The Perfect Man

"And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents." (Genesis 25:27)

Seldom have Bible translators done such an injustice to a godly man as the King James translators did to Jacob (the man whom God used to father His chosen nation Israel) when they called him a "plain" man, in contrast to his apparently more glamorous brother Esau. Later translators were little better, using such words as "simple," "mild," etc.

The Hebrew word is tam, and its real meaning is "perfect" or "complete." It is the word God used to describe Job when defending him against Satan--"a perfect and an upright man" (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3). It is also the word used by the bridegroom to describe the bride in the Song of Solomon, there translated "undefiled" (Song of Solomon 5:2; 6:9). Can one imagine the loving bridegroom calling his beloved "plain."

Jacob, in God's evaluation, was a perfect man. This does not mean he was sinless, of course, and neither was Job. But his heart was right toward God, believing His Word, caring for his family, earnestly seeking the will of God in preparing for the future ministry which God had revealed to his mother before he was born (Genesis 25:23). His brother Esau was an irresponsible, carnal playboy, despising his birthright and caring nothing about the great plan of God.

How strange that so many generations of Christians have repeatedly defamed Jacob (and his descendants) and admired Esau, when God had said: "I loved Jacob, and I hated Esau" (Malachi 1:2-3). God spoke to Jacob many times after his "stealing" of the birthright and blessing which Isaac was seeking to deny him (though they had been made his by divine commandment), and it is significant that God never spoke a word of rebuke to Jacob about this--only of blessing and promise. HMM

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