Jacob and Esau: Forefathers of modern day strife

            No other family feud has played such an important part in World History than that of Jacob and Esau.  It would be a prophetic declaration upon which the ages of history would unfold, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans 9:13, KJV).¹  To gather a fuller understanding of the strife that plays out today, one must return to the origin of these two brothers, tracing their lineage and relationship with God.  It is then that a correct interpretation of modern day events can be made, and a clearer picture of End Time events given.

            Rebekah, being with child, inquired of the Lord why there was a struggle within her womb (Genesis 25:22, KJV).  The Lord answered, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23, KJV).  From the very beginning, it was God’s plan that two nations would come forth from Rebekah’s sons.  It was also proclaimed that the elder son, Esau, would serve the younger son, Jacob.  This truth was contrary to culture and practice of the people of that day.  The oldest son always held the post of power and executive status of the family.  This decree would would kindle the fires of animosity and bitterness that have continued to burn unto this day.

Even though God had decreed that Jacob would be served by his older brother, Esau, and later be chosen by God to continue the Covenant of his father Abraham, it was not enough for him to wait in faith for its fulfillment.  On the contrary, there arose a desire to assist God with this promise.  In Genesis, chapter 25, one of the first acts of deception among the twins is seen when Jacob tricks Esau out of his birthright.  Esau, being famished from working in the field, returns home to the smell of a good home cooked meal.  Jacob, being the cunning deceiver, offers to trade him a good meal for what Esau believes to be a useless birthright at the time.  This decision would give Esau temporary joy in part of a full stomach, but would soon turn to bitterness and a despise of his birthright in the end, which would slowly continue to fuel the fires of bitterness between the two.  Jacob, in refusal to see things done on God’s timing, would have a birthright, but at a cost never intended by God. 

With the birthright now tied to Jacob, Isaac’s death would provide further blessings that would allow Jacob to realize the full potential of his inheritance.  Because he had taken the birthright through deceit earlier, it would now require even further deceit to maximize its worth.  In Genesis, chapter 27, unfolds a sad picture of pride, rebellion, lies, and greed.  Isaac, being old and dying, chose to give his blessing to Esau, in spite of having full knowledge of God’s words to Rebekah (Genesis 27:1-4, KJV).  Rebekah, overhearing the conversation, purposed to see that Jacob would receive the blessing instead (Genesis 27:5-10, KJV).  Rebekah and Jacob would then proceed to trick Isaac through a savory meal and a costume display that would no doubt rival any present day Broadway production (Genesis 27:11-25, KJV)!  The Plan would work, and Jacob would receive the blessing from Isaac, that would include being blessed agriculturally, having Esau’s people as well as other nations to serve his people, and a protective curse that would fall on anyone who raised a hand against him as well as a blessing to anyone who would bless him (Genesis 27:26-29, KJV).

The anger and grief that would then follow has continued to escalate through the centuries.  Esau, coming in from his hunting and with a meal promised to his father, finds the blessing already given to an imposter (Genesis 27:31-33, KJV).  Esau is devastated, and Isaac, being dejected and crushed over the deception, yields to Esau that “thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck” (Genesis 27:39-40, KJV).  The bitterness and anger that existed between the two would cause a separation for a period of time, as Jacob would flee to Padanaram under Isaac’s direction to the house of Laban (Genesis 28:1-9, KJV).  This period of time would of more than 14 years would be the training ground for Jacob spiritually, as he would  prosper under the Hand of God (Genesis 30:43, KJV); be called to return to Bethel (Genesis 31:13, KJV); have his name changed to Israel (Genesis 32:28, KJV); and be reconciled unto his brother Esau (Genesis 33:1-20, KJV).

With the reconciliation would come greater blessings for Jacob, and the growth of the brothers’ possessions would cause a strain on the land which would lead to an eventual need to separate for more real estate (Genesis 36:7, KJV).  Jacob would remain in Israel, and Esau would depart unto Mount Seir.  Thus, the fulfillment of Genesis 25:23 continues with the separation of the brothers and the establishment of two nations as God promised.  The House of Jacob, now known as “Israel”, would remain in the land which God had promised to him, the land of Canaan.  The House of Esau would relocate to Mount Seir to the city of Petra, which God would also institute a name change to “Edom”.  Esau would then become the “father of the Edomites” (Genesis 36:9, KJV).  Amalek, one of the descendants of Esau, would later become enemies of Israel and God describes their conflict as one which the Lord would “have war with Amalek from generation to generation (Genesis 36:12; Exodus 17:16, KJV).  These descendants of Amalek, from the “House of Esau”, have continued to exist through the present day in regards to this prophesy.  The modern day name for this people is the Palestinians.  Mount Seir is that area which encompasses the lower third of modern day Jordan, which is also the location, as already mentioned, of the city of Petra.

            The ultimate destiny of the House of Esau remains yet in the future, where God has promised a complete and total annihilation of Esau’s descendants (Obadiah 15-18, KJV).  The House of Jacob, or “Israel”, will finally possess all the land of the Covenant and realize all of its promises by her God- including her Messiah.  Thus, the final fulfillment of God’s prophecy shall be completed in the sovereign words of God, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau I have hated” (Romans 9:13, KJV).

Endnotes

1All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible version, Royal, 1971.

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