And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray you, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
It is here added, "therefore was his name called Edom," that is, "Red." The origin of surnames, or second names for the same person or place, is a matter of some moment in the fair interpretation of an ancient document. It is sometimes hastily assumed that the same name can only owe its application to one occasion; and hence a record of a second occasion on which it was applied is regarded as a discrepancy. But the error lies in the interpreter, not in the author. The propriety of a particular name may be marked by two or more totally different circumstances, and its application renewed on each of these occasions. Even an imaginary cause may be assigned for a name, and may serve to originate or renew its application. The two brothers now before us afford very striking illustrations of the general principle. It is pretty certain that Esau would receive the secondary name of Edom, which ultimately became primary in point of use, from the red complexion of skin, even from his birth. But the exclamation "that red red," uttered on the occasion of a very important crisis in his history, renewed the name, and perhaps tended to make it take the place of Esau in the history of his race. Jacob, too, the holder of the heel, received this name from a circumstance occurring at his birth. But the buying of the birthright and the gaining of the blessing, were two occasions in his subsequent life on which he merited the title of the supplanter or the holder by the heel Genesis 27:36. These instances prepare us to expect other examples of the same name being applied to the same object, for different reasons on different occasions.
"Sell me this day thy birthright." This brings to light a new cause of variance between the brothers. Jacob was no doubt aware of the prediction communicated to his mother, that the older should serve the younger. A quiet man like him would not otherwise have thought of reversing the order of nature and custom. In after times the right of primogeniture consisted in a double portion of the father's goods Deuteronomy 21:17, and a certain rank as the patriarch and priest of the house on the death of the father. But in the case of Isaac there was the far higher dignity of chief of the chosen family and heir of the promised blessing, with all the immediate and ultimate temporal and eternal benefits therein included. Knowing all this, Jacob is willing to purchase the birthright, as the most peaceful way of bringing about that supremacy which was destined for him. He is therefore cautious and prudent, even conciliating in his proposal.
He availed himself of a weak moment to accomplish by consent what was to come. Yet he lays no necessity on Esau, but leaves him to his own free choice. We must therefore beware of blaming him for endeavoring to win his brother's concurrence in a thing that was already settled in the purpose of God. His chief error lay in attempting to anticipate the arrangements of Providence. Esau is strangely ready to dispose of his birthright for a trivial present gratification. He might have obtained other means of recruiting nature equally suitable, but he will sacrifice anything for the desire of the moment. Any higher import of the right he was prepared to sell so cheap seems to have escaped his view, if it had ever occurred to his mind. Jacob, however, is deeply in earnest. He will bring this matter within the range of heavenly influence. He will have God solemnly invoked as a witness of the transfer. Even this does not startle Esau. There is not a word about the price. It is plain that Esau's thoughts were altogether on "the morsel of meat." He swears unto Jacob. He then ate and drank, and rose up and went his way, as the sacred writer graphically describes his reckless course. Most truly did he despise his birthright. His mind did not rise to higher or further things. Such was the boyhood of these wondrous twins.Red pottage; red by the infusion of lentiles, or saffron, or some other things of that colour. The word is doubled in the Hebrew text, to show how vehemently he desired it.
Edom, which signifies red; as he was at first so called from the colour of his hair, so now that name was confirmed and given to him afresh upon this occasion: q.d. He was rightly called Edom, or red, not only historically for his colour, but prophetically for this accident. Genesis 25:34; which sort of food was much in use with the Egyptians, Egypt abounding with lentiles; and particularly Alexandria was famous for them, from whence they were carried into other countries, as Austin (m) relates. The lentiles of Pelusium, a city in Egypt, are made mention of by Virgil (n) and Martial (o), for which that place was famous; where, as Servius says (p), lentiles were first found, or where they grew the best; and, in the Misnah (q), an Egyptian lentil is spoken of, as neither large nor small, but middling. Pliny (r) speaks of two sorts of it in Egypt, and says he found it in some authors, that eating of these makes men even tempered, good humoured, and patient; and observes (s), that they delight in red earth, or where there is much ruddle, or red ochre, from whence they may receive a red tincture; and the pottage made of them is of such a colour. And Dr. Shaw (t) says, that lentiles dissolve easily into a mass, and make a pottage or soup of a chocolate colour, much used in the eastern countries: and, as Scheuchzer observes (u), coffee is of the bean kind, and not unlike a lentil, and makes a red decoction. The colour of it took with Esau, as well as it was sweet and savoury, as Athenaeus (w) reports; and especially, he being faint and hungry, desires his brother to give him some of it, and even to feed him with it:
for I am faint; so faint that he could not feed himself, or however wanted immediate sustenance, and could not wait till other food he had used to live upon was dressed:
therefore was his name called Edom; not from his red hair, but from this red pottage; for Edom signifies "red", and is the same with the names Pyrrhus and Rufus.
