In a time long ago, in the far away land called Beer Lahai Roi lived a man named Isaac. He was the son of Abraham, the father of the Israelites, a friend of God. Isaac had two sons, twins named Esau and Jacob. Esau, a burly man with lots of hair was a skillful hunter, a man of the open country as his neighbors would say and his father would proudly boast… while Jacob was content to stay at home, close to his family. Some would say he was a bit of a “mama’s boy” and frankly, Jacob didn’t mind it. Especially since Isaac favored Esau.

One hot afternoon, Jacob stood in front of a boiling pot with a smile on his face. He knew his mother would be proud of how talented he was in the kitchen. Maybe his father would want a bowl too. He could just imagine the proud smile on his father’s face and grinned to himself.

A grunt behind him caught Jacob’s attention and he glanced over his shoulder to see a burly man ambling across the grounds toward the tent. He rolled his eyes and turned away just as Esau was greeted by a servant girl. “Bring me some water,” his older brother barked in a hoarse voice before he turned and spotted Jacob’s skinny frame by the fire.

But not before the aroma of whatever was in front of Jacob assailed his senses and sent his stomach rumbling loudly and twisting painfully. Frowning to himself, Esau straightened his shoulders and walked over, ignoring the cup of water extended to him by the servant girl.

Esau peered over Jacob’s shoulder and his eyes widened in delight. Still, he maintained his composure. “Whatchu cooking?” he asked casually, taking a deep breath of the sweet meal.

Jacob smirked to himself, knowing Esau’s mouth was probably watering with longing. “Lentil stew.”

“Is that for you or the entire house?”

Gotcha, Jacob thought silently. “Maybe… What are you eating?”

“Uh, well, I was going to wait for Pops to wake up before I eat… But…”

“But what?” Jacob kept on stirring the beans slowly, letting the steam travel over his shoulders.

“If you want to share… I wouldn’t mind a plate,” Esau frowned to himself. Why was Jacob acting this way? Hadn’t he heard the grumbling of his stomach? Didn’t Jacob even care to offer without him asking, knowing that he was hard at work hunting the land for the meat the house provided. “Besides, I’m pretty sure some of the meat used in this stew was caught by me.”

Jacob didn’t reply, a laugh caught between his lips. The desperation in Esau’s voice was thrilling! “Perhaps… Perhaps not. I can offer you a bowl…”

“Great!”

“Under one condition…”

Esau rolled his eyes, still staring at the delectable dish before him. Even now, Jacob was reaching for a bowl to pour a hefty amount of beans and meat. His tongue tingled in anticipation. “Yes…?” he said distracted by the sweet-smelling food only a few inches from him.

“Remember that pesky paper Dad gave you when we were little?” Jacob’s eyes twinkled in amusement, watching his brother stare intensely at the steaming bowl of bean stew.

Esau nodded, still in a daze. “The birthright thingy?”

“Uh-hmm.”

“What about it?” he licked his lips subconsciously, his stomach rumbling.

“Give it to me.”

Esau blinked, snapped from his daze. “Huh?” He glanced at his brother’s stoic face. “Give you my birthright for some stew?”

Jacob stared back at him. “You don’t even know what it is. It’s probably not that important.”

“So why do you want it?” he narrowed his eyes in suspicion at his brother.

Jacob shrugged, placing the bowl on the table near the stove. “I guess you don’t want this stew that badly. You’re obviously not hungry.”

Esau scowled as his brother had the audacity to extend the bowl to the servant girl still holding the water. He stepped forward to intercept the exchange, glaring down at his brother. “Fine! What does it matter? I’m about to die of hunger and you’re talking about some silly paper.” He reached for the bowl and growled in frustration when Jacob held it behind him. “What now?!” he barked impatiently.

Jacob glared back up at him. “Swear first that you’ll give it to me.”

Esau and the servant girl blinked at him. “Swear for what? It doesn’t matter.”

“Swear first,” Jacob repeated in a firm voice. He was not going to accept Esau coming back to say he was just joking and ask for it back. And if Dad and Mommy asked, he’d have proof and a witness. “Swear.”

“Alright, alright. I swear that you can have the silly birthright paper,” Esau said casually, then reached behind his brother and snatched the steaming bowl from him.

Jacob didn’t protest, grinning from ear to ear as his brother walked away, chomping down on the stew. “Feel free to come back for seconds!” he called after his brother, his heart jumping for joy within. Finally he could face his father with some pride now. No more hiding behind his brother as though they were not equals. By law, by this property and birthright he’d been given fair and square, he and Esau were now equal in standing.

<<Cover || Part 2>>

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