Genesis 25b – Two Brothers QA

Two Brothers

(Questions and Proposed Answers Supplied)


This Bible Characters Series is designed for children. Adults will find it very difficult; children will not. It is designed to consider texts literally and from very literal Hebrew renderings. It is presently being used in a Sunday School class with very young children. They not only learn the material, but they give a report of what they have learned before the Church Service begins, demonstrating that they understood it very well.

No topic is avoided in the questions and answers. Children easily learn about every issue of life (including sexual issues and the deepest theological issues) from these texts in Genesis. If you are not interested in children directly learning these things, this series is not for you.

Another document of the same title will be found without ‘QA’ in its title; that is the same document, but without supplied answers. These documents are posted on the web for anyone to use, copy, and modify their own copies as they see fit. There is no monetary transaction for their usage.

Background and Printed Text: Genesis 25:19-34

Genesis 25:19 And these are the birthings of He-Will-Laugh (Isaac) son of Father-Of-A-Crowd (Avraham). Father-Of-A-Crowd (Avraham) childed He-Will-Laugh (Isaac). 20And He-Will-Laugh (Isaac) was a son of 40 year in his taking Multiple-Pouring (Rebecca) daughter of They-Destroyed-A-Mighty-One (Bethuel) the I-Will-Elevate-‘ite’ (Syrian) from Ransom-Of-I-Will-Elevate (Padan-Aram) sister of White (Laban) the I-Will-Elevate-‘ite’ (Syrian) to him for a woman.

21And He-Will-Laugh (Isaac) entreated to Yehovah to-straight-in-front-of his woman. For he is barren {fem.}. And Yehovah was entreated for him. And Multiple-Pouring (Rebecca) his woman conceived. 22And the children oppressed-themselves inside her. And she said, “If established, why am I this {masc.}?” And she walked to research Yehovah. 23And Yehovah said to her, “Two races are in thy belly. And two folks will be separated from thine internals. And a folk will be-bolder than a folk. And a many will serve a younger.”

24And her days were filled to birth. And behold, twins are in her belly! 25And the first exited reddish—all of him as a fur-coat of hair. And they called his name Hairy. 26 And after establishment his brother exited. And his hand is grasping into a heel of Hairy. And he called his name He-will-Heel. And He-Will-Laugh (Isaac) is the son of 60 year in birthing them.

27And the youths ‘bigged’. And Hairy was a man knowing hunting, a man of a field. And He-Will-Heel is a perfect man dwelling tents. 28And He-Will-Laugh (Isaac) loved Hairy, because hunting is in his mouth. And Multiple-Pouring (Rebecca) loves He-Will-Heel.

29And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) stewed a stew. And Hairy (Esau) came from the field. And he is tired. 30And Hairy (Esau) said unto He-Will-Heel, “Engorge me, na, from the red—from this red! For I am tired!” Therefore he called his name Red. 31And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) said, “Sell her—thy firstbornness—to me as the day [today]!” 32And Hairy (Esau) said, “Behold I am walking to die! And why is this firstbornness to me?” 33And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) said, “Vow to me as the day [today]!” And he vowed to him. And he sold his firstbornness to He-Will-Heel. 34And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) gave bread and stew of lentils to Hairy (Esau). And he ate. And he drank. And he arose. And he walked. And Hairy (Esau) despised the firstbornness.


I. The Three Characters (verses 19-20)

The text shows three characters who are important to know now: Isaac, Rebekah (also spelled Rebecca) and Laban. Bethuel will not play a significant role, but Laban will continue to have a part in the affairs of Avraham’s main heirs.



1.   Was Laban a good guy? No. He will prove to be a very bad character in the Bible.

2.   What does the meaning of Rebecca’s name have to do with her character? She will later prove herself by the meaning of her name! I cannot tell why her parents named her the way they did, but the name will perfectly fit her!


II. The Question (verses 21-23)

Another woman in this lineage besides Sarah was barren. If she did not have a child, Isaac would have a problem: the promise would end. He was promised that he would produce a great race. There must be at least one son if this is going to occur.

