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27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country; whereas Jacob was a simple[a] man, who stayed among the tents.(A) 28 Isaac preferred Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah preferred Jacob. 29 Once, when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Let me gulp down some of that red stuff;[b] I am famished.” That is why he was called Edom. 31 But Jacob replied, “First sell me your right as firstborn.”[c](B) 32 “Look,” said Esau, “I am on the point of dying. What good is the right as firstborn to me?” 33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first!” So he sold Jacob his right as firstborn under oath.(C) 34 Jacob then gave him some bread and the lentil stew; and Esau ate, drank, got up, and went his way. So Esau treated his right as firstborn with disdain.

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Footnotes

  1. 25:27 Simple: the Hebrew word denotes soundness, integrity, health, none of which fit here. Whatever its precise meaning, it must be opposite to the qualities of Esau.
  2. 25:30 Red stuff: in Hebrew, ’adom; another play on the word Edom, the “red” land.
  3. 25:31 Right as firstborn: the privilege that entitled the firstborn son to a position of honor in the family and to a double share in the possessions inherited from the father. There is a persistent wordplay between bekorah, “right of the firstborn,” and berakah, “the blessing.” Contrary to custom, the preference here is for the younger son, as it was in the choice of Isaac over Ishmael.

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