Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.
But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”
Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.”
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
We are a “feeling” oriented society! I know, it has been that way since the beginning of history. I cannot locate the rest of that little poem, but the opening portion says: “Feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving…”
Recall, if you will, the story of Genesis 25 concerning Jacob and Esau. As happens in so many families, Jacob was more of a “peaceful man while Esau was an outdoorsman”. Rebecca the mother leaned more to Jacob, and Isaac leaned more to Esau.
Esau, being the first of the twins, would naturally be in the position to hold the birthright. He came home, smelled the food that Jacob had cooked and agreed with Jacob to sell him the birthright. So famished was he that in that moment of “feeling” he said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” You and I have heard people say similar words…an empty stomach and an empty brain at that moment. So, they made an agreement and the double portion of Isaac’s inheritance would go to Jacob. One act of “feelings” would lead to additional.
When Isaac was nearing death, he desired Esau to fetch game and fix him a “savory” dish. (Genesis 27) Rebekah, hearing the instructions, decided to manipulate Isaac into the blessing previously agreed to by the two men, Esau and Jacob. Isaac, having gone blind sensed something amiss. He knew that the animal must have been caught quickly, the voice was that of Jacob, and so he requested that Jacob come near. Rebekah, knowing that was what Isaac might do, placed animal skins on Jacob. Isaac touched those skins and believed that he felt Esau. He blessed him as he would have the firstborn, Esau.
It was in that moment, when Isaac trusted his feelings as over against actuality that deception led to many problems between those two men. It was somewhat resolved as time went on, but Jacob never lost his identification as “the deceiver.” It is not the first or last time that something of this nature surfaces in a family.
Esau determined that when Isaac had died, said to himself, “and days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” What he said to himself was repeated, and Rachel sent Jacob away for fear of Esau’s retaliatory intent.
What is most beautiful about this recorded historical event? When Jacob returned home years later, he discovered Esau had forgiven him. He was waiting for him with open arms. Real forgiveness! Oh the cost of allowing feelings to determining our actions.