COVETOUSNESS: Lesson 11–Eli and Samuel’s Sons

“Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord. And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord” (1 Sam 2:12-17). “Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation” (1 Sam. 2:22).

“And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer-sheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment” (1 Sam. 8:1-3).

The quality of heart that causes men to turn aside to lucre, take bribes and to pervert judgment is pure covetousness. They wish for more and more, and so stoop to devious, sinful means to satisfy their greed. Why did God condemn Eli for the behavior of his sons but count Samuel righteous when his sons were also wicked?

First, Eli was a high priest while Samuel was only a judge. Eli knew that his sons coveted other men’s wives and committed adultery with the women at the temple itself. Today, the church has the responsibility of putting adulterers and covetous men out of the assembly (1 Cor 5:10-12). Similarly, Eli had both the responsibility and the authority to remove adulterers and thieves from the temple, but he did not fulfill his responsibility. He may have rebuked the adulterer and covetous man, but those in authority have the responsibility to get that kind of person out of the assembly. A little leaven leavens the whole lump whether in Israel or in the church (1 Cor 5:7-8). Eli was the ultimate authority over the nation of Israel, his own sons included. Eli’s sons had left home many years before, and as a father he could chide but not physically restrain them; however, as high priest he had the responsibility to use force to stop their wickedness according to the Law of Moses whether that behavior was criminal or immoral. God condemned and cursed Eli because “his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not.” (1 Sam. 3:13-14).

Secondly, Eli not only did not restrain his sons, but he also accepted the stolen goods, (illegal booty), and honored his sons above God Himself (1 Sam. 2:29). Samuel did neither of those things. The high priest at the time Samuel was judge could have restrained Samuel’s sons as God expected Eli to do when he was high priest, but apparently no one was able to restrain them. Eli obviously loved or feared his children more than he loved or feared God.

In contrast to Eli, as a father after his sons became of age and left home, Samuel could only chide his son’s disobedience. Eli’s sons, as priests who offered God’s worship, had a far greater responsibility to be an example of holiness, purity and honesty. Instead of being good examples, their covetous hearts caused them to steal from God. Eli recognized this and chided them, saying: Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress. If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him (1 Sam. 2:24-25a)?

When people are covetous, they become God’s enemy. Eli’s sons not only destroyed their own souls by their greed but the souls of the family—even the High Priest. Samuel was not covetous and spoke freely of never taking a bribe: “…of whose hand have I received any bribe [kopher, “covering”] to blind mine eyes therewith?” (1 Sam. 12:3). Samuel waited until he was old before he appointed his sons as judges in the city of Beer-sheba; however, they could not handle the position with its great responsibilities and temptations and fell to some the sins of Eli’s sons.

Israel immediately pointed to the sins of Samuel’s sons as an excuse to ask for the object of their own covetousness. “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8:4-5). Covetousness seemed to destroy the entire nation in that time, which makes Samuel’s faithfulness all the more apparent. He was able to withstand the temptation to live for this life and lived for God and the next life.

“And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you. And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand” (1 Sam. 12:1-4).

What a wonderful commendation for Samuel. We know that no one, except a criminal wants a covetous ruler who accepts bribes. Why then would any man do what he hates in others? Even today, every man or woman who is known for covetousness is despised. We see by Samuel’s example that we should turn from such things because we belong to God who has promised to supply all our needs.

