at the well
and Rebecca marry
birth of Esau & Jacob
Chauncey B Ives
'Just give me the food' he
said. 'What use is a birthright to me if I die of hunger?'
Jacob handed over the food, Esau ate, and the birthright was
pays fortune for plate of food
'On one of these visits
Jacob's daughter Dinah was molested by the son of the local
ruler, Shechem son of Hamor. Molested is too gentle a word.
The young girl was raped.
Strangely, Shechem seems to have fallen deeply in love with
lies: Jacob's story
See fabulous examples at Ancient
'If it seems strange to us that the choice of a husband was a
matter for the whole family, we must remember the young woman
was allying herself not only with her husband, but with his
whole family too. The couple would not
form a nuclear family in the modern sense, for these were
virtually unknown in ancient society, but become part of
a larger group.'
'When Mary of Nazareth (or Rebecca, wife of Isaac) went into
labor in Nazareth, she was the center of a tight little band of
kinswomen and villagers: a midwife, her relatives and her
friends. She knew what to expect, having seen other village
women giving birth...'
birth in ancient times
the start the older son Esau was a man’s man, good at
hunting and outdoors activities. Jacob, the younger twin, was
quiet, more intelligent, using his wits rather than brute strength.
girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin whom no man had known. She went
down to the spring and filled her jar. The servant ran to meet her
saying, ‘Please let me sip water
from your jar.’ ‘Drink,
my lord,’ she said.'
love and the whole damn thing...
Read the story here
the story of Rebecca and Isaac
well was an ancient symbol of woman and of her ability to
give life. It held water needed for survival, and its shape
was similar to the entrance of a vagina - keep in mind that
the story-tellers of Genesis were tribal nomads who were a
great deal more comfortable with their sexuality than modern
unbroken jar was a symbol of virginity.
saw the meeting of Eliezer and Rebecca as a prefiguration of
the Annunciation, where the Angel Gabriel asks Mary to carry
out an important part of God's plan, and she accepts.
is a love story, but there is no happy-ever-after ending.
This is life with all its ups and downs.
at the well
'Eliezer and Rebecca at the Well', Nicolas Poussin,
A surprised Rebecca listens
as Abraham's servant makes his proposal.See the skepticism of the
beautiful but rather tough-looking woman in the green skirt,
or the girls on the left giggling at the unexpected proposal Rebecca is receiving.
This painting was executed when
Poussin was at the height of his powers. Always unhappy and dissatisfied
in his personal life, Poussin nevertheless painted with glorious elegance
and grace. He placed the figures in classical surroundings, and dressed
them as if they were living in the Classical Age, quite disregarding
But what balance, what perfection in this painting.
Each arm, each robe, each face is positioned so that it forms an harmonious
whole. And each figure has a distinctive personality. See the skepticism
of the beautiful but rather tough-looking young woman in the green skirt, or the
girls on the left giggling at the unexpected proposal Rebecca is
Poussin was influenced by
Greek and Roman statuary. Like the great sculptors of the past he formed
an ideal of beauty, while still appreciating the merits of simplicity of
form. His figures are posed in natural attitidues, and the clothing both
conceals and enhances the loveliness of their forms.
Poussin's patron was the
great Cardinal Barbarini, a generous sponsor. In 1640 Poussin was invited
to Paris to become the young Louis XIV's official painter, but after three
years in the French court Poussin gladly returned to Rome, where he died
'Rebecca and Eliezer at the Well', Carlo Maratti,
The jewels are offered to
Rebecca, and her graceful hand reaches forward to take them. For the real thing, see Bible
Maratti was one of the last great
masters of Baroque classicism, and the word that comes to mind to describe
his paintings is 'magnificence'. He was also a great painter of the Virgin
Mother - his nickname, Carluccio delle Madonne, means 'Little Carlo of the
Madonnas'. The women in his paintings are splendid, serene, classically
beautiful. The skin tones of the women in this painting of Rebecca and Eliezer, and their
languid beauty, seem almost unearthly.
