Swear to me First

Chapter 25 in Genesis begins with the passing of Abraham. He lived a good long life and bore many sons. He took a wife after Sarah passed and had even more sons, but it is Issac’s story that is important and apparently only important that he marries Rebekah and they have the twins Jacob and Esau.

It is important that Esau is born first and Jacob comes out clutching his heel, but that isn’t the real important part of the story. The real important part is Jacob’s red stew. One day Esau comes in from the fields and Jacob makes him swear to give up his birthright for a bite of the stew. As the first born and the descendant of Abraham Esau was set to inherit great wealth and become the new head of the family. Instead Jacob now claims that right due to his trickery.

I know there is more to come and Jacob is a very important figure in the Old Testament. So much so that often in the New Testament God is referred to as the God of Jacob. What that means exactly is yet to be known.

I have to admit I am unfamiliar with the stories of Jacob past this one. I have heard of Jacob’s ladder but do not know what it is in reference to. This is mostly the reason I am reading the Bible. It is a book I know more of through second hand knowledge than direct reading, and I hope to correct that.

What I know of this story is that Esau goes on to found his own nation, the Edomites, and eventually Edom and Israel go to war with Israel destroying Edom. This story of how Esau gives up his birthright might be setting up the justification for that war.

I mention again that the Bible is not the story of perfect people behaving perfectly. Jacob is an important figure. One we think of as partly a founder of our faith, and here he is tricking his brother into giving up his birthright.

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