“He ate; he drank; he rose; he left, and he despised his birthright.”
This starkly direct translation of Genesis 25:34b is from the original Hebrew text. The descriptive rendition sheds light on what was in Esau’s heart. It tells us why Esau could not receive the birthright and blessing of his father, Isaac.
Taking up the mantle of leadership for the descendants of Abraham and Isaac was not what Esau wanted to do with his life. While others labored for the family by shepherding flocks and trading with neighbors, Esau went hunting. Esau did not value the patriarchal roles associated with the Abrahamic covenant, roles assumed by Abraham and Isaac.
Jacob was also a flawed individual. Throughout his life, Jacob wrestled with others. Esau, Isaac, Laban, Rachel, Leah, his sons, and with God. But in the end, Jacob fulfilled his destiny and God blessed him. He led his family into the future.