The Despised Birthright
Genesis 25:29-34
And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:…

In forfeiting his birthright to his younger brother, Esau gave up —

1. The right of priesthood inherent in the eldest line of the patriarch's family;

2. The promise of the inheritance of the Holy Land;

3. The promise that in his race and of his blood Messiah should be born. Esau parted with all this because, as he said in the rough, unreflective common-place strain which marks persons of his character even now, and which they mistake for common sense — "He did not see the good of it all." "What good shall this birthright do me?"

I. IN MATTERS OF KNOWLEDGE WE FIND MEN DESPISING. THEIR BIRTHRIGHT. Knowledge is power; but as the maxim is used now, it is utterly vulgarizing. Knowledge not loved for itself is not loved at all. It may bring power, but it brings neither peace nor elevation to the man who has won it. If we cultivate knowledge for the sake of worldly advantage, what are we doing but blaming farewell to all that is lasting or spiritual in knowledge and wisdom, and taking in exchange for it a daily meal?

II. AGAIN, AS CITIZENS, MEN DESPISE THEIR BIRTHRIGHT. If, when it is given them to choose their rulers, they deliberately set aside thinkers; if they laugh at and despise the corrupt motives which affect the choice of rulers, and yet take no serious step to render corrupt motive impotent — then there is a real denial and abnegation of citizens to act on the highest grounds of citizenship.

III. WE ARE IN DAILY DANGER OF SELLING OUR BIRTHRIGHT IN RELIGION. Esau's birthright was a poor shadow to ours. Esau had priesthood; we are called to be priests of a yet higher order. Esau had earthly promises; so have we. Esau had the promise of Messiah; we have the knowledge of Messiah Himself.

IV. THE LOST BIRTHRIGHT IS THE ONE THING THAT IS IRRETRIEVABLE Neither good nor bad men consent that a forfeited birthright should be restored.

(Archbishop Benson.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

WEB: Jacob boiled stew. Esau came in from the field, and he was famished.

The Birthright Sold
Top of Page
Top of Page