Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy
Was Jacob wrong to trick Esau into compromising his birthright?
Jacob bought the birthright from Esau (Genesis 25:32). The Bible testifies that Esau despised his birthright (Genesis 25:32).
- Genesis 25:
- 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. 29 When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; 30 and Esau said to Jacob, Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished. Therefore his name was called Edom. 31 But Jacob said, First sell me your birthright. 32 Esau said, Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me? 33 And Jacob said, First swear to me; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
The expression 'First sell me' Genesis 25: 31,33 in Hebrew is "HaYom" i.e. "this day" not necessarily "first"!
Gil Yehuda quoting from his father has shown from the Grammatical construction in the Hebrew that first Jacob gave the food to Esau and then he requested the birthright. Esau gave it to Jacob as an afterthought.
i.e. where the translation says.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread..
The Hebrew is "veYaacov natan" meaning "had already given."
- Gil Yehuda said:
- This is a perfect tense verb in middle of a series of imperfect tense verbs. Had the author been grammatically consistent, the text should have said (Jacob then gave) -- a construct used in verse 25:5. This tells the reader that something is presented out of sequence; that Jacob gave food before Esav sold the birthright.
This places the expression, 'Thus Esau despised his birthright.' He had not been forced to sell it. As holder of the birthright Jacob had a right to the blessing.
Jacob valued the birthright.
At their birth it had been prophesied to Rebecca (the mother of Esau and Jacob) that Jacob would have pre-eminence over Esau (Genesis 25:23).
Jacob was following the instructions of Rebecca (Genesis 27:6-17). They were doing what they could to fulfill the Prophecy.
We should learn from this.
Prophecies for the good are meant to be fulfilled.
Prophecies for the bad however may be averted by changing our behavior to a more positive direction.
We should endeavor to do what we can to fulfill them.
Later Jacob received the Blessing from Isaac by deceiving him BUT Isaac confirmed the blessing to him after that (Genesis 28:3-4).