Genesis 25:28-34, 27:1-28:7, 32 &33
Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Unfortunately each parent had a favorite. Isaac loved Esau, who loved to hunt. Rebekah loved Jacob, who tended the flocks at home. I’m sure this created jealousy and struggles between the 2 boys. We are only told of 2 major events in their young adulthood. The first in Genesis 25, was when Esau came home hungry from hunting. Jacob was cooking and Esau asked for some stew. Now the brotherly thing to do would be to just give him some, but Jacob tells Esau he had to sell his birthright to Jacob. Now that is pretty big! Their father Isaac is pretty wealthy and by birthright Esau should inherit all of it (Esau was born a few minutes before Jacob). But Esau impulsively agrees to sell his birthright for a bowl of soup.
Later in Chapter 27, we see Rebekah help Jacob steal Isaac’s blessing from Esau. Of course Esau is furious about this and so Rebekah works it out to send Jacob away for a while.
Jacob ends up being gone for 20 years. He marries and becomes wealthy in his own right while he is away. But eventually he decides to return to his homeland. But back at home is Esau. When Jacob left, Esau wanted to kill him. So as Jacob got close he sent gifts ahead in hopes of calming Esau down. In Genesis 33:3, Jacob goes out to meet Esau and bows 7 times. This is an Eastern custom that shows complete submission. But Esau surprises Jacob! He give him a big hug, all is forgiven!! Esau invites Jacob to live near him and be one big happy family. Jacob decides to live near him in the same area but not right with him. We aren’t told why, maybe Jacob was afraid they had too much bad history that might come up if they saw each other to often. However, we do know that the brothers forgave each other and that is something we all need to know how to do!
Have your children practice apologizing to one another and giving forgiveness. Let each child have a turn as the “sinner” and the “forgiver”. Hopefully, the next time they need to do this for real it will go a little smoother!