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.

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  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.

27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see,(A) he called for Esau his older son(B) 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.(C) Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country(D) to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like(E) and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing(F) before I die.”(G)

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

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

13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me.(R) Just do what I say;(S) 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.(T) 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes(U) of Esau her older son,(V) 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.(W) 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?”(X)

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

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

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

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

22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac,(AD) who touched(AE) 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;(AF) 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.”(AG)

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(AH) him(AI). When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes,(AJ) he blessed him and said,

“Ah, the smell of my son
    is like the smell of a field
    that the Lord has blessed.(AK)
28 May God give you heaven’s dew(AL)
    and earth’s richness(AM)
    an abundance of grain(AN) and new wine.(AO)
29 May nations serve you
    and peoples bow down to you.(AP)
Be lord over your brothers,
    and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.(AQ)
May those who curse you be cursed
    and those who bless you be blessed.(AR)

30 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, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”(AS)

32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”(AT)

“I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.(AU)

33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me?(AV) I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!(AW)

34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry(AX) and said to his father, “Bless(AY) me—me too, my father!”

35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully(AZ) and took your blessing.”(BA)

36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob[a]?(BB) This is the second time he has taken advantage of(BC) me: He took my birthright,(BD) and now he’s taken my blessing!”(BE) 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.(BF) 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.(BG)

39 His father Isaac answered him,(BH)

“Your dwelling will be
    away from the earth’s richness,
    away from the dew(BI) of heaven above.(BJ)
40 You will live by the sword
    and you will serve(BK) your brother.(BL)
But when you grow restless,
    you will throw his yoke
    from off your neck.(BM)

41 Esau held a grudge(BN) against Jacob(BO) because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning(BP) for my father are near; then I will kill(BQ) my brother Jacob.”(BR)

42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau(BS) had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you.(BT) 43 Now then, my son, do what I say:(BU) Flee at once to my brother Laban(BV) in Harran.(BW) 44 Stay with him for a while(BX) until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him,(BY) I’ll send word for you to come back from there.(BZ) Why should I lose both of you in one day?”

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite(CA) women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land,(CB) from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”(CC)

28 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed(CD) him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.(CE) Go at once to Paddan Aram,[b](CF) to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel.(CG) Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.(CH) May God Almighty[c](CI) bless(CJ) you and make you fruitful(CK) and increase your numbers(CL) until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham,(CM) so that you may take possession of the land(CN) where you now reside as a foreigner,(CO) the land God gave to Abraham.” Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way,(CP) and he went to Paddan Aram,(CQ) to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean,(CR) the brother of Rebekah,(CS) who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

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,”(CT) and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women(CU) were to his father Isaac;(CV) so he went to Ishmael(CW) and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth(CX) and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.(CY)


  1. Genesis 27:36 Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he takes advantage of or he deceives.
  2. Genesis 28:2 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia; also in verses 5, 6 and 7
  3. Genesis 28:3 Hebrew El-Shaddai

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