Jacob, the Birthright and Blessing
The story of Jacob, the Birthright and the Blessing in free Bible Art and lessons for all ages. Beautifully visual Bible lessons with art in high resolution. Searchable lessons with Bible verses and Bible people. Sunday School and Church resources.
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What Came Before
Esau was a man of the woods, and fond of hunting, and he was rough, and covered with hair. Even as a boy he was fond of hunting with his bow and arrow. Jacob was quiet and thoughtful, staying at home, and caring for the flocks of his father. Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob, because Esau brought to his father that which he had killed in his hunting, but Rebecca liked Jacob, because she saw that he was wise and careful in his work.
Among the people in those lands, when a man dies, his older son receives twice as much as the younger of what the father has owned. This was called his "birthright", for it was his right as the oldest born. So Esau, as the older, had a "birthright" to more of Isaac's possessions than Jacob. And besides this, there was the privilege of the promise of God that the family of Isaac should receive great blessings.
But Rebekah answered her son, "Never mind, you do as I have told you, and I will take care of you. If any harm comes, it will come to me, so do not be afraid, but go and bring the meat."
Then Jacob went and brought a pair of little kids from the flock, and from, them his mother made a dish of food, so that it would be to the taste just as Isaac liked it. Then Rebekah found some of Esau's clothes, and dressed Jacob in them, and she placed on his neck and his hands some of the skins of the kids, so that his neck and hands would feel rough and hairy to the touch.
Then Jacob came into his father's tent, bringing the dinner, and speaking as much like Esau as he could, he said, "Here I am, my father." And Isaac said, "Who are you, my son?" And Jacob answered, "I am Esau, your oldest son. I have done as you bade me. Now sit up, and eat the dinner that I have made, and then give me your blessing, as you promised me."
And Isaac said, "How is it that you found it so quickly?" Jacob answered, "Because the Lord your God showed me where to go, and gave me good success."
Isaac did not feel certain that it was his son Esau, and he said, "Come nearer and let me feel you, so that I may know that you are really my son Esau." And Jacob went up close to Isaac's bed, and Isaac felt of his face, and his neck, and his hands, and he said, "The voice sounds like Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Are you really my son Esau?" And Jacob again told a lie to his father, and said, "I am."
Then the old man ate the food that Jacob had brought to him, and he kissed Jacob, believing him to be Esau, and he gave him the blessing, saying to him, "May God give you the dew of heaven, and the richness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. May nations bow down to you and people become your servants. May you be the master over your brother, and may your family and descendants that shall come from you rule over his family and his descendants. Blessed be those that bless you, and cursed be those that curse you."
Just as soon as Jacob had received the blessing he rose up and hastened away. He had scarcely gone out, when Esau came in from his hunting, with the dish of food that he had cooked, and he said, "Let my father sit up, and eat the food that I have brought, and give me the blessing." And Isaac said, "Why, who are you?" Esau answered, "I am your son, your oldest son Esau."
And Isaac trembled and said, "Who then is the one that came in, and brought to me food? And I have eaten his food, and have blessed him. Yes, and he shall be blessed."
When Esau heard this he knew that he had been cheated, and he cried aloud with a bitter cry, "Oh my father, my brother has taken away my blessing just as he took away my birthright! But cannot you give me another blessing, too? Have you given everything to my brother? And Isaac told him all that he had said to Jacob He said, "I have told him that he shall be the ruler, and that all his brothers and their children will be under him. I have promised him the richest ground for his crops, and rains from heaven to make them grow. All these things have been spoken, and they must come to pass. What is left for me to promise you, my son?"
But Esau begged for another blessing, and Isaac said, "My son, your dwelling shall be of the riches of the earth, and of the dew of heaven. You shall live by your sword, and your descendants shall serve his descendants. But in time to come they shall break loose, and shall shake off the yoke of your brother's rule, and shall be free."
All this came to pass many years afterward. The people who came from Esau lived in a land called Edom, on the south of the land of Israel, where Jacob's descendants lived. And after a time the Israelites became rulers over the Edomites.And, later still, the Edomites made themselves free from the Israelites. But all this took place hundreds of years after both Esau and Jacob had passed away. The blessing of God's covenant or promise came to Israel, and not to the people from Esau.
It was better that Jacob's descendants, those who came after him, should have the blessing, than that Esau's people should have it. For Jacob's people worshipped God, and Esau's people walked in the way of the idols, and became wicked. But it was very wrong in Jacob to obtain the blessing in the way that he obtained it.