1. Were Eli’s sons faithful to God (1 Sam. 2:12-17; 1 Sam. 8:3)?
2. Give at least two reasons why Eli was held responsible for the behavior of his sons?
3. How had Eli participated in the evil his sons were doing?
4. As a result of Eli’s evil actions, what did God tell young Samuel to say to him (1 Sam. 3:11-14)?
5. During his youth, Samuel was an assistant to Eli, the high priest. What was the designated lineage of the priests assistants (Num. 3:5-9, 12, 17, 32; Num. 4:46-47)?
6. Give the names of Samuel’s two sons. Be sure to include the scripture references.
7. In what city did they do their work? Give a scripture reference.
8. What were Samuel’s sons accused of doing? Include a scripture reference with your answer.
9. Did Samuel participate in the evil his sons were doing? Give a reference to prove your answer.
10. How might Samuel’s sons have kept themselves from such wickedness (Luke 12:15; 1 Cor. 5:11)?
11. DISCUSSION QUESTION: Besides Samuel, there were other righteous fathers who had bad sons. Name as many as you can remember and tell what they did wrong.
12. RESEARCH QUESTION: Samuel was known both as a prophet and as a judge of Israel. Explain the difference between the two types of work.


Ahaz, who is also called Achaz in Matthew 1:9, was king of Judah and son of Jotham.  Little if anything good is said about him either in the books of the Kings or the Chronicles.  Although only twenty when he ascended to the throne (2 Kings 16:2), Ahaz seems to have immediately opposed the teachings of the Mosaic Law. His first acts as king were to sacrifice in the high places, make molten images of Balaam and to revive the worship of Moloch in the valley of Hinnom (2 Chron. 28:2-3). According to 2 Kings 16:3, he made his own son “pass through the fire.”  The inspired writer of 1 & 2 Chronicles asserts quite strongly: he “burnt his children in the fire” (2 Chron. 28:3).

Demonstrating his mixed faith, Ahaz attempted many ways to get help from someone or something.  His contradictory actions were manifested when he duplicated the Damascus altar on which he burned incense, while at the same time desiring God’s help by offering incense on the brass altar, which had been in front of the house of the Lord (2 Kings 16:15).  Because he coveted the king of Assyria’s help, he sought it by altering the king’s entry to the temple of God to open a way for the king of Assyria to enter his own house (2 Kings 16:18).  This was a direct insult to God.  Although Ahaz desired to have the Lord’s answers to his enquiries, he insulted Him by taking the brass laver from the twelve oxen on which Solomon had set it and placing it on a pavement of stones.

Our focus for this lesson is the fact that Ahaz coveted the altar of a heathen nation, a nation which he had conquered (2 Kings 16:9-20), and even required Urijah the priest to build one like it before the temple in Jerusalem (2 Kings 16:10).  From that time on, Ahaz worshipped at the new altar every evening.  Either he ignored God’s warning in the Law given through Moses, or like some of us today, he had not studied enough to know what God required.

Deut 12:29-32—When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou inquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Nevertheless, God showed His marvelous love and patience by trying to bring Ahaz to repentance through the prophet Isaiah.  Using Isaiah, God offered to give Ahaz a sign (miracle), but Ahaz refused the offer.  Although God announced the promised Savior to Ahaz (Isa 7:10-17), and tried to work with him, he would not listen.  Ahaz would not turn to God and trust Him for deliverance from his enemies.  Instead, he coveted man’s help as well as the help of dumb idols so that he became more and more involved in idolatry day by day.  Ultimately Ahaz was destroyed spiritually and Judah was conquered by enemy nations.  At his death, Ahaz was buried but not in the royal tombs (2 Chron. 28:27).


1.What was Ahaz trying to do when he took materials from the temple and from the houses of royalty to give to the king of Assyria (2 Chron. 28:21)?

2.When did Ahaz trespass more and more (2 Chron. 28:22)?  What should he have done?

3.What is ironic about the fact that Ahaz sacrificed to the gods of Damascus (2 Chron. 28:23)?

4.What did Ahaz do to the holy vessels of the House of the Lord (2 Chron. 28:24-25)?

5.How did Ahaz disobey the Lord’s command in Jeremiah 10:2?

6.What do the heathen do (Jer. 10:3-5)?

7.How was Psalm 106:39-43 relevant to the life and death of Ahaz?

8.What did Ahaz do that was described in Ezekiel 43:8?

9.Romans 1:28-29 describes symptoms of sin which God has given a kind of people over to.  What sin listed in that group was Ahaz particularly guilty of?

