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towards them. Esau was his father's favorite; and Jacob was his mother's darling. It was very wrong in Isaac and Rebekah to make any difference in their love, they ought to have loved tlie'm both alike. When Isaac went out into the field, it was to meditate and to pray, but when Esau went into the field, it was to hunt for venison. He knew how to please his father, and therefore treated him often with a savory dish. This showed his respect for his father, and gained him the affections of the good old man. He won his father's heart by hunting and bringing him the game which he caught. This was certainly a fault in Isaac; so that we see the best of men bave their infirmities.'
* Rebekah loved Jacob.” She seems to have been mindful of the word of God, which had given the preference to Jacob. She therefore preferred him in her love. Parents ought to love those children whom God loves, because they are the best children. If therefore it be lawful to make a difference between children on any account, Rebekah was more excusable than Isaac, because she loved him whom God loved. She chose him whom the B 3
Lord had chosen. If Jacob had not loved God, his mother would not have been so fund of him.
II. We proceed to relate how Esaù sold his. BIRTH RIGHT to Jacob for a mess of RED POTTAGE.
“ And Jacob sod pottage, and Esau camo from the field and he was faint. And Esau said to Jacob, feed me I pray thee, with that same red pottage, for I am faint; therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, behold I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do me? And Jacob said, swear to me this day; and he swear unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of entiles ;* and he did eat and drink, and rose up and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”
The birthright had many and great privileges annexed to it. The firstboru was next
* Lentiles, a kind of grain or pulse like pease or dhall, of which they make a coarse kind of food used by mourners.” See Brown's Dict. Vol. 2, Page 93.
in honor and dignity to the parents. The firstborn bad a double portion allotted to him. He succeeded to the government of the family in the kingdom. The firstborn was con secrated to the Lord. It was therefore a matter of the highest regard. This birthright Esau despised, and for it is called a profane person,* who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright: “For ye know (saith the Apostle) that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."
Jacob desired the birthright; he coveted carnestly the best gifts. He desired earnestly the blessings promised to Abraham and his seed, especially that of Christ, and his salvation, which was included in them. Jacob was one day boiling pottage for his dinner, and was sitting down with his frugal meal, for he lived chiefly on herbs, when his brother came in weary, hungry and faint. He had probably been toiling all day and had caught nothing. He had a great desire to eat of Ja
* Heb. 18. 16, 17.
cob's pottage, and the color of it seems to have taken his fancy, and he desired it the more on that account. The color was like himself, red, on this account he was afterwards, by way of reproach, called Edom, red. Jacob proposed to his brother to sell his birthright to him. He knew how little his brother valued a privilege which he so much desired; but it was not right of him to take advantage of his brother's necessity. Esau said, b hold I am at the point to die, which means. I am - going towards death: because he could not die for want of food, there was no doubt plenty to eat in his father's tent. No, he must have some of Jacob's pottage, and when he said. these words he seems to have meant," I shall never live to inherit Canaan, or any of the fuiure supposed blessing, and what signifies who has them when I am dead and gone. I cannot live upon promises, give me thing to eat and drink, for to-morrow I die." When Jacob found him so indifferent about the matter, to make the bargain sure, he would not part with his pottage, till he had bound his brother by an oath to confirm the birthe right to him. And Jacob said, swear unto me
this day, and he swear unto him: and he sold his birthright to Jacob. Jacob is said to be a plain man, and Esau a cunning hunter, but Jacob was wiser than his brother, for surely no one could have made a more foolish, sinful bargain than Esau did.He ate and drank, rose up and went his way, and thought no more about the matter. He made no attempt to revoke the bargain, or recover the blessings he had lost. He made no, appeal to his parents. No entreaty that, his brother would absolve him from his oath. In his necessity he made the bargain, and his neglect, contempt and profaneness confirmed his own words, that he cared little or nothing about the matter. Well may Esau be called a profane person, who “ thus despised his birthright."
IV. CATECHETICAL QUESTIONS.
1. What are the words of the Text? “ And. the boys grew: aud Esau was a cunning kunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents."
2. What is the meaning of Esau's name? Red, made, full formed. 3. What is the meaning of Jacob's name?