The Sons of Isaac

Now Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah, but at first they were not able to have children. Isaac prayed to God about it, and finally Rebekah became pregnant. She felt something was fighting inside her and so she asked God about it. Then God told her, "Two nations are inside you, and the older will serve the younger." And so it was that when she gave birth, she had twin sons. The first boy was reddish and covered all over with hair, so they named him "Esau," which means "hairy." They also called him "Edom," which means "red." The second boy was born holding on to his brother's heel, so they named him Jacob, which means "holding the heel." Isaac was 60 years old when they were born.

As they grew up Esau became a good hunter who loved the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed at home. Isaac liked Esau best; while Rebekah liked Jacob best.

One day when Jacob was cooking some soup, Esau came in from hunting. He was hungry and said to Jacob, "Give me some of that red stuff to eat, because I'm about to faint." And Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." Now the birthright was the right of the oldest son to get twice as much property as the other children when his father died. But Esau didn't care about his birthright, so he said, "I'm about to die; what good will a birthright do me." Jacob said, "Swear it to me." So Esau sold his birthright to Jacob with an oath and Jacob gave him some bread and bean soup for it.

Some years later, when Isaac was an old man who could no longer see, he called his son Esau. He told him, "I am old and may die soon. Take your bow and arrows and hunt me an animal. Make me that good food I like and bring me some to eat. Then I will bless you before I die." Now Rebekah heard Isaac tell this to Esau, so she told Jacob about it and then said, "So what I say. Go to the flock and pick out two young goats. I will cook them and make that good food your father likes. You can take it to him to eat and he will bless you before he dies."

But Jacob said, "Esau is a hairy man and I have smooth skin. If my father touches me, he will curse me instead of blessing me." His mother said, "Just do what I say and go get the goats." So he brought the goats and she cooked the kind of food his father liked, then she took Esau's best clothes and put them on him and took the goat skins and put them on his arms and neck. Then he took the food to Isaac. He said, "Father." Isaac said, "Who are you." Jacob lied and said, "I am Esau. Sit up and eat and bless me." Isaac said, "How did you find it so quickly, son?" Jacob said, "God helped me." Isaac said, "Come here and let me touch you." Jacob moved close and Isaac touched him and said, "The voice sounds like Jacob's, but the arms feel like Esau's." He asked again, "Are you really Esau?" Jacob lied again and said "I am." So Isaac ate the food that Jacob had brought and blessed him; "May God give you dew from heaven and good crops! May nations be your servants and may you rule over your relatives. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed." When Isaac finished giving the blessing, Jacob left.

Soon Esau came in from hunting and cooked the kind of food his father liked. He went to Isaac and said, "Father, sit up and eat and bless me." Isaac said, "Who are you?" "Esau," he said. Isaac began to shake and he asked, "Who then hunted an animal and brought it to me? I just ate it and blessed him and he will be blessed." Esau cried out, "Bless me too, father." Then Isaac said, "Your brother came and tricked me and has taken your blessing." Esau said, "This is the second time he has cheated me. First he took my birthright and now he has taken my blessing. Is there a blessing for me?" He started crying and kept asking his father for a blessing, but his father would only say the he would break away from Jacob's power. So Esau hated Jacob, and made plans to kill him as soon as his father died. Jacob's lies and trickery got him the blessing, but they brought trouble too.

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