Was Esau The Bad Guy? By Henry Dennis Bassey

By Ikenga Chronicles August 31, 2016

Was Esau The Bad Guy? By Henry Dennis Bassey

Esau and Jacob were grandsons of Abraham and sons of Isaac, born of the same mother, Rebecca. The story of these brothers makes an interesting read. According to the Biblical story, the brothers grew up very different. Jacob was “a quiet man, staying among the tents” and his mother’s favorite. Esau was “a skillful hunter, a man of the open country” and his father’s favorite.

One day, Esau returned from hunting, hungry and desired some of the stew that Jacob was cooking. Jacob offered to give his brother some stew in exchange for his birthright—the special honor that Esau possessed as the older son, which gave him the right to his father’s inheritance and blessings. Esau put his temporary, physical needs over his God-given blessing and sold his birthright to Jacob. When the time came for Isaac to bestow his blessing on his sons, Jacob and his mother contrived to deceive Isaac into blessing Jacob in Esau’s place. When Esau found that his blessing had been given to Jacob, he threatened to kill his brother, and Jacob fled. Years later, Jacob and Esau met and were reconciled. Today Esau is regarded as a symbol for profanity: Someone who lacks respect for spiritual things. Pastors and preachers have made several sermons on the topic of Esau and admonished many of their listeners not to be like Esau, the profane man; a man who sacrificed his future for a plate of stew. Esau is seen as the bad guy.

Right from the womb, these two had their lives already planned out. It was predestined that the younger one, Jacob, will be greater than the older brother, Esau {Genesis 25V23}. The events that followed their birth; Esau selling his birthright and Jacob deceiving their father to get the blessings, all worked together to fulfill God’s predestined plan for their lives. Esau and Jacob didn’t have to do anything. They were just born to fit into a predestined plan: God’s plan. A chain of events and predetermined outcome was all planned by God and all that needed was for these two to be born. Esau didn’t willfully sell his birthday right; Esau was predestined by God to sell his birthday. It wasn’t his plan, it was God’s plan at work.

The fact is, God loved Jacob, and he did not love Esau; he did choose Jacob, but he did not choose Esau. It’s clearly stated in the Bible: Romans chapter 9V11-13, which reads in part “…for the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election(predestination) might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth; It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

As I write this, I don’t pretend to be able thoroughly elucidate the great mysteries of predestination. God is sovereign, infinite. Humans are limited in understanding and may not fully comprehend an infinite God. The story of Esau and the role he was destined to play, should make open our minds and ask some valid questions, whose answers may help us begin to understand the great mystery of predestination.  For me, Esau wasn’t the bad guy.