Esau (ēˈsô) [key] [Heb., = hairy], in the Bible, son of Isaac, who sold his birthright to his younger twin, Jacob, for lentil stew and who was tricked by Jacob out of his father's blessing. Also known as Edom [Heb., = ruddy], the disinherited Esau settled on Mt. Seir, which became the home of his descendants, the Edomites, a tribe consistently hostile to the Jews. In tradition, Esau is represented as a rough hunter, deemed unworthy to inherit the mission of Abraham. The New Testament calls Esau "immoral and godless." Yet his descendants do become a nation, protected by God.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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