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Genesis 25:31-34

Context

25:31 But Jacob replied, “First 1  sell me your birthright.” 25:32 “Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die! What use is the birthright to me?” 2  25:33 But Jacob said, “Swear an oath to me now.” 3  So Esau 4  swore an oath to him and sold his birthright 5  to Jacob.

25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and lentil stew; Esau ate and drank, then got up and went out. 6  So Esau despised his birthright. 7 

1 tn Heb “today.”

2 tn Heb “And what is this to me, a birthright?”

3 tn Heb “Swear to me today.”

4 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 sn And sold his birthright. There is evidence from Hurrian culture that rights of inheritance were occasionally sold or transferred. Here Esau is portrayed as a profane person who would at the moment rather have a meal than the right to inherit. He will soon forget this trade and seek his father’s blessing in spite of it.

6 sn The style here is typical of Hebrew narrative; after the tension is resolved with the dialogue, the working out of it is recorded in a rapid sequence of verbs (“gave”; “ate”; “drank”; “got up”; “went out”). See also Gen 3:1-7 for another example.

7 sn So Esau despised his birthright. This clause, which concludes the episode, is a summary statement which reveals the underlying significance of Esau’s actions. “To despise” means to treat something as worthless or with contempt. Esau’s willingness to sell his birthright was evidence that he considered it to be unimportant.



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