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Bible story: Rebekah, Esau, Jacob

Updated on November 26, 2010

Esau going for venison

Rebekah bore Isaac two sons, twins, born twenty years after their marriage. They were allied Esau and Jacob. Esau, the first born, was the father's favorite, and Jacob, the younger, the mother's darling. Esau was red and hairy, and grew up to be a rough, wild hunter, but the smooth Jacob be­ came a quiet denizen of the tent. These differences of character were fostered by the foolish partiality of the parents, the great curse of all family life. Esau, as the first born, was his father's heir, and the heir, also, to the blessings promised to Abra­ham and his seed; but being careless 01these advantages, he sold them to Jacob for "one morsel of food`. He thus recklessly surrendered privileges which no man can renounce, except as a sacrifice required by God, without " despising God who gave them; and his punishment was in accordance with his sin. Having thus secured his brother's inheritance, Jacob was enabled, through the connivance of his mother, to sup­plant him at the most critical moment of his life, and to obtain by fraud from their father the blessing of Abraham which he was to hand down to another generation—an inheritance which in­volved a higher and spiritual blessing, including, in addition to all temporal prosperity, a dominion so universal that it could only be fulfilled by the Kingdom of the Messiah.

Jacob's vision

Jacob, having defrauded his brother of the patriarchal blessing, was obliged to fly from his home, to escape the wrath of the wronged Esau. He accordingly set out for Haran, the abode of his mother's family, and, staff in hand, he retraced, as a solitary wanderer, the path by which Abraham had traversed Canaan. At one stage of his journey he passed the night at Bethel, the site of one of his grand-father's encampments, with a stone for his pillow. Here, on the site of the altar of the Covenant, he was visited by Jehovah in a dream. He beheld a flight of stairs reaching from earth to the gates of heaven along which the angels of God were ascending and descending, some going forth on their missions as ministering spirits upon earth, and others returning to carry their reports to Him who sent them forth. The vision was beau­tifully illustrative of God's providence, and was suc­ceeded by another vision, in which Jehovah appeared to Jacob, renewed the Cove­nant with him, and gave him a special promise of protection. Jacob is be­lieved to have been seventy- years old at this time.

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