Genesis 25:19-34

Jacob and Esau

19 This is the report about Abraham's son, Isaac, and his family.

Abraham became the father of Isaac. 20 When Isaac was 40 years old, he married Rebekah. Rebekah was the daughter of Bethuel. Bethuel was an Aramean from Paddan Aram. She was the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Rebekah could not have children. So Isaac prayed to the Lord for Rebekah. The Lord did as Isaac asked. And Isaac's wife, Rebekah, became pregnant. 22 The babies inside her were fighting with each other. Rebekah said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So Rebekah went to ask the Lord. 23 The Lord said to Rebekah, ‘The two children who are in your body will become two separate nations of people. One group will be stronger than the other. The older son will become a servant to the younger son.’

25:23In Old Testament times, the youngest son would always be like a servant to the oldest son. But this time, God chose the youngest son to be master over the oldest son.

24 The time came for Rebekah to give birth. There were two babies inside her. 25 The first baby to come out had a red body. Hair covered the whole of his body. They called him Esau. 26 After this, his brother came out. His hand was holding the back of Esau's foot. They called him Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.

27 Time passed and the boys grew. Esau became a good hunter, out in the fields. Jacob was a quiet man. He stayed near to the tents. 28 Isaac liked to eat the meat from the animals that Esau killed. So he loved Esau. But Rebekah loved Jacob.

29 One day, Jacob was cooking a meal. Esau came back from the country. He was very hungry. 30 He said to Jacob ‘Quick, let me have some of that red food! I am very hungry.’ (That is why he was also called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, ‘You must first sell me your birthright.’

25:30Edom means red.
25:31In the Old Testament, the oldest son had the birthright. This means that he would be the leader of his family when his father died. And he would get two parts of the things that had belonged to his father.

32 Esau said, ‘Look, I am so hungry that I will die. Then my birthright will not help me at all!’

25:32Esau is not thinking about what will happen in the future. He is only thinking of what he can have now.

33 Jacob said, ‘First, make a serious promise to me.’ So Esau promised to sell his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and the soup made from grains. Esau ate the food and he drank. Then he got up and he left.

In that way, Esau showed that he did not think that his birthright was important.

25:34Now Jacob had the birthright. Jacob is the younger son. Jacob will receive God's promise that he made with Abraham. This promise passed on to Isaac. When Isaac dies, it will pass to Jacob. This is what God told Rebekah in verse 23.