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ESAU SELLING HIS BIRTHRIGHT.

THE habits of these distinguished brothers were as opposite as their characters. Though the offspring of one birth, the moral aspect of their minds, as well as the physical aspect of their bodies, was in direct opposition. "Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents." Esau was "red, all over like a hairy garment;" Jacob was "a smooth man." One was fond of the chase, delighting in it on account of the dangers and excitement which attended this severe pursuit; the other took pleasure in remaining at home tending his father's flocks. One was a hardy forester, the other a gentle shepherd. In one of his hunting excursions, Esau being faint with hunger came to Jacob's tent, and observing a pottage of lentiles which the latter had just prepared, desired to be permitted to eat of it, when Jacob, taking advantage of a brother's distress, refused to relieve it unless he immediately made him a transfer of his inheritance. Esau, being sore pressed by hunger, consented to this unnatural proposal, and having taken an oath to that effect, the stipulation became irrevocable. "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." In the illustration, Jacob is sitting at the door of his tent with the pottage in his hand, when Esau approaches armed with his bow and quiver. The tents of the "cunning hunter" appear in the distance on the borders of the forest, to denote that he had separated from his family and the occupation in which he delighted. He was not yet married, but may be supposed to have already associated himself with those tribes, then under the Divine malediction, from whom he shortly afterwards took his two wives, "which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah." A well appears near Jacob's tent, from which he watered his father's flocks.

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