Jacob and Esau were twin brothers, sons of Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was the dearer to his father; but Rebekah loved Jacob more, and she wished her favorite son to have the birthright, or larger portion of the property, which really belonged to Esau because he was a little the older.
One day Esau came in from hunting, very tired and hungry, and sold his birthright to Jacob for a kind of stew called pottage.
Afterward, when Isaac had grown very old, he sent Esau one day to get some of his favorite meat, saying that when he returned he should have his father's blessing.
But Rebekah heard this and determined that Jacob should have the blessing instead. So she prepared meat, then dressed Jacob in some of his brother's clothing, covering his hands and neck with the skin of the kids, and sent him to his father; and Isaac blessed him, for his sight was dim, and he thought it was Esau.
When the elder brother returned, he was very angry with Jacob, and Isaac was deeply grieved to think he had been deceived; but he blessed Esau as well, who became prosperous and had large possessions and great power.
After this Jacob went to his mother's people, where he met Rachel, whom he loved very dearly. He told Laban, her father, that he would serve him faithfully seven years if Rachel might be his wife, and Laban consented to this; at the end of the seven years, however, he told Jacob that he must first marry Leah, as she was the older, but if he would serve another seven years he might have Rachel also. So Jacob served another seven years for Rachel, and then they were married.
Later Esau and Jacob met and were very glad to see each other, for Jacob had repented of his sin, and God had forgiven him; while Esau forgave him also.
[Illustration: ISAAC BLESSING JACOB.]