Esau was a Redneck

A hunter, and tough.

Jacob was a wuss, cooking lentil stuff.

One strutted. One connived. Forget sucking thumbs in utero.  These two practiced kick-boxing in the womb and never grew out of it.

The apparent perfection of Genesis 24 unravels quickly in Genesis 25.  This is the “chosen family.”  Why so messy?

It’s not so hard to weigh in against the Gaston, of Beauty and the Beast but what’s to root for in Jacob?

Paul writes of the twins:

. . .though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad, in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of his call, Rebekah was told, “The elder will serve the younger.”
As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!  For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  So it depends not upon man’s will or exertion, but upon God’s mercy.
Does this help?
I keep butting up against God saying,  “I am God, you are not.”


  1. scott said

    Hebrews is harsh on Esau (12:16)

    “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.”

    This is almost in complete contrast to Jesus – “Man does not live by bread alone.” A question of treasuring is going on here. Which is better, to pay attention to earthly things or heavenly things?

    For all his dishonesty, Jacob accorded the right value to a blessing. He (or at least his mother) had a well developed sense of spiritual worth (if not a sense of moral worth).

    What we do not see, of course, is how God, sitting in judgement, accords grace to men according to the roles and dispositions in which he formed them.

    We, forming our image of God from our human experience and from the nature of things we see around us, just can’t imagine a God *good* enough to reconcile the disconnects we perceive.

  2. Well, I’m heading on into the study of Jacob’s life shortly- and I will be looking for qualities that made a difference- hints of what God saw and valued. Though Paul does seem to say that God’s call is at his discretion- not based on worth.

    Yes, Esau’s selling of the birthright for a bowl of lentil stew seems to reveal a contempt that goes far deeper than that moment. It seems to show that at a point when Esau’s guard was down, he lowered his public mask, and what was truly in his heart came to the surface.

  3. scott said

    Is it that God *valued* something in Jacob, or that he just *chose* him?
    I think the right sense of the Romans text is not as a value judgement but instead as a summary of what actually happened.

    “Jacob had my favour, Esau not.” For a cole’s notes version of the story, this is as truthful a rendition as you could wish.

    Our little works-based minds read this and… churn, churn, churn… he must have *done* something. He must *be* something meritous.

    Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe there was nothing deserving about Jacob whatsoever. Maybe He chose Jacob entirely because of *His* nature, completely irrespective of Jacob’s. Just because He wanted to make a point about His mercy.

    Just as the parable of the young men in the marketplace, fairness and merit don’t really have much to do with it, because God is just that unlike anything we’re used to.

    Maybe with Jacob, as with Nebuchadnezzar, God decided he wanted to demonstrate something important to the world. This isn’t a particularly “me-centric” view.

  4. And Godly Armenians and God-fearing Calvinists have been locked horn to horn over that very issue for some centuries.

    From “Have you considered my servant Job, and the obedience of my servant Abraham who obeyed me and kept my charge, my commands, statutes and laws. . . through there is none righteous, no not one, he loved us before we first loved him, to work out your own salvation in fear and trembling. . . .

    Interesting that when God says to Isaac, “I will bless you . . . for the sake of my servant Abraham,” the TEV feels compelled to enhance the text and translate, “for the sake of my promise to my servant Abraham”

    Practice like an Armenian, trust like a Calvinist, says I.

    And translate according to the text, not according to your theology- as much as it is humanly possible.

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