The bible story located in Genesis 27-36 is one of deceit and blessing. It is the story of Jacob and Esau. The story of Jacob and Esau is one that can seem to be rather confusing when looking at it through the Christian perspective. Jacob is the one favored by God, but he is very much a trickster. He tricks his brother out of his birth right and then tricks his sickly father to give him his older brother’s blessing. It does not seem very ethical at all. It is quite baffling as to why God chose Jacob when actions are deceitful.

The beginning of the story Jacob is announced to have his brother Esau serve him in the sorts of a prophecy. They are born to Isaac, Abraham’s promised child, and Rebekah, his wife. They were born at the sometime the two boys were, but Esau came out first. Esau grew into a hunter and Jacob just stayed home among the tents. Isaac loved the wild and therefore loved Esau, however, Jacob was loved most by his mother. The story line is where Jacob tricks his brother, Esau, the first born, out of his birthright and blessing. The first time Jacob something from Esau is when Esau was hungry after a hunt and in exchange for stew Esau gave Jacob his birthright. Another time Jacob cheats Esau with the help of his mother, Rebekah, so Jacob can receive Isaac’s blessing he was giving because Isaac was in bad health. These events obviously made animosity between the boys and started conflict. This can be seen later in the story, but later on they reconcile their differences. Later in the story God gives Jacob the name of Israel because he wrestled with God about seeing his brother Esau. Therefore, Jacob must be symbolic for the country of Israel (Senior, Collins, and Getty 112 – 114).

The important themes in this story line is the fact God does not go back on his promises. It should be considered that perhaps God did not intend for Jacob to get those things that way. In addition, God makes a covenant with Jacob to be his God and promises him offspring, land, and protection (Senior, Collins, and Getty 113). This covenant is a restating or renewal of the covenant with Abraham. Jacob is called to be the next, for a lack of a better word, covenant keeper. Therefore like Abraham, God shows that even though man himself is an obstacle at times, God will carry through his promise despite any obstacle (Senior, Collins, and Getty 113). The interesting thing about this story is that it uses literary devices that make God like a physical being. In the story Jacob grapples with a man and depending on the translation it can be considered God or one of God’s angels. This is obviously something based off old stories (Senior, Collins, and Getty 114).

The relevance’s of this story can be considered more of a sort of symbolic tale about Israel. Therefore Jacob and Esau is a story of nations and the tension between them. Therefore, the tension before Jacob and Esau worked it out are the symbolic event of Israel and another nation. Esau is called hairy and red, this is reference to Edom and Seir (Senior, Collins, and Getty 113). Another theme that is mentioned in the Catholic Study Bible is that God, with crooked lines, can write straight. Examples are how the mother’s judgment is favored over the fathers, and the victory of the younger son over the older son (Senior, Collins, and Getty 113). These stories based on the groupings that these stories were originally recited orally and meant to give glory to Israel’s past. The type of literature specifically to this type is story is more like a saga based on the symbolic elements (Senior, Collins, and Getty 113).

The relevancy of this passage to the people was to show Israel’s past and to also glorify it and pass it down to future generations. The story was made up of old folk tales, or also known as sagas. Therefore the stories were meant for the Israelites (Senior, Collins, and Getty 114). The story also to emphasize the key themes that were mentioned to the people and God’s faithfulness (Senior, Collins, and Getty 113). The modern reader, as mentioned in the beginning, when not taking into account the theme that God will make a promise come about despite man, himself, being obstacle can be really horrified at the lack of ethical actions that Jacob does and yet God still chooses him to have the covenant and to be higher than his older brother (Senior, Collins, and Getty 112 – 113).

In conclusion, this baffling and seemingly unethical story of deceit has been put more into focus. I learned that this story is more of a symbolic story. In addition, the theme that God can overcome any obstacle is more visible and in one’s face now. The theme is now seen as more of the central element and weaves the whole piece together.

Works Cited
Senior, Donald, John J. Collins, and Mary A. Getty, eds. The Catholic Study Bible. New York: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.
Boadt, Lawrence. Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Paulist, 2012. Print.


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