In the story of Jacob, Esau, Isaac & Rebekah, who was bad and who was good? Jacob tricked his brother, Esau wanted to kill his brother because of it, and Rebekah encouraged Jacob to trick Isaac, so who was good and who was bad?

– Hannah, Florida

That’s a great question, Hannah! It can get very confusing when we try to sort out which people are good and which people are bad. It can help to consider things from a biblical viewpoint.

Did you know that in Romans 3:23, the Bible says that all people have “sinned and fall short of the glory of God?” This means that everyone who has sinned is separated from God and considered bad. Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, and Esau all did things that were bad. They were all sinners, which made them all bad in the eyes of God.

Neither Jacob nor Esau were good enough for God. However, God showed mercy to Jacob and pursued him (Genesis 28:11–15; Genesis 31:3,11–13,24; 32:1–2,24–30). God did this because He wanted to. He kept the covenant (promise) He had made to Abraham, through Isaac and then through Jacob.

And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” Genesis 28:13–15

Do you realize that Jesus, through His mother, Mary, was a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Luke 3:23–38? All the families of the earth have certainly been blessed through Jesus, the Savior!

Isaac, Rebekah and Jacob looked forward to a Savior and believed that God would keep His Word (See Hebrews 11:1–21 for examples of this). They had faith in God’s promises (Hebrews 11:13). Esau did not have this faith.

Hannah, we are all sinners, which means we are all bad. We all deserve punishment. God, in His mercy, came to earth as a man—Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only man who never sinned. Because Jesus is God and is righteous (good enough for God), He was able to take the punishment that we deserve when He died on the Cross. But the story doesn’t end with death. Jesus conquered death when He rose again. Through Jesus, we can be made right with God. Jesus provides the only way for people to be righteous before God. If you would like to learn more about how to be righteous before God, please see Good News.

To learn more, please read the following:

Kids, we love to hear from you! If you have any questions, please ask an adult to help you submit them using this page on our website. We’ll be looking forward to receiving more interesting questions!