'Rebecca and Eliezer' and 'Rebecca at the Well'
Paolo Cagliari (Veronese), circa 1580
These paintings show the
incident where Rebecca meets and impresses the strangers at the well. Her pose and ample figure suggest she
has life and energy to offer an aspiring suitor.
In the first painting, a robust but
dignified Rebecca listens intently to the words of the strangers at the
well. She, and the men she is speaking to, are overshadowed by ruins of
some long-lost, grandiose building. Only the well remains. It is the
source of water and therefore of life and fertility - both of which Rebecca
will offer to Isaac.
In the second painting, Cagiari-Veronese has reveled in the rich colors
of the garments. They are vibrant, almost voluptuous. Again, the effect is
of vigor and lavish energy.
Veronese lacked imagination,
but he made up for it with his genius for composition and sheer magnificence
of color. He delighted in vast canvases, and was more skilled in
composition than even Rubens. His pictures are crowded with figures, but
there is always a suggestion of space and balance. Each figure is
'Rebekah at the Well',
Rebecca pours precious water
into the drinking cup of the traveler who has come from Abraham
The painter of this well-known illustration of
Rebecca is astonishingly versatile in his choice of subjects: the Marilyn
Munroe and James Dean stamps in USA and a Time Magazine cover of Ben
Franklin, to name just two. He has succeeded in presenting Rebekah as a
strong, modern woman who, though modest, seems to be doling out the water
on her own terms.
on the thumbnail at right to see another inspiring woman painted by
Michael Deas - you might be surprised!
'Rebecca at the Well', Chauncey B Ives,
A very young Rebecca holds
her water jug, ready to fill it. But something outside of her immediate
area has distracted her, and she focuses on that.
Ives used graceful
neo-classical marble statues to popularize sculpture in 19th century
America. He was particularly skilled at capturing the vulnerability of
women, as he does in this statue of Rebecca. She is so young, he seems to
say, to be making a life-changing decision and setting out on a long
journey to a strange land. Yet this is what so many immigrants were doing
in 19th century America - equally young, equally vulnerable.
of Eliezer and Rebecca', Hans Jamnitzer,
Eliezer was the head of
Abraham's household (see Genesis 15:2) and many people assume he was the
leader of the expedition sent to find a bride for Isaac. Here he greets
the young woman at the well.
Most images of Rebecca at the well
focus on the human figures. This medal is bursting with abundant Nature -
flourishing trees, bushes, grass and animals. The overall effect is of
'Eliezer and Rebecca',
Giambattista Pittoni, 18th century
the servant of Abraham offers
Rebecca the jewels sent by his master for the future wife of Isaac.
This is the essential dilemma of
women. Yes, the jewelry looks very pretty on her arm, but what price will
she pay? For Rebecca, it means leaving her home, enduring a difficult
pregnancy, having a husband who does not always make wise choices, and
being forced to choose between people she loves. She ponders. Is it worth
'Rebecca and Eliezer',
Bartolomé Esteban Perez Murillo, late 17th century
Rebecca offers water from the
well to the traveler Eliezer, who is bringing her an offer of marriage.
Notice the side of the well. As with
so many paintings of this scene, there is the suggestion of decay. Rebecca
will do well to leave this land and seek out a new, more vigorous one.
Notice too the rounded shape of the water jars, and the rounded shapes of
the young women. The underlying themes of water and fertility have been
none-too-subtly suggested by Murillo.
'Rebecca at the
Well', Giandomenica Tiepolo, late 18th century
The servant of Abraham,
sumptuously dressed, offers the jewels to Rebecca. These will be her gift
if she consents to marry Isaac.
Tiepolo's work was described as
'full of spirit, of infinite fire, and dazzling color'. On the evidence of
this painting alone, it seems to be true. Yet there is an underlying
melancholy in all his work. Look at Rebecca's eyes. She sees the jewels
the servant of Abraham is offering her, but she also seems to see the
years of sorrow she will endure as well - hers was not an easy life,
either as a wife or as a mother.
