Story of Issac, Esau and Jacob Bibliodrama Readings and Background

Optional Reading:

It is not at all necessary for you to be a bible scholar of any sort  in order to attend the March 24, 2016 Bibliodrama event.  In fact, you are welcome to attend even if you’ve never opened a bible in your life!

At the same time however, if you wish to have the most worthwhile experience it will be helpful to at least be familiar with the story we are doing, and that is the reason for these summaries.

Should you wish to read the entire passages, rather than just these summaries, you may navigate over to bible.com.  These summaries are all from the NIV version.

Keep in mind that we will not be working with or acting out every part of this story.  The summaries are intended to help you understand the depth of each bible character.

Genesis 18:1-15

A Son is promised to Sarah

Three men visit Abraham, and Abraham sends for water to wash their feet and prepares food for them. One says he will return in about a year and Sarah will have a son.  Sarah, who was by her own admission “a worn out old woman”, laughs.  The Lord questions this, saying “is anything too hard for the Lord”?  Sarah denies laughing, and Lord says “No you did laugh.”

Genesis 21:1-6

The Birth of Isaac

The Lord kept his promise, and Sarah became pregnant, and about a year later, gave birth to Issac. And

Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. 7Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”

Genesis 21:8-20

Hagar and Ishmael Are Sent Away

Abraham had a son named Ishmael, who was born before Isaac.  Ishmaeal’s  mother was one of Abraham’s servants, Hagar.  When Isaac was still very young, Sarah saw the two of them, Hagar and Ishmael, making fun of him. She insisted that Abraham “get rid of them” because she didn’t want Ishmael to share in Isaac’s inheritance.  They are sent away with water and food, and then Hagar wanders around aimlessly in “the wilderness” until the water runs out.  Hagar places Ishmael in the shade then cries out that she doesn’t want to watch him die.  The Lord hears the boy crying, creates aw well full of water, and tells Hagar that Ismael is going to be the father of a “great nation.”  Ishmeal then goes on to marry “a woman in the land of Egypt.”

Note: The Jews are descendants of Abraham’s son Isaac. The Arabs are descendants of Abraham’s son Ishmael.

Genesis 22:1-2

Abraham’s Faith Tested

The familiar story of the sacrifice of Issac.

It begins: Some time later, God tested Abraham’s faith. “Abraham!” God called.n“Yes,” he replied. “Here I am.”  The Lord commands Abraham to make a “burnt offering” of his son, and Abraham complies.  Then just as Abraham lays his son on the altar of wood he had made, and pulls out a knife to kill his son as a sacrifice, the Lord intercedes and stops him.  He tells Abraham: Because you have obeyed me and have not withheld even your son, your only son, I swear by my own name that I will certainly bless you. I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. And through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed—all because you have obeyed me.”

Genesis 24:1-67

A Wife for Isaac

When Isaac was about 40 he sends his most important servant to go to “the land of my descendants” to find a wife for Isaac.  His servant swears that he will not allow Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman, and taking a bunch of expensive gifts, sets off to the land where Abraham’s brother had settled.

At a well just outside of town, the servant asks God to find a woman at this well.  He requests that God signify the woman God has found for Isaac by having the woman offer water to himself and his camels.

Then he sees a young and very beautiful marriage age woman named Rebekah come to the well, and sure enough, she offers the water.  The servant gives her a nose ring and bracelets, and she runs home to tell her family what happened.

Rebekah’s brother Laban then runs back to the well to meet the servant, and invite him to come to their house.  The servant then explains his mission, and Rebekah’s father, Behuel, agrees to allow Rebekah to leave with the servant.  The next morning, Rebekah leaves with “her servant girls.”

Genesis 25:19-26

The births of Esau and Jacob

When Isaac was “forty years old” he marries Rebekah.  He then pleads with God because Rebekah is unable to become pregnant. Soon after, Rebekah becomes pregnant with twins.  The start fighting even in the womb, and the Lord tells her that the two of them will “become rival nations.”  Esau was born first.  Jacob then was born and came out grasping the heal of Esau.

Genesis 25:27-34

Esau Sells His Birthright

Esau, who was out hunting all day, returns home famished.  Jacob is cooking a meal, and offers to give Esau some in exchange for his birthright.  Esau agrees, and makes the trade.

Genesis 27:1-40

Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing

One day, Rebekah overhears Isaac tell Esau to go and hunt some wild game, and return and cook me your favorite meal.  Isaac promises to “pronounce the blessing that belongs to his firstborn son.”

Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite, so she hatches a plan to have Jacob pretend to be Esau and steal his brother’s blessing.  He can do this (with the help of his mother who agrees to take the blame), because by this time Isaac was very old, and nearly blind.

Genesis 27:41-46

Jacob Flees to Paddan-Aram

The plan is successful, and when Esau returns and learns what happened is furious, vowing to kill his brother Jacob.  Rebekah again overhears this, so she sends Jacob to go and live with relatives in Paddan-Aram.

Genesis 32:3-21

Jacob Sends Gifts to Esau

At this point, much has happened to Jacob.  He married his uncle Laban’s daughters Leah and Rachel, has had many children and has become very wealthy.

Jacob decides to send this message to his brother: Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.’”  In response he finds out that Esau is on his way to meet him with 400 men!  Jacob is very scared that Esau was coming to attack him, so he sends a very large gift to Esau to be delivered en-route.

Genesis 33:1-4

Jacob and Esau Make Peace

Jacob saw Esau and his 400 men approaching, so he divided his children and possessions among Rachel and Leah and his two servant wives. Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him. Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.