Dictionary of Bible Names

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Bible Meaning: Hairy, rough
Strong's Concordance #H6215

Esau, whose father was the patriarch Isaac, was the twin brother of Jacob. He is often referenced as Edom in the Bible. He is known for selling his birthright blessings to his brother in exchange for a bowl of lentil soup.

Jacob, with the help of his mother, would later trick Isaac into blessings him as the firstborn son instead of Esau (Genesis 27). The bitterness and distrust between the two brothers, which was only temporarily resolved (Genesis 33), would extend far into the future through their descendants (see our listing for Edom).

Jacob's brother produced eleven sons known as the dukes of Edom. They were Timnah, Alvah, Jetheth, Aholibamah, Elah, Pinon, Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, Magdiel, and Iram (Genesis 36:40 - 43).

Esau is also the name of a mountain located south of the Dead Sea in the territory populated by the Edomites. The minor prophet Obadiah used the mountain symbolically to foretell God's judgment on Edom (Obadiah 1:8 - 9, 19, 21).

Important Verses


Genesis 25:25
And when her (Rebekah) days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment: and they called his name Esau.

Genesis 25:26, 30, 32
And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel: and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them . . .

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage: for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom . . .

And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

Genesis 27:32 - 36
And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.

And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.

And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing . . .

Symbolic mountain

Obadiah 1:8, 21
Shall I not in that day, saith the Lord, even destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?

Additional Studies

Dictionary of Biblical Names
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Series Notes
References are based on the
King James Bible translation (KJV).