Isaac entreated (strongly requested) Yehovah directly in front of Rebecca on her behalf. Yehovah hearkened (heard and did), and Rebecca conceived.

During her pregnancy, a fight regularly occurred in her womb, but she did not know what was happening. She asked, “If established, why am I this?” She walked (went) to research Yehovah.

Yehovah gave her information that explains some of the Bible’s events.

  • Two races are in her belly.
  • Two folks will be separated from her internals.
  • One folk will be bolder than the other folk.
  •  A many shall serve a younger.


1.   Why did Isaac entreat Yehovah for his wife instead of his wife entreating for herself, or rather than Isaac entreating for himself? She was very upset. I don’t know if she thought about asking Yehovah directly at this time. Isaac knew to respond by praying on the spot.

2.   Does Yehovah always respond to a strong request? Yehovah gives the following responses:

  • He sometimes ignores a request because He knows it wouldn’t be good, or it wouldn’t be wise to do the request.
  • He sometimes refuses a request. He might tell the person that He refuses, or He might not. If He doesn’t, it is as if He ignored the request.
  • He sometimes grants the request, but doesn’t tell the person that He has; much time can pass before the request comes to the person.
  • He sometimes grants the request and brings it to the person right away, without telling the person that He granted it.
  • He sometimes grants the request and tells the person that He has granted it. Whether He will bring the request right away or not depends on His wisdom.
  • He sometimes does or doesn’t do other things in response to a request.

3.   Should you request things from Yehovah? This would be wise on your part if what you desire is important to you, and if you plan to use it to benefit others. (All Yehovah gives is for the benefit of others, not just the benefit of the ones to whom He gives. That doesn’t mean that a person should give away what God has given; rather, the person should use what God has given so that others will be benefited.)

4.   Why did the children oppress themselves within her? What was going on with them? The text doesn’t give the motives. They were fighting, and they had their reasons. Finding out why unborn children will fight might be very difficult!

5.   What did she mean by “If established, why am I this”? She was finally ‘established’ in pregnancy—she was firmly recognized as pregnant. That didn’t explain to her why there was conflict in her womb. She was suffering in pregnancy instead of enjoying it after waiting so long.

6.   What gave Rebekah the impression that God would tell her what was going on with the children in her womb, since it was her husband who went to Yehovah to entreat for her in the first place? She saw that Yehovah answered his request. Why shouldn’t she go straight to Yehovah herself? She was a wise woman.

7.   Where did she go to inquire of Yehovah (verse 22)? The text doesn’t give this information. If the text had given this information, many would be going to the same place, assuming that it was the place where one could meet God! (Anyone can ask God anything in any place. Now, He won’t answer most folks, because answers are usually not necessary. She needed an answer; Yehovah provided her with one.)

8.   The text states that she went to research Yehovah. What does that mean? Researching is carefully looking and learning to discover something, finding out much about it. She wanted to discover much about Yehovah Himself, as well as to discover what was occurring in her. If you will do the same thing (research Yehovah), you will be found by Him, and He will reward your efforts.

9.   Can verse 23 be used in arguments regarding abortion? Yes, it can. The text calls two unborn children (two fetuses) races and folks. A race is far more important and numerous than a tribe; a tribe is far more important and numerous than a family; a family is far more important and numerous than a person. A person who knew the Bible well could use this text to speak against abortion.

10. Yehovah in Malachi 1:3 states, “I hated Esau.” Did Yehovah hate Esau from birth?

Romans 9:10 When Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac—11(for the children, being not yet born and not having done any good or evil so-that the purpose of God according to election might stand—not of works, but of Him Who calls)—12it was said unto her, “The many will serve a younger” 13as it is written, “I love Jacob, but I hated Esau.” 14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Absolutely not!

       Yehovah didn’t hate Esau from birth, but from his evil works! The Bible states,

Hebrews 12:16 …lest there be any fornicator or profane person as Esau who sold his birthright for one morsel of food…

       A fornicator is a person who has sexual intercourse (‘sex’) without being married, and when the other person or persons isn’t/aren’t married.

