Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was famished. Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, for I am famished!” (Therefore he was called Edom.) Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank, and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
- Did you ever wish you didn’t have a brother or sister you have? Do you wish you did have a brother or sister you don’t have?
- Do you ever feel like your parents favored a sibling over you, or were you the favored one?
- Esau and Jacob not only look very different but have different gifts or interests. I wonder what role focusing on such differences play in family dynamics and conflict.
- Why do you think Esau was willing to sell his birthright (status and place as the first-born) to Jacob for a bowl of stew?
Families are complicated. We choose friends but we don’t get to choose our family, or do we? There are many ways we form relationships, form bonds, form affection. Genesis shows us the complicated dynamics that go into familial relationships and how we live them out.