November 23, 2006

Breadcrumb: What's it worth to you?

In Gen. 25:29-34, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of pottage. Esau's exclamation that he is about to die (25:32) is traditionally considered by midrashim (Jewish commentary) to be an exaggeration, thus absolving Jacob of gunpoint negotiations, as it were. As a further proof to this, the midrash points out that Esau "rose up, and went on his way" after eating (25:34), not typically the behaviour of a man recently on the verge of death.

If this is the case, then Jacob can be congratulated on his good sense, and Esau blamed for his lack of foresight. After all, I'm sure Esau's birthright would have been able to buy him lots of pottage in the future.

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