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Monday, November 12 2012

A Biography Of Jacob: Peace With Esau

Studies in this complete series of A Biography Of Jacob:
1. The Second Twin 2. The Birthright 3. The Blessing 4. Stairway To Heaven
5. The Jacobites Of Syria 6. Speckled And Spotted 7. The Flight To Canaan 8. When Jacob Became Israel
9. Peace With Esau 10. The Return To Canaan 11. A Coat Of Many Colors 12. Israel In Egypt
13. Blessings And Prophecies 14. Homeward Bound


The struggle between Jacob and Esau, the fraternal twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah, began before they were born - they were even born "wrestling" for pre-eminence. Jacob, from the Hebrew word that means he grasps, was named after it (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Second Twin).

"25:21 And Isaac entreated the LORD [see Who Is The LORD?] for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived [see Who Chose Rebekah?]. 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.

25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them." (Genesis 25:21-26 KJV)

In beginning the fulfillment of the prophecy "the elder shall serve the younger," Jacob obtained starving firstborn Esau's birthright (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Birthright).

Jacob and Esau

"25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.

25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:27-34 KJV)

With Rebekah's help, Jacob then obtained firstborn Esau's blessing (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Blessing). It was the final straw for Esau; he decided to kill his brother Jacob, either as a senseless act of murder, or by means of some provocation in which Esau would "defend" himself and thereafter legally inherit the birthright and blessing back from Jacob - which could only work for as long as Jacob was himself childless (which may have been a consideration when they met again twenty years later, when Jacob had heirs, as we will read).

"27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 27:44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; 27:45 Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?" (Genesis 27:41-45 KJV)

The night before the meeting began with Jacob in a full panic that Esau was about to wipe out his entire family. The rest of the night was taken care of by the LORD - who "wrestled" with Jacob and renamed him as "Israel" (see A Biography Of Jacob: When Jacob Became Israel).

The Jabbok River

"32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now: 32:5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

32:6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

32:9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham [see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram], and God of my father Isaac [see A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac], the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. 32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. 32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." (Genesis 32:1-12 KJV)

The next morning, Jacob made the final preparations to appease his brother, or allow himself to be slaughtered in the attempt.

"32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

32:17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? 32:18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.

32:19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. 32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me. 32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company." (Genesis 32:13-21 KJV)

Esau was the first to meet his newly-renamed brother "Israel," who "bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother."

The Reconciliation Of Jacob and Esau

"33:1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids. 33:2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother." (Genesis 33:1-3 KJV)

Esau had grown in the twenty years that they were parted. He had become wealthy, on his own, and powerful, with his four hundred men, but Esau, with his wealth and power, had become a civilized gentleman. "Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept," and rather than taking all of the goods that Jacob was trying to give him, "Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself."

"33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. 33:5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee?

And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant [see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria].

33:6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. 33:7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

33:8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met?

And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.

33:9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself. 33:10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me. 33:11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it." (Genesis 33:4-11 KJV)

Esau had become very different. Jacob however was still very much a schemer. Jacob gave Esau a deceptive story, and then headed off in another direction: "Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth."

"33:12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.

33:13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me [see also A Biography Of Jacob: Speckled And Spotted]: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 33:14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

33:15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me.

And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.

33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. 33:17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth." (Genesis 33:12-17 KJV)

It was not long afterward that Jacob made first use of his new name.

"33:18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city. 33:19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money. 33:20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel." (Genesis 33:18-20 KJV)

Fact Finder: Jacob was of the Messianic "seed," or genetic line, from Abraham. But what about the other "seed" of Abraham - physical and spiritual?
See Abraham's Seed: From The Nile To The Euphrates and What Did Jesus Christ Say About Abraham?


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This Day In History, November 12

764: Tibetan troops occupied Chang'an, the capital of China's Tang Dynasty.

1035: King Canute of Denmark (ruled England, Norway and Denmark) died at age 40.

1439: Plymouth, England, became the first town incorporated by the English Parliament.

1812: In their retreat from Moscow, the remnants of Napoleon's "Grand Army" crossed the River Berezina; 10,000 stragglers were left behind.

1833: A meteorite deluge occurred, estimated at 1,000 per minute. Scientists believe that about 25,000,000 enter earth's atmosphere each day.

1859: In Paris, France, the first flying trapeze act was performed, by Jules Leotard at the Cirque Napoleon, without a safety net. The body-hugging costume he used was later named after him - leotards.

1867: A major eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Italy began and lasted for several months.

1912: A search party found the remains of British explorer Robert Scott and his companions after their ill-fated South Pole expedition.

1918: The day after the First World War armistice (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Emperor Karl of Austria-Hungary abdicated, making Austria a republic.

1923: Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) was arrested for his failed "Beer Hall Putsch" 4 days earlier.

1933: The Nazis Party and their leader Adolf Hitler received 92% of the vote in the German election.

1938: High-ranking Nazi official Hermann Goering stated that Madagascar should become a Jewish homeland.

1939: The occupying Nazi forces in Poland ordered Jews to wear yellow arm bands.

1942: The British 8th Army under General Bernard Montgomery captured Tobruk in Libya, taking over 30,000 German prisoners.

1944: The German battleship Tirpitz, sister ship of the Bismarck and Hitler's last major warship, was sunk by Lancaster bombers at Tromso Fjord in northern Norway.

1948: In the aftermath of the Second World War, Japanese Prime Minister Hikedi Tojo and 7 others were sentenced to hang by a U.S. war crimes court for "breaching laws and customs of war." Among the specified war crimes for which they were convicted and sentenced to death by U.S. judges was the waterboarding torture of prisoners (waterboarding was actually invented during the Church of Rome's "Inquisition" in which people were tortured into "conversion").

1968: The U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Arkansas law that banned the teaching of evolution in public schools (listen to our Sermon Darwin's Theory of Evolution).

1969: After the "classified" incident was made public by independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, the U.S. Army announced that it was investigating Lt. William Calley for his ordering the massacre of over 500 Vietnamese civilians (unarmed old men, women and babies) in their village of My Lai in March 1968. Calley was later convicted of the war crimes, but was quietly released from custody not long afterward.

1982: Yuri Andropov was elected First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party following the death of Leonid Brezhnev.





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