10.What causes God to give up and turn Satan loose on some people (Rom. 1:28)?

11.What are we supposed to do according to Colossians 3:5?

12.By what are we not redeemed (1 Pet. 1:18-19)?  By what are we redeemed?


He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity. When goods increase, they are increased that eat them: and what good is there to the owners thereof, saving the beholding of them with their eyes” (Eccl. 5:10-11)?

“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man (Mark 7:20-23).

2 Kings 5:20-27

20 But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.

21 So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well?

22 And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments.

23 And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him.

24 And when he came to the tower, he took them from their hand, and bestowed them in the house: and he let the men go, and they departed.

25 But he went in, and stood before his master. And Elisha said unto him, Whence comest thou, Gehazi? And he said, Thy servant went no whither.

26 And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants?27 The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.



1.We can’t really tell what was in Naaman’s mind when he first went to the king instead of the prophet as the little servant girl had suggested, but notice how Elisha responds to Naaman’s visit in 2 Kings 5:10-11.  Compare Elisha’s reaction to Jesus’ and Paul’s response to those who exalt themselves (Matt. 22:15-17; Mark 12:13-14; Luke 20:20-22; Gal. 2:5).

2.Pride is sinful, but just how odious is covetousness to our Heavenly Father?  From where do these evil things come (Mark 7:20-23)?

3.In ancient times, what gifts were usually given to show honor and favor (2 Kings 5:5; Gen. 41:42; Est. 6:8; Dan. 5:7)? Would Gehazi qualify in any way to receive such gifts?

4.What was in Gehazi’s mind as he ran after Naaman to take something from him (2 Kings 5:20)?

5.What was Gehazi’s lie that would cause Naaman to give him what had been intended for Elisha (2 Kings 5:22)?

6.Many prophets accepted gifts for prophecies given or miracles performed, (1 Sam. 9:7-8; 1 Kings 14:3).  Was Elisha covetous of Naaman’s gifts (2 Kings 5:16; Acts 8:20)?

7.What “blessing” (gift) had Naaman offered to Elisha (2 Kings 5:5; 15-16)? 

8.How much did Gehazi ask from Naaman (2 Kings 5:22)?  

9.Why did he only asked that much?

10.How heavy was the silver which Naaman gave to Gehazi?  How many men did it take to carry it (2 Kings 5:23)?

11.Summarize the rebuke given by Elisha.  What was the extent of the sin committed by Gehazi (2 Kings 5:26)?

12.What was Gehazi’s punishment for his covetous deed (2 Kings 5:27)?

COVETOUSNESS: Lesson 5–Pharaoh and the Egyptians

Lesson 5—Pharaoh and the Egyptians

The Pharaoh was probably the most important person in Egyptian society. The Egyptians believed he was a god and the key to the nation’s relationship to the cosmic gods of the universe. While the Pharaoh ruled, he was the Son of Ra, the sun god, and the incarnation of the god Horus. He came from the gods with the divine responsibility to rule the land for them. His word was law, and he owned everything. Thus there were no law codes, because the king upheld order and justice and insured the stability of society.

When the Pharaoh died, he became the god Osiris, the ruler of the underworld and those who live after death. The Pharaoh was the head of the army as well as a central figure in the nation’s religious life. As an intermediator between gods and men, the Pharaoh functioned as a high priest in the many temples in Egypt. Because the Egyptian people believed their fate was dependent on that of the Pharaoh, they seldom attempted to overthrow the government, although some pharaohs were very cruel.

(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

The Pharaohs were among the richest and most powerful rulers who ever lived but such great wealth and power did not preclude covetousness!  The Egyptian Princes recommended Sarai to the first Pharaoh who immediately took her to his house.  It made no difference that he could have had any of the Egyptian women, but he coveted a defenseless foreigner (Gen. 12:14-15).  Abraham knew the power of their covetousness and that they would murder to attain their desires.  In this lesson, whether or not Abraham did wrong by affirming that Sarai was his sister is not the point.  The point is that the Egyptian’s and Pharaoh’s greed was so powerful that nothing could stop them from attainting their goal.  God stopped Pharaoh from taking Sarah as his own wife by sending a plague (Gen 12:10-20). When Pharaoh saw that God forbade him from keeping his newly acquired foreign possession he sent Sarai and Abraham away (Gen 12:19-20).

