|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:29-34 We have here the bargain made between Jacob and Esau about the right, which was Esau's by birth, but Jacob's by promise. It was for a spiritual privilege; and we see Jacob's desire of the birth-right, but he sought to obtain it by crooked courses, not like his character as a plain man. He was right, that he coveted earnestly the best gifts; he was wrong, that he took advantage of his brother's need. The inheritance of their father's worldly goods did not descend to Jacob, and was not meant in this proposal. But it includeth the future possession of the land of Canaan by his children's children, and the covenant made with Abraham as to Christ the promised Seed. Believing Jacob valued these above all things; unbelieving Esau despised them. Yet although we must be of Jacob's judgment in seeking the birth-right, we ought carefully to avoid all guile, in seeking to obtain even the greatest advantages. Jacob's pottage pleased Esau's eye. Give me some of that red; for this he was called Edom, or Red. Gratifying the sensual appetite ruins thousands of precious souls. When men's hearts walk after their own eyes, Job 31:7, and when they serve their own bellies, they are sure to be punished. If we use ourselves to deny ourselves, we break the force of most temptations. It cannot be supposed that Esau was dying of hunger in Isaac's house. The words signify, I am going towards death; he seems to mean, I shall never live to inherit Canaan, or any of those future supposed blessings; and what signifies it who has them when I am dead and gone. This would be the language of profaneness, with which the apostle brands him, Heb 12:16; and this contempt of the birth-right is blamed, ver. 34. It is the greatest folly to part with our interest in God, and Christ, and heaven, for the riches, honours, and pleasures of this world; it is as bad a bargain as his who sold a birth-right for a dish of pottage. Esau ate and drank, pleased his palate, satisfied his appetite, and then carelessly rose up and went his way, without any serious thought, or any regret, about the bad bargain he had made. Thus Esau despised his birth-right. By his neglect and contempt afterwards, and by justifying himself in what he had done, he put the bargain past recall. People are ruined, not so much by doing what is amiss, as by doing it and not repenting of it.
Verse 33. - And Jacob said, Swear to me this day. On the expression "this day" vide supra, ver. 31. The conduct of Jacob in this transaction is difficult to defend Though aware of the heavenly oracle that assigned to him the precedence in his father s house, he was far from being justified in endeavoring, by "cautious, prudent, and conciliatory proposals" (Murphy), but rather by unbelieving impatience, despicable meanness, and miserable craft, to anticipate Divine providence, which in due time without his assistance would have implemented its own designs. And he sware unto him. If Jacob's demand of an oath evinced ungenerous suspicion, Esau's giving of an oath showed a low sense of honor (Lange). And he sold his birthright unto Jacob - thus meriting the appellation of βέβηλος (Hebrews 12:16).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jacob said, swear unto me this day,.... For the more sure and certain confirmation of the bargain; and by this oath oblige himself to let him peaceably enjoy the birthright, nor seek to revoke it, or dispute it with him, or disturb him in the possession of it:
and he sware unto him; that he would abide by the bargain, and never give him any trouble on that account; and hereby he made it over to Jacob as firm as it could be; God himself being appealed to as a witness of it, whose will it was that Jacob should have the birthright, the blessing, and the promises:
and he sold his birthright unto Jacob; with all the privileges and appurtenances of it, and that for one morsel of meat, as in Hebrews 12:16.
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