The birthright essentially is a political, legal, and economic blessing, and it’s kept within the family relationship. In this episode, discover why it mattered that Esau sold his birthright to Jacob and how that one decision impacted the nations.
Listen to the audio:
Birthright and Blessing
In this episode:
Discover what the birthright represents
See how God sovereignly carried out His great plan for the nations through one human decision
Get answers to the following study questions:
- What is a birthright?
- What kind of man was Esau?
- What would result from the sale of the birthright?
- Was Jacob being deceptive in asking for Esau’s birthright?
- What rights and privileges were bestowed on the one who owned the birthright?
Now remember what the birthright is: This is judicial authority, this is economic power, this is tribal authority, and so on. It’s a legitimate request. There’s no deceit involved in this at all.
It’s not the same as the blessing. We’ll get to that in about another forty years; now a lot of time elapses before we get there.
And we’re told by God that Esau, in the process of this, just despises this very significant piece of authority. “Feed me! I’m dying. What good is my birthright?”
Sometimes we’re guilty of just reading over the verses of Scripture as if all of them are sort of stained glass things that don’t amount to much.
But this is an insight into the character of Esau, who has been out there doing manly things; and here’s this perfect, complete Jacob making stew. “Feed me! I’ve been out hunting big things. I’m hungry!” “Well, sell me your birthright.” “Well, what’s a birthright?! I’m going to die.” So he swears.
Now it’s interesting the terminology here shifts from a colloquial interchange to very formal terminology. He swears a formal oath now.
Whenever you see these words in the Scripture, particularly as it relates to the vows that were taken and the political assignments that were done and so on, it essentially means to repeat the vow seven times. And the way it’s used colloquially is to “seven yourself” or to promise seven times that this will be so. It’s a very formal sort of thing to do, repeating this declaration seven times.
The classic example here, two generations back, is when Abraham and Abimelech—the head of the Philistine area—does this formal “seven times oath” over a well that is named “the oath of the sevens”—Beersheba. “Sheba” is the word “sevens” or “the seven timers;” “beer” is the word for “well.” So, “the well of the sevens” is what becomes a very significant point in geography from there on out.
So, the birthright is sold in a very formal way, and after the execution of this formal thing there certainly were documents, there certainly were witnesses to this. Everybody knows that the birthright was formally sold. This was not a one-on-one, little sneaky deal; this was a very formal event.
“And Esau ate and drank and rose up and went his way.” And that’s when the Lord Himself says, “Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
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Learn more about the birthright here: The Book of Beginnings, Volume Three.
Listen to previous episodes of the Heroes and Villains of the Bible podcast by clicking on the links below:
- Adam and Eve
- Episode 1: A Very Good Relationship Gone Bad – First Couple, First Heroes and Villains
- Episode 2: Pulling Back the Curtain on the Ultimate Villain – How the Spiritual Realm Impacts Humanity
- Episode 3: Satan’s Triple Threat Strategy – This Strategy Is Still Used Today
- Episode 4: The Pivot Point in Scripture – Consequences for Rebellion and Hope for Redemption
- Cain and Abel
- Episode 5: A Very Different Earth – Explore the Pre-Flood World of Cain and Abel
- Episode 6: Centuries, Cain, and Corruption – Sin’s Effects and Eve’s Hope
- Episode 7: Marriage, Family, and Sacrifice – Formation of the First Family and their Offering to God
- Episode 8: Brother’s Keeper – Arrogant Cain Murders Righteous Abel
- Lamech and Enoch
- Episode 9: How Evil Infiltrated Society – The Flagrant Rebellion of Lamech
- Episode 10: Ancient Civilization Rivals Modern – Population Growth, Family Reunions, and Sociological Impact
- Episode 11: The Conqueror vs. The Preacher of Righteousness – A Contrasting Character Study of Lamech and Enoch
- Episode 12: Evolution Paints the Wrong Picture – Discover the Truth about Ancient Humans—Hint: They Weren’t Grunting Cavemen!
- Noah and the Nephilim
- The Sons of Noah
- Episode 16: What Happened After the Sons of Noah Left the Ark? – The Second Age: From Worldwide Destruction to Preservation and Repopulation
- Episode 17: There’s No Such Thing as Race – What You Need to Know About Race, Rainbows, and Retribution
- Episode 18: How Did the Sons of Noah Transform Civilization? – Explore the Development of Major Nations of the World
- Abraham and Lot
- Episode 19: Who Was Abraham? Trace the Physical and Spiritual Journey of the Father of Many Nations
- Episode 20: How Abram Interacted with VIPs of the Ancient World – Meet the Pharaoh of Egypt, the King over Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Mysterious King of Salem
- Episode 21: God Always Keeps His Promises – How Abraham Received His New Name, Sarah Conceived the Promised Heir, and Lot Escaped a Fiery Judgment
- Sarah and Hagar
- Episode 22: What’s the Deal with Sarah and Hagar? See What Happens When Men and Women Deviate from God’s Plan
- Episode 23: Will We See Hagar and Ishmael in Heaven? Trace the History of Hagar’s Banishment, Ishmael’s Descendants, and Abraham’s Name Change
- Episode 24: Who Will Become the Friends of God? An Eternal Principle Revealed through the Bondwoman and Free Woman
- Isaac and Ishmael
- Episode 25: Modern Middle East Conflict Caused by Isaac and Ishmael – Discover the Origin of the 4,500 Year Struggle in the Arab World and Why it Persists Today
- Episode 26: Redemption Revealed through the Sacrifice of Isaac – The Sacrifice of an Innocent Son by a Loving Father
- Episode 27: Isaac and Jesus Christ – Willing Heart, Obedient Submission, Selfless Sacrifice
- Eliezer and Rebekah
- Jacob and Esau