When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents.
As I was reading, one of the footnotes for this verse caught my eye.
I know that this is happening after Isaac’s boys have grown up — I am told that this happened When the boys grew up, after all — but that gives me more information. Earlier in this same chapter, I am told that Abraham died when he was 175 (v7). I am also told (v26) that Isaac was 60 when the boys were born and Isaac was born to Abraham when he (Abraham) was 100 (21:5). This means that there was an overlap of about 15 years between the birth of these boys and Abraham’s passing. So there was time for grandpa Abraham to pass on some of the stories of what God had done for him to his grandsons. All of that just tells me when this takes place.
The footnote that caught my attention is in regard to the word that is translated peaceful. The concordance tells me that the word is a bit richer in meaning than that and can mean complete, perfect; one who lacks nothing in physical strength, beauty, etc.; sound, wholesome; an ordinary, quiet sort of person; complete, morally innocent, having integrity; one who is morally and ethically pure. I know that Jacob is not a morally innocent person, but it is possible that he was an ordinary, quiet sort of person and that he lacked nothing in physical strength or beauty and so on.
The idea that Jacob could have been an ordinary person who lacked nothing in strength or beauty or what-have-you is new to me. The contrast between Jacob and Esau being one also of ability — Jacob being a generalist while Esau is a specialist — seems curious to me. I do not know if the original language supports such a notion, but it is intriguing.
What I take away from this is that Jacob — for all that I know his faults — had the right idea. He is described, potentially, as complete. Which implies that Esau was missing something — and the account bears this out. I want to be complete. I do not want to be missing something and out looking for it, but want to be present where I am and complete in that place.
Father, my desire is to be complete and lacking nothing. Your word tells me that You will supply all my need and it is for the supply of need that I ask. I need to know You and to have relationship with You in order to be complete and I find room for improvement in both my knowledge of You and my relationship with You. Please bring both of these areas closer to completion; to perfection.