Although some modern researchers have contested the previous findings, the second Pharaoh we read about in scripture, the one who dealt with Joseph and his family, appears to have come from a group that was generally known as the Hyksos (light skinned, Arian) kings.  Only about 200 years after Abraham, a man called Potiphar, officer of the second Pharaoh, cast Joseph into prison, when his wife falsely accused Joseph of evil behavior.  Potiphar’s wife had coveted Joseph’s love, but when Joseph remained faithful to the Lord, her covetousness gave way to vehement hatred and lies (Gen. 39).  Once Joseph was vindicated and had interpreted the terrible dream, the second Pharaoh displayed great affection for Joseph and made him ruler over everything.  Because the seven years of famine were so severe, the Egyptians were willing to trade their cattle, their property and eventually even themselves in order to buy grain.  Even though Joseph did not receive any personal benefit, the second Pharaoh came to own everything through Joseph’s system of taking money and possessions from the Egyptians when he sold them food in the famine (Gen. 47:13-20).  When the brothers of Joseph came from Canaan to buy grain, Joseph persuaded his father and them to settle in Egypt where food was readily available.  Pharaoh gladly sent carts to bring Joseph’s brothers and father (Gen 45:16-20) and gave them the fertile land of Goshen (Gen 47:1-6), also called Rameses (Gen. 47:11).

More than 300 years after Joseph’s generation, there rose up another Pharaoh who did not know what Joseph had done to save Egypt from the famine (Exod. 5:1-2).  The third Pharaoh had a different attitude altogether.  This attitude was manifested in the enslavement and torture of the children of Israel.  Pharaoh and the Egyptian rulers coveted the power the Lord gave the Israelites, and yet feared that their numbers would put them in control of the Egyptian nation (Exod. 1:8).  Rationalizing that Israel might rebel and conquer Egypt, they enslaved all but Moses, who had been raised in the Pharaoh’s own house (Exod. 1:11-2:10; Exod. 5:5-6; Acts 7:21-22).  Seeing the cruelty of the Egyptians to his own people, Moses slew an Egyptian overseer and was forced to flee for his life.  At the age of eighty, Moses returned from the land of Midian by God’s command to take his people out of bondage and into the Promised Land.

This third Pharaoh did not know nor accept the God of the Israelites and refused to obey His voice (Exod. 5:1-2).  He and the rulers of Egypt feared the Israelites’ power, but still coveted their labor and the produce from the land which the former Pharaoh had given them.  Instead of letting them remain under ordinary slavery, they put them under cruel bondage with unbelievable laws to keep them from multiplying further.  The miracles and the plagues shown by Moses and Aaron did not persuade Pharaoh to let the coveted slaves go because his heart grew harder day after day (Exod. 4:21, 7:3, 14:4, 17); however, each plague was carried out so the Israelites, the Egyptians, and Pharaoh himself would know that Israel’s God was the only true God (Exo. 7:5, 17; Exo. 8:10, 22; Exo. 9:14, 29-30; Exo. 10:2) and that Pharaoh was no god at all.


1. Psalm 105:1-2 begins with this exhortation: “O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.  Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.”  What “wondrous works” of God are recounted in verses 16-38?

2. From which dynasty or kingdom does the Pharaoh spoken about in Genesis 12:15-20 come?  How does he demonstrate covetousness?

3. What does Potiphar’s wife covet (Gen. 39:1-20)?

4. After two years, Pharaoh dreamed a dream he could not understand.  Summarize that dream and what Joseph, by God’s revelation, said it meant (Gen. 41).