Rebecca, statue, Johannes Takanen,
Rebecca stands, relaxed, at
the well where she will meet the servant of Abraham.
Johannes Takanen was a Finnish
sculptor of remarkable talent but limited means. He preferred to work in
marble, but could only afford to do so four times during his lifetime. The
statue of Rebecca is one of these four. He has made her modest,
good-humored and not in the least over-awed by the future that awaits her.
'Rebecca at the well',
unknown mosaic artist, 1132-1170
The mosaic uses a common
technique of the time, showing two events in the story rather than one, in
the manner of a modern comic strip. The first shows Rebecca as she fills a
jar full of water, to offer to the thirsty travelers. The second shows her
mounted on a camel, on the long road she must take to meet her Isaac.
These mosaics are part of the
glorious decoration of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo. No expense, it seems, was spared in the building of this
royal chapel. The shimmering gold of the mosaics gives the visitor the
impression of being inside a jewel box. The images themselves are as
clear as when first produced, with loving attention to detail -
see the happy expression in the camels' eyes as they lap at the gleaming
Abraham's Servant meets Rebecca at
the Well, Rebecca's journey to Isaac,
unknown mosaic artist, circa 1180
In the first mosaic, Rebecca
scoops water from the well for the thirsty travelers; the came meanwhile
helps itself. In the second mosaic, Rebecca, her nurse and her maids set
out on the epic journey that will take them to Isaac, Rebecca's
husband-to-be. Rebecca, mounted on a white camel, seems bemused by
the decision she has made to leave everything familiar and set out for an
These two mosaics are from the
Norman cathedral at Monreale, Sicily - one of the most spectacular
displays of mosaics anywhere in the world. The building was begun in 1174
by William II, who was determined to overshadow the Cappella Palatine in
Palermo (see above.) The mosaics were apparently completed within a space
of 10 years, using Greek craftsmanship and designs showing strong
Byzantine influences. The main themes are scenes from the Old and New
Testaments of the Bible. These run in four rows, with two levels on each
side of the nave.
(1) Genesis 24:1-27; (2)
'Abraham's Servant with Rebecca',
Jacob Hogers, 1616
Rebecca offers water to the
thirsty servant of Abraham.
The background and gestures tell the
story here. Rebecca stands among the ruins of a once-grand city, but her
hand points to somewhere else - to the future? The figure of Abraham's
servant strains forward, eager to convince her that she must come with him
to meet her husband-to-be, Isaac.
and Rebecca marry
Isaac von ferne (Rebecca sees Isaac in the distance) Julius Schnorr
von Carolsfeld, 1898
Woodcut from 'The Bible in
Pictures'. Rebecca, from a suitably commanding height, points the
way back to her home and waiting brother or father. She is
already in charge of the situation - indeed, it is as if she has
already made up her mind to take up the offer of marriage from
Abraham and Isaac.
'Landscape with the Marriage of Isaac and
This idyllic scene is the
setting for the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca.
This artist is best known for his
idealized landscapes. This particular painting is characteristic of his
work at this period: tall trees on one side of the picture balanced by a
classical ruin and smaller trees further back; a foreground with figures;
a winding river drawing the eye by stages through an open landscape to the
horizon; and distant hills. The whole is permeated with a clear, tranquil
'Isaac and Rebecca' (The Jewish Bride), Rembrandt van
An magnificently dressed man
and woman are in a shadowy room. The man has his arm around the woman's
shoulder and a hand on her breast. Very carefully she touches his hand
with her fingertips. His expression is tender, hers is tentative. What
does it mean?
The identity of the two figures in
this painting of Rembrandt's is debated. The Rijksmuseum, where the
painting is held, simply lists it as 'Portrait of Two Figures from the Old
Testament'. Are they Isaac and Rebecca? The picture, called the 'Jewish
Bride', was painted by Rembrandt in 1667. It is one of the most famous and
mysterious paintings in the museum's collection.
