Esau

(Hebrew: hairy)

The eldest son of Isaac and Rebecca and twin-brother of Jacob. The life-long opposition between the two brothers was foreshadowed by their struggle when still in their mother's womb. Esau became a skilful hunter, beloved of his father. In a moment of hunger he exchanged his birthright for a mess of pottage which Jacob had prepared. His choice of Chanaanite wives was grievously offensive to Rebecca. Preparatory to giving his parting blessing to his son, Isaac bade him procure with his hunting the meat for a savory dish; during Esau's absence Jacob, on the advice of his mother, impersonated his brother by covering his neck and hands with the hide of kids. In this manner he obtained the blessing intended for the first-born, after which he fled from his brother's wrath and they met only after 20 years. Esau settled in the land of Seir and his descendants were called Edomites.

New Catholic Dictionary

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