Hebrews 12:16

Monday, 22 April 2019

…lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.  Hebrews 12:16

The author continues now with examples of a person becoming defiled which was mentioned in the previous verse. He gives two examples, which are connected in one thought in this translation. It probably should separate them by saying, “lest there be any fornicator, or profane person like Esau.” Only the word “profane” should be tied to Esau, unless the author is tying Esau’s selling of his birthright in with the thought of selling himself off as if a prostitute. That would be highly unusual to speak of him in this way.

What seems more likely is that, as is consistent in the epistles, sexual immorality is being condemned. Such actions are not holy, and they bring defilement upon a person. Assuming it is a separate category, he then introduces the “profane person like Esau.”

Esau is frowned upon in Scripture, and his failings are noticeable even from a cursory read of the Bible. But even more, his descendants after him would continue to be a problem. This all started with Esau’s negative attitude about what is important. As the author says of him, “who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.”

The account is found in Genesis 25. He was hungry, and he gave up his honored birthright for a simple bowl of stew. This led to other problems in his life, but all of this was known in advance. When the twins were in their mother’s womb, she received a prophecy about the futures of these two sons –

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 23:23

This is how it came to be in the history of their descendants. But, of note, is the blessing pronounced upon Esau later –

“Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth,
And of the dew of heaven from above.
40 By your sword you shall live,
And you shall serve your brother;
And it shall come to pass, when you become restless,
That you shall break his yoke from your neck.” Genesis 27:39, 40

Isaac prophesied that Esau would break Jacob’s yoke from his neck. What this means is rather involved. In short, the yoke of Jacob is the Law of Moses. Speaking of the descendants of Edom (who is Esau), known as the Idumeans in the New Testament times, we find in the writings of the Jewish Historian Josephus that about 129 BC John Hyrcanus –

“…subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would circumcise their genitals, and make use of the laws of the Jews; and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the use of circumcision, and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time therefore this befell them, that they were hereafter no other than Jews.”

In other words, the descendants of Esau were assimilated into Israel, and they came under the Law (the yoke) of Moses – which Jacob’s descendants were under. Eventually, these people (meaning the Jews who included the converted Idumeans) were exiled for having rejected Christ. However, at a point future to us now, they will cast off this yoke, come to Christ, and be saved.

Israel is back in the land, and the ancient prophecies of these two men and their descendants are ready to be fulfilled in their entirety.

Life application: What is of value to you? A person may be the manager of a large corporation and make millions of dollars a year, and another person from his school may be a blue-collar worker. When they get together from time to time, the millionaire may brag about his house, cars, and vacations. The blue-collar worker, however, brags about the Lord in his life. Which of the two is in the more favorable position? In the end, there is only one thing that truly matters. Why sell off that which is of the highest value for a bowl of soup? The things of this world will all perish. But Christ, and His love for those He has redeemed, will go on forever. Come to Christ and be granted the greatest Gift of all!

Lord, help us to learn from the lessons we read in the Bible. Help us to see the importance of a life which is dedicated to You, and then to hold fast to that, applying it to our lives and never deviating from Your precepts. Everything else is temporary and it will pass away. But Your word, O God, is eternal. May we hold fast to it now and forever. Amen.

10 thoughts on “Hebrews 12:16

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 7:07 am

    Wow! Further roof God did not hate Esau the man, nor even his descendants! Thanks Charlie, the Word is such an amazing picture of God’s love, right beside his just judgments!

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 8:39 am

    thank you

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Interesting you can paint this as a picture of people selling their soul to the devil for temporary material gain and a bowl of stew Is very temporary. What is sad is this is not the exception in today’s world but the accepted norm! We see it everywhere and they proudly and publicly proclaim that they have sold their souls to the devil, Bob Dilian, Kate Perry and on and on and on…. Did I say Hillery Clinton??? Enjoy it now because you will have all eternity to regret your choices and deals with the devil.
    Well it’s Monday and we are still here. So odd we start the 40 day clock for the rapture??? Jesus was here for 40 days after his resurrection and then went up in the clouds is this a picture of the rapture???? Of course I have no problems with being taken up in the next second but we shall see. Our wait is almost over Amen

    We ARE another day closer to home
    Grace mercy and peace on you and yours
    God bless my friends we fly soon

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 9:52 am

    Thank you for the reminder that I must not have a negative attitude towards what is important.
    May God help me to see what is important and what is not.

    I always wondered about the meaning of Isaac’s prophecy and now I understand. It is strange that one son followed the law of Moses and the other one did not at least initially. I hope I got it right.
    Learning much from this book. Thank you.

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 11:43 am

    Great Sunday service! Thank you for another great teaching today, have a blessed week all!

    • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Thank you Mary!!!

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 4:35 pm

    Have a most blessed week ahead everyone. I am so glad you are enjoying Hebrews with me. What a marvel so far!!!

  • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 8:03 pm


    • Monday, April 22nd, 2019 at 8:05 pm

      Yesterday whered ma birfday

      • Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019 at 4:39 am

        Hey, hey, hey! Happy BIrthday Brother!!! On to another year of loving the Lord and growing in His image!!!!


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