Revisionist Reading of the Esau-Jacob Stories in Genesis 25-36. Understanding Esau in a Positive Light

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Traditional interpretations of Esau in Jewish and early Christian literature have provided a negative portrayal of Esau and contemporary Genesis commentators tend to interpret Esau as cruel, stupid, and impulsive, having no concern for the family tradition or the future legacy. The present book revisits these negative perceptions of Esau and rereads the texts according to the sequence of the Jacob-Esau narrative.


“. . . a real contribution to the rethinking of the methodology of commentary and the importance of insights from readers who do not share the cultural assumptions of academic biblical studies in the West. It is a pleasure to be associated with this work and a testimony to Dr Chung’s perseverance and character that it is now available to us all.” – Prof.Hugh S. Pyper, University of Sheffield

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Esau’s Interpreters
1. Examples of Negative Readings against Esau in Genesis Commentaries
2. Esau’s Interpreters in Contemporary Commentary
3. Esau’s Interpreters in Biblical and Extra-Biblical Texts
4. Concluding Remarks
Chapter 2. Esau on the Stage (Gen. 25:19-34)
1. Enigma of the Divine Oracle: Who Will Serve Whom?
2. Esau Being Red, Hairy, and a Skillful Hunter
3. What Does Esau Lose by Selling His Birthright?
4. Concluding Remarks
Chapter 3. Esau’s Marriage (Gen. 26:34-35; Gen. 28:8-9)
1. What is the Real Problem of Esau’s Marriage to Hittite Wives?
2. What Does Marrying the Daughter of Ishmael Mean?
3. Crux on the Names of Esau’s Wives
4. Concluding Remarks
Chapter 4. For Whom the Blessing Exists (Genesis 27)
1. The Nature of Isaac’s Blessing for Esau: Blessing or Curse?
2. The Blessing for Esau Compared with the Several Blessings for Jacob
3. Concluding Remarks

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