       A profane person is one who is secular—that is, the person doesn’t really care about God and about how God views right and wrong, but does what others do and wants to be like others. Most folks are profane. (Even many religious folks are profane.)

       While Yehovah knew what Esau would do, Yehovah still didn’t respond to Esau by what Esau would do, but by what he finally did. That is when Yehovah hated him.

11. Does verse 23 teach predestination—the idea that God causes folks to be and to do things that they would probably not have been and not have done? No. This verse teaches foreknowledge—that God knows what will happen before it does. There is a big difference between knowing things in advance and causing things to occur.

12. What does “belly” mean? This isn’t referring to the stomach (where swallowed food goes). It does include the womb (where a baby develops).

13. What are internals? They include the womb and all surrounding areas in the body. In this case, they are the inside areas from which a baby is born.

14. Which folk will be bolder than the other folk? The text doesn’t say!

15. Who are the many and who is the younger in “A many will serve a younger”? The many are the offspring of Esau. The younger is Jacob and his offspring.


III. The Naming (verses 24-26)

It was time for her delivery. She knew (from Yehovah) that she had twins. The first twin was covered with red hair like a red fur coat. They called him Hairy (Esau). The next twin then came out with his hand grasping into the heel of Hairy (Esau). He was named for the act of holding on to the heel: He-Will-Heel (Jacob). These two feisty twins were born to a sixty-year-old man. Rebekah had waited twenty years for this occasion.



1.   Exactly what does the name Jacob mean? It means He will heel. Now, the words heel and heal are two different words. The word that isn’t used here (heal) has to do with a wound. If I said, “He will heal,” I might be saying, “He will get better.”

Jacob’s name means something different. The word heel has to do with the back of the foot, or with something that comes after or behind something else. “He will heel” means that he (whoever he is) will come afterward—like on the heels of something else. The English languages don’t use heel in this way.


IV. Occupations and Favorites (verses 27-28)

They ‘bigged’ means they got bigger—they grew. Esau learned how to hunt, and was a very successful hunter. He also loved to camp (he was a man of a field), and knew well how to deal with his environment.

Jacob was a perfect man. He stayed around the tents, and he lived there (rather than camping out).

Isaac loved Esau because of the taste of the game that Esau brought and fixed for him.

Rebekah loves Jacob. No reason is given.



1.   In verse 27, the word perfect is used where other translations use plain or simple. Which translation is correct, and how can one know? The Hebrew word means perfect, not ‘plain’ or ‘simple’. A person could find that out by using a lexicon of the Hebrew language. (A lexicon acts like a dictionary, giving meanings to words, but it is also interested in finding similar words in other languages, and finding how the word is used.) This word is used in the Bible in many places. It is used to describe Yehovah and His Teaching. Perfect fits; plain or simple does not fit.

2.   Was Jacob really perfect? Did he not have to come to God later, and turn from sin and some very evil things? From the first time Jacob is introduced as an adult, the Bible described him this way (as a perfect man). Yehovah knows how to correctly describe a person. The Bible doesn’t indicate that Jacob became evil, then turned. It is better to not be evil, but do right from the start, than to become evil, and then turn.

3.   What does perfect mean? I propose that it means being and doing what Yehovah designed the person to be and to do, using the power that Yehovah provided.

If this is a good definition, a child can be perfect. The child was designed to be a child and to do what children do. A child learns; a child can listen and ask questions, a child can observe (watch others carefully) and can learn to make good decisions, a child can volunteer to help, and a child can grow.

4.   Was Isaac wrong for loving Esau because of the game that Esau caught (verse 28)? No, but loving for a reason like this (loving because of what another person can provide in the way of food) might later not be good. It will hurt Isaac and Esau later in Genesis.

5.   Was Rebekah’s love for Jacob pure—that is, entirely right? It was right. The text doesn’t say why she loved him.

6.   Is it right for a parent to love one child more than another child? A parent with more than one child will favor one child. This is natural. If it were wrong, the Bible would command against it. Some children need more than other children; that would appear as loving the needy child more. It might not be the case, but it might appear that way.