Did she love him? For the story of Isaac, see
Bible People: Isaac
Birth of Jacob and Esau
Spoke to Rebekah', Deborah A
Rebekah bends under the weight of the twins within
her womb. Heavy as she
is with the weight of her pregnancy, the woman is beautiful.
Deborah Reeder's wonderful drawings
show the complexity of a woman's life. Like Rebekah, she is treasured as she sets out on
life's journey. The way points ahead, but she has no way of knowing what
the future will hold for her.
Then, when she loves and finds herself pregnant, a whole new world
opens up. Heavy as she is with the weight of her pregnancy, the woman is
beautiful as she waits to give birth - to her children and to the future.
Birth of Esau and Jacob. Paris circa 1360.
The illustrator of Jean de Mandeville's
"Mandeville's Travels" is unknown.
Rebecca's difficult pregnancy
has come to an end. She has given birth to not just one son, but two. She
lies resting, and her maids take the newborn babies to be washed in a
great tub of water.
The unknown illustrator of
Mandeville's book was both prolific and gifted. He worked in France from
about 13-50-70, for King John the Good and King Charles V. His painting
technique seems simple, but is not. He painted the costumes and drapery of
his figures with an underlay of gray or monochrome, which used properly
gives a 3-dimensional effect.
Information about childbirth in biblical
times at Bible
Women: Major Events
Genesis 25: 24-26
Jacob, 'Govert Flinck, 1638
Old, blind, manipulated by
those he thought he could trust. The luxurious coat, once a symbol of his
authority in the tribe, now falls from his shoulders, reminding the viewer
that his power now passes to the eager, duplicitous son kneeling at his
Flinck was a pupil of Rembrandt's, and the influence of the older artist
is clear in this painting of Rebecca and her husband and son.
She leans forward, urging her aged husband to give his blessing to the
disguised Jacob. The old man's closed eyes remind us that he cannot see
his son kneeling in front of him, and mistakenly thinks he is blessing
his other son, the hirsute Esau.
For a short biography of the wily Jacob, see
'Rebecca Presents Jacob to Isaac', Nicolas-Guy Brenet,
The skin of an animal is
draped round Jacob's neck and shoulders, to deceive his father. Rebecca
watches silently as her plan unfolds.
Brenet has managed to capture the
terrifying vulnerability of the blind. Isaac's body is still strong and
well-muscled but he, once so powerful, is now at the mercy of the people
around him. The anguish of his predicament shows clearly on his
' Isaac Blessing Jacob', Bartolomé Esteban
Jacob, prompted by Rebecca,
has tricked his father into giving him the Blessing which will guarantee
his future rule over the tribe.
What interesting composition in this
painting. Every inch of it is drenched with significance. The left side is
almost empty - certainly devoid of any significant activity. Despite the
golden light that bathes the side of the house, there is a bleak quality
to the space. Contrast it with the right side of the painting: there is a
great deal going on in this interior. The deceived, blind old man has been
tricked into giving his blessing to Jacob, who kneels with his mother's
protective arm round his shoulder. Here is human nature at its best and
'The Gates of Paradise' on the Baptistry
in Florence: 'Isaac' - Rebecca gives birth to Isaac, Isaac sends his
older son Esau to hunt for food, Isaac mistakenly gives his blessing to
Jacob. Ghiberti, 1404-24
The whole story in a
strip of key incidents: at left, the women gather to help Rebecca give
birth; Isaac sends Esau on the hunt; Jacob receives Isaac's blessing as
Rebecca stands behind her son and watches.
This panel is always referred to as
the 'Isaac panel', but if you look you will see that Ghiberti has framed
the scenes on both sides with the figure of Rebecca. She may be the one
who watches from the sidelines, but she dominates the events in this
story. The reliefs themselves are delicately classical - classical
architecture, classical drapery and figures. But the realism of the poses
shows the influence of Renaissance ideas about human beings - these are
real people, with idiosyncratic gestures and movements. See, for example,
Rebecca's ambivalent body language, as
she watches her blind husband give his Blessing to the wrong son.
