When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Comment: We get a much fuller picture of these four in the following chapters but here we see a unity divided in some ways into two. Dad and older son on one side, this son, probably preferred, because he helped his father much more. On the other side Mum and the younger twin. Was Jacob a bit of a mummy’s boy? He, as we see in this passage, had an eye to the future. He was a schemer and planner. Normally the older inherited everything and the younger son got the left overs. Thus one day, when Esau came in exhausted, starving hungry and thinking himself near death, he begged Jacob for help. Jacob, the planner, said ‘OK, but you owe me, I now stand in the place of you as the older brother, inheritance wise.’ The word ‘despised’ shows how little he honoured his heritage and what he was meant to be in the future. For him it was a sad, sad day.
Prayer: Help me to keep my eyes on what You want me to do and be.