Sunday, August 09, 2009

Esau and Jacob Genesis 25:25-26

Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

When I come to think of it, I have not heard of two or more infants being carried by the same mother being born at exactly the same instant in time. One always has to come out of the mother’s womb first. And so it was in the case of Rebekah’s delivery of her children. One came out first and he was red, or as some versions state, ruddy. My understanding is that an infant is born red or ruddy when its blood is circulating well and is at the surface of his/her body. This seems to be a clear sign of a very robust child from day one. Rebekah’s first child was also very hairy and indeed looked like a garment or more precisely a cloak made of a fur or fine material when one considers the Hebrew translation. This boy was named Esau, a designation meaning hairy in Hebrew.

Right away he was followed by his younger brother who came out of Rebekah’s womb holding on to the heel of Esau. It was as if he was saying, “Hey, you can’t leave me in here; I’m right behind you and you can’t get away!” Isaac and Rebekah named him Jacob that is translated from the Hebrew to mean ‘heel holder’ or ‘supplanter’ according to Strong’s Bible Dictionary. A supplanter is someone who supersedes or replaces someone else. Interesting how these three things: what God predicted about the younger child, what the child was doing at birth holding on to his older brother’s heel, and his name all seem to be falling in line. How the story plays out is still to be discovered by us.

The Bible says Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to Esau and Jacob. We now return to our timeline (which started at creation) and insert the birth of these twins:

• 3311 Isaac, at age 40, marries Rebekah (Genesis 25:20)
• 3331 Isaac, at age 60, becomes father to Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:26)
• 3346 Abraham died at age 175 (Genesis 25:7,8)
• 3394 The death of Ishmael (based on his birth in 3257 and now Genesis 25:17)

The timeline helps us see that grandfather Abraham lived another fifteen years after his grandsons Esau and Jacob were born. I wonder what his influence until his death was on the boys who at that time were fifteen years old. Grandparents certainly have a great opportunity to influence the lives of their grandchildren, as they stay involved with them, regardless of age differences. There was 160 years difference between Abraham and the twins.

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