ESL Lesson 6 – Jacob the Cheater

Lesson 6

Jacob the Cheater

Genesis 25:19-34 and 27:1-28:22


Isaac grew up and married a woman named Rebekah.  Isaac and Rebekah had two twin boys, Esau and Jacob.  Esau was born a few minutes before Jacob.  That made Esau the firstborn son. 


In Jewish families, the firstborn son had special rights and privileges that the other children did not have.  One of these privileges was the birthright.  The birthright gave the oldest son the biggest share of his father’s property and money when his father died.  It also meant that the older son became a leader in the family in many ways.


When a father was old and about to die, he also gave his firstborn a special blessing.  At that time, he asked God to help his son and give him good things.


The birthright and blessing were two great advantages that a child got because he was born first.


Esau grew up to be a good hunter.  He liked to go into the woods and hunt wild animals.  His father Isaac loved the meat that Esau would bring home with him.  Esau was Isaac’s favorite son.


Jacob was a quiet man.  He liked to stay close to home and help take care of his father’s goats and sheep.  Jacob’s mother, Rebekah liked him the best.


One day Jacob was at home cooking when Esau came in from hunting.  Esau was very hungry.  He asked Jacob to give him some of the bean soup he was cooking.  Jacob told Esau he would give him some soup if Esau would give Jacob his birthright.  Esau was so hungry that he didn’t think about anything but eating.  He agreed to give Jacob his birthright so that he could have some food.









marry (married) (v)

property (n)

twin (n)

leader (n)

firstborn (n)

blessing (n)

privilege (n)

advantage (n)

birthright (n)

hunter (n)

share (n)

woods (n)

hunt (v)

goat (n)

wild animal

sheep (n)


bean soup

quiet (adj)

agree (v)


Note:  “Sheep” is singular and plural.  One sheep, two sheep.



1.  Esau was how much older than Jacob?

2.  In a Jewish family, what two advantages did a firstborn child have?

3.  What did the birthright give the oldest son?

4.  When a father gave his firstborn a blessing, what did he ask God for?

5.  Who was Isaac’s favorite son?

6.  Who was Rebekah’s favorite son?

7.  What did Esau trade his birthright for?


Later Isaac became very old and blind.  He knew he might not live much longer.  Isaac told Esau to go kill a wild animal and cook it for him.  Isaac would give Esau his blessing after he ate the meat that Esau would cook for him.


Rebekah heard what Isaac said to Esau.  She did not want Esau to get the blessing.  Because she loved Jacob the best, she wanted Jacob to get the blessing.  She had a plan to get the blessing for Jacob.


Rebekah told Jacob, “Go out and get two of the best of the goats from your father’s flock.  I will cook them the way your father likes.  Then you can pretend to be Esau and take the meat to your father.  That way your father will give you the blessing.”


Jacob said, “Esau is a hairy man.  My father cannot see me, but when he touches me he will know I am not Esau.”


But Rebekah knew what to do.  She took goat skins and covered Jacob’s hands and neck.  She put Esau’s clothes on Jacob.  She gave Jacob the meat and sent him in to see his father.


Jacob told his blind father, “I am Esau.  I have brought you meat.  I have come to get your blessing.”


“How did you get the meat so quickly?” Isaac asked.


“God helped me,” Jacob lied.


Isaac said, “Come close to me so I can touch you and know whether you really are Esau or not.”


Jacob went close to his father.   Isaac touched him and said, “Your voice sounds like Jacob, but your hands feel like Esau’s hands.” 


Isaac did not recognize Jacob so he blessed him.

When Esau found out what Jacob had done, he was very angry.  Jacob had cheated him out of his birthright and his blessing.  Esau decided to wait until his father died and then kill Jacob.


Rebekah knew how angry Esau was.  She told Jacob to run away.  She said Jacob should go back to the country she had come from and live with her brother and find a wife.


So Jacob ran away.  One night while Jacob was travelling, God talked to him in a dream.  God told Jacob that he would give him the land where Jacob was.  God said that he would give Jacob many offspring.  God promised to be with Jacob, to watch over him, and to bring him back to the land of his father.


When Jacob woke up he knew that God had talked to him.  Jacob told God, “If You will take care of me and bring me back to this land, You will be my God.  I will obey You.  I will give You a tenth of everything You give me.”


After that, Jacob became a different man.  He no longer cheated people.  He tried to do what was right.  He gave a tenth of everything he earned to help poor and sick people and to worship God.



blind (adj)

recognize (v)

plan (n)

find out

flock (n)

cheat (v)

pretend (v)

run away

hairy (adj)

dream (v)

touch (v)

tenth (1/10)

voice (n)

earn (v)


Irregular Verbs



Past  Participle


find out

found out

has found out

will find out

run away

ran away

has run away

will run away



 8.  Esau was a hairy man and Jacob was not.  How did Jacob make his father believe he was Esau?

 9.  When Esau found out that Jacob had stolen his blessing what did he want to do to Jacob?

10.  Jacob cheated his brother two times.  Did Jacob continue cheating people for the rest of his life?


To Think About

1.  Isaac and Rebekah each had one son that they liked better than the other son.  What did this do to the relationship* between the two brothers?  What did this do to the relationship between the husband and wife?


2.  Before Jacob heard God in his dream, he was greedy*.  He would do anything he could to get ahead of his brother.  Jacob wanted more than his fair share.  He cared more about himself than anyone else. 


Do you know a greedy person?  What do you think of that person?  A greedy person often owns more things than other people who live around him.  Do you think a greedy person has a better life than a person who is not greedy and has less?



relationship (n)

greedy (adj)