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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The young Esau was fond of the strenuous, daring life of the chase - he became a skillful hunter, "a man of the field" (
Esau, at the age of forty, had taken two Hittite wives, and had thus displeased his parents. Rebekah had shrewdly used this fact to induce Isaac to fall in with her plan to send Jacob to Mesopotamia; and Esau, seeing this, seems to have thought he might please both Isaac and Rebekah by a marriage of a sort different from those already contracted with Canaanitish women. Accordingly, he married a kinswoman in the person of a daughter of Ishmael (Genesis 28:6 , Genesis 28:9 ). Connected thus with the "land of Seir," and by the fitness of that land for one who was to live by the sword, Esau was dwelling there when Jacob returned from Mesopotamia. While Jacob dreaded meeting him, and took great pains to propitiate him, and made careful preparations against a possible hostile meeting, very earnestly seeking Divine help, Esau, at the head of four hundred men, graciously received the brother against whom his anger had so hotly burned. Though Esau had thus cordially received Jacob, the latter was still doubtful about him, and, by a sort of duplicity, managed to become separated from him, Esau returning to Seir (Genesis 33:12-17 ). Esau met his brother again at the death of their father, about twenty years later (Genesis 35:29 ). Of the after years of his life we know nothing.
Esau was also called Edom ("red"), because he said to Jacob: "Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage" (Genesis 25:30 ). The land in which he established himself was "the land of Seir," so called from Seir, ancestor of the Horites whom Esau found there; and called also Edom from Esau's surname, and, it may be, too, from the red sandstone of the country (Sayce).
"Esau" is sometimes found in the sense of the descendants of Esau, and of the land in which they dwelt (Deuteronomy 2:5; Obadiah 1:6 , Obadiah 1:8 , Obadiah 1:18 , Obadiah 1:19 ).
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Esau'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/e/esau.html. 1915.