Ellen G. White Writings

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From Eternity Past, Page 113

Chapter 16—Jacob and Esau

This chapter is based on Genesis 25:19-34; 27.

Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac, present a striking contrast in character and in life. This unlikeness was foretold by the angel of God before their birth. In answer to Rebekah's troubled prayer, he declared that two sons would be given her. He opened to her their future history, that each would become the head of a mighty nation, but that one would be greater than the other, and the younger would have the pre-eminence.

Esau grew up loving self-gratification, centering all his interest in the present. Impatient of restraint, he delighted in the chase and the life of a hunter. Yet he was the father's favorite. This elder son fearlessly ranged over mountain and desert, returning home with game and exciting accounts of his adventurous life.

Jacob, thoughtful, diligent, ever thinking more of the future than the present, was content to dwell at home, occupied in the care of the flocks and tillage of the soil. His patient perseverance, thrift, and foresight were valued by the mother. His gentle attentions added more to her happiness than the boisterous, occasional kindnesses of Esau. To Rebekah, Jacob was the dearer son.

Esau and Jacob were taught to regard the birthright as a matter of great importance, for it included not only an inheritance of worldly wealth, but spiritual pre-eminence. He who received it was to be the priest of his family, and in the line of his posterity the Redeemer of the world would come.

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