Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Today’s offering is very much tied in with the previous offering, so that if you didn’t read the previous offering, or did read it but forgot what it was about, then you might best *read * or re-read it, as the case may be, before embarking on what follows.

So then, Jacob had impersonated Esau in order to get Isaac’s blessing. But, no sooner had Jacob left his father after getting the much-desired blessing, than Esau came in from his hunting foray, carrying the body of the deer he had killed.

Because Rebekah (Esau’s and Jacob’s mother) didn’t care much for the ape-like, hairy and smelly Esau – far preferring the more refined and delicate Jacob – she didn’t offer to cook the deer for Esau, in the way she had cooked the young goat for Jacob. Esau therefore had to cook his deer himself, which he didn’t at all like doing, because, being a hunting-man of the great outdoors, and therefore a man’s man, he regarded cooking as woman’s work.

All this said, Esau didn’t do a half-bad job in cooking the deer. It smelled so good that it fully justified being called a savoury dish. Esau brought the savoury dish in to his father Isaac, who, being well-nigh blind in his old age, couldn’t see who it was who had just come in, and so asked, “Who are you?”

“It’s me, Esau. I’m your elder son, don’t you remember?”

“Esau? You were in to see me not so long ago. What do you want now?”

“You must be confused, Father. I’ve not seen you in many days.”

“Well, someone came in who said he was you, and who gave me a savoury dish to eat – which was good, let me tell you – and then asked for my blessing, which I gave. If he wasn’t you, who was he?”

“I’ll bet it was that brother of mine, that Jacob, that mama’s boy. Oh, if he were only in front of me now I would give him the beating he has long deserved. But, all is not lost. How about you bless me too, Father?”

“I’m afraid I can’t, son. You see, I’m only able to give one blessing. Unfortunately it seems I gave this blessing to the wrong son.”

“You and Mother certainly named Jacob well, for you will surely know that the name means ‘he supplanted’.”

“I didn’t know this, and I don’t think your mother did either. Our naming your brother ‘Jacob’ was entirely fortuitous.”

“Be that as it may, Father, this is the second time Jacob has supplanted me. He has now not only taken away my blessing, he also took away my rights as the first-born son, through my *acting foolishly*.

“I’m awfully sorry about all this, old chap. But what can I do? It is also my unpleasant duty to tell you that you will also have to live in a dwelling far from the richness of the earth, far from the dew of heaven above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall have to serve your brother. However, the time will come when you will become as mad as hell, and you won’t take this any more. Then you will break off Jacob’s yoke from your neck.”


From that moment Esau bore a grudge against Jacob, a grudge which grew more toxic as each day passed. Esau became more and more consumed with the thoughts of what exactly he would do to Jacob when the time was ripe.

At first, Esau would say to passers-by who cared to listen, “I’m going to knock all of Jacob’s teeth out, and give him a black eye and a bloody nose.”

After a while this began to seem to Esau too mild. Hence the images which entered Esau’s increasingly fevered mind became yet more violent, yet more sanguinary. He began to mutter to the passers-by, “I’m going to break every bone in Jacob’s body. His blood will be gushing out everywhere. With my bare hands I’ll tear his throat out, and I’ll throw his body to the wild animals. Then I’ll be done with him for ever.”

Word of what Esau was saying couldn’t help but come to the ears of Rebekah. She called Jacob, and said, “Esau is planning to kill you in ways so terrible I can’t begin to describe them. You must slip away to my brother Laban, who lives in Haran. Stay there until Esau’s anger cools. When it does I’ll send for you and you can come back.”

“But Mother” said Jacob, “Haran is so far away, and I would miss all my friends, for I don’t know how long I would have to be there. Here in Beersheba with you and Father, is my home and where I belong. Besides, Esau’s bark may be worse than his bite. And even if his bark does equal his bite I could always take boxing lessons, so that should Esau attack me I could defend myself. Although he’s a lot bigger and stronger than me, I’d be a lot quicker than him. I’ll dodge all his blows and counter them with my own. I’ll float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.”

Despite Jacob’s boasts, Rebekah prevailed on him to do as she said, and to go to Haran.

Source: Genesis 27, 30-45

This entry was posted in Esau, Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Rebekah and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

  1. Richard says:

    I’d be very scared if I was Jacob. Is Esau Scottish? He looks as though he might be wearing a kilt. No wonder he wouldn’t cough up my fee. Not that I’m one for stereotypes. It does make you think, though.

    Jacob will have to appease Esau sooner or later. Mark my words.

  2. jenny says:

    Meanwhile, Leah loved her younger sister Rachel. Nothing but harmony among sisters.

  3. Philippe says:

    @Richard – I’ve seen not a few men during my life who look a lot like how Esau is depicted in the painting of him shown on this posting.

    If there was ever an Esau, he may have been a Neanderthal, since it is now postulated by learned scientists that Neanderthals had red hair. Hence the red hair of people today may be a legacy of distant Neanderthal ancestry.

    @Jenny – If you are implying that women don’t fight each other as do men, you should know that if you have a female dog and are contemplating getting a second dog, it is recommended that it be male, since female dogs will fight each other to the death.

  4. Richard says:

    I had a Neandertal client once. He was a very nice man – he paid my bill. So Neandertals probably aren’t Scottish. He did prefer the colder weather, though, so I’ll have leave that one to learned scientists.

    You now say Esau might not have existed? So all that advice was hypothetical? Next you’ll say my bill was hypothetical.

  5. Philippe says:

    @Richard – Living in England as you do, did you, peradventure, see a parallel between Isaac’s two boys and the two Milliband boys – the elder of each set of boys being deprived of his birthright, and having to serve his younger brother.

    Will David eventually throw off from his neck the yoke of Ed?

    “….You now say Esau might not have existed?…..”

    If I left the impression in your mind that I doubt that Esau ever existed, the fault is mine, and mine alone. When I said in my last comment “…if there ever was an Esau….” I was stating this as a hypothesis only.

    Of course Esau existed. This is one of the few facts in all the branches of knowledge which is indisputably true.

  6. jenny says:

    Women do not fight each other as do men. They have their own nasty ways of doing it.

    The story of Rachel and Leah astounds me. And I cannot understand why Jewish parents with two daughters name them Rachel and Leah (I know many such sisters). There’s one hell of a legacy: to be Leah to your sister’s Rachel. Thanks, mom and dad. No worries. Sisters never compete with each other anyway.

    Actually, I meant to imply that the telling of the story of Rachel and Leah is bizarrely oblivious to what must have gone down between the two of them.

  7. Philippe says:

    @Jenny – I’m reminded of the song, part of which goes:

    Lord help the mister,
    Who comes between me and my sister,
    But Lord help the sister,
    Who comes between me and my man……..

  8. jenny says:

    Philippe–you know how the brain is: it jumps from one thing to the next. Now you’ve reminded me of this:

    She frowned and called him Mr.
    Because in sport he Kr.
    And so in spite
    That very night
    This Mr. Kr. Sr.

    πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  9. Philippe says:

    You have a hyperactive brain indeed.

  10. patricia tallman says:

    quite funny, Chris, i am sure jim will enjoy this! i will tell him about it today.

  11. Philippe says:

    Your kind words flatter so modest an offering.

  12. Richard says:

    Chris? Who’s Chris?
    jim? who’s jim?
    Patricia Tallman? Who’s Patricia Tallman?

    You have a secret life, Philippe.

  13. jenny says:

    Richard, I had decided not to say anything.


  14. Philippe says:

    @”Richard”, “Jenny”

    As we all are, I’m a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.


  15. jenny says:

    Dear “Philippe” — you are. πŸ™‚

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