“The children struggled together within her.” (Genesis 25:22)
The story of Esau begins in the maternity ward, where Rebekah is having a difficult time giving birth to twins. It had been a difficult pregnancy, but it was only the beginning of a struggle that was to continue between the nations that would descend from these two boys.
It seems that they were struggling over which one should be born first, and Esau won, but not by much, because no sooner was he born than Jacob came out arm first hanging onto Esau’s heel. As the midwife was hauling Esau out, little Jacob was trying to pull him back, and ended up getting pulled out at the same time. Jacob would have made a great defensive football player. No running back would get far with Jacob hanging onto his heel!
The point of this story is that the firstborn received a double portion of the inheritance. That was no small thing. But in this family, it was especially important. God had made special promises to Esau’s grandfather, Abraham. There would be someone in the line of people descended from Abraham who would bring God’s blessing to all the nations of the world.
That is why the Old Testament follows the story of the line of Abraham. Abraham’s son was Isaac, and when Isaac and Rebecca had these two twin boys, the obvious question was: Which of them would inherit God’s promise? Through which of them would God’s purpose of blessing the world continue? Into which line would the Savior of the world be born?
What do you know about struggles with a brother or sister?