In this passage, Genesis 27:1-40, we have Jacob who goes all the way to suck and to drain empty his elder brother, Esau, of the little that remains for him –the blessing of their father. And in order to arrive at that Jacob deceives his father and abuses the name of God. It’s sad to say but even today our world is infested with such elusive, professional dupers. Greed is a dark spot in our co-existence today –the tendency to transform my fellow human being into an object for my use, especially for selfish motives.
Greed of Jacob in progress
We saw in the previous post, Crossroads: Making Profit out of other Person’s Misery, how Jacob capitalised on the helplessness of his starving brother, Esau, to make him let go his birth right in exchange for soup. I even doubt the quality of that soup! This envious young brother doesn’t stop there but goes further to turn Esau upside-down to empty him of everything.
In a deceitful machination, in connivance with his mother, Jacob profits of the poor eye-sight of his Father, Isaac, to steal the blessing intended for his brother. The mother, Rachel, overhears Isaac send Esau to go hunting so that he can prepare him a meal and thereafter receive a blessing. When Esau is gone out hunting, Rachel and Jacob prepare a meal out of their domesticated animals and Jacob disguise himself to present himself before his father as Esau.
Nothing is sacred when it comes to greediness
When Jacob presents the dish before his father, Isaac wonders how he managed so quickly to hunt and prepare the meal. Jacob does not hesitate to make use of God’s name to give legitimacy to his treachery and so convince his father: “Yahweh, your God, guided me” (Genesis 27: 20). Indeed, his response is super pious but empty of the fear of God –it drips with avidity.
When Esau returns it’s too late. He prepares the game he’s hunted and presents a meal before his father, ready to receive the blessing. But there’s little remaining for him –he’s been swindled by his baby brother, a resolute fraudster. His effort and toil just come to nothing.
Deceitful Greed as astuteness
How soothing it would be if this was only a beautiful story from ancient literature! Unfortunately many families, and our world at large, are not spared of such unbridled greed. How many members of a family, even as you read this, are tearing one another apart because each one wants to get a better part than others?
We live in the world where it seems to be an acceptable business astuteness to exploit the naivety and the trust of simple people to get away with what we want. When you manage to do that they don’t consider you being deceitful but smart. In the end, we have many people who, like Esau, toil day and night but deprived of their reward.
In verse 36 Jacob is described as someone who dupes. It’s sad that in many walks of life we find many professional dupers who, without mercy, continue to swindle others of even the little they have. Hence, the cry of Esau continues to be heard: He has duped me two times. Wasn’t it sufficient for him to swindle me out of my rights of the first born son that he goes on to steal blessings destined for me?
I think of ordinary, poor workers in today’s unbridled capitalism who are condemned to work in conditions that border on slavery, hence, they are swindled not only of their right to work in humane conditions but also their right to just salaries. After labouring the whole the month many are the workers who go home with only crumbs.
What’s my position in this?
My thoughts and sympathy go to such exploited workers and also to families who are actually living conflictual situations. But I realise that’s not enough! And so the question I ask myself is this: am I part of the problem or part of the solution?
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