Jacob and Esau

19 This is the account(A) of the family line of Abraham’s son Isaac.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old(B) when he married Rebekah(C) daughter of Bethuel(D) the Aramean from Paddan Aram[a](E) and sister of Laban(F) the Aramean.(G)

21 Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless.(H) The Lord answered his prayer,(I) 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.(J)

23 The Lord said to her,

“Two nations(K) 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.(L)

24 When the time came for her to give birth,(M) there were twin boys in her womb.(N) 25 The first to come out was red,(O) and his whole body was like a hairy garment;(P) so they named him Esau.[b](Q) 26 After this, his brother came out,(R) with his hand grasping Esau’s heel;(S) so he was named Jacob.[c](T) Isaac was sixty years old(U) when Rebekah gave birth to them.

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter,(V) a man of the open country,(W) while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game,(X) loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.(Y)

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew,(Z) Esau came in from the open country,(AA) famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew!(AB) I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.[d])(AC)

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.(AD)

32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear(AE) to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright(AF) to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew.(AG) He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

Isaac and Abimelek(AH)

26 Now there was a famine in the land(AI)—besides the previous famine in Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelek king of the Philistines(AJ) in Gerar.(AK) The Lord appeared(AL) to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt;(AM) live in the land where I tell you to live.(AN) Stay in this land for a while,(AO) and I will be with you(AP) and will bless you.(AQ) For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands(AR) and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham.(AS) I will make your descendants(AT) as numerous as the stars in the sky(AU) and will give them all these lands,(AV) and through your offspring[e] all nations on earth will be blessed,[f](AW) because Abraham obeyed me(AX) and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees(AY) and my instructions.(AZ) So Isaac stayed in Gerar.(BA)

When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,(BB)” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”

When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelek king of the Philistines(BC) looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. So Abimelek summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?(BD)

Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”

10 Then Abimelek said, “What is this you have done to us?(BE) One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”

11 So Abimelek gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who harms(BF) this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”(BG)

12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold,(BH) because the Lord blessed him.(BI) 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.(BJ) 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants(BK) that the Philistines envied him.(BL) 15 So all the wells(BM) that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up,(BN) filling them with earth.

16 Then Abimelek said to Isaac, “Move away from us;(BO) you have become too powerful for us.(BP)

17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar,(BQ) where he settled. 18 Isaac reopened the wells(BR) that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.

19 Isaac’s servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herders of Gerar quarreled(BS) with those of Isaac and said, “The water is ours!”(BT) So he named the well Esek,[g] because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled(BU) over that one also; so he named it Sitnah.[h] 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth,[i](BV) saying, “Now the Lord has given us room(BW) and we will flourish(BX) in the land.”

23 From there he went up to Beersheba.(BY) 24 That night the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am the God of your father Abraham.(BZ) Do not be afraid,(CA) for I am with you;(CB) I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants(CC) for the sake of my servant Abraham.”(CD)

25 Isaac built an altar(CE) there and called on the name of the Lord.(CF) There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.(CG)

26 Meanwhile, Abimelek had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces.(CH) 27 Isaac asked them, “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?(CI)

28 They answered, “We saw clearly that the Lord was with you;(CJ) so we said, ‘There ought to be a sworn agreement between us’—between us and you. Let us make a treaty(CK) with you 29 that you will do us no harm,(CL) just as we did not harm you but always treated you well and sent you away peacefully. And now you are blessed by the Lord.”(CM)

30 Isaac then made a feast(CN) for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath(CO) to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they went away peacefully.

32 That day Isaac’s servants came and told him about the well(CP) they had dug. They said, “We’ve found water!” 33 He called it Shibah,[j] and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba.[k](CQ)

Jacob Takes Esau’s Blessing

34 When Esau was forty years old,(CR) he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite.(CS) 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.(CT)

27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see,(CU) he called for Esau his older son(CV) and said to him, “My son.”

“Here I am,” he answered.

Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death.(CW) Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country(CX) to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like(CY) and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing(CZ) before I die.”(DA)

Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country(DB) to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob,(DC) “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, ‘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.’(DD) Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you:(DE) Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats,(DF) so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it.(DG) 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing(DH) before he dies.”

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man(DI) while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me?(DJ) I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse(DK) on myself rather than a blessing.”

13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me.(DL) Just do what I say;(DM) 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.(DN) 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes(DO) of Esau her older son,(DP) 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.(DQ) 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?”(DR)

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn.(DS) I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game,(DT) so that you may give me your blessing.”(DU)

20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”

“The Lord your God gave me success,(DV)” he replied.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you,(DW) my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”

22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac,(DX) who touched(DY) 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;(DZ) so he proceeded to bless 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.”(EA)

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(EB) him(EC). When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes,(ED) he blessed him and said,

“Ah, the smell of my son
    is like the smell of a field
    that the Lord has blessed.(EE)
28 May God give you heaven’s dew(EF)
    and earth’s richness(EG)
    an abundance of grain(EH) and new wine.(EI)
29 May nations serve you
    and peoples bow down to you.(EJ)
Be lord over your brothers,
    and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.(EK)
May those who curse you be cursed
    and those who bless you be blessed.(EL)


  1. Genesis 25:20 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  2. Genesis 25:25 Esau may mean hairy.
  3. Genesis 25:26 Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he deceives.
  4. Genesis 25:30 Edom means red.
  5. Genesis 26:4 Or seed
  6. Genesis 26:4 Or and all nations on earth will use the name of your offspring in blessings (see 48:20)
  7. Genesis 26:20 Esek means dispute.
  8. Genesis 26:21 Sitnah means opposition.
  9. Genesis 26:22 Rehoboth means room.
  10. Genesis 26:33 Shibah can mean oath or seven.
  11. Genesis 26:33 Beersheba can mean well of the oath and well of seven.

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