHT (Genesis 25:29-34)
    1. Jacob Sod Pottage (Genesis 25:29).
      1. To sod means to cook by boiling; it is an older form of the word seethe.
      2. Pottage is a thick soup or stew made of vegetables; sometimes meat and vegetables.
      3. This pottage was made of lentils (Genesis 25:34), a vegetable of the pea family.
      4. The lentils were red (Genesis 25:30).
    2. Esau Bargained for the Pottage (Genesis 25:29-33).
      1. Esau came from the field faint with hunger (Genesis 25:29).
      2. Esau asked Jacob for some of the pottage (Genesis 25:30).
      3. Esau purchased the lentils with his birthright (Genesis 25:31-33).
        1. Jacob bargained for the birthright (Genesis 25:31).
        2. Esau held it as of low immediate value (Genesis 25:32).
        3. Esau swore His birthright over to Jacob (Genesis 25:33).
    3. Esau Is Also Named Edom (Genesis 25:30).
      1. Edom means red.
      2. He was born with a red appearance.
      3. He sold his birthright for red lentils.
      4. He and his descendents settled in the country of Edom (also called Mount Seir in the Bible).  This land is located south of the Dead Sea and is known for its red sandstone cliffs.
    4. The Importance of the Birthright
      1. Esau came to despise his birthright.
      2. The birthright was the right of the firstborn (Genesis 43:33).
        1. To lead his family
        2. To receive a double inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:17; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2)
      3. Esau’s lack of foresight in this matter shows his true evil nature (Hebrews 12:16-17).

CONCLUSION:  What is your birthright as a Christian who is born into the family of God?  Certainly, we cannot lose the entire birthright.  But some Christians seem to be ready to sell their birthright in order to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.  Name some ways in which Christians sell their birthright.  What is the better response?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 22:23

For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.