Birthright', Matthias Stomer,
Esau comes in from hunting.
He has been successful, but the hare he has caught will take a while to
cook. Meanwhile, he is hungry, and asks Jacob for food. Jacob gives him
some of the lentil stew he has been cooking, in return for the rights of
inheritance that Esau has.
In contrast to some of the preceding
paintings, these seem like real people in a real situation. Isaac looks
doubtful - he does not like what he is doing. Rebecca has seen an
opportunity to carry out a plan she has had for some time. Esau walks into
'Rebecca', Hans Collaert,
Rebecca sits thinking
quietly, and behind her we see what she is thinking about....
This engraving, made in Antwerp, is
a powerful representation of the characters involved in the story.
Collaert has placed an aged Rebecca at the front of the image, as the
dominating person in the story. Behind her - as if she is imagining what
will happen - or has it already happened? Isaac gives his blessing
to Jacob. Outside the doorway Esau tramps past with his hunting dog,
fulfilling his father's wish but losing the gift he most wants from his
father - the all-important Blessing.
Search for a Wife for Isaac, Genesis
1 Now Abraham was old, well
advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed
Abraham in all things.
said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that
he had, ‘Put your hand under my thigh
I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of
heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the
daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live,
will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son
5 The servant said
to him, ‘Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land;
must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?’
said to him, ‘See to it that you do not take my son back there.
Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my
father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and
swore to me, “To your offspring I will give this land”, he will send
his angel before you; you shall take a wife for my son from there.
if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this
oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.’
the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore
to him concerning this matter.
10 Then the
servant took ten of his master’s camels and departed, taking all kinds
of choice gifts from his master; and he set out and went to Aram-naharaim,
to the city of Nahor.
made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water; it was
towards evening, the time when women go out to draw water.
he said, ‘O Lord, God of my master Abraham,
please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master
13 I am standing
here by the spring of water, and the daughters of the townspeople are
coming out to draw water.
the girl to whom I shall say, “Please offer your jar that I may
drink”, and who shall say, “Drink, and I will water your
camels”—let her be the one whom you have appointed for your servant
Isaac. By this I shall know that you have shown steadfast love to my
Rebekah at the Well
Before he had
finished speaking, there was Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel son of
Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, coming out with her
water-jar on her shoulder.
girl was very fair to look upon, a virgin whom no man had known. She went
down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up.
the servant ran to meet her and said, ‘Please let me sip a little water
from your jar.’
my lord,’ she said, and quickly lowered her jar upon her hand and gave
him a drink.
19 When she had
finished giving him a drink, she said, ‘I will draw for your camels
also, until they have finished drinking.’
she quickly emptied her jar into the trough and ran again to the well to
draw, and she drew for all his camels.
man gazed at her in silence to learn whether or not the Lord
had made his journey successful.
22 When the camels
had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose-ring weighing a
half-shekel, and two bracelets for her arms weighing ten gold shekels,
said, ‘Tell me whose daughter you are. Is there room in your father’s
house for us to spend the night?’
said to him, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, whom she bore
25 She added,
‘We have plenty of straw and fodder and a place to spend the night.’
man bowed his head and worshipped the Lord
said, ‘Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master
Abraham, who has not forsaken his steadfast love and his faithfulness
towards my master. As for me, the Lord has led me
on the way to the house of my master’s kin.’
Then the girl
ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
had a brother whose name was Laban; and Laban ran out to the man, to the
30 As soon as he had
seen the nose-ring, and the bracelets on his sister’s arms, and when he
heard the words of his sister Rebekah, ‘Thus the man spoke to me’, he
went to the man; and there he was, standing by the camels at the spring.
said, ‘Come in, O blessed of the Lord. Why
do you stand outside when I have prepared the house and a place for the
32 So the man came
into the house; and Laban unloaded the camels, and gave him straw and
fodder for the camels, and water to wash his feet and the feet of the men
who were with him.
food was set before him to eat; but he said, ‘I will not eat until I
have told my errand.’ He said, ‘Speak on.' 34 So he said 'I am
Lord has greatly blessed my master, and he has
become wealthy; he has given him flocks and herds, silver and gold, male
and female slaves, camels and donkeys.
