Question 23

Q: The Jacob/Esau birthright deal seems to be superstitious nonsense.

God is not obligated to honor contract deals by liars and schemers. Also, I don’t believe there was a mystical birthright Isaac could give to whomever he wanted, like he could give a piece of property.

Asked by: Edward, Arizona


A: Well Edward, I’m a little surprised by your question because this is not superstition.

It’s there in the Bible, as you correctly noted, and Isaac had the right to give a birthright—normally it was given to the oldest son, who, in this case, would have been Esau instead of Jacob. But you know the whole story. It’s not a superstitious story, nor was this a superstitious ritual.

The firstborn was recognized as having special privileges, so when Isaac gave the birthright to Jacob, this had significance among the family and among the whole matter of inheritance issues. No, it wasn’t like a piece of property—this was a special blessing and responsibility instituted by God.

Yes, it’s true that Jacob was a schemer and yet he received the blessing. You called him a liar. I’m not sure if that’s exactly right, but at any rate, sometimes God uses crooked sticks to make straight lines.

If you look at the life of Isaac and Jacob, and even Rebecca, who was in on the scheme, you see that God is greater than the failures of human beings. He had chosen this family, and He continued to use this family for His honor and glory. And by the way, Edward, aren’t you glad He is a God of grace?

Scripture references

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