BIBLE STORIES (27): JACOB & ESAU

Well, we know who the Bible is written about, hence its not surprising that each time those not directly related to the persons or group that will later be termed “THE CHOSEN PEOPLE” very little is said about them, before they are dropped off the story (it’s also noteworthy that the last place some people, groups, even nations were mentioned in the hi/story of life is the part where they are last mentioned in the Bible), while stories in favour or related to the favoured group continues. This is what is displayed in the chapter 25 of Genesis after Abraham’s death, and burial by his sons Ishmael and Isaac. Hence, because the focus is on the “seed” Isaac (whom YAHWEH especially and specifically blessed after his father, Abraham’s death {v.11}, regardless of the blessing he’d have inherited by promise through Abraham), Ishmael was quickly dispensed with, by a mention of his genealogy, which consisted of twelve sons who became “… twelve princes according to their nations” (v. 16). These like the other sons of Abraham (by Keturah) would form part, if not a greater part, of the Arab nations in the Middle East, and a visit to Wikipedia with any of the names of the children of Ishmael will cast a light as to which amongst the present nation states there, descended from any of those “Ishmaelites”. This point is further strengthened by verse 18, where it’s written that after Ishmael’s death, his children “dwelt from Havilah unto Shur, that is before Egypt, as thou goest toward Assyria, what will today span the area before Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, and then on to Kuwait. In order words, the children (twelve sons) of Ishmael are the forebears of most Arabs.
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As for Isaac, it was a different case altogether. He “… was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian” (v.20). It is instructive to follow the next line, especially in today’s world when believers are wont to associate “fruitfulness” to good standing with the creator. In our days even, Ishmael would be considered to be in good standing with Yahweh than Isaac, considered from onset to be THE CHOSEN ONE. Verse 21- “And Isaac entreated YAHWEH for his wife, because she was barren: and YAHWEH was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived”. Sometimes, I put these things to YAHWEH’s timing, as such until the time HE has set for HIS chosen to come upon a thing, it will prior to the appointed time, elude such a person irrespective of what s/he does to turn the situation around, and regardless of their standing with HIM.

Because Rebekah’s pregnancy was beginning to turn out extraordinary, seeing that “… the children “struggled” (something for those wondering at what stage the fetus can be referred to as A LIFE, though the stage of pregnancy at which this happened isn’t stated) together within her” (v.22), prompting her to go and “… enquire (though not stated, but likely from a prophet) of YAHWEH”, who revealed to her the following:
1. That, two nations were in her womb.
2. Two manner of people shall be separated from her bowels.
3. The one people shall be stronger than the other people.
4. The elder shall serve the younger.
It’s imperative that you bear these revelations in mind because of the events that will follow from them.

Rebekah eventually got delivered of twins and we are told that “… the first came out red, all over like a hairy garment; and they called his name Esau (meaning Hairy). And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob (Heel-Holder)” (v.26 and 27).
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The next line informs us that Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah had those two, that is to say, the couple stayed for twenty years without issue! Delayed conception seemed to dog the “chosen line” only of the Abraham stock but eventually in spite of the delays with which that line was severally visited, a strong and eternal nation managed to emerge from it and remain, even when his peers who had started the journey so long before him and become well established, were to later waltz out of existence. The moral is not to judge an end from its beginning, as only YAHWEH knows the end from its beginning.

Anyway, back to the story. Esau grew to become “… a cunning hunter and a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison (much like “beef” especially of a Deer):
jacobandesau
but Rebekah loved Jacob” (v.27 and 28). It isn’t stated whether Rebekah ever told Isaac the outcome of her enquiry before YAHWEH concerning her pregnancy, but one can easily deduce that Rebekah’s love for Jacob must’ve stemmed from the revelation she got while the duo where still in utero. Isaac for all his goodness loved Esau because of his belly, and such are the likes for which friendships, relationships, even marriages are built these days, not on intangibles, the likes of what was revealed to Rebekah, because apparently Esau was doing better than Jacob at the time, and sons like Jacob still tied to their mother’s aprons (connected to their mother still by an imaginary umbilical cord) though may appear before men as weak (and as we shall find later, cunning), have other favourably enduring attributes that make them appropriate tools in the hands of YAHWEH for HIS purpose.

The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans (9: 10-14), alluded to the above in describing the workings of YAHWEH, stating in verse 11, that while the twins weren’t yet born, hence neither having done any evil or good, YAHWEH chose one regardless of his status (older or younger), through which HIS purpose “according to election” might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. And before the next thought cross your mind, Paul recalled Malachi’s (1 vs 2-3) prophecy to the effect that YAHWEH loved Jacob over Esau and for that reason asked if indeed there’s unrighteousness with HIM for so doing. Even I have always pondered this within me, that if indeed the Creator chooses those who will worship him, why should one not chosen by him strive to find him? Does it mean, that some people even before they are born are destined for eternal damnation?

This is my take, and I will base it on the fact that YAHWEH knows the beginning from the end. HE also has given us freewill, and knows those who with that freewill will worship and serve him. We know about Jacob and Esau this way today because their story is past, but at the time, apart from Rebekah who was privy to a part of the future because of the revelation, no other person, including the boys, nor their father knew about it. YAHWEH’s reason for working with people varies from such as meekness, as with Moses, to obedience as with Abraham (of whom YAHWEH said in Genesis 18:19 – “For I know him, that he will command his children {at a time Abraham had no children} and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of YAHWEH, to do justice and judgment), amongst a myriad of other reasons, and these decisions HE takes having known the ends of these people from their beginning. This explains why Paul in Romans 9: 14 rebuffed claims that YAHWEH is partial and hence unrighteous in choosing Jacob over Esau.

Paul further stated, of what YAHWEH said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Romans 9:15). It is important that we understand these things so we can be humble ourselves when we have certain things in life, and not see those who don’t have same as not in being in good standing with YAHWEH, knowing fully well that, “… it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of YAHWEH that showeth mercy” (v.16). It will interest you to note that those YAHWEH chose didn’t always find things easy especially in the beginnings. At the time Isaac was still struggling to have children, for instance Ishmael had already twelve males who’d become princes. The same thing with Abraham, whose brother Nahor, and nephew Lot had become fathers when he with all the wealth hadn’t been so blessed. However in the end, everyone remembers Abraham’s children (so much so that the fate of the world hangs precariously on them), but no one knows where or who the offsprings of his brothers are today. Selah

‘kovich

REFERENCE:
– Genesis Chapter 25 Verses 11 – 28, THE WORD OF YAHWEH, © 2000

PICTURE CREDIT:
http://christrescuemission.org
http://www.chabad.org
http://geraldwhitely.blogspot.com

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