Today’s reading: GENESIS 25:27-28:5
At the opening and the closing of today’s passage we see Jacob and Esau growing up as twin brothers. During the description of the events in the reading we find out that Jacob, who was the second born son, is less than perfect. As a matter of fact he is liar, a cheat and a thief.
In Genesis 25 we read how Jacob took advantage of his exhausted and starved brother to trade Esau’s right as first born son for a bowl of stew. Not exactly a fair trade.
In Genesis 27 we read how Jacob deceived his father by lying and dressing up like Esau to receive a deathbed blessing.
The interesting thing is that from the day he was born, we are given hints of this part of his character. Remember this from yesterday’s reading:
Genesis 25:24 – 26
24 And when the time came to give birth, Rebekah discovered that she did indeed have twins! 25 The first one was very red at birth and covered with thick hair like a fur coat. So they named him Esau. 26 Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau’s heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born.
The footnotes in your study Bible will tell you that the twins’ names mean something:
- Esau sounds like a Hebrew term that means “hair.”
- Jacob sounds like the Hebrew words for “heel” and “deceiver.”
Is this where we get the old fashioned insult – “He is such a heel!” ? It very well could be. Jacob definitely comes off as a real heel. He is a deceiver, a cheat, a liar and a thief. In professional wrestling, the heel is the bad guy or the villain.
But, Jacob is considered one of the great patriarchs of the Israelites. He is considered one of the heroes of the Bible.
There is one problem with this idea of Jacob as a hero – He is in need of a name change. I posted on the significance of name changes earlier this week (Time for a name change?).
We will see how and why he gets a name change and all that implies later in this week’s readings.