(l) "de rufo, rufo isto", Pagninus, Montanus, Drusius; so Piscator, Schmidt. (m) Comment. in Psal. xlvi. tom. 8. p. 174. (n) Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. ver. 228. (o) Martial. l. 13. epigr. 9. (p) In Virgil. ut supra. (Georgic. l. 1. ver. 228) (q) Misn. Celim. c. 17. sect. 8. (r) Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 12. (s) lbid. c. 17. (t) Travels, p. 140. Ed. 2.((u) Physica Sacra, vol. 1. p. 78. (w) Deipno Sophist. l. 4. c. 14, 15.And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. Feed me … with] i.e. “let me, I pray thee, swallow a little of.”
that same red pottage] Heb. the red pottage, this red pottage. Esau’s words repeat the adjective “red”: either this was the name by which the pottage was known, or else Esau in his faintness and weariness is represented as simply pointing and gasping out “that red, red mess1.”
 “The phrase ‘mess of pottage’ does not occur in the A.V. of 1611, but is used proverbially of the means whereby Esau sold his birthright (Genesis 25.). The actual phrase was used in the heading to this chapter of Genesis in the Bibles of 1537 and 1539, and in the Geneva Bible of 1560. Coverdale, in his Bible of 1535, used the phrase in other passages, viz. in 1 Chronicles 16:3 and Proverbs 20:7, but not in Genesis 25. See A New English Dictionary (Oxford University Press),” Spectator, Nov. 29, 1913.
therefore was his name called] A separate tradition accounting for the origin of the name “Edom”: see note on Genesis 25:25.
Edom] That is, Red.Verse 30. - And Esau said unto Jacob, Feed me (literally, let me swallow, an expression for eating greedily), I pray thee, with that same red pottage; - literally, of that red, red (sc. pottage), or thing, in his excitement forgetting the name of the dish (Knobel), or indicative of the haste produced by his voracious appetite (Wordsworth, Luther), though the duplication of the term red has been explained as a witty play upon the resemblance of the lentil broth to his own red skin, as thus: "Feed with that red me the red one" (Lange) - for I am faint (vide supra, ver. 29): therefore was his name called Edom - i.e. red. "There is no discrepancy in ascribing his name both to his complexion and the color of the lentil broth. The propriety of a name may surely be marked by different circumstances" (A. G. in Lunge). The Arabians are fond of giving surnames of that kind to famous persons. Cf. Akil-al Murat, which was given to Hodjr, king of the Kendites, owing to his wife saying in a passion, "He is like a camel that devours bushes" (vide Havernick, 'Introduction,' § 18). 1 Samuel 16:12; 1 Samuel 17:42), and "all over like a hairy cloak," i.e., his whole body as if covered with a fur, with an unusual quantity of hair (hypertrichosis), which is sometimes the case with new-born infants, but was a sign in this instance of excessive sensual vigour and wildness. The second had laid hold of the heel of the first, i.e., he came into the world with his hand projected and holding the heel of the first-born, a sign of his future attitude towards his brother. From these accidental circumstances the children received their names. The elder they called Esau, the hairy one; the younger Jacob, heel-holder: יעקב from עקב (denom. of עקב heel, Hosea 12:3), to hold the heel, then to outwit (Genesis 27:36), just as in wrestling an attempt may be made to throw the opponent by grasping the heel.
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