Episode 34: Birthright and Blessing [Podcast]

Esau Sold His Birthright to Jacob—Why Does It Matter?

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.

Heroes and Villains podcast Birthright and Blessing

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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:

  1. What is a birthright?
  2. What kind of man was Esau?
  3. What would result from the sale of the birthright?
  4. Was Jacob being deceptive in asking for Esau’s birthright?
  5. What rights and privileges were bestowed on the one who owned the birthright?
Matthias_Stomer_(Umkreis)_Das_Linsengericht Jacob Esau birthright

Source: Wikipedia; Esau verkauft Jacob das Erstgeburtsrecht oder Das Linsengericht by Matthias Stomer (public domain)

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.

The Book of Beginnings, Volume 3 - Patriarchs - Abraham and Lot

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