19 Now these are the records of the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean (Syrian) of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean. 21 Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was unable to conceive children; and the Lord granted his prayer and Rebekah his wife conceived [twins]. 22 But the children struggled together within her [kicking and shoving one another]; and she said, “If it is so [that the Lord has heard our prayer], why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the Lord [praying for an answer]. 23 The Lord said to her,
“[The founders of] two nations are in your womb; And the separation of two nations has begun in your body; The one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.”
24 When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out reddish all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau (hairy). 26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand grasped Esau’s heel, so he was named Jacob ([a]one who grabs by the heel, supplanter). Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
27 When the boys grew up, Esau was an able and skilled hunter, a man of the outdoors, but Jacob was a quiet and peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved [and favored] Esau, because [b]he enjoyed eating his game, but Rebekah loved [and favored] Jacob. 29 Jacob had cooked [reddish-brown lentil] stew [one day], when Esau came from the field and was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, “Please, let me have a quick swallow of that red stuff there, because I am exhausted and famished.” For that reason Esau was [also] called Edom (Red). 31 Jacob answered, “First sell me your [c]birthright (the rights of a firstborn).” 32 Esau said, “Look, I am about to die [if I do not eat soon]; so of what use is this birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear [an oath] to me today [that you are selling it to me for this food]”; so he swore [an oath] to him, and sold him his birthright. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and got up and went on his way. In this way Esau scorned his birthright.
Genesis 25:26Another meaning may be protect, i.e. may God protect.
Genesis 25:31In later times, this was the right of the firstborn to take over as head of the family and to receive a double share of the inheritance (cf Deut 21:17). The rewards given to Jacob appear to have been even greater (Gen 27:37). Furthermore, in Jewish tradition it was reported that before the tabernacle was set up, sacrifices were offered by the firstborn of a family.
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