5. What honor did Pharaoh bestow upon Joseph (Gen. 41:45-46; Acts 7:10)?

6. When the Egyptians cried to Pharaoh for food, what did he tell them to do (Gen. 41:55)?

7. What did Joseph suggest each family should “lay up in store” each year for the seven years (Gen. 41:34-35)?

8. How did the Pharaoh respond to the idea Joseph suggested (Gen. 41:41-44)?

9. How did Pharaoh come to own everything in Egypt (Genesis 47:19-20)?

10. What law was made that fed the people but still brought income to Pharoah (Gen. 47:22-24, 26)?  See if you can find any information about a similar contract made with renters of farm land or “share croppers” during the early years of the USA?

11. When Joseph’s brothers came to Egypt to buy grain, were they able to pay with money (Gen. 42:25-28)?

12. At the time Pharaoh invited Jacob and his sons and their families to come to Egypt, how did Joseph plan to secure the land of Goshen for them (Gen. 46:33-34; Gen. 47:2-4, 11)?

13. How many years later did the third dynasty of Pharaohs make new edicts (Exod. 1:11; Exod. 1:22)?  What was their reasoning behind the cruel laws?

14. Instead of repenting of his evil, covetous heart, what did the last Pharaoh determine to do to his slaves (Exod. 5:10)?

15. RESEARCH QUESTION: We often read of God hardening Pharoah’s heart, and some have questioned God’s judgment in this.

a. Study the account of the plagues and see how many times Pharaoh hardened his own heart.

b. What caused God to give up on Pharaoh and determine to destroy him and the Egyptian nation?

c. When God finally gave up on Pharaoh, how did he determine to use him for the sake of the people (Rom. 9:17)?

COVETOUSNESS: Lesson 4-Esau Coveted Food


Lesson 4: Esau Coveted Food


“Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.  For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Heb. 12:16-17).


The son of Isaac and Rebekah, Esau was also the twin brother of Jacob. In later life, he was known as Edom, the ancestor of the Edomites (Gen. 25:24-28; Deut. 2:4-8).  His name was given because of the hairy covering on his body at birth: “all over like a hairy garment” (Gen. 25:25). The relationship Esau’s descendants had to those of Jacob was prophesied before the twins were born (Gen. 25:23). Even the moment of Esau’s birth signaled the same destiny (Gen. 25:26).

Scriptural accounts of Esau draw a great contrast between him and his brother Jacob. Esau was a rough, hairy man and a cunning hunter favored by Isaac, while Jacob was a plain man dwelling in tents and favored by Rebekah (Gen. 25:27-28).  Even though he was a twin, Esau was considered to be the eldest son because he was born first. The firstborn was expected to become head of the family, and take charge of the family property.  Naturally he was responsible for the maintenance of the younger sons, the widows, and the unmarried daughters not only as their provider and overseer, but also as their spiritual leader. Furthermore, he generally received the blessing, which placed him in a favored position with the Heavenly Father.

Esau sinned greatly by treating his birthright so casually and selling it for a meal.  In a foolish, impulsive moment, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob in exchange for “bread and pottage of lentils” (Gen. 25:29-34). Later we see he also lost the benefit of his father’s blessing (Gen. 27:36) —two things virtually guaranteed the first born son in ancient oriental culture as well as in the Old Testament scriptures.

After Israel (Jacob’s descendants) became a nation, we see the birthright included a double portion of the father’s assets upon his death (Deut. 21:17).  The inheritance rights of the firstborn were protected by law, so the father could not give his benefits to a younger son (Deut. 21:15-17).  Birthrights and blessings were not the same.  The birthright carried with it the inheritance of property, while the blessing was an additional benefit which the patriarchs usually bestowed upon their children just before their own deaths (Gen. 49:1-28). Even if they spoke by mistake, once a blessing was given it could not be taken back (Gen. 27). 


Esau basically had his priorities wrong. Like the majority of the world’s population, he was simply living for the moment (1 Cor. 15:32). Unlike Moses who was willing to forsake the temporary pleasures of Egypt for a far greater eternal reward (Heb. 11:24-27), Esau wanted the temporary pleasure of a satisfied appetite.

