Journey Through The Scriptures

The Life of Isaac

Lesson 3: Esau and Jacob Are Born

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 25:19–34)

The peace and tranquility of Isaac's and Rebekah's household was shattered with the birth of their rough-and-tumble twin sons, Esau and Jacob, who began fighting before they were even born! Like Sarah before her, Rebekah had been unable to have children. But Isaac prayed for his wife, and God answered his prayer by giving them their sons.

Because Isaac and Rebekah were in line to carry forward God's promises to Abraham, it is not surprising that the birth of their sons had significance far beyond their own family. God reversed the natural order of prominence by stating that the nation that would come from Jacob, the younger son, would be stronger than the people of Esau. Esau's descendants, the Edomites, later became one of Israel's longeststanding and most bitter enemies.

Study Questions

  1. People's names in Bible times were often chosen to reflect a person's nature. How did Jacob's name, which means "trickster," reveal his personality?
  2. Isaac prayed to God to reverse Rebekah's barrenness. How did this act contrast with Abraham's and Sarah's initial response to her childlessness (see Genesis 16:1-4)?
  3. Isaac and Rebekah both fell into the age-old parental trap of favoring one child over another (v. 28). How did their favoritism likely fan the flames of conflict between their sons, and later between nations.
  4. The fact that Esau's descendants, the Edomites, were openly hostile to Jacob's descendants, the Israelites, is a tragic fact of history. What lessons do we learn from this that can help us with our own families?

Something to Think About

God made Esau and Jacob different in every way. The fact that their differences became a source of conflict does not negate the fact that God makes each one of us with unique talents, desires, and emotions. Thank Him today for the way He made you.

Playing favorites is a dangerous game, whether in a family, at the office, or in our friendships. Make sure you are treating all the people in your life with the same love and respect.