Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. (Genesis 25:26)
For centuries, many have presumed that the younger brother took hold of his older brother’s heel in an effort to prevent Esau from being born first. Not only that, but many Bible scholars have interpreted the name Jacob (in Hebrew, Ya’akov) to mean “supplanter” or “trickster.” They conclude that he was trying to “supplant” Esau when he took hold of his heel. This camp further contends that he was born a deceiver, validated by the fact that he tricked his brother into selling his birthright and deceived his father in order to obtain the blessing of the firstborn. The truth of the matter, however, is that Jacob wasn’t any of those things that people have accused him of.
First of all, Rebekah knew that it was Jacob that God had ordained to be the heir to the promise. She knew that the struggle within her womb was about to two nations at odds with one another and that the younger was destined to rule. In other words, by all rights, Jacob was always the firstborn. Secondly, the accusation that Jacob means supplanter was first voiced by none other than Esau who said:
“Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” (Genesis 27:36).
We must remember that Esau is the one associated with the carnal inclination and is associated with the goats. It is also important to remember that Esau gave his birthright away for a bowl of soup. Most importantly we must acknowledge that God Himself said that He had rejected Esau because Esau had opposed Him (Malachi 1:3). In other words, Esau can’t be trusted and his words should be always be considered before accepting them as truth.
So what is the point? Throughout history, the Adversary has always been good at accusing God’s people of what he — the Adversary — is actually guilty of. Esau accused Jacob of being a deceiver when, in fact, Esau was the deceiver. Unfortunately, many have made the mistake of believing the words of the “accuser of the brethren” and have vilified Jacob (later to be known as Israel). God’s people have always been falsely accused by our enemies and it will continue to be so until the end of the age.
So then, we must strive diligently to live above reproach and not give the enemy any ammunition to use against us. We know that he will launch lies against us because that is his nature, but if we walk in the Master’s footsteps, we can overcome his devises. Though accusations may come, let us live a life where the fruit we bear tells the truth for all to see. Most importantly, let us live a life that pleases the Almighty so that, in that day when all stand before Him, we can hear Him say, “Well done.”
Blessings and Shalom,