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Esau

jacob brothers isaac hunter

Esau was the firstborn son of *Isaac and *Rebecca, the twin brother of *Jacob. The twins contended in their mother’s womb, and at birth Jacob emerged holding onto Esau’s heel. This competition set the lifelong pattern of struggle and rivalry between the brothers which culminated in two episodes: the exhausted and famished hunter Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob in return for food and later, with the assistance of Rebecca (who favored Jacob), Jacob was able to trick his blind, elderly father into giving him the blessing intended for the firstborn Esau (whom his father favored) by dressing in animal skins to appear and feel as hairy as Esau Jacob left home, and although Esau was initially very angered, both brothers prospered and were eventually reconciled (Genesis 33). Illustrations of the two brothers, Esau conversing with Isaac when Isaac asked him to bring him meat, and the episode of the stolen blessing, appear in early Christian biblical manuscripts and mosaics and in Romanesque and Gothic sculpture and manuscripts. Esau may be dressed as a hunter, often carries a bow, and is identifiable by his hairy appearance.

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