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DLTK's Bible Stories for Children
Jacob and Esau

by Leanne Guenther

Do you remember the story of Abraham and Sarah?  One thing you should know about Abraham is that God made a covenant (or a promise) that he would have many children, that he would start many nations, and most importantly God would be with him and with all these nations.  This promise would be passed down to every first born child for many years.

God did what he said and Abraham had a boy named Isaac.  The neat thing is that this story is about Isaac, and he's all grown up and married to a lady named Rebekah.

Rebekah couldn't have children either but Isaac had learned from his dad that if he prayed to God, He might answer his prayer.  Sure enough, God answered Isaac's prayer and his wife became pregnant, and not just with one baby but with twins!

Do you remember your mommy ever having a big tummy because there was a baby growing inside?  A neat thing can happen while the baby is growing - it moves!  Babies move all around while they're in the tummy  and sometimes you can feel or see the baby moving around.

Rebekah had this same feeling as all moms do when they're going to have a baby.  It's just that she felt her babies moving around so much that she asked God, "Why is this happening to me?"

She was worried about how they were moving inside her.  God answered her saying, "Your children are very different from one another, one of your children will lead a group of people that is stronger than the other and the oldest child will serve the younger one."

This was strange because usually if you're the oldest child in the family the younger brothers or sister look up to them and want to do what the oldest is doing.  But in this case the older brother would work for the younger brother.

When the twins were born the first and oldest boy to be born was named Esau.  He is easy to remember because he was red and hairy all over.  Right behind him came his younger brother Jacob.

As the boys got older they liked doing different things.  Esau was good at hunting and loved doing things outside and Jacob liked to stick around home and did things on his own.

Because Jacob stayed at home a lot he learned to cook with his mom.  One day he had made some of his delicious stew that everyone liked.  Esau had been out early in the morning hunting and he was very hungry.  So hungry that he could smell the stew from a far way off.

As soon as Esau got home he asked Jacob, "Quick, let me have some of your stew, I'm starving!"  Jacob replied, "First give me your birthright."

Wait a minute!  You're probably wondering what a birthright is?  Jacob and Esau's family believed that the oldest child should receive double of all  the things they would leave behind after they died (this was the birthright).  Things like money and the farm with all the animals.

So when Jacob asked Esau for his birthright, Esau should've said, "No way!  That's something special for me and I need to use it because every gift I receive is a gift from God."

Instead Esau could only think of how hungry he was and he said, "Yes already, you can have my birthright  just give me some food before I starve to death."

By choosing food over his birthright Esau did a bad thing.  He made a decision he couldn't change and he disappointed God by not seeing the importance of his special gift he would get later on and choosing a silly thing like a bowl of soup instead.

The story isn't over yet.  The next part of the story is about Jacob and the bad choices he makes.

Isaac was getting old and he wasn't able to see anymore.  He wanted to give his oldest and favorite son Esau his blessing before he died.  This blessing was the special promise that God promised to his grandfather Abraham, and then to his father Isaac.

Isaac loved the food that Esau hunted.  So he told Esau to go hunt and prepare a special meal for him and then he would give him the blessing.

Rebekah overheard Isaac talking to Esau and rushed to tell her favorite son Jacob.  She said to Jacob, "Your father is about to give Esau his blessing and I want you to have it instead.  You need to go get two of our goats and bring them to me, I will prepare them just the way Isaac likes it.  Then you can take it to him and he will give you the blessing instead."

Jacob replied, "But mom, Esau is a hairy man.  What if dad touches me and realizes that I'm tricking him?"

His mother said to him, "Don't worry you can wear Esau's clothes and we'll put the goat hair on your hands and neck so he'll never know."

So they did just that and Jacob went to see his father pretending to be Esau.

"Hello father," Jacob said.

"Hello, and who is this?"  His father asked.

"It is me, Esau.  I have brought you the food you wanted so that you can give me my blessing." Jacob lied.

"Come closer so I can touch you and know that you are really my oldest son Esau, said his father.

So Jacob went to Isaac and he felt his hands and said, "You sound just like Jacob but your hands are just like Esau.  Are you really Esau?"

And Jacob chose to lie again, "I am."

So Isaac ate and when he was finished he asked, "Come and kiss me."  When Jacob went to kiss him, Isaac smelled the clothes he was wearing just to make sure it smelled like Esau.  Since Jacob was wearing Esau's clothes his father believed that he was with Esau and he gave the blessing to Jacob.

Just as Jacob finished getting the blessing he thought he heard Esau coming so he quickly snuck out the back of the tent.  Just as he was walking away Esau entered the tent with the food he had prepared for his father.

His father asked, "Who are you?"

"It's me, your son Esau.  I'm here to get my blessing,"  said Esau confused.

"I just gave you your blessing."  And Isaac started to realize he had been tricked just like he thought.  Esau started crying and yelling, "Bless me too father!"

"There is no blessing left," said his father sadly.

Esau was very upset with his brother Jacob for what he had done, so Jacob had to run away so he would be safe.

*

After Jacob ran away he was tricked, just like he tricked his father.   He had to wait seven years before he could be with the woman he wanted to marry then he was tricked with the wrong woman!

What a story!  Both brothers did things that they shouldn't have, and made bad choices that they couldn't change.  Be careful with the choices that you make, you never know how they will change your life later on.

 

Printable version of this story

 


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