Genesis 25:26 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 25:26, NIV: "After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them."

Genesis 25:26, ESV: "Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them."

Genesis 25:26, KJV: "And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them."

Genesis 25:26, NASB: "Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so he was named Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them."

Genesis 25:26, NLT: "Then the other twin was born with his hand grasping Esau's heel. So they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when the twins were born."

Genesis 25:26, CSB: "After this, his brother came out grasping Esau's heel with his hand. So he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born."

What does Genesis 25:26 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The first twin emerged both red and hairy. His name, Esau, somehow describes his hairiness. The second twin is neither red nor hairy, compared to his twin, but he is also named for his first impression on his parents. He comes into the world grabbing his brother's heel. The Hebrew word for heel is 'aqeb, and so this child is named Ya'aqob, or Jacob, literally meaning "he clutches the heel." Interestingly, though, and also important, Jacob can mean "may God protect or reward," or—unfortunately for Esau—it can also mean "usurper."

Interestingly, in English at least, the phrase "pulling my leg" means "joking with me," or "lying to me." Jacob's future will be heavily influenced by acts of deception (Genesis 25:29–34; 27:30–35). Some of those will be at his own expense (Genesis 29). While there's no direct connection between his Hebrew name and the English idiom, Hebrew verbs similar to Jacob's name refer to those who "watch from behind" or "trip up" others, a reference to trickery. In practical terms, Jacob's life is loaded with incidents of usurping—both in his favor, and to his disadvantage.

We're now told that Isaac was 60 years old when the twins were born. These babies, as troubled as their relationship might be, were a direct answer to Isaac's prayer that his wife would become pregnant. After 20 years of childlessness, the couple were finally parents, twice over, and Abraham—now 160 years old—can finally glimpse the next generation of the covenant entering the scene.