Clothes That Make the Person: Jacob and Esau
And [Jacob] came near and kissed [his father Isaac]; and [Isaac] smelled the smell of [Esau’s] clothing, and blessed [Jacob] and said: “Surely, the smell of my son [Esau] is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed.” Genesis 27:27
Families can be complicated. Even more so in the ancient world: multiple children from multiple wives, extended families covering several generations living together. The family of Isaac is a good example: Esau was his father’s favorite; Esau’s younger twin brother, Jacob, was his mother’s favorite. As the older twin, Esau was due to receive his father’s blessing, but Rebekah, the twins’ mother, wanted the blessing for Jacob.
Esau was a man of the world—an outdoorsman, a hunter, in whom Isaac took pride. Jacob was a deceiver, his mother’s true son. In order to trick his blind father into giving…