<<a son of Isaac>>

The eldest of twin sons born to Isaac and Rebekah (the other twin was Jacob).  Esau was a “hairy” man, a skillful hunter, and favoured by his father, while Jacob was Rebekah’s favourite.  It was Isaac’s intention to impart to Esau the blessing that was rightfully his as the eldest son.  However, probably unknown to his father, Esau had sold his birthright to Jacob some time before but it was through deception Jacob actually received the blessing. Hard feelings resulted in the family because of this.  His story is told in Genesis 25-36.  He was born about 2066 BC.

Lessons from his life: * Parents should deal fairly with their children and not show favouritism. Much bitterness and turmoil in families would be eliminated if the parents treated their children equally.

* He acted on natural impulses, selling his birthright, with its significant blessing, for a single meal when he was starving (Gen 25:29-34).  He satisfied his immediate need without considering the long-term consequences of that decision. It is unwise to make major decisions when under extreme pressure or stress as our perspectives are not clear. When he wanted to get the birthright back, even though he sought it with tears of repentance he was unable to (Gen 27:34-40). Many of the decisions and situations in life cannot be reversed, nor the consequences altered, so refrain from making hasty choices in important matters as regret is a high price tag.

* He married heathen wives which caused much grief to his parents (Gen 26:34,35).  He didn’t seem to learn by his past mistakes as he continued to make poor choices. In important issues, ask mature Christians for their input and perspective so you can make a more informed and wise choice.

* Esau in his anger, failing to see his own wrong in giving away the birthright, vowed to kill his brother Jacob (Gen 27:41-45). The threat was taken seriously and Jacob moved away. When they did meet some 20 years later Esau seemed to have lost his bitterness for being deceived and being taken advantage of by Jacob (Gen 33:4-9).  While we can’t prevent others acting unjustly towards us, we are responsible for our attitude, response and actions. Do I need to repent of some foolish declarations? Any words we speak have within them the power to bring life or death, depending on whether they are negative or positive (Prov 18:21). Spiritual forces notice and attempt to bring about what we declare. We don’t fully understand the latent power of words and their immense impact.

* His life stands out as an example not to follow. “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. Afterwards as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears” (Heb 12:16,17). He made a series of monumentally unwise decisions by just focusing on the here and now, and did not learn by his past mistakes. Choices have major implications that are often irrevocable.

See also: anger, birthright, choices, favouritism, inheritance, Isaac, Jacob, Rebekah.