The Division of the Two Brothers


REFLECT: At heart, are you an Esau or a Jacob? It can’t get any more basic than that. At your deepest level, do you desire the things of this world, or the things of God? Your decision has eternal consequences.

There is perhaps no greater contrast in Scripture than what is seen in the characters of Esau and Ya’akov. Esav was sensual in the sense that he lived his life for personal enjoyment. He lived for the moment and seemed perfectly willing to sacrifice everything to get whatever he wanted right then and there. He was in every sense earthy and earth bound. His life was secular. Everything in him was of the world and the flesh, and no part of his life was devoted to ADONAI. This was the root of his trouble. God was not at all in his thoughts. The purpose of Esau’s genealogy is to show that the seed of the serpent (3:15a) is alive and well on planet earth. They are multiplying and being fruitful.

The rich young ruler who came to the Lord had the splendid advantages of age, position, wealth, opportunity, earnestness and even moral integrity, and yet, when he was put to the test he revealed his deliberate unwillingness to surrender to Christ and to allow Him to be the Master of his life (see my commentary on The Life of Christ Il – The Rich Young Ruler).549 That was the difference between Esau and Jacob. Although Ya’akov was far from perfect, he loved God, submitted to Him and allowed Him to mold and shape his life. More than that, Jacob wanted to be molded, to be conformed to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29a). In the final analysis, Jacob was a righteous man (see Gn – Then Jacob Gave Esau Some Lentil Stew and Esau Despised His Birthright).

This was Esav, the father of the Edomites (36:43c). Esau settled in the land of Edom, and the land of Canaan is surrendered to Jacob. With this statement, Esav disappears from the biblical record, never to be mentioned again. This is contrasted with Jacob who lived in the land where his father had stayed, the Promised Land of Canaan (37:1).

Esau had set his heart on the here and now. It seemed that God’s promises to Abraham and Isaac meant nothing to him. Here then, God has given us a picture of Esav’s family, and then He turns the page. The rest of the story lies with Jacob’s family; they would be the Seed of the woman (3:3:15a), or the line of blessing.550  

Haftarah Vayishlach: Hoshea (Hosea) 11:7-12:11 (A);
Ovadyah (Obediah) 1-21 (S)

B'rit Chadashsh suggested reading for Parashah Vayishlach:
First Corinthians 5:1-13; Revelation 7:1-12


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