       There are some parents who really do love one child over another child. This does damage, but the damage often is to the child who received the love more than the child who didn’t. The child who didn’t receive the love sometimes is much kinder, more thoughtful and gentler than the other child. The child who isn’t loved as much might also turn out to be bitter, to have a hatred of others.

       No one can love two other persons equally! That wouldn’t be right, since each person is different.

       Children will also tend to love one parent more than the other if there are two parents. This may not be the best, but it is what happens for many reasons.

       Some children have parents who don’t love them at all, but only love themselves. Yehovah has provided others who can give love to those children, and whom those children can love.

       Both Jacob and Esau were loved.


V. The Sale and the Vow (verses 29-34)

Jacob also knew how to cook. Esau was a good hunter, but he did not necessarily eat what he caught out in the field. He came back quite tired. Jacob was fixing what really looked good. It was red because of the ingredients Jacob used. Esau requested some of the red stew, because he was tired. Much work and time was required to fix a meal. He apparently did this often, because it became his nickname: Red.

On this occasion, Jacob wanted something in return for the stew. “Sell her—thy firstbornness—to me as the day [today]!” He desired to purchase Esau’s status as the firstborn. Esau’s reply was curious: “Behold I am walking to die! And why is this firstbornness to me?” (I made up the word ‘firstbornness.’ It is similar to ‘birthright,’ but it is a little different.)

Jacob told him to swear (vow) “as the day” (today). Esau was quite willing. He chose to sell his position of being the firstborn. Then Jacob fed him well.

Esau ate and drank. It was a good meal. After Esau finished, he got up and went. Esau despised the status of being firstborn.



1.   In the text starting in verse 29, does there seem to be any animosity (any anger or hatred) between Esau and Jacob? No.

2.   Why was Esau tired? He had been hunting. He very much enjoyed hunting, but that requires much physical activity.

3.   What did Esau mean by “Engorge me”? That meant, “Fill me with food until I am very, very full!”

4.   Who called Esau’s name Red? Jacob called him that!

5.   What did the ‘firstbornness’ include? It included all the responsibilities that a firstborn son had. In the event that the father was gone or died, the firstborn son would need to take responsibility for the family when he was able. He also had responsibilities to watch over his brothers and sisters. He would get a larger portion of his father’s inheritance (in most cases). He also had spiritual responsibilities with the family.

6.   How does ‘firstbornness’ differ from birthright? They are really the same, except the word birthright focuses on rights rather than on responsibilities. There were many responsibilities for the firstborn son.

7.   Why did Jacob desire the position of being firstborn if it included responsibilities? Some do not mind being responsible. Some seek responsibilities. They will usually do will at work, and will sometimes become very high in rank. (The opposite is a lazy person, a person who doesn’t desire responsibilities.)

       Jacob delighted in Spiritual things (things that had to do with God, faith, the sayings of God, etc.). Those were part of the responsibilities of the position of being firstborn.

8.   Why did Jacob desire this today? He desired to commence the responsibilities right away, not wait for a later time.

9.   Why didn’t Esau care about his firstborn status? Esau was the opposite of Jacob. He didn’t like the responsibilities. He preferred to be out in the field hunting, and fornicating with available women.

10. Some claim that Esau was close to death, and that Jacob took advantage of him by demanding his birthright before feeding him. Is this true? Esau said, “Behold I am walking to die!” meaning, “I am going to die!” He then said, “Why is this firstbornness to me?” After all, Esau was born seconds before Jacob; Jacob could have been born first. Esau wasn’t close to death, and Jacob didn’t take advantage of Esau. They both wanted what the other had, and they exchanged.

11. Why did Jacob insist that Esau vow? Jacob knew Esau. He could easily claim later that he didn’t really mean to sell the status of being firstborn without the vow, and Jacob desired that it be sealed with such a vow.

12. What is so special about a vow compared to promise? A vow always involves a god/God! A promise can be broken (and sometimes must be), but a vow involves whatever god/God a person claims. Esau and Jacob both understood this. Yehovah watches for vows.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *