Story Twelve

HOW JACOB STOLE HIS BROTHER'S BLESSING
AFTER Ā́ bră-hăm died, his son Ī́ s̞aac lived in the land of Cā́ năan. Like his father, Ī́ s̞aac's home was a tent; and around him were the tents of his people, and many flocks of sheep and herds of cattle feeding wherever they could find grass to eat and to drink.
Ī́s̞aac and his wife Rē̇-bĕḱ ah had two children. The older was named Ḗ sa̤u and the younger Jā́ cob. Ḗ sa̤u was a man of the woods, and fond of hunting; and he was rough, and covered with hair. Even as a boy he was fond of hunting with his bow and arrow. Jā́ cob was quiet and thoughtful, staying at home, and caring for the flocks of his father. Ī́ s̞aac loved E'sa̤u more than Jacob, because Ḗ sa̤u brought to his father that which he had killed in his hunting; but Rē̇-bĕḱ ah liked Jacob, because she saw that he was wise and careful in his work.
Among the people in those lands, when a man dies, his older son receives twice as much as the younger of what the father has owned. This was called his "birthright," for it was his right as the oldest born. So Ḗ sa̤u, as the older, had a "birthright" to more of Ī́ s̞aac's possessions than Jā́ cob. And besides this there was the privilege of the promise of God that the family of Ī́ s̝aac, should receive great blessings.
Now Ḗ sa̤u, when he grew up, did not care for his birthright or the blessing which God had promised. But Jā́ cob, who was a wise man, wished greatly to have the birthright which would come to Ḗ sa̤u when his father died. Once, when Ḗ sa̤u came home, hungry and tired from hunting in the fields, he saw that Jā́ cob had a bowl of something that he Had just cooked for dinner. And Ḗ sa̤u said: "Give me some of that red stuff in the dish. Will you not give me some? I am hungry.”
And Jā́ cob answered, "I will give it to you, if you will first of all sell to me your birthright.”
And Ḗ sa̤u said, "What is the use of the birthright to me now when I am almost starving to death? You can have my birthright if you will give me something to eat.”
Then Ḗ sa̤u made Jā́ cob a solemn promise to give to Jā́ cob his birthright, all for a bowl of food. It was not right for Jā́ cob to deal so selfishly with his brother; but it was very wrong in E'sa̤u to care so little for his birthright, and with it God's blessing.
Some time after this, when Ḗ sa̤u was forty years old, he married two wives. Though this would be very wicked in our times it was not supposed to be wrong then; for even good men then had more than one wife. But Ḗ sa̤u's two wives were women from the people of Cā́ năan, who worshipped idols, and not the true God. And they taught their children also to pray to idols, so that those who came from Ḗ sa̤u, the people who were his descendants, lost all knowledge of God, and became very wicked. But this was long after that time.
Ī́s̞aac and Rē̇-bĕḱ ah were very sorry to have their son Esau marry women who prayed to idols and not to God; but still Ī́ s̝aac loved his active son Ḗ sa̤u more than his quiet son Jacob.
Ī́ s̞aac became at last very old and feeble, and so blind that he could see scarcely anything. One day he said to Ḗ sa̤u:
"My son, I am very old, and do not know how soon I must die. But before I die, I wish to give to you, as my older son, God's blessing upon you, and your children, and your descendants. Go out into the fields, and with your bow and arrows shoot some animal that is good for food, and make me a dish of cooked meat, such as you know I love; and after I have eaten it, I will give you the blessing.”
E'sa̤u ought to have told his father that the blessing did not belong to him, for he had sold it to his brother Jā́ cob. But be did not tell his father. He went out into the fields hunting, to find the kind of meat which his father liked the most.
Now Rē̇-bĕḱ ah was listening, and heard all that Ī́ s̞aac had said to Ḗ sa̤u. She knew that it would be better for Jā́ cob to have the blessing than for Ḗ sa̤u; and she loved Jā́ cob more than Ḗ sa̤u. So she called to Jā́ cob, and told him what Ī́ s̞aac had said to Ḗ sa̤u, and she said,
"Now, my son, do what I tell you and you will get the blessing instead of your brother. Go to the flocks and bring to me two little kids from the goats: and I will cook them just like the meat which Ḗ sa̤u cooks for your father. And you will bring it to your father; and he will think that you are Ḗ sa̤u, and will give you the blessing; and it really belongs to you.”
But Jā́ cob said, "You know that Ḗ sa̤u and I are not alike. His neck and arms are covered with hair, while mine are smooth. My father will feel of me, and he will find that I am not Ḗ sa̤u; and then, instead of giving me a blessing. I am afraid that he will curse me.”
But Rē̇-bĕḱ ah answered her son, "Never mind, you do as I have told you, and I will take care of you. If any harm comes, it will come to me; so do not be afraid, but go and bring the meat.”
Then Jā́ cob went and brought a pair of little kids from the flock and from them his mother made a dish of food, so that it would be to the taste just as Ī́ s̞aac liked it. Then Rē̇˗bĕḱ ah found some of Ḗ sa̤u's clothes, and dressed Jā́ cob in them; and she placed on his neck and his hands some of, the skins of the kids, so that his neck and hands would feel rough and hairy to the touch.
Then Jā́ cob came into his father's tent, bringing the dinner, and speaking as much like Ḗ sa̤u as he could, he said:
"Here I am, my father.”
And Ī́ s̝aac said, "Who are you, my son?”
And Jā́ cob answered, "I am Ḗ sa̤u, your oldest son. I have done as you bade me; now sit Up, and eat the dinner that I have made; and then give me your blessing, as you promised me.”
And Ī́ s̝aac said, "How is it that you found it so quickly?”
Jā́cob answered, "Because the Lord your God showed me where to go, and gave me good success.”
Ī́ s̝aac did not feel certain that it was his son Ḗ sa̤u, and he said, "Come nearer and let me feel you, so that I may know that you are really my son Ḗ sa̤u.”
And Jā́ cob went up close to Ī́ s̝aac’s bed, and Ī́ s̞aac felt of his face, and his neck, and his hands, and he said:
"The voice sounds like Jā́ cob, but the hands are the hands of Ḗ sa̤u. Are you really my son Ḗ sa̤u?”
And Jā́ cob again told a lie to his father, and said, "I am.”
Then the old man ate the food that Jā́ cob had brought to him, and he kissed Jā́ cob, believing him to be Ḗ sa̤u, and he gave him the blessing, saying to him:
"May God give you the dew of heaven, and the richness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. May nations bow down to you and people become your servants. May you be the master over your brother; and may your family and descendants that shall come from you rule over his family and his descendants. Blessed be those that bless you, and cursed be those that curse you.”
Just as soon as Jā́ cob had received the blessing he rose up and hastened away. He had scarcely gone out, when Ḗ sa̤u came in from his hunting, with the dish of food that he had cooked, and he said:
"Let my father sit up, and eat the food that I have brought and give me the blessing.”
And Ī́ s̝aac said, "Why, who are you?”
Ḗ sa̤u answered, "I am your son, your oldest son Ḗ sa̤u.”
And Ī́ s̞aac trembled and said, "Who then is the one that came in, and brought to me food? And I have eaten his food, and have blessed him; yes, and he shall be blessed.”
When Ḗ sa̤u heard this he knew that he had been cheated; and he cried aloud, with a bitter cry, "O my father, my brother has taken away my blessing, just as he took away my birthright! But cannot you give me another blessing, too? Have you given everything to my brother?" And Ī́s̝aac told him all that he had said to Jā́ cob.
He said, "I have told him that he shall be the ruler, and that all his brothers and their children will be under him. I have promised him the richest ground for his crops, and rains from heaven to make them grow. All these things have been spoken, and they must come to pass. What is left for me to promise you, my son?"
But Ḗ sa̤u begged for another blessing, and Ī́ s̝aac said: "My son, your dwelling shall be of riches of the earth, and of the dew of heaven. You shall live by your sword, and your descendants shall serve his descendants. But in time to come they shall break loose, and shall shake off the yoke of your brother's rule, and shall be free."
All this came to pass many years afterward. The people who came from Ḗ sa̤u lived in a land called Ḗ dom, on the south of the land of Īś̝ ra-el, where Jā́cob's descendants lived. And after a time the Ĭś̞ ra-el-ītes became rulers over the Ḗ dom-ītes; and, later still, the Ḗ dom-ītes made themselves free from the Ĭś̝ ra-el-ītes. But all this took place hundreds of years after both Ḗ sa̤u and Jā́ cob had passed away. The blessing of God's covenant or promise came to Ĭś̝ ra-el, and not to the people from Ḗ sa̤u.
It was better that Jā́ cob's descendants, those who came after him, should have the blessing, than that Ḗ sa̤u's people should have it; for Jā́ cob's people worshipped God, and Ḗ sa̤u's people walked in the way of the idols, and became wicked. But it was very wrong in Jā́ cob to obtain the blessing in the way that he obtained it.
Lesson 5. Isaac and his Sons.
(Tell Stories 10, 11 and 12.)
1. What was the name of Abraham’s son? Isaac.
2. What was done with Isaac when he was a boy? He was laid on an altar.
3: For what purpose was Isaac laid on the altar? To be given to God.
4. When Isaac grew up, who became his wife? Rebekah.
5. What kind of a man was Isaac? He was a good man, who loved peace.
6. Who were the two sons of Isaac and Rebekah? Esau and Jacob.
7. To whom did Esau sell his right as the older son? To his brother Jacob.
8. For what price did Esau sell his birthright? For a bowl of food.
9. What else did Jacob get that was meant for Esau? His father's blessing.