Sarah my master’s wife bore a son to my master when she was old; and he
has given him all that he has.
master made me swear, saying, “You shall not take a wife for my son from
the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live;
you shall go to my father’s house, to my kindred, and get a wife for my
39 I said to my
master, “Perhaps the woman will not follow me.”
he said to me, “The Lord, before whom I walk,
will send his angel with you and make your way successful. You shall get a
wife for my son from my kindred, from my father’s house.
you will be free from my oath, when you come to my kindred; even if they
will not give her to you, you will be free from my oath.”
‘I came today
to the spring, and said, “O Lord, the God
of my master Abraham, if now you will only make successful the way I am
43 I am standing here
by the spring of water; let the young woman who comes out to draw, to whom
I shall say, ‘Please give me a little water from your jar to drink,’
who will say to me, ‘Drink, and I will draw for your camels
also’—let her be the woman whom the Lord has
appointed for my master’s son.”
‘Before I had
finished speaking in my heart, there was Rebekah coming out with her
water-jar on her shoulder; and she went down to the spring, and drew. I
said to her, “Please let me drink.”
quickly let down her jar from her shoulder, and said, “Drink, and I will
also water your camels.” So I drank, and she also watered the camels.
I asked her, “Whose daughter are you?” She said, “The daughter of
Bethuel, Nahor’s son, whom Milcah bore to him.” So I put the ring on
her nose, and the bracelets on her arms.
I bowed my head and worshipped the Lord, and
blessed the Lord, the God of my master Abraham,
who had led me by the right way to obtain the daughter of my master’s
kinsman for his son.
then, if you will deal loyally and truly with my master, tell me; and if
not, tell me, so that I may turn either to the right hand or to the
Then Laban and
Bethuel answered, ‘The thing comes from the Lord;
we cannot speak to you anything bad or good.
Rebekah is before you; take her and go, and let her be the wife of your
master’s son, as the Lord has spoken.’
Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed himself to the ground
before the Lord.
the servant brought out jewellery of silver and of gold, and garments, and
gave them to Rebekah; he also gave to her brother and to her mother costly
54 Then he and the
men who were with him ate and drank, and they spent the night there. When
they rose in the morning, he said, ‘Send me back to my master.’
brother and her mother said, ‘Let the girl remain with us a while, at
least ten days; after that she may go.’
he said to them, ‘Do not delay me, since the Lord
has made my journey successful; let me go, that I may go to my master.’
said, ‘We will call the girl, and ask her.’
they called Rebekah, and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She
said, ‘I will.’
they sent away their sister Rebekah and her nurse along with Abraham’s
servant and his men.
they blessed Rebekah and said to her,
‘May you, our sister, become
thousands of myriads;
may your offspring gain possession
of the gates of their foes.’
61 Then Rebekah and her maids
rose up, mounted the camels, and followed the man; thus the servant took
Rebekah, and went his way.
Now Isaac had
come from Beer-lahai-roi, and was settled in the Negeb.
At First Sight
went out in the evening to walk in the field; and looking up, he saw
64 And Rebekah
looked up, and when she saw Isaac, she slipped quickly from the camel,
said to the servant, ‘Who is the man over there, walking in the field to
meet us?’ The servant said, ‘It is my master.’ So she took her veil
and covered herself.
the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.
Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she
became his wife; and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his
Two Sons, Esau and Jacob, Genesis
are the descendants of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham was the father of
20 and Isaac was forty years old when he
married Rebekah, daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, sister of
Laban the Aramean.
21 Isaac prayed to the Lord
for his wife, because she was barren; and the Lord
granted his prayer, and his wife Rebekah conceived.
children struggled together within her; and she said, ‘If it is to be
this way, why do I live?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord.
