Esau's Rash Decision

Jacob and Esau were twins, but they were as different as they could be. Consider the following:

Appearance- Esau was “red, like a hairy garment” (Genesis 25:25); Jacob called himself “a smooth man” (Genesis 27:11).

Interest and Personality- Esau was “a skillful hunter”; Jacob was “a peaceful man” (Genesis 25:27).

Living Arrangement- Esau was “a man of the field”; Jacob was a man “living in tents” (Genesis 25:27).

Family Dynamic- “Isaac loved Esau”; but “Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28).

We all know examples of siblings who are quite different. I went to high school with twins who were nothing alike. They did not look the same. They did not act the same. They were not interested in the same things. And yet, they were twins. They were not identical twins, but they were twins, nonetheless.

Another difference between Jacob and Esau emerges when we read about their interactions with each other. Jacob is portrayed as being crafty. He is cunning in his dealings with others, whether it be with Esau, Isaac, or Laban. Esau, on the other hand, seems a bit gullible.

Esau comes in from hunting one day and says (the NASB translates it best from what I understand), “Please let me have a mouthful of that red stuff there, for I am exhausted” (Genesis 25:30). The text is intended to show Esau as a person who is not very discerning. We are supposed to imagine Esau as someone who says something like this: “Hey, that red stuff. Give me some of that red stuff. Sure, you can have my birthright. I’m so hungry, I think I’m going to die.” The word red is actually in the Hebrew text twice. This is where translators will insert the word stew. Esau says, “Let me have that red red.” He is not exactly the prime example of maturity and wise decision making.

On this occasion, Esau is not a person who thinks intentionally about his choices. He makes a big decision in the spur of the moment. He allows his empty belly to inform him rather than thinking prayerfully and slowly about what he will do.

Obviously, God worked through this occasion to further His plan. However, we can still take a lesson from Esau’s rashness. In moments of stress, we are tempted to make hasty decisions. We like to make a choice and move on. However, this moment in Esau’s life shows us that hasty decision making can have big consequences. In times of discomfort, people will do just about anything to be comfortable again. Esau wanted his belly full. He lacked discipline and discernment.

When faced with an important decision, let us heed the wisdom of Proverbs 19:2, “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.”