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of the forest with great skill and success He was a gentleman and a soldier--før afterwards we find him meeting his brother with four hundred men. Recreation seems to have been his whole business; he studied the art of it; and spent all his time in it. He did not like to be confined in the tent to sit down and read his book, but was a man of the field, who spent his time in pursuit of game.
2. Let us now hear what is said of Jacob." "And Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents." His name, Jacob, means a supplanter, one that turns out and displaces another, one that trips up the heels of another either by force or fraud. Jacob supplanted his brother Esau when he obtained the birthright from him, by giving him a mess of pottage, and when he obtained his father's blessing by appearing to be Esau.
He also wrestled with the Angel, and pre vailed on him for a blessing,
He is said to be a plain man, a man that was honest and fair in his dealings. A man that preferred the pleasures of solitude and retirement before the pleasures of the chace, or the sports of the field. He seems chiefly B 2
to have resided at home in his early years. Jacob was a simple hearted man, who seems to have employed himself in rearing and attending the flocks and herds of his father Isaac. He dwelt in tents, either as a shepherd or a student. Some think he frequented the tents of Melchizedek or Heber, to receive instruction in divine things.
II. We cannot help noticing the PARTIALITY of their PARENTS.
"And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob."
There is a reason assigned why Isaac lovved Esau, but none why Rebekah loved Jącob. The reason why Isaac loved Esau, was because he did eat of his venison: Was this a sufficient reason why he should prefer Esau to Jacob? By no means. There ought to have been no difference made between these two boys, because they were twins, they were both born at one time, and therefore Esau was not a firstborn son, nor Jacob a younger son. It is usual for parents to love the youngest best. They had but these two children, and yet both the parents made a difference in their affection towards
towards them. Esau was his father's favorite; and Jacob was his mother's darling. It was very wrong in Isaac and Rebekah to make any difference in their love, they ought to have loved them both alike. When Isaac went out into the field, it was to meditate and to pray, but when Esau went into the field, it was to hunt for venison. He knew how to please his father, and therefore treated him often with a savory dish. This showed his respect for his father, and gained him the affections of the good old man. He won his father's heart by hunting and bringing him the game which he caught. This was certainly a fault in Isaac; so that we see the best of men have their infirmities.
"Rebekah loved Jacob." She seems to have been mindful of the word of God, which had given the preference to Jacob. She therefore preferred him in her love. Parents ought to love those children whom God loves, because they are the best children. If therefore it be lawful to make a difference between children on any account, Rebekah was more excusable than Isaac, because she loved him whom God loved. She chose him whom the
Lord had chosen. If Jacob had not loved God, his mother would not have been so fond of him.
II. We proceed to relate how Esau sold his. BIRTHRIGHT to Jacob for a mess of RED
"And Jacob sod pottage, and Esau came from the field and he was faint. And Esau said to Jacob, feed me I pray thee, with that same red pottage, for I am faint; therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, behold I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do me? And Jacob said, swear to me this day; and he swear unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of entiles ;* and he did eat and drink, and rose up and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright."
The birthright had many and great privileges annexed to it. The firstborn was next in
* Lentiles, a kind of grain or pulse like pease or dhall, of which they make a coarse kind of food used by mourners." See Brown's Dict. Vol. 2, Page 93.
in honor and dignity to the parents. The firstborn had a double portion allotted to him. He succeeded to the government of the fami ly in the kingdom. The firstborn was cons secrated to the Lord. It was therefore a matter of the highest regard. This birthright Esau despised, and for it is called a profane person,* who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright: "For ye know (saith the Apostle) that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears."
Jacob desired the birthright; he coveted earnestly the best gifts. He desired earnestly the blessings promised to Abraham and his seed, especially that of Christ, and his salvation, which was included in them. Jacob was one day boiling pottage for his dinner, and was sitting down with his frugal meal, for he lived chiefly on herbs, when his brother came in weary, hungry and faint. He had probably been toiling all day and had caught nothing. He had a great desire to eat of Ja