Esau ( /ˈiːsɔː/; Hebrew: עֵשָׂו; Standard Hebrew: Esav; Tiberian Hebrew: ʿĒśāw; ISO 259-3 ʕeśaw; Greek: Ἡσαῦ; Arabic: عِيسُو‎ "Hairy" or "Rough"), in the Hebrew Bible, is the older son of Isaac. He is mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and by the minor prophets, Obadiah and Malachi. The New Testament later references him in St Paul's Letter to the Romans and in the Letter to the Hebrews.

Esau is the progenitor of the Edomites and the twin brother of Jacob, the patriarch of the Israelites. Esau and Jacob were the sons of Isaac and Rebekah, and the grandsons of Abraham and Sarah. Of the twins, Esau was the first to be born with Jacob following. Isaac was sixty years old and Rebekah is believed to have been much younger when the boys were born. The grandfather Abraham was supposedly still alive, being 160 years old at that time.

Esau, a "man of the field" became a hunter who had "rough" qualities that distinguished him from his twin brother. Jacob was a shy or simple man, depending on the translation of the Hebrew word "Tam" (which also means "relatively perfect man"). Throughout Genesis, Esau is frequently shown as being supplanted by his younger twin Jacob (Israel).

Read more about Esau:  Death, Jewish Tradition

Famous quotes containing the word esau:

    Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.
    Bible: Hebrew Jacob, in Genesis, 27:11.

    To his mother Rebekah, explaining how the blind Isaac might discover the ploy of his pretending to be Esau. “Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.” (25:27)