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I wish I didn't have to keep on harping on the same thing, but there is not a single good person in the entire bible! Seriously, we're expected to look up to these people, but they're criminals! This sibling rivalry goes beyond mere punches in the arm. Genesis 25-34 explains that Esau came in from the fields feeling faint. Jacob was cooking some stew, and Esau asked for some of it because he was starving. Jacob, being the greedy manipulative leech that he is, convinces Esau to give up his birthright in exchange for the meal.

To put things in perspective, we must remember that Isaac is offensively wealthy. He owns an extremely large area of land (stolen from the natives), a multitude of laborers (i.e., slaves), and probably a lot of stock in Walmart. Whoever receives this mother-of-all-birthrights will be set for life. In today's market, it would probably fetch upwards of several billion dollars, and Jacob is expecting Esau to just piss it all away for a bowl of pottage.

Of course, Esau could have just walked a few seconds more to his own tent and had dinner for free. That's why this story is completely unbelievable; nobody would do that. Furthermore, the story is completely useless. When your choices are, give up billions of dollars or wait five minutes for a meal, you don't need a parable to explain the possible faults. The right decision is already obvious to anyone who didn't eat a lot of paint chips as a child. Guess what, we also don't need a parable explaining why it's a bad idea to smash your kneecaps with a ball-peen hammer.

One final note: Genesis 25:30 mentions that Esau is also called Edom (which means “red”), because the stew he ate was red. Again, this belies the earlier statement of Esau having red hair. If he had a nickname which meant “red”, don't you think he would have gotten said nickname because he was a redhead? That would be like someone with blonde hair who is never called “blondie” until, one day, they eat the dessert with the same name, and suddenly they receive the nickname. Stupid, stupid, stupid.



Maju writes:


Agreed that there's not a good person in the whole Bible, including Yaveh, a schizophrenic deity who now favors carnivorous pastoralists over vegetarian farmers (cf. Cain and Abel) and then favors the veggie farmers over meat-eaters (Esau and Jacob, notice that it's lentils pottage and not meat stew what Esau eats) with no consistency whatsoever. Would I be Yaveh, I'd destroy myself and my chosen people for the same reasons as Gomorrah... but whatever.

However it should be clear (at least it looks to me) that this story is a silly mythical metaphor of ethnic conflict between Idumeans/Edomites (Negev Bedouins with capital later in famous Petra) and whatever proto-Herbrew semitic branch here identified as lentil farmers and world famous vegetarian chefs.

Probably they trickled the Idumeans into some most unfair deal in time of famine and then told the story this way.

melendur writes:


Maybe this is a continuation of that jock/nerd rivalry? I mean, clearly esau is not very bright.

Ima Lemming writes:


I'd find it more believable that Esau came home feeling faint not because a skilled hunter like himself was starving, but because he was a red-haired yeti in a desert. But then him giving his birthright for a bowl of hot soup instead of lying down in the tent would be even less believable.

Baughbe writes:


And thus the bible shows it's moral to take advantage of the stupid.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:


@Ima Lemming: "red-haired yeti in a desert"... I LOLed.

Ray writes:


What an idiot. And here I thought one of them was nice.


Oh the irony!