Esau He was the first son of Isaque and Rebeca and the twin brother of Jacob . He was a very hairy man and a good hunter. Esau became known for having despised his inheritance as an eldest son and for having lost his blessing to Jacob.
Esau’s grandfather was Abraham, the man who received God’s promise that, through him, all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. This promise passed to his son Isaque, who married a woman named Rebeca, who was sterile. Isaac prayed for his wife and God healed her infertility ( Genesis 25:21 ). Rebeca became pregnant with twins.
Read the story of Isaac and Rebeca here.
The birth of Esau and Jacob
During pregnancy, the two babies were not quiet, pushing each other. Rebeca asked God what was going on and He told her that her children would become two different nations and that the oldest would serve the youngest ( Genesis 25:23 ).
Rebeca gave birth and the first baby that came out was red and very hairy. For this reason, they called him Esau, which means “hairy”. The second left immediately after, holding on to Esau’s heel. He was called Jacob. Esau grew up to be a hunter and was Isaac’s favorite son, who liked to eat game meat. Jacob was closer to home and was Rebeca’s favorite.
Esau married two Hittite women ( Genesis 26: 34-35 ). They were pagans and made the life of Isaac and Rebekah very difficult.
Esau loses his blessing
At that time, the eldest son was the future leader of the family, who assumed this responsibility when the father died. For this reason, he also received a double portion of the inheritance. As Esau was the firstborn, this right belonged to him.
One day, Esau returned from the field hungry and found Jacob making red stew. He asked his brother for some food, but Jacob demanded a payment: the right to an eldest son. Esau, thinking only with his belly, accepted and swore an oath, transferring his right of eldest son to Jacob ( Genesis 25: 32-34 ). So Esau sold his inheritance for just one red stew! For this reason, he was nicknamed Edom , which means “red”.
Later, when Isaac became very old and blind, he decided to bless Esau, establishing him as the leader of the family. He sent Esau to hunt and make him a plate of food as he liked, then he would receive the blessing. Esau went out and did what his father asked, but when he returned, Isaac had already given the blessing to someone else – Jacob!
While Esau was out hunting, Rebekah helped Jacob deceive his father ( Genesis 27: 14-17 ). She prepared a food that Isaac liked, dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothing, and even covered Jacob with kid skins to look hairy like Esau! Isaac believed it was Esau and blessed Jacob as the leader of the family ( Genesis 27: 27-29 ).
When Esau found out what had happened, he wept and begged his father for a blessing, but Isaac had given Jacob the whole blessing and could not go back. So Esau was very angry with Jacob and decided to kill his brother ( Genesis 27:41 ). So Jacob ran away and spent many years in another land.
See the story of Jacob here.
The reunion of Esau and Jacob
Jacob fled with the excuse of looking for a wife among his relatives. So Esau found that his parents did not approve of his choice of wives. Then he married another woman, his cousin Maalat, daughter of Ishmael, Isaac’s older brother ( Genesis 28: 6-9 ). Later, he settled in Seir.
After many years, Jacob returned home, married, with a large family and many possessions. Esau met with 400 men and, along the way, found three groups of flocks sent by Jacob as a gift of reconciliation. When they finally met, Jacob bowed to Esau but Esau took him and embraced him ( Genesis 33: 3-4 ).
Esau had forgiven Jacob’s betrayal. He didn’t even want the gift, because he was well off, and wanted to accompany Jacob along the way. But Jacob convinced Esau to go ahead and the two ended up living in different places, avoiding confusion, because they both had a lot of goods and needed space ( Genesis 36: 6-7 ).
Esau had several children with his women. Their descendants became a great people , called Edom, who settled in southern Israel. The Edomites and Israelites (descendants of Jacob) had several conflicts throughout their history, but Esau and Jacob lived the rest of their days in peace with each other ( Genesis 35: 28-29 ).