Episode 32: Jacob the Supplanter [Podcast]

Study the Contrasting Characteristics of Jacob and Esau

God promised Abraham he would be the father of many nations. There would be one nation that God would focus His heart and His mind on, but there would be many nations that would be genetically related. In this case, the prophecy goes on to say the younger would lead the elder and be stronger. In this episode, learn why Jacob was called Supplanter and examine the character of both Jacob and Esau.

Heroes and Villains podcast Jacob and Esau 2 supplanter

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In this episode, learn why Jacob was called Supplanter and examine the character of both Jacob and Esau:

  1. What did Esau’s name mean, and what physical characteristic matched the description?
  2. Why was Jacob called the Supplanter?
  3. Why was Esau a hunter?
  4. What does the Scripture say about Esau’s wicked character?
  5. Was Jacob really a “plain” man?
Source: Wikipedia; Horst, Gerrit Willemsz. (c.1612 - 1652), Isaac blessing Jacob (public domain) supplanter

Source: Wikipedia; Horst, Gerrit Willemsz. (c.1612 – 1652), Isaac blessing Jacob (public domain)

The firstborn—the elder—is obviously Esau, but he comes out, the Scripture says, “covered all over with red hair.” I have no experience other than when my daughter was born with a huge head of black hair. She’s a blonde, by the way. That’s rather startling to see a little child. Normally we see them just as baldheaded as most of us guys are in here.

So, this guy comes out and he is covered all over—apparently his chest, his arms, his legs are covered—the Scripture says—“like a hairy garment.” The word is “mantle” or “cloak.” So, if you can imagine a poncho of red body hair over this little thing coming out. No wonder the people said, “Oh my goodness! This guy is hairy!” Not like Uncle Harry; this is hairy and his name Esau just means “hairy.”

So, he bore that name for the rest of his life. And you remember forward, when Esau and Isaac were dealing with this birthright thing—we’ll talk about that next week—but one of the first things Isaac wanted was to feel the hairiness of his arm. Do you remember that? So, Esau—my goodness gracious, this must have been quite a sight.

So, the second child—now Esau is birthed, as near as we can tell the umbilical cords are still attached, so he’s on the bed or whatever they were involved in the birthing process then—Jacob comes out now and the first thing he does is grab the heel of Esau. And, of course, this continues to identify the prophecy so he is named “Supplanter”—one who will take the place of the other.

So, the word “Jacob” and the word “Esau” are descriptive terms. They give some idea and they followed them, of course, the rest of their life, with the exception of Jacob whose name is changed—we’ll talk about that a little next week. But God had specifically used that term to Rebekah that Jacob would “supplant” Esau by God’s sovereign choice.

Later Esau, in his older life says to Isaac, “This Jacob has supplanted me two times.” He was referring about the sale of his birthright and now the sale of the blessing. Well-named; both of them, of course.

But now when we get into the lives of these young men as they grow older, Esau becomes an absolute pagan and everything that is recorded about him in Scripture indicates that he’s not a nice man to be around. He was a cunning hunter, we’re told from the Scriptures. But guys, there wasn’t any need for him to be a hunter. He was the heir to a fortune.

They were in the agricultural business, for crying out loud. There was no need for him to be a hunter except for, all practical purposes, to show off his prowess. He didn’t need to be a cunning hunter. He left the business alone. He’s called “a man of the field.” We’re not talking about somebody sowing grain here; he’s talking about what we would call today an outdoorsman.

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Did you miss Part 1? Listen here.

Study what it meant that Jacob would be the Supplanter: The Book of Beginnings, Volume Three.

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

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