“Esau Christianity” is a neologism we have needed for quite some time:
I’m thinking that what Douglas Wilson needs is a Bible study.
And won’t he be hacked off to discover that when God wanted to found a nation, he chose Jacob, the effeminate, namby-pamby mama’s boy over Esau, his manly, rugged, outdoorsy brother? It goes against everything he apparently believes about the masculine flavor of the faith.
Think of it, at the time God had two possible choices for who would become “Israel,” the founder of his First Testament people: Esau, or Jacob. “When the boys grew up, Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents. Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Gen. 25:27-28). In Wilson’s categories, Esau was “masculine,” Jacob “effeminate.”
- Jacob stayed inside and cooked, while Esau went out to the field and hunted.
- Jacob was a mama’s boy who participated in his mother’s schemes, while Esau was doing manly things on behalf of his father.
- Jacob had to be protected from Esau by his mother and he ran away from home in fear when his older brother got mad at him.
- Jacob went to his uncle’s house and worked for him. He was so weak and clueless that his uncle Laban took constant advantage of him and made him into his virtual slave for years.
- Jacob was so much of a wimp that he didn’t even recognize Laban had switched women on him on his wedding night!
- Jacob was hen-pecked by his wives Rachel and Leah and did whatever they said when they wanted children.
- Jacob tricked his uncle to get back at him and then had to run away in fear again. Laban chased him and would have whupped up on him, but God warned him against that.
- When Jacob returned to the land, he was shaking in his boots in fear that Esau was going to get his revenge and kill him.
- Jacob became “Israel” when he lost a wrestling match with a stranger. Clinging and crippled, he prevailed!
- Jacob was a weak father. He showed favoritism to one of his sons, Joseph, made him his own special robe (that really sounds effeminate, doesn’t it?), and protected him at home while his brothers were out doing the men’s work of tending flocks.
- Jacob’s own sons knew their father was weak, and so they tricked him into thinking Joseph had been killed, driving Jacob into grief and depression.
- In place of Joseph, Jacob then became overly protective of his youngest son, Benjamin, clinging to the boy lest he lose him too.
- At the end of his life, Jacob blessed Joseph’s sons, crossing his hands and pronouncing the blessing on the younger son, to signify that God does not favor the firstborn or the strong, but chooses the unlikely.
Jacob the wimp, the mama’s boy, the effeminate one, the scaredy-cat, weak and insecure and ineffective — that’s who God chose to become Israel, the father of his old covenant people. Esau, the man’s man, the outdoorsman, the man of strength and muscle, the warrior who was unafraid of hard work or a fight didn’t make the cut. The very name of God’s chosen community is bound up with the story of an effeminate weakling!
You’ll want to make yourself some popcorn and go read the whole thing.
Jacob was quite the character. He added theft and lying into the mix, too. It’s bizarre that the thing that scandalized his contemporaries seems to have been: he was the younger brother. How times change.
Take care & God bless
Anne / WF