Afterward his brother came out [of Rebekah’s womb], and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob.
In ancient times, names often were connected to a child’s destiny. In the case of Jesus, it was a positive connection (Matthew 1:21); in the case of Jesus’ ancestor, Jacob, the connection was negative. The Hebrew word yaaqob (Jacob) meant “to follow at the heel”—a reference to Jacob’s tight grasp on his twin brother Esau’s heel at their birth. “Follow at the heel” became a negative reference to someone who follows closely behind another, someone always looking for an advantage, a way to overtake and replace another’s position.
And that was Jacob for the first part of his life. Jacob’s first recorded act as a young man was to cheat his brother, Esau, out of Esau’s birthright as the firstborn son (Genesis 25:29-34). Then Jacob’s devious mother, Rebekah, showed Jacob how to trick his father Isaac into giving him the blessing of the firstborn. Jacob stayed on a self-serving path until God’s discipline brought him to account.
Temptations to replace the will of God with one’s own should be resisted immediately. God’s will will be done, even if it results in painful lessons.
No wickedness on earth is more common than the various forms of deceit. William S. Plumer
Genesis 25:19-34 – The Birth of Esau and Jacob