Genesis 25:33 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 25:33, NIV: "But Jacob said, 'Swear to me first.' So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob."

Genesis 25:33, ESV: "Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob."

Genesis 25:33, KJV: "And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob."

Genesis 25:33, NASB: "And Jacob said, 'First swear to me'; so he swore an oath to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob."

Genesis 25:33, NLT: "But Jacob said, 'First you must swear that your birthright is mine.' So Esau swore an oath, thereby selling all his rights as the firstborn to his brother, Jacob."

Genesis 25:33, CSB: "Jacob said, "Swear to me first." So he swore to Jacob and sold his birthright to him."

What does Genesis 25:33 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Esau, exhausted from working in the field, has requested some of Jacob's red stew. Jacob has demanded Esau's birthright as payment (Genesis 25:29–31). Esau has foolishly and hastily agreed. Now Jacob closes the deal by asking Esau to bind himself with an oath. Oaths were taken with great seriousness in this era. Esau quickly swears the oath and sells his firstborn rights.

We're amazed at both men here. First, Esau strikes us as a careless fool who would value his birthright so little. He might have thought that Jacob was joking, at first. But asking him to swear an oath, in that day, was the equivalent to signing a modern written contract. Esau is, at the very least, being reckless.

Second, Jacob comes off as cold and calculating, unconcerned about taking advantage of his brother's irresponsibility and need for immediate gratification of his appetite. He's leveraging the situation for his own benefit, and at great cost to Esau. Neither brother is very likable in this moment.