Esau said, “Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me” (Gen. 25:32)?  He gave no thought to the consequences of his actions. His decision was illogical, foolish and wicked. The scriptures describe him as being a godless (profane) man (Heb. 12:16-17). We need to learn from him and think very carefully about the consequences of our own choices and decisions. “When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite” (Prov. 23:1-2).  “For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags” (Prov. 23:21).

The temporary pleasure of a satisfied appetite has brought many a person to ruin (Prov. 5:3-6). The will of the Father in Heaven; spiritual desires (not the fleshly), the Lord’s church; the righteous commandments of God must come first (Matt. 6:33; Gal. 5:16-24; Psa. 119:172). Esau learned this lesson too late—which is also another lesson for us (Heb. 12:17).  Sometimes the damage can’t be undone. 

The birthright for the oldest child was a special gift from God that he did not give to any but the firstborn. In relation to Christ, God’s firstborn, He showed man that He valued the firstborn above the others. We know how we respond when we offer a very special gift to someone, and they treat it like trash. God offered a very special gift to Esau, but he did not respect nor value God’s special gift—he treated it as if it were less value than a meal. God did not respond positively to Esau’s scorning His special offering.

Figuratively speaking, the term firstborn stands for what is most excellent. This expression is applied to Jesus in several New Testament passages. All of them point to Jesus’ relationship to His Father and to the Church.  Showing that Christ existed before creation and actually participated in the creation process (John 1:3), He is described as the “firstborn over all creation” (Col. 1:15). His virgin birth is depicted by the expression, “brought forth her firstborn son” (Matt 1:25). The phrase, “firstborn from the dead” (Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5), refers to Jesus’ resurrection, which assures every Christian they also will have the same resurrection if they obey Him faithfully, even unto death.


1. By inspiration, the Hebrew writer tells what God thought of Esau for selling his birthright.  Give the phrase used and the scripture reference.

2. How often do we covet food to the detriment of our souls and our health too?

3. What was prophesied to be the relationship between Esau’s descendants had to those of his younger brother (Gen. 25:23)?

4. What sign was given as the twins were born that signaled that relationship (Gen. 25:26)?

5. RESEARCH QUESTION: Notice a strong comparison between the two brothers: “And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents” (Gen. 25:27).  What is the meaning of the word “plain” (Strong’s number 8535)?  How does this word affect our understanding of the character of Jacob when compared to that of his elder brother Esau?

6. Gen 25:28 says, “And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.”  Consider the prophecy given to Rachel (Gen. 25:22-23; along with Rom. 9:10-14) and tell which parent might have had some justification for showing favoritism?

7. After Esau realized he had lost both the birthright and the blessing, what did he determine to do (Gen. 27:41)?

8. How did Rebekah determine to save the life of Jacob (Gen. 27:42-45)?

9. What other foolish thing did Esau do to displease God and his parents (Gen. 28:6, 8-9).)?

10. After the meeting between Jacob and Esau more than 20 years later, where did Esau go to live (Gen. 33:12-17)?

11. Jacob and Esau met again (Gen. 35:29)?  What was the occasion?

12. How could a firstborn son lose his birthright (Gen. 25:29-34; Heb. 12:16; Gen. 35:22; 1 Chron. 5:1-2; 1 Chron. 26:10)?

13. Under the Law of Moses, if a man had two wives, and one was favored, could he give the birthright to the elder son of the favored wife (Deut. 21:15-17)?  Why would such a law have been necessary?

14. Give the account of when a different patriarch gave the blessing to a younger son (Gen. 48:13-14, 17-19)?

15. Name the ways Christ was firstborn (Luke 2:7; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15; Col. 1:18; Heb. 12:23), and tell how God should respond to those who love (covet) and serve mammon and reject the gift of his Son (Matt. 6:24; Luke 16:13)?