Abraham, Isaac, and Esau


Abram, personal name meaning, “father is exalted.”

Abraham, personal name meaning, "father of a multitude."

Isaac, personal name meaning "laughter."

Jacob, personal name built on the Hebrew noun for "heel" meaning, "he grasps the heel" or "he cheats, supplants." He was also called Israel, which means, “he struggles with God.”

Esau, is a personal name that may mean hairy. He was also called Edom, which means red.


(Gen 25:17-34 NIV)  Altogether, Ishmael lived a hundred and thirty-seven years. He breathed his last and died, and he was gathered to his people. {18} His descendants settled in the area from Havilah to Shur, near the border of Egypt, as you go toward Asshur. And they lived in hostility toward all their brothers. {19} This is the account of Abraham's son Isaac. Abraham became the father of Isaac, {20} and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram (Syria) and sister of Laban the Aramean. {21} Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. {22} The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, "Why is this happening to me?" So she went to inquire of the LORD. {23} The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger." {24} When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. {25} The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. {26} After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them. {27} The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. {28} Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob. {29} Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. {30} He said to Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I'm famished!" (That is why he was also called Edom.) {31} Jacob replied, "First sell me your birthright." {32} "Look, I am about to die," Esau said. "What good is the birthright to me?" {33} But Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. {34} Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised (did not esteem) his birthright.


(Gen 27:1-29 NIV)  When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, "My son." "Here I am," he answered. {2} Isaac said, "I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death. {3} Now then, get your weapons--your quiver and bow--and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. {4} Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die." {5} Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, {6} Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, {7} 'Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.' {8} Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: {9} Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. {10} Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies." {11} Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "But my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I'm a man with smooth skin. {12} What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing." {13} His mother said to him, "My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me." {14} So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. {15} Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. {16} She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. {17} Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made. {18} He went to his father and said, "My father." "Yes, my son," he answered. "Who is it?" {19} Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing." {20} Isaac asked his son, "How did you find it so quickly, my son?" "The LORD your God gave me success," he replied. {21} Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not." {22} Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." {23} He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. {24} "Are you really my son Esau?" he asked. "I am," he replied. {25} Then he said, "My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing." Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. {26} Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come here, my son, and kiss me." {27} So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. {28} May God give you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness-- an abundance of grain and new wine. {29} May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."


(Gen 27:30-45 NIV)  After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father's presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. {31} He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, "My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing." {32} His father Isaac asked him, "Who are you?" "I am your son," he answered, "your firstborn, Esau." {33} Isaac trembled violently and said, "Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him--and indeed he will be blessed!" {34} When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me--me too, my father!" {35} But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing." {36} Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob ? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?" {37} Isaac answered Esau, "I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?" {38} Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!" Then Esau wept aloud. {39} His father Isaac answered him, "Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above. {40} You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck." {41} Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob." {42} When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, "Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you. {43} Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran. {44} Stay with him for a while until your brother's fury subsides. {45} When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I'll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?"


(Gen 27:46 NIV)  Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I'm disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living." (Gen 28:1-9 NIV)  So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: "Do not marry a Canaanite woman. {2} Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. {3} May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. {4} May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham." {5} Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau. {6} Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, "Do not marry a Canaanite woman," {7} and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. {8} Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; {9} so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.


Esau/Edom became the father of the Edomites whereas Jacob/Israel became the father of the Israelites. They were never close as brothers. Consequently the Israelites and the Edomites were perpetually fighting.


So you may, or may not, find all of this somewhat interesting. But, what is the message? Simply this, we too have a birthright. We obtained it when we came to the Lord and became a new creation in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:17) The story of Esau can remind us of the dangers of not valuing and protecting our birthright. What has been lost is not easily found again! And the same temptation that overcame Esau can overcome us, if we are not careful.


Sherry has been telling us about the, “Tongue.” You could say it was the tongue that was the ruin of Esau. That is, his desire to taste the porridge, to satisfy his appetite led to his loss of the birthright and most likely the blessing as well.


What kind of things do you have an appetite for? What kind of things do you want to taste. How might your tongue lead to your downfall? Only you can answer for you, but here are some of the things that have caused the fall of many people. You can add your own items to the list.


1.      Desire for fame and/or fortune.

2.      A need for recognition.

3.      An immoral eye for women/men.

4.      Alcohol or drugs.

5.      Coveting.

6.      Inclination to fight or dispute.

7.      And of course the one that got to poor old Esau, food.


(Rom 16:17-18 NIV)  I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. {18} For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.