Abraham reached the ripe old age of 175 years. He felt that the time had come for him to leave this world. He sent for his son Isaac, who was then 75 years old, and the father of the twins, Jacob and Esau, who were then 15 years old.

All through the years Abraham had taught his beloved son Isaac to love G‑d and to fear Him, and to practise the love and fear of G‑d in his daily life. This meant to walk in G‑d's ways, the ways of justice and kindness, helping others in their need, and teaching them the knowledge of G‑d. Abraham was happy to know that his son would continue to spin the golden thread which he bad begun, and would hold sacred the covenant which G‑d had made with him.

Indeed, Abraham was a happy man even on this last day of his life. Looking back upon his long life, ever since he was three years old, be knew that it was a full life, every moment of which was spent in the service of G‑d and mankind. There was nothing to upset him or worry him. Even his son Ishmael, about whom he had been worried, for he was like an untamed animal in his youth, even he was at his bedside now, and a changed man, worthy to be considered as Abraham's son.

All the people of the land of Canaan, young and old, with their kings and princes, came to pay their last respects to Abraham, the greatest prince of them all. They were all very sad, and many wept, when they heard that the great and beloved Abraham, the G‑dly Prince, had passed away.

Abraham had been laid to rest in the Cave of Machpellah, next to his wife Sarah, and Adam and Eve. Isaac was in mourning, and Jacob was preparing some food for him. But where was Esau?

Esau had slipped out quietly and gone off to the fields and woods to do some hunting!

Until that time, Esau had been trying to be a good boy, although it was very difficult for him. But he tried his best not to upset his father, nor did he want his grandfather to know that he was not all that was expected of him.

But now that his grandfather was dead, and he was fifteen, Esau decided that he was quite a man, and could take care of himself. From now on he was going to do as he pleased, and first of all, he decided, there would be no more studies for him.

Out in the woods, Esau hid in the shrubs, waiting for prey. Suddenly he saw a royal party in the distance. He recognized Nimrod, or Amraphel, the king of Babylon, surrounded by a group of his mighty warriors and best hunters.

Esau knew that Nimrod hated him. Ever since Abraham walked out of the burning furnace without a hair singed, and defeated him later in the Great War, Nimrod watched with anxiety the rising sun of Abraham. But he was soon satisfied that Abraham, as well as his son Isaac, were peaceful men. Esau was quite different. Esau could become a dangerous rival some day, and this worried the aged Babylonian king. No wonder Nimrod hated and feared Esau.

Esau watched the royal hunting party like a spider waiting to jump at a fly caught in his web. His heart began to beat faster as he saw most of the hunters disperse through the wood. Only two hunters remained with Nimrod, and they were coming nearer and nearer to his hiding place.

When Nimrod came close enough, Esau darted from his hiding place and struck a mighty blow at Nimrod, cutting his head off outright.

Now the two warriors rushed at Esau with a loud yell. But Esau was strong, skillful with his sword, and light on his feet. He fought the two warriors with all his might, and finally slew one, then the other.

At this time, be saw Nimrod's men rushing toward him from all directions. They had been attracted by the battle cries of the fighting men, and sped to the scene of action.

Esau saw that he was hopelessly outnumbered. He quickly managed to strip the headless body of Nimrod of his royal tunic, and ran for his life as fast as his feet would carry him. He was fortunate enough to elude Nimrod's men; and he came home panting. He was frightened, tired and hungry, more dead than alive.

He found his brother Jacob still busy with the pottage of lentils, of which he had served his father, as was the custom in a house of mourning.

Esau dropped to the ground of the tent, opened his mouth wide, and called out: "Pour down some of that red stuff" into my throat! I'm so tired, I'm dying!"

Jacob was quite disgusted with his brother. He saw the stains of blood on him, and he knew that his brother was up to no good. Jacob felt very grieved that on this day of their dear grand-father's death, Esau had nothing better to do than to go hunting, and killing people. For Esau had boasted of his great feat in murdering Nimrod and slaying two of his body guards.

"Shame on you, Esau, for the way you behaved today!" Jacob scolded his brother. "How fortunate for our grand-father that he passed away before he saw you turn to this evil way," he added.

"Stick to your books, Jacob, and don't meddle in my affairs!" Esau replied angrily. "Besides, don't try to teach your older brother and Firstborn!"

"You seem to forget that the Firstborn has duties and responsibilities. As the head of the family it is his duty to keep the traditions of the family, and as a priest to G‑d it is his duty to lead a holy life," Jacob said very earnestly.

"You can have the Birthright with all its responsibilities and duties! I want to be a free man, to do as I please," Esau retorted.

"Do you really want to give up your Birthright, Esau?" Jacob asked unbelievingly.

"Sure! A bit of this pottage is worth more to me than the whole Birthright," Esau replied, and laughed very loudly.

"Would you sell me your Birthright, then?" Jacob asked.

"It's yours for the asking. I'm a hunter, not a priest."

Let's make a formal contract of sale," Jacob said.

"Gladly," Esau replied. Soon he put his signature on the contract of sale which Jacob had drawn up.

"Some bargain you've got," Esau sneered, as he filled himself with the red pottage. When he could not eat any more, Esau rose, and pouring some more abuse on the Birthright and Jacob's 'foolishness,' he finally called out:

"Good-bye, Big Brother. Be a good boy now, for you have the Birthright. As for me, the sword is my Birthright. Good-bye!"

Jacob knew that from that day on they had parted ways. They were worlds apart, as far from each other as heaven was from the earth.