Grudge Match: Esau and Jacob (Genesis 27:41)

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Sibling rivalries are no joke.

I believe that humanity is inherently kind, but it can’t escape notice that the very first physical death on this earth (that’s recorded) was not of natural causes, but a murder. 

And not just any murder, but one brother murdering his own brother.

That’s a sad commentary on the state of humanity, particularly in how we treat those we are closest to.

Jacob and Esau appear to have picked up the reins in this department. Once Jacob steals Esau’s birthright, Esau vows to take his revenge: “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob” (Genesis 27:41). 

Rebekah picks up on this and tells Jacob to run (literally) for his life. Jacob flees with the promise that Rebekah will send for him “when [his] brother’s anger subsides.”

Fat chance of that ever happening, as one might think.

Fortunately, Esau actually changes his tune down the road. When the brothers eventually meet up in Genesis 33, the reunion is surprisingly joyous! That’s great news for anybody that is currently embroiled in a family dispute that is contentious to the point of literal violence.

People can change, and that’s a beautiful thing.

Rather than being a continuation of the sibling rivalry that tore apart Adam and Eve’s family, Jacob and Esau show that grudges can be a thing of the past. Whereas Esau threatens violence one day, he embraces his brother the next.

Would to God that all family disagreements would resolve themselves in similar ways.