From the very beginning, Jacob had been a fighter! Born the younger twin, his life had been a fight from the start. He had even fought with his older brother ( by seconds ) as to who would would say 'hello, cruel world' first! Although his brother won out & arrived first, for the rest of his life, Jacob had to scratch & claw his way to the top. As he got older, things just seemed to escalate & even though his position had been made clear ( or so he thought ), his older brother who should by rights have willingly submitted to him, was about to wrest what was his by divine right!
Things were never easy for young Jacob; his brother had always been bigger, stronger, more readily suited for what had always been the more 'manly' pursuits. While Jacob had more of a 'green thumb', you might say & was more of a homebody, his brother on the other hand, was one of the mighty men of old & loved to hunt wild beasts of all sorts. Therefore, when his father had a hankering for a good roast, his brother was the natural choice!
Jacob was a good cook ( 'damn good' if you were to ask him ). One day, just after he had finished rustling up a stew that was 'to die for'; his brother, who had just come in from a long arduous day of hunting, asked Jacob for a bowel of his delicious stew. Jacob, seizing the opportunity, told his sibling that he could have some of his precious stew if he would relinquish his birthright ( very important in that day & age ). Since his brother was more concerned with filling his stomach with that delectable looking & smelling stew, Jacob became the proud owner of something that his people valued very highly, the status of firstborn!
The father of Jacob & his ( slightly older ) brother was dying! Even though Jacob had managed to wrest his brother's birthright from him ( or so he thought ), his father was obviously unaware of this important fact ( Jacob's brother seemed to have conveniently 'forgotten', too ) because he was about to confer the greatest blessing upon the wrong person! Jacob had to do something & quick! With a little help, he was able to pull the wool over his father's eyes & so recieved what should have been his from the beginning!
You can bet that the older brother was not pleased with his younger brother; in fact, when he heard that Jacob had supplanted him, he wanted to kill him! since their father was on his deathbed, the older brother decided to let him die in peace; after his father was dead, then he would kill Jacob! However, Jacob was blessed & escaped his brother's wrath by escaping to the land of his father's birth. While there, Jacob was himself deceived & had to work many long years for the woman of his dreams. In the fullness of time, though, he received the blessing that he had fought for all his life & returned to the land of his nativity.
On the road, Jacob met his brother. He had expected this & so had prepared a quite lavish gift to appease his brother ( or so he hoped )! His brother had amassed other mighty men besides himself & so justified Jacob's fear, but as it turned out, Jacob's brother was so genuinely happy to see his long-lost brother that he forgave him all! Jacob went on his way in one piece, having lost nothing.
An interesting thing had happened to Jacob the night before this reunion, though,a Man had met him, claiming to be a messenger from his Father! Whether through disbelief or because Jacob was a natural fighter, Jacob fought with this Man for a good while, through the night in fact & finally bested him! The Man, seeing that Jacob was besting him, renewed the blessing that he had received from his father, now his Father & transferred upon Jacob the title that he had long sought, that of the Firstborn!
Although Jacob had received many blessings despite his deceitfulness, he was also troubled for the rest of his life! He had two wives to deal with as a just reward for his own wrongdoing. He had unruly children although he was materially blessed through them. Through them, he finally inherited the Potter's Ground!
The Potter's Ground came at great cost to him & his sons though! They, like their father Jacob, had to fight their whole life through! The land of their inheritance lay open before them, but it was full of wild beasts, wild beasts that would as soon stomp them to death like so many grasshoppers then allow them to live in peace alongside them. Being natural fighters like their father, the sons of Jacob, now called by another name, were quick to root out the evil from the Land of their inheritance, although in doing so, spread their own brand of evil in its place!
The sons of Jacob, though they had their moments, were not unlike the wild beasts that they endeavoured to cleanse from the Potter's Ground; they had much the same ( or worse ) wicked wiles that those brutes had exhibited! In the midst of the genocide they had been commanded by their Father ( or so they thought ) to perpetrate, they had failed to fully cleanse the Land & so had become corrupt themselves! For the sake of the few, many were graciously spared the atrocities they themselves had perpetrated upon the original inhabitants of the Land!
In the Fullness of Time, when the wickedness of Jacob had come full circle, so to speak, it was time, once again & finally ( once for all ) for the Land to be cleansed! This time, the genocide was complete. Those who were given the orders to root out the evil from the Potter's Ground were successful, for at their head rode the very Man who had struggled with Jacob so many years before!
This Man was the Rightful Heir of the Potter's Ground, being the True Firstborn! As the Son of His Father, this Man, though He gave His Life ( willingly ) for that of His People, never was in doubt of His Status as the Firstborn; He knew that His Father had blessed Him with infinite blessing from the beginning!
Jacob was always a deceiver! Though he was blessed, his blessings were always darkened by the threat of cursing! He inherited the Land, but he failed to receive the Potter's Ground, except for a small remnant, who accepted it gladly, having looked for a better, that is, a heavenly country!
Charles Haddon Shank