Jacob and Esau – Twin Troubles

© 1998 Kurt Hunter


(Tent is on stage as story starts.)

A very long time ago, there lived two brothers.  The first brother’s name was Esau.  (Enter Esau.)  Esau was hairy.   He had a beard and his skin was like a hairy robe.  Esau was a skilled hunter and loved the outdoors.

The other brother was Jacob.  (Enter Jacob.)  Jacob was a quiet man who liked to stay close to the tents.

Although they were very different, they were twins.  When they were born, Esau was born first, so he was older than Jacob, but only by a few minutes.

Their father’s name was Isaac.  (Enter Isaac.)  Their mother was Rebecca.   (Enter Rebecca).  Because Esau was born first, he had the “birthright.”  That meant he would inherit his father’s land when his father died.

One day Jacob was all alone by the tent.  (Isaac, Rebecca, and Esau leave.)  He was cooking a delicious, thick soup, when Esau came in from the fields.   (Jacob gets out bowl.  Enter Esau.)  Esau was very hungry and the red stew smelled so good.  He asked Jacob for some of it.

“Will you give me your birthright for it?”, asked Jacob.   “What good is my birthright, if I starve to death?”, said Esau.  Jacob gave Esau a big bowl of red stew in exchange for his birthright.  Esau ate the stew and they both left.

As the years went by, Isaac grew older.  (Isaac goes into tent.)  Eventually, Isaac became blind and knew he wouldn’t live much longer.  One day he called Esau to him.  (Enter Esau.) Rebecca was listening outside the tent.  (Enter Rebecca.)  He told Esau that he would bless him and make him the head of the family before he died.

First Esau had to go hunting and then make Isaac a delicious stew.   When he brought the stew to Isaac, he would receive his blessing.  Esau immediately left to go hunting.  (Esau leaves.)

Rebecca called for Jacob.  (Enter Jacob.)  She told him to bring her two young goats.  She would make a delicious stew and Jacob would take it to his father to receive his blessing.

Jacob was afraid that his father would know that he wasn’t Esau, if he touched his smooth hand, but Rebecca had a plan.  She had Jacob put on some of Esau’s clothes.  (Jacob leaves to change clothes.)  She put sheep skin on his arms and hands, so he would feel hairy.  (Jacob enters in Esau clothes with sheep skin.)  Rebecca gave Jacob the stew and sent him to Isaac.  (Rebecca gives bowl to Jacob and leaves.  Jacob goes to Isaac.)

Jacob offered the stew to his father and asked for his blessing.   Isaac was confused.  The voice sounded like Jacob, but it was the smell of the fields, the smell of Esau.  Isaac reached for his hand.  The hand was hairy.   Isaac believed it was Esau and gave his blessing.

Jacob heard Esau coming and quickly left.  (Jacob leaves and Esau comes in with the stew bowl.)  “Father, I am here for my blessing,” he said.  Jacob was startled and angry.  “Your brother has already been here and stolen your blessing.  There is nothing I can do.”

Now Esau was angry.  He stormed off.  (Esau leaves.)   Isaac and Rebecca were afraid that Esau would kill Jacob, so they sent Jacob off to live with Rebecca’s brother.  (Everyone leaves.  Take down the tent.)

Jacob left at once.  (Enter Jacob.)  It became dark and he lay down to sleep for the night.  (Dim lights and turn on black light.)  That night, he had a vision.  (Enter angels and ladder.)  He saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven.  On the ladder were angels climbing up and down.  From the top of the ladder, Jacob heard God.  “I will be with you and protect you wherever you go,” said God.  (Angels and ladder leave.  Turn lights back up.)  When Jacob woke up, he knew that even though he had done terrible things, God still loved him.

Jacob lived with his Uncle for many years.  He got married and had twelve sons.  One day God told Jacob that it was time to go back home.  Jacob was afraid to go back and face Esau, but he did what God told him to do.

When he got close to home, Jacob sent some servants on ahead to tell Esau that he was coming.  (Group of servants enter, talk to Jacob and exit the other side.)  The servants returned.  (Servants come back on.)  They told Jacob that Esau was already coming to meet him with 400 men. Jacob was terrified.  He was sure that Esau was coming to destroy all of them.   He sent servants ahead with many animals as a gift to Esau.  (Flock of sheep comes on and exits with servants.)

(Dim lights.)  That night as Jacob tried to sleep, he heard someone.  (Enter angel.)  The stranger didn’t speak, but wrestled with Jacob.  They wrestled all night long.  As morning was coming, the stranger hit Jacob’s hip and through it out of joint, but Jacob kept wrestling.

The angel asked Jacob to let him go, but Jacob asked for a blessing first.  The angel said that Jacob’s name would now be Israel, because he had struggled with God and with man and he had won.  Jacob let the angel go.  (Angel leaves.   Turn lights back up.)

Jacob was still limping, as he went to meet Esau.  When he saw Esau approaching, he bowed down to the ground.   (Jacob bows, Esau enters.)  Esau was so glad to see his brother again.  He ran up and hugged him.  He had forgiven the terrible things his brother had done, just as God wants us all to do.