Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birth of Jacob and Esau

Abraham finally dies in Genesis 25, but not before he gets another wife and has a whole mess of kids. Just to drive home the point that the lack of kids had been all Sarah's fault, Abraham's second wife Keturah is said to have born him six more sons. If there were any daughters mixed in they were apparently not important enough to mention.
Like Sarah, Abraham blew past the 120 limit set by God and died at the ripe old age of 175.
Then we get a quick rundown of Ishmael's descendents - 12 sons and 0 daughters naturally - before getting back to he main storyline that now runs through Isaac.
Isaac's wife Rebekah becomes pregnant with twin boys who we know as Jacob and Esau. But before they are born she seeks out God to find out why they are kicking so much in the womb. God tells her that there are two nations struggling inside her and that the older one will serve the younger. I'm assuming that this revelation has a lot to do with the favoritism that Rebekah shows toward Jacob later in the story.
We get all kinds of foreshadowing in the birth story with Esau born first, but Jacob coming out grasping his brother's heel.
We will soon learn that the two boys are as different as night and day. Esau is the bold and athletic hunter, though not too bright; while Jacob is the quiet, wimpy, stay-at-home Mommy's boy who also turns out to be a schemer and a backstabber.
Almost right away we have a story of Jacob scheming to steal away Esau's birthright by bribing him with food and drink.
Personally, I think that when it comes to twins there is no such thing as an older or younger sibling. They were both born on the same day and this business about which one came out of the womb first is silly nonsense.
But then that kind of attitude wouldn't make for as good a story.

1 comment:

  1. "They were both born on the same day and this business about which one came out of the womb first is silly nonsense."

    Silliness not only for twins, but for all births. The important moment is not the exit from the womb, but the moment of conception. For all, when the egg is fertilized, and for (identical) twins, when the zygote splits into two distinct humans.