Summary: Learn how two brothers fight from before birth - and how differences in attitude towards God can mean a big difference in how your life goes.
Verse 1 - 4
Abraham remarried and had kids - the kids were of no consequence and moved to different areas around Palestine - the point is that Isaac is the focus of the blessing.
Verse 5 - 8
Abraham started giving away the inheritance before he was dead. Even though Isaac was the focus of the blessing, Abraham also blessed his other kids - but - he also sent them away. No mixing to occur here, and no mixups about the covenant.
Verses 9 - 11
God’s blessing went right on ahead to Isaac - who goes through some of the same challenges as Abraham. As God finishes with one generation He is already working with the next one.
Verses 12 - 18
God blessed Ishmael and lists the sons - but doesn’t trace the lineage because the story of salvation - the covenant - is going through Isaac. Basically the 12 sons of Ishmael became the 12 tribes of the Arabs and lived on the Arabian peninsula and other places around Palestine including Damascus.
We don’t hear from Ishmael again in Genesis - but we do hear about his sons - in 28:9 Essau, Isaac’s son, goes to Nebaioth to find a wife - just to spite his dad. In 37:27 Joseph’s brothers sell him to Ishmaelites who in turn sell him to an Egyptian.
The end of verse 18 still occurs to this day - the Arabs have lived in hostility to the sons of Isaac ever since.
Verses 19 - 23
A genetic thing apparently, this barrenness. It serves also to force Isaac, and Abraham, and Jacob for that matter - to rely on God for blessing. It shows that nothing really happens unless God lets it happen. "You have not because you ask not."
What’s going on, Rebekah wants to know! More than you think, because it’s better than you think, and because you are part of a larger covenant.
God sees their future from the time they are conceived. Abortion is a horrible sin against God - here is one place that it is seen.
Psalms 22:10 From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
God also tells Rebekah that the second born will rule over the first born. She sort of helps God out later with this prophecy - not necessarily a good plan.
Verses 24 - 26
Esau: "hairy, rough."
Jacob: "supplanter, heel catcher"
They apparently didn’t think ahead on what to name them and used the first thing that came to mind: Harry and Heel Grabber.
Verses 27 - 28
Jacob (plain): "Tam", complete, ordinary, perfect, quiet. Used to be rendered "smooth"
Essau: loved to roam about - unsettled.
There was parental favoritism - this will bear bitter fruit later on. This is a dysfunctional family - lots of them in the Bible.
Verses 29 - 30
Esau begat the nation Edom - which means "red"
Jacob could not actually get the birthright this way. This reminds us of what the boy’s really wanted. Esau couldn’t give it away. This shows us that Esau didn’t care about it and Jacob did.
Verse 32 - 33
When you are being tempted to do something really stupid your brain figures out a way to rationalize it. Esau’s rationalization is that he is going to die so what good is to me?
Jacob must have been thinking about this. Maybe he thinks he would make a better first born. He drove home the deal - he’s quite the conniver, though he meets his match later on - in two ways (Laban, and God).