Isaac, the son of Abraham married Rebecca when he was forty years old and stayed for many years before they were blessed with a child. Isaac prayed to God to bless his wife Rebecca and in deed, God heard their cry because after twenty years, when Jacob was sixty years old, Rebecca became pregnant not just with one child but with twins.
Nevertheless, even before the children were born, their mother could feel them fighting and kicking in her womb. When she enquired from God about it, she was told that the two children will be the father of two different nations and the older one will become the servant of the younger.
During their birth, the bible records that the first child to be born was a boy, covered with hair and was red in color. The parents named him Esau in relation to the red color. The second born boy was born holding the heel of other and was named Jacob meaning a cheat (The Holy Bible, Genesis 27. 34-36). This essay shall focus on the story of Jacob and Esau laying more emphasis on the major events that characterizes their life as well as their contradicting characters.
As much as the two boy boys were twins, they ended up developing two different character traits. Esau took after his father and developed to become a skillful hunter who loved to eat the world game. On the contrary, Jacob loved to stay indoors and as a result, he learnt to cook and to do other household chores.
As a result, Esau was loved by his father Isaac while Jacob was much loved by his mother Rebecca. One day Esau came back home from his hunting trips hungry for he had not been very successful. Coincidentally, Jacob had just made a hot steaming stew and it was impossible for Esau to resist the sweet aroma. Nevertheless, Jacob being the clever one offered his brother a bowl of soup but it was in exchange of his birth right (White).
Giving away the birth right may have seemed as a big joke but little did Esau know that it would come to pass. When Isaac was old and ready to die, he called his son Esau and told him to prepare a meal so that he would bless him. Unfortunately, his wife Rebecca overheard the conversation and since he loved Jacob more, he advised his beloved son to lie to his father that he was Esau.
Isaac was already blind and could not see and therefore, Jacob prepared a good meal, used hide skins, and presented a delicious meal his father. When Isaac touched him to verify whether it was Esau, he felt the fur and believed that it was his hairy son Esau.
He ate the meal and blessed Jacob instead of Esau. Esau came back from hunting ready to prepare his father a meal but it was too late. The father had blessed Jacob with all the blessings that belonged to a first born and there was no blessing left for Esau.
Jacob had succeeded lying to his father but all in all, he had to face the consequences of his sins since great enmity developed between the twins. Since Esau had married Canaanite women who were troublesome, Rebecca advised Isaac to send Isaac away to Haran where her brother lived so that he could look for a better wife.
Jacob therefore headed to Haran where he was able to work for his uncle for about twenty one years and in return he got two wives, Leah and Rachael as well as with flock. His wives bore him twelve sons representing the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jacob then set out to his motherland and since he feared that his brother might be angry with him and kill him together with his household, he prayed to God that they may be protected and then decided to make peace with his brother. He divided his belongings in to two and sent his servants with the gifts to his brother. The same night God appeared to him and he wrestled with him till dawn.
However, God blessed him and changed his name from Jacob to Israel meaning ‘I have wrestled with God.’ Esau did not only forgive his brother but, was too glad to meet him after a long time. Although their life from the very beginning was characterized by conflicts, they reconciled and live normally though Jacob paid dearly for his sins.
The Holy Bible: King James Version. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers, 2001. Print.
White, Ellen G. Jacob and Esau. 1974. Web. 11 September 2010.