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JACOB AND ESAU.
pottage; for I am faint:" said he to Jacob. He immediately makes this proposal to him, "Sell me this day thy birthright." And Esau said, "Behold, I am at the point to die; and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" So Esau sold his birthright, and confirmed it by an oath. But the father had not been a party to this light-minded bargain, and therefore might still have given the blessing to Esau.
When Isaac was old, it came to pass that his eyes became dim, so that he could not see, and he thought he should soon die; and he called Esau, and said, "Behold now, I am old, I know not the
day of my death now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; and make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; and let my soul bless thee before I die."
Now while Esau was gone, Rebekah took two kids and made savoury meat of them, such as Isaac loved, and sent her son Jacob with it, that he might receive his father's blessing. Then Jacob came in and said, "My father :" and Isaac answered, "Who art thou, my son?" Jacob said to him, "Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. Then his father felt him, because Esau had rough hands, but Jacob's were smooth. But Rebekah had by an artifice given him a rough skin. Then said Isaac, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." And he asked him again, "Art thou my very son Esau?" And he said, "I am. Then he ate, and after he had
eaten and drunk, he said to Jacob, "Come near now, and kiss me, my son." Then he blessed him,
and said, "God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee." a
Scarcely had Jacob gone out, before Esau came home from hunting, bringing some savoury meat, and said, "Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison.' And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, "Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea,
and he shall be blessed." And Esau cried aloud and said, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing." Then Esau wept bitterly. And Isaac said, "Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above: and by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother: and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck."
And Esau hated Jacob on account of the blessing, and uttered fearful threats against him." My father," said he, "will soon have to suffer grief; for I will slay my brother Jacob." Therefore Jacob was advised by his mother to flee away from his brother, and to go to her brother Laban, in the land of Haran.c
In this flight, Jacob had to experience in many ways what sorrow it brings upon any one to seek advantages by deceit. Do not imagine, dear children, that the deceit of Jacob and of Rebekah was pleasing to God. They ought to have waited to see how God would fulfil his promise, instead of taking it into their own hands.
14. JACOB'S WANDERINGS.
JACOB took leave of his father, who gave him a strict charge not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan; but to go to Padan-aram, and to take a wife of the daughters of Laban, his mother's brother. On the journey, when he had placed a
c Gen. xxvii. 30-45.
b Luther's version.
stone under his head for a pillow, and was asleep, he dreamed that a ladder stood upon the earth, the top of which reached to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending upon it. And, behold! the Lord stood above, and said, "I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of."
When Jacob awoke, he said, "Surely, the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not." And he was afraid, and said, "How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." And he took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a memorial, and he called the name of the place "Bethel;" that is, "the house of God." a
After a long journey, Jacob came to Haran, where Laban dwelt; and, as formerly Eliezer had met with Rebekah, so he met with the beautiful Rachel by the wells of water. He loved her, and served Laban seven years for her. But Laban deceived Jacob, and gave him Leah, instead of Rachel, for his wife, and told him that he must serve seven years more for the other. Jacob had twelve sons, who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of
a Gen. xxviii. 10-19.
Their names were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Ashur, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph, and Benjamin.
After his fourteen years' service was ended, Jacob remained six years longer with Laban; and God blessed him, so that he became very rich in menservants and in maidservants, and in camels and asses, and oxen and sheep. On account of these riches, Laban became envious of his sonin-law. And Jacob sent for his two wives to come to him in the field, and he went away with his flocks and his property without saying any thing to Laban. When Laban found, on the third day after, that Jacob had fled, he pursued after him, and after seven days' journey he overtook him. But God appeared to Laban in a dream, and said to him, "Take heed that thou speak not to Jacob otherwise than kindly." Then Laban made a
b Luther's version.