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Source: (consider it) Thread: What's Wrong With This Story?
Gramps49
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# 16378

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Jacob and Esau

Don't we assume the righteous will be blessed?

Jacob is a trickster. Has been all his life. Even when he was born he was trying to usurp his brother.

When Isaac is old, Jacob tricks his dad into giving him the blessing that should have gone to Esau.

And what happens?

Does the Trickster get what should be coming to him?

No! God blesses him!

What gives?

Posts: 1910 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Golden Key
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God loves them both, and can use bad stuff to bring about good?

I think maybe the way my childhood church explained it was that Esau, however carelessly and thoughtlessly and tiredly, sold his birthright. And that was forbidden--whether by God or culture, I'm not sure.

I don't remember what happened with Esau after he realized what he'd done. IIRC, didn't he and Jacob have different moms, who each fought to get her son a better deal? Wasn't Jacob's trick his mom's idea? Isaac didn't/wouldn't restore Esau's birthright.

Lots and lots of family messes in the Bible.
[Eek!]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

Posts: 17647 | From: Chilling out in an undisclosed, sincere pumpkin patch. | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
IIRC, didn't he and Jacob have different moms, who each fought to get her son a better deal? Wasn't Jacob's trick his mom's idea? Isaac didn't/wouldn't restore Esau's birthright.

Lots and lots of family messes in the Bible.
[Eek!]

On the different mothers I think you're thinking of Isaac and Ishmael. Jacob and Esau were twins I think but for some reason their mother preferred Jacob which has always seemed very mean to me. Poor old Esau - anyone can make ONE stupid mistake.

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I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

Posts: 608 | From: London, hopefully in a theatre or concert hall, more likely at work | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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Blame God: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated".

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

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HCH
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In practice, the question of who got Isaac's blessing seems to have had little consequence. Jacob was sent off to find Laban and marry one of Laban's daughters (he overdid this), and he was gone many years. Esau apparently ended up with the family estate. When Jacob returns, he and his family are essentially nomads, and there is a real question as to whether Esau will welcome him with a hug (as he in fact did) or with a sword. Esau seems to have behaved well but Jacob is nonetheless praised. It is reasonable to find some of this inconsistent.
Posts: 1475 | From: Illinois, USA | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
God loves them both, and can use bad stuff to bring about good?

I think maybe the way my childhood church explained it was that Esau, however carelessly and thoughtlessly and tiredly, sold his birthright. And that was forbidden--whether by God or culture, I'm not sure.

Yeah, not really a satisfying answer, but many of our pat answers aren't.

I see it as one of many "overturnings" in the OT-- this one, an overturning of the dominant primogeniture-- the notion that the oldest son gets it all. It's not that Jacob is more deserving than Esau-- he isn't. It's more like a foreshadowing of the prodigal son-- the way God chooses us and pursues us and blesses us even when we don't deserve it.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 10907 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Blame God: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated".

Blame Jacob for being tricksy, and feel either sorry for Esau for being tricked, or blame him for being a fool. God just watched. Funny how in the OT people misbehave and then bring God in to explain away misbehaviour. There are good and bad examples in bible. I'd say that putting Jacob's hip out of joint looks like a little bit of just desserts. Not quite enough for what he did, but a start.

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Maybe I should stop to consider that I'm not worthy of an epiphany and just take what life has to offer
(formerly was just "no prophet") \_(ツ)_/

Posts: 10829 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
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Of course, Jewish traditions will say that Esau was not without sin as it were.

Jewish commentaries have shed a negative view on Esau because of his rivalry with Jacob. The Midrash says that during Rebekah's pregnancy whenever she would pass a house of Torah study, Jacob would struggle to come out; whenever she would pass a house of idolatry, Esau would agitate to come out.

He is considered to be a rebellious son who kept a double life until he was 15, when he sold his birthright to Jacob. According to the Talmud, the sale of the birthright took place immediately after Abraham died. The Talmudic dating would give both Esau and Jacob an age of 15 at the time. The lentils Jacob was cooking were meant for his father Isaac, because lentils are the traditional mourner's meal for Jews. On that day before returning, in a rage over the death of Abraham, Esau committed five sins; he raped a betrothed young woman, he committed murder (Nimrod), he denied God, he denied the resurrection of the dead, and he spurned his birthright.

According to Rashi, Isaac, when blessing Jacob instead of Esau, smelled the heavenly scent of Gan Eden (Paradise) when Jacob entered his room and, in contrast, perceived Gehenna opening beneath Esau when the latter entered the room, showing him that he had been deceived all along by Esau's show of piety.

(From Wikipedia)

Posts: 1910 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
Kwesi
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ISTM most of the comments here are misconceived, apart from "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated", quoted by Liberal Backslider. One surely cannot apply Western suburban Sunday School ethics and morality to the concept of virtue or righteousness etc. as currently understood to the cultures under consideration. Machiavelli, on the other hand, would have counted Jacob as virtuous in its renaissance meaning: Jacob was smart and successful, best suited to promote the interests of his tribe.

More generally, it might be pointed out that the bible seems to teach that a blessing is not a reward for acts of righteousness but a free gift of God.

Posts: 1441 | From: South Ofankor | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
Garasu
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Probably just me, but I'm reminded of the Trick at Mecone...

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"Could I believe in the doctrine without believing in the deity?". - Modesitt, L. E., Jr., 1943- Imager.

Posts: 886 | From: Surrey Heath (England) | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged
Gramps49
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I wonder if the producer of this commerical got his/her idea from the story of Jacob.
Posts: 1910 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged
LutheranChik
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I think in addition to the recurring biblical theme of God siding with the underdogs of the world, there's also the message that,when one is in a disempowered out group, trickery is a survival skill -- a way to even the odds.

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Simul iustus et peccator
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Posts: 6258 | From: rural Michigan, USA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Kwesi
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..........perhaps the theme, biblical and otherwise, is that behind every successful man there is a woman!
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Sarah G
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Firstly, Esau had sold his birthright in exchange for a takeaway back in Genesis 25. This tells us that being the inheritor of the earth-shattering promise to Abraham wasn't a thing for him. Best he doesn't do it, then.

Secondly, he had gone out and married Hittite wives. This was a clear no-no, and quite possibly alone made him totally unsuitable for taking the Covenant-bearer baton.

Thirdly, God seems to be sitting this one out, in terms of doing things or declaring rights and wrongs. The events happened as God said they would- “the older will serve the younger” (Gen 25:23).


I know we love to use the OT mostly as a source of good sound moral lessons, but that's not primarily what it's about. It's a record of God's relationship with humanity, and the Jewish nation in particular. As such, I suggest that the moral messages of Gen 27/28 are distinctly tangential to the primary purpose of the passage, of keeping The Story moving in the right direction.

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Gramps49
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quote:
I know we love to use the OT mostly as a source of good sound moral lessons, but that's not primarily what it's about. It's a record of God's relationship with humanity, and the Jewish nation in particular. As such, I suggest that the moral messages of Gen 27/28 are distinctly tangential to the primary purpose of the passage, of keeping The Story moving in the right direction.
Quite right.
Posts: 1910 | From: Pullman WA | Registered: Apr 2011  |  IP: Logged


 
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