23 And the Lord said to her,
‘Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples born of you shall be divided;
one shall be stronger than the other,
the elder shall serve the younger.’
24 When her time to give birth was at hand, there
were twins in her womb.
25 The first came out red,
all his body like a hairy mantle; so they named him Esau.
his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was
named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
When the boys grew up, Esau was a
skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in
28 Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of
game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.
and Rebekah steal the Birthright
Once when Jacob was cooking a stew,
Esau came in from the field, and he was famished.
said to Jacob, ‘Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!’
(Therefore he was called Edom.)
31 Jacob said, ‘First sell me your birthright.’
said, ‘I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?’ 33Jacob
said, ‘Swear to me first.’
So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and
went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
Blesses Jacob, Genesis 27
1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he
called his elder son Esau and said to him, ‘My son’; and he answered,
‘Here I am.’
2 He said, ‘See, I am old; I do
not know the day of my death.
3 Now then, take your
weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game
4 Then prepare for me savoury food, such as I
like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.’
Isaac Meets his
Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac
spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and
6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘I heard
your father say to your brother Esau,
7 “Bring me
game, and prepare for me savoury food to eat, that I may bless you before
the Lord before I die.”
therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you.
to the flock, and get me two choice kids, so that I may prepare from them
savory food for your father, such as he likes;
you shall take it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before
11 But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah,
‘Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a man of smooth skin.
my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him, and bring a
curse on myself and not a blessing.’
13 His mother
said to him, ‘Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my word, and
go, get them for me.’
14 So he went and got them
and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared savoury food, such
as his father loved.
Then Rebekah took the best
garments of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put
them on her younger son Jacob;
16 and she put the
skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck.
she handed the savoury food, and the bread that she had prepared, to her
So he went in to his father, and said,
‘My father’; and he said, ‘Here I am; who are you, my son?’
said to his father, ‘I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told
me; now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me.’
Isaac said to his son, ‘How is it that you have found it so quickly, my
son?’ He answered, ‘Because the Lord your God
granted me success.’
21 Then Isaac said to Jacob,
‘Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really
my son Esau or not.’
22 So Jacob went up to his
father Isaac, who felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice, but
the hands are the hands of Esau.’
23 He did not
recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s
hands; so he blessed him.
24 He said, ‘Are you
really my son Esau?’ He answered, ‘I am.’
he said, ‘Bring it to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless
you.’ So he brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and
26 Then his father Isaac said to him,
‘Come near and kiss me, my son.’
27 So he came
near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed
him, and said,
‘Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field that the Lord
May God give you of the dew of heaven,
and of the fatness of the earth,
and plenty of grain and wine.
29 Let peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
and blessed be everyone who blesses you!’
Esau's Lost Blessing
As soon as Isaac had finished blessing
Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of his father
Isaac, his brother Esau came in from his hunting.
also prepared savoury food, and brought it to his father. And he said to
his father, ‘Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that
you may bless me.’
32 His father Isaac said to him,
‘Who are you?’ He answered, ‘I am your firstborn son, Esau.’
Isaac trembled violently, and said, ‘Who was it then that hunted game
and brought it to me, and I ate it all
before you came, and I have blessed him?—yes, and blessed he shall
34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he
cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his
father, ‘Bless me, me also, father!’
35 But he
said, ‘Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your
36 Esau said, ‘Is he not rightly named
For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and
look, now he has taken away my blessing.’ Then he said, ‘Have you not
reserved a blessing for me?’
37 Isaac answered
Esau, ‘I have already made him your lord, and I have given him all his
brothers as servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What
then can I do for you, my son?’
38 Esau said to his
father, ‘Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me, me also,
father!’ And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
Then his father Isaac answered him:
‘See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your home be,
and away from the dew of heaven on high.
40 By your sword you shall live,
and you shall serve your brother;
but when you break loose,
you shall break his yoke from your neck.’