Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. (Genesis 25:26)
If the infant Jacob wasn’t trying to supplant his brother by placing his hand on his heel, then what exactly was going on? Remember these two had been struggling within Rebekah’s womb for many weeks, presumably over the right to be the first born. When Esau emerged from the womb, a little hand was seen grabbing his heel and, thus, the second born was called Ya’akov (Jacob), which is literally, “hand on a heel.” But, again, why?
I have long argued that the hand on the heel wasn’t an attempt to subvert but to protect. In other words, the young Jacob placed his hand on his brother’s heel to prevent that heel from crushing his head. Since the fall of man, the Adversary has known that it is God’s intention to bruise his head by the heel of the righteous seed. And since that time it has been the Adversary’s goal to reverse that decision and crush the head of the righteous seed. This is, in part, why Cain lured Abel into the field to murder him — tradition claims that he bludgeoned him to death.
In rabbinical literature this ongoing struggle is called the “Battle of the heel” and has continued to this very day. The enemy still seeks to stamp out and destroy God’s people wherever he can. God’s people, like the infant Jacob, still find themselves in situations where they must protect themselves from their overly aggressive opponents. In turn emphasizes what the Messiah told His followers:
Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19)
This is to say that we have been given the authority to place our heel on the head of the our adversary because our King has already “destroyed the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). If we follow in His footsteps, we have the authority to step on and crush any “snake” that invades our pathway. So then, let’s make sure that we are walking on that one and only path that leads to life, following in the heel prints of our Master.
Blessings and Shalom,