Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
Why wasn't Jacob hated but rather loved for stealing his brother's birthright? Why was Esau hated by God for no faults of his own?
Hendrick ter Brugghen, 1588 - 1629, Netherlands, Esau selling his birthright
The Query was:
Why wasn't Jacob hated but rather loved for stealing his brother’s birthright? Why was Esau hated by God for no faults of his own?
An examination of the Biblical narrative shows that by Jacob acting as he did he was fulfilling the will of God. The Almighty wanted Jacob to be so blessed.
He had to use subterfuge to confirm the blessing after having purchased it. Why it had to be this way is another question. It was however in accordance with the Divine will. There was therefore no reason for God to hate him. On the contrary.
Please look at the verses.
There were two exchanges of what Esau could have viewed as his own.
The first was the birthright. This was purchased by Jacob from Esau.
The second was the close to deathbed blessing of Isaac. This Jacob received by disguising himself as Esau.
Concerning the Birthright.
Esau and Jacob were twins but Esau was born first therefore the birthright was his.
Genesis (NASB) 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.
These matters are discussed by Yaakov Tzvi Mecklenburg (1785-1865) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ya...
author of "Haketav VehaKabbalah" ("The Script and the Tradition"), 1839, on Genesis 25:34 "VeYaacov Natan." Rabbi Mecklenburg notices the Zohar emphasizing the expression "And Jacob gave" or “Jacob had given” (Genesis 25: 34). This has been wrongly translated above as "Then Jacob gave."
In the Original Hebrew ALL the verbs in Genesis 25:29-34 BUT one are in the imperfect tense. Rabbk Mecklenburg shows that according to the Hebrew text Jacob had already given the food to Esau before asking his to swear the birthright over to him.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread..
The Hebrew is "veYaacov natan" meaning "had already given."
Rabbi Mecklenburg in effect 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 had given the food before Esav sold the birthright.
This explains the expression, ‘Thus Esau despised his birthright’ (Genesis 25:34). Esau had not been forced to sell it. Henceforth, as holder of the birthright Jacob had a right to the blessing.
At all events, our passage says that (1) Esau sold the birthright to Esau (Genesis 25:33) and (2) that Esau despised the birthright (Genesis 25:34).
If you accept one then receive the other.
Jacob bought the birthright that Esau had despised.
Later Jacob received the Blessing from Isaac by deceiving him BUT Isaac confirmed the blessing to him after that (Genesis 28:3-4).
Was Jacob wrong to trick Esau into compromising his birthright?
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 [by deceiving Isaac] was following the instructions of Rebecca (Genesis 27:6-17). They were doing what they could to fulfill the Prophecy.
We may infer from the reaction of Isaac that if Isaac had have known that Jacob had already bought the birthright he would have intended to bless him anyway.
33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, ‘Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.’
Why Jacob had to receive the blessing by deceit is another question.
Nevertheless we see by the Biblical Passages that Isaac de facto agreed to Jacob receiving the blessing and later confirmed it (Genesis 27:37, 28:3-4).
We repeat, according to the text Jacob did what he did in fulfillment of Prophecy and it was in accordance with Divine Will. Why the Almighty wanted things to turn out that way is a separate question.