"The Hands Are The Hands Of Esau"

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Last Updated on May 24, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 226

Context: Continuing the patriarchal and priestly line descended from Abraham, as traced in the sacred history of the Hebrews, twins, Jacob and Esau, are born to Isaac, the son of Abraham. These brothers are different from each other in all respects. Jacob is a quiet, domestic youth, beloved of his mother. Esau is a rough, active youth, a "cunning hunter," the favorite of his father. Since Esau is the first-born, he has several important privileges by birthright. He holds upper rank in the family, is to receive a double portion of his father's property, and has a right to the Covenant-Blessing, God's blessing to the successors of Abraham. Esau carelessly relinquishes his birthright to his brother, however, "for one morsel of meat" (Heb. 12:16). Jacob secures still other privileges through deception. Isaac, old and blind, resolves to extend the patriarchal blessing to his favorite son. While Esau is hunting venison to give as a gift to his father before the blessing, Jacob dresses in skins, covers his hands and neck with the hair of goats, and offers his father a savory meat prepared by his scheming mother. Isaac, suspicious that this is not Esau, calls Jacob closer to test him:

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And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.

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