Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah. He loved her very much. In time, they had two children—twin boys.
The older boy was called Esau, and the younger one, Jacob. Esau loved being outdoors, and he was good at hunting animals. But Jacob liked to stay at home.
In those days, the oldest son was given most of the land and money when his father died. That was called an inheritance. In Isaac’s family, the inheritance also included having a part in the promises that Jehovah had made to Abraham. Esau did not care much about those promises, but Jacob knew that they were very important.
One day Esau came home very tired from a long day of hunting. He smelled the good food Jacob was cooking and said: ‘I’m starving! Give me some of that red stew!’ Jacob said: ‘I will, but first promise me that I can have your inheritance.’ Esau said: ‘I don’t care about my inheritance! You can have it. I just want to eat.’ Do you think that was a wise thing for Esau to do? No, it wasn’t. Esau gave away something very precious, just for a bowl of stew.
When Isaac was very old, it was time to give a blessing to his oldest son. But Rebekah helped Jacob, the younger son, to get the blessing. When Esau found out, he was very angry and he planned to kill his twin brother. Isaac and Rebekah wanted to protect Jacob, so they told him: ‘Go and stay with your mother’s brother, Laban, until Esau calms down.’ Jacob listened to his parents’ advice and ran for his life.
“What good will it do a man to gain the whole world and to lose his life? What, really, would a man give in exchange for his life?”—Mark 8:36, 37