Have you ever felt as if you’re in second place or are second-rate? Perhaps it’s at work, in sports, with your family, or in someone’s affections.
That’s how Jacob felt. The Bible tells us that Jacob was the younger of fraternal twins. His elder brother, Esau, was the firstborn and so was entitled to the birthright—the privilege of receiving the larger share of his father’s inheritance and being the prospective head of the family. If you’ve ever been in a one-down position, you can imagine how Jacob must have envied his brother. He was in second place, and nothing he could do was going to change that.
But as the story unfolds in Genesis, chapters 25–33, Jacob decides to take matters into his own hands. When Esau is faint with hunger and asks for food, Jacob demands that Esau sell him his birthright in exchange for a bowl of stew. Next Jacob tricks their father into giving him Esau’s blessing. Then he runs away, fearful that Esau will kill him.