On Genesis, Part 38: The Rejection of Esau
Then Isaac had twin sons, Jacob and Esau, but neither would both of these sons share in the inheritance of their father, so the number of heirs was ultimately narrowed to one of them, and out of his eight sons and many more grandsons, only Jacob would inherit the blessings of Abraham. Like Sarah before her, Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau, had also conceived with a promise, where she was told, as it is recorded in Genesis chapter 25, that “23 … Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” There it is fully evident that Jacob and Esau would have very different destinies, even though they were both in the loins of their father when he was dedicated on the altar to Yahweh. So they both belonged to God, as Paul wrote of them much later, in Romans chapter 9, and asked “21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” From there, he proceeded to explain that from one lump there had been created vessels of destruction, but from the other there had been created vessels of mercy, and these are Esau and Jacob and their respective descendants.
But the path to dishonor and destruction was made by Esau himself. His father Isaac was unmarried until he was forty years old, and had taken a wife only as soon as he had learned that his own father Abraham had procured a wife for him. Then Isaac had evidently remained content with that one wife for his entire life. His brother Jacob would remain unmarried, as we shall see here in this chapter and subsequent chapters of Genesis, until his father Isaac had sent him to Haran with instructions to take a wife from the house of his mother’s kindred. Many people seem to assume without studying, that Jacob was a young man when this happened, but in truth, he was seventy years old, which we shall discuss later. Then once Jacob arrived in Haran, when Rebekah’s brother Laban had laid upon Jacob a heavy burden in exchange for a wife, Jacob complied, choosing obedience to his parents rather than rebelling and returning to Palestine.
But as for Esau, he had evidently taken wives without any counsel from Isaac his father, by which he became the master of his own destiny. So Paul wrote later, describing Esau and making an example for Christians, in Hebrews chapter 12 where he had admonished his readers to be diligent “15 … lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” There Paul indirectly informs us that the rejection of Esau was not only from Rebekah, but from Yahweh God Himself, and for the explicit reason that he was a fornicator. Yahweh God had foreseen Esau’s sin, and for that reason the Word of God informs us in Malachi chapter 1 that “2 … I loved Jacob, 3 And I hated Esau, …” a Scripture which Paul had cited in Romans chapter 9. That is also why Yahweh had informed Rebekah that her twin sons would have diverging destinies.