Aim to learn about the difference between Esau and Jacob
* To learn about the difference between Esau and Jacob
* To learn the meaning of the words birthright and blessing
* Bible story – Genesis 25:20-34
* Visual aids: large pictures of the story
* Name labels of key words
1. Review the story so far
2. Tell the story
4. Activities – worksheets, out out the story, make pictures of Jacob & Esau
5. Review the aims
1) Review the story so far
* God needed someone who loved and trusted Him so much that he would obey all His commands.
God chose Abraham and promised to make a great nation from his descendants. Abraham did exactly as he was told, except for one thing. He didn’t cut some animals in half. Because of this,
God said his descendants would suffer for 400 years. To restore this failure, God asked him to sacrifice his son, Isaac. He didn’t actually have to do it. God needed Abraham to show his absolute obedience
* Isaac then became the new chosen person. Today’s story is about how God worked through his two children, Jacob and Esau.
2) Tell the story
Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, called Esau and Jacob. Esau grew up to be a big, bearded, hairy man, who loved the countryside and was skilled at hunting. He was his father’s favourite, and Isaac liked to eat the wild game caught by his strong son. Jacob, on the other hand, was a quiet, thoughtful sort of person. He preferred to be at home. Jacob was his mother’s favourite.
Before the twins were born, Rebekah had been told by God that, when they grew up, the older child would serve the younger. She had found this puzzling, but always kept it in her mind. Esau was the elder of the twins as he had been born first. So, he was due to receive the birthright from their father, Isaac. This meant that Esau would be head of the family after his father’s death. Also, with
the birthright, Esau would receive Isaac’s blessing for the future. Rebekah could not see how God’s prophecy could come true.
One evening, Esau returned home exhausted by a day’s hunting. He felt very hungry, and there was a delicious smell wafting through the air. Esau rushed in to find Jacob cooking lentil stew.
“Quickly, give me some food,” he said to Jacob, “I’m starving!” Jacob stared at Esau and thought for a moment. Then slowly he replied, “If you give me your birthright, I’ll give you some stew.”
Esau was only interested in eating. “What good is my birthright to me when I’m dying of hunger,” he replied. “Let me eat!”
“Promise me first,” said Jacob. So, Esau swore an oath to Jacob, promising to hand over his birthright. Jacob gave him the food and Esau ate greedily. Rebekah had seen everything and she did
not forget it. How little Esau had valued his birthright, to sell it for a plateful of stew!
Many years went by, and Isaac grew old, frail and blind. It was time to give his blessing to his eldest son. So, Isaac told Esau to go off and hunt some wild game for him to eat. “Prepare me the
kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me,” he said, “so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
Rebekah overheard Isaac talking to Esau. Instead of leaving things to God, she decided to act while she could. Rebekah told Jacob what had been said. “Now, my son, listen to me,” she said. “Go out to the flock and bring two young goats, so that I can prepare a tasty stew. Then you can take it to your father, and he will bless you before he dies.”
“But my brother, Esau, is a hairy man,” said Jacob. “What happens if my father touches me? He would know I was tricking him, and he would curse me instead.” Rebekah told Jacob to leave
everything to her. So he went off and brought the goats to his mother, and she prepared the stew.
Jacob tricks Esau
When Rebekah had cooked the stew, she dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes, and covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with goatskins. Jacob took the tasty food and went into his father’s tent. “My father,” said Jacob. “Yes, my son,” answered Isaac. “Who is it?” “I am Esau, your firstborn,” lied Jacob. “I have done as you told me and brought you the game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
Isaac was not sure that it was Esau, so he asked Jacob to come close so that he could touch him. Isaac felt Jacob’s hands and neck, and they were hairy like those of Esau. But it seemed like the
voice of Jacob. “Are you really my son, Esau?” Isaac asked. “Yes,” replied Jacob. “I am.”
After he had eaten, Isaac asked Jacob to kiss him. As he came close, Isaac could smell Esau’s clothes and then he truly believed that it was his eldest son. So, Isaac gave his blessing to Jacob.
“May God give you everything. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”
After Isaac had blessed him, Jacob left his father. He had only just gone when Esau returned from hunting. He, too, prepared his father’s favourite food, and took it in to Isaac. Then poor old Isaac
knew that he had been deceived and told Esau what had just taken place. When Esau heard that Jacob had tricked him and received the blessing he cried bitterly over what he had lost. He swore to kill Jacob once Isaac was dead.
When Rebekah heard that Esau was planning revenge, she warned Jacob. “You must leave at once,” she said. “Go and stay with my brother, Laban, until Esau has calmed down. I’ll send for you when the time is right.” Then Rebekah told Isaac that she wanted Jacob to marry a woman from their homeland, just as Isaac had done. Isaac agreed and sent for Jacob. “You must not marry a Canaanite woman,” he told Jacob. “Take a wife from the daughters of Laban, your uncle. May God bless you and your descendants as he did Abraham, so that you may take possession of Canaan, as was promised.”
So Jacob set off for Mesopotamia, the land of his forefathers, to escape his brother’s anger and to find himself a wife.
* What did God tell Rebekah before Esau and Jacob were born? – the older will serve the younger
* What was the difference between them? – Esau was born first. He was a big, bearded, hairy man, who loved the countryside and a skilled hunter. Jacob was born second. He was a quiet, thoughtful sort of person, who liked to be at home
* Who did Isaac and Rebekah love the most? – Isaac loved Esau, Rebekah loved Jacob
* What did Esau promise Jacob in exchange for the stew? – his birthright
* What is the birthright? – the right of the ﬁrst-born be head of the family after his father’s death and receive most of the inheritance
* Why did Esau choose to give his birthright away? – He was very hungry. If he died from hunger, he didn’t think it was of any good to have it.
* What is a blessing? – God’s gift for our future happiness
* What did Isaac ask Esau to do to receive the blessing? – hunt some wild game and prepare a meal
* How did Jacob trick Isaac into giving him his blessing? – Rebekah made a stew, dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes, and covered his hands and neck with goatskins. Then he brought Isaac a tasty meal
* What did Isaac say when he blessed Jacob? – May God give you everything. Be lord over your brothers, May the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.
* Why couldn’t Esau also get his father’s blessing? – He could only give it once
* In your family who is the oldest? Do you want to be the oldest? What is good about being the oldest or youngest? What is the difference?
* Worksheets – colour the picture, fill in the missing words in the text
* Act out the story – dress up as the characters. Make hairy arms by gluing strips of yarn on a piece of paper. Let the children pretend to put it on their arms like Jacob did.
* Make pictures of Jacob and Esau
White paper, Paint (skin color), paint brushes, markers or crayons
1. Fold the paper in half.
2. Paint an image of a person using the skin color paint on half the page.
3. Fold the page so the image will print on the other half of the page. (This represents that Jacob and Esau were twins).
4. Let the paint dry for a few minutes.
5. Using the markers or crayons to turn the body images into Jacob and Esau. Keep in mind the differences between the two.
5) Review the lesson aims
* To learn the difference between Esau and Jacob
* To learn the words birthright and blessing