The Story of Esau and Jacob is one that is based on God’s choice and not on moral superiority. This perplexing story is found in the Book of Genesis (Chapter 27) in the Bible.
The major events in the story of Esau and Jacob are (1) Esau selling his birthright to Jacob and (2) Isaac being deceived by Jacob and Rebekah.
Many of us have a negative opinion of Jacob as a person who took advantage of his brother’s vulnerability and hunger to seize the valued birthright which Esau should not have surrendered for any gain. Jacob is sometimes portrayed as a flawed character who impersonated Esau and used his father Isaac’s blindness to obtain the paternal blessing reserved for his older brother.
The Story of Esau and Jacob – Jacob Deceives Esau (Genesis 27)
The Story of Esau and Jacob – 3 Life Lessons
The Story of Esau and Jacob teaches us 3 valuable life lessons.
1.Actions have consequences. When Jacob deceived his father to inherit his brother’s blessing, the outcome of his action was that he had to run away from his home for fear of his life as his brother intended to kill him after their father’s death. From a peaceful man living in tents, he had to flee and go to a place where he has never been and give up everything he loved.
Whatever he hoped to obtain through the purchase of the birthright and the stealing of the blessing came to naught as he had to leave all the worldly possessions, as Isaac was a rich man, behind. All his deceptive actions yielded nothing due to these dramatic turn of events. This is the first lesson of the story of Esau and Jacob.
2. What You Sow is What You Reap. Jacob’s deceptive actions came back to haunt him in the form of his uncle Laban, who was a greater deceiver than him. Laban deceived Jacob by getting him married to his elder daughter, Leah, instead of Rachel, whom Laban had earlier promised for Jacob. Laban stole Jacob’s labor by making him work for 14 years instead of the 7 years Jacob previously agreed upon.
Laban also cheated Jacob of his wages by not paying him what he said he would (Jacob’s wages were changed ten times). However, God never let Jacob down; when Laban sought to deceive Jacob with regards to the flock, Jacob got the better of him with God’s help. This is the second lesson of the story of Esau and Jacob.
A Comparison of Jacob Vs. Laban Deception
3. Deception Leads to Dejection. Jacob faced numerous struggles and remained deeply depressed throughout his life. As and when he thought he had succeeded, he had to flee to Padam Aram to save his life. There, despite his hard work, he was deceived by Laban many times. On his journey back to Canaan, he was greatly afraid to face his brother Esau and he thoughtfully made decisions to please Esau.
When he arrived in Canaan, he lost the woman he loved the most, his wife Rachael; thereafter his most beloved son, Joseph, was taken away from him. Some of His sons were disobedient and caused him great sorrow. By the time Joseph came back into his life, Jacob had already spent his days in misery.
The turmoil that Jacob went through is so evident in his reply to Pharaoh: “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” This is the third lesson of the story of Esau and Jacob.
Conclusion – The Story of Esau and Jacob
However, you need to remember that Jacob would not have become so close to God had he not been on the run and afraid of his life. Jacob’s life was full of tussles. He fought with Esau, Laban, and even God Himself. But Jacob always prevailed because Yahweh had chosen and always watched over him. God recognized Jacob for what he was – a fighter who would go to any length to protect his people. Despite all his shortcomings, Jacob meaning “supplanter” is given the name Israel by God meaning “wrestles with God”. This is the name used to denote all of God’s chosen people.