To “supplant” someone means to “take the place of,” and this can be done “particularly by force or treachery,” as defined by Merriam-Webster. You may further find this concept in the Bible at Jeremiah 9:4: “Take ye heed every one of his neighbor, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbor will walk with slanders.” This means that eventually, even our closest friends or family will betray us to take our place. 

What is the story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible?

The story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible speaks to the more profound nature of the word “supplant.” So, let us learn more about it below.

The Bible tells us that Jacob and Esau were twin brothers born to Isaac and Rebekah. According to Genesis 25:22, the two brothers struggled together in their mother’s womb, symbolizing a troubled relationship they would acquire once they grew up.

Esau was born first, and as the firstborn son, he was entitled to the family’s birthright. This birthright includes the right of succession to the Covenant between God and Abraham. Also, this birthright conferred special status and privileges on the firstborn son, making him a key link in the line of descent through which the Promised Messiah was to come (Numbers 24:17-19).

However, Esau was not content with his birthright despite being born first. He traded it away to his brother Jacob in exchange for a pot of stew. In doing so, he forfeited his place in the line of descent and set in motion a chain of events that would have far-reaching consequences for himself and his descendants.

On the other hand, Jacob was a plain man who lived in tents and was his mother’s favorite son. In contrast, Esau was a  skilled hunter and was his father’s favorite. Despite this, Jacob received the highest praise and blessing from God (Psalm 135:4).

One day, when Esau came in from the field, he was starving and asked Jacob to feed him. Knowing his brother’s character, Jacob replied: “Sell me this day thy birthright.” (Genesis 25:31). Since Esau has no interest in spiritual things, he agreed and sold his birthright to Jacob. As a result, Jacob became the heir to the promise made to Abraham.

As their father, Isaac, grew old and knew his death was near, he wanted to give Esau his blessing before he died. So, he asked Esau to hunt for a special meal, after which he would give him the blessing. Rebekah overheard the conversation and knew that if Esau received the blessing, it would mean disaster for Jacob. Thus, she helped Jacob disguise himself as Esau and brought the meal to Isaac on Esau’s behalf. When Isaac realized what had happened, it was too late, as he had already given the blessing to Jacob. As a result, Esau was enraged, so Jacob had to flee for his life.

This story implies Esau as a godless person because God knew that  his descendants would become enemies of Israel for generations to come. He also knew Jacob was a man of integrity, which is why He had preordained that Jacob would be in Jesus’ lineage. In other words, God had a plan for both Isaac’s sons, even before they were born.

Importantly, this story tells how Jacob supplanted or took the place of Esau. As Jacob knew that his brother was willing to let go of worldly things rather than spiritual ones, he managed to inherit Esau’s birthright.

What Are the Lessons We Can Learn From Esau and Jacob’s Story?

Esau and Jacob’s story is about rivalry, deception, and reconciliation. It teaches us that our actions have consequences, both good and bad. Esau’s decision to sell his birthright had lasting implications for him and his descendants. Similarly, Jacob’s deception of his father led to years of exile and hardship. But in the end, the brothers were able to put aside their differences and live together in peace.

Below are the four valuable lessons we can learn from Esau and Jacob’s story:

God Has Plans for Us Even Before We Are Born

The story of Jacob and Esau proves to us that God already has plans for us even before we are born. He knew that Jacob would be the stronger of the two brothers and that he would one day serve Esau.  As Genesis 25:23 says, “The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.'” 

Other Bible verses that show that God already has a plan for us include the following:

1. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

2. “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

3. “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” – Psalm 139:16

4. “Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.” – Ephesians 1:4-5

5. “Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” – Ephesians 1:9-10

These verses show us that God has a plan for uniting all things, both in heaven and on earth, under Christ. This was His purpose from the beginning, and He is now making it known to us through His Word. It affirms that God definitely chose us to be His children before the foundation of the world. He did this because He loved us and wanted us to be holy and without blame in His sight.

Thus, no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can trust that God is working out His perfect plan for our lives. We may not always understand what He is doing, but we can rest assured that He is in control and knows what is best for us. All we have to do is trust the process and not let the negative experiences we encounter hinder us from living out our faith in God.

Our Actions Have Consequences

After Jacob deceived his brother and stole his birthright, he suffered in exile for many years and broke his sibling and father’s trust. He was estranged from them and had to live as a fugitive. Similarly, this applies to our lives. When we choose to do good things, it will yield positive results and make our hearts full of joy and allow us to grow as righteous people. So, we should always live a life that glorifies God. Otherwise, we would suffer the consequences of our bad actions through His ‘ultimate’ punishment we never dare to imagine.  

Deception Will Eventually Be Revealed

Most of us respond with shock and astonishment when we find out we’ve been betrayed. It’s possible we could develop a deep-seated fear of trusting anyone ever again. When this happens, it eventually reveals who the person really is.  

In Jacob and Esau’s story, we see how deception leads to conflict and division. As Jacob tricked Esau into giving up his birthright for a bowl of stew, it led to years of disagreement between them. Also, Jacob deceived  his own father when he disguised as Esau, leading to years of conflict in their relationship. However, God is good all the time. He let them suffer for their wrongdoings, but eventually healed their broken hearts and bring back their relationship in harmony.

Reconciliation Is Possible

The last thing we see in Jacob and Esau’s story is reconciliation. Even though one had wronged the other, Esau was still able to forgive Jacob. And they were able to live in peace with each other.

This shows us that reconciliation is possible, even after years of conflict. If someone’s deception has hurt you, don’t give up on them. Seek reconciliation, and you may be surprised at what God can do.

To help you understand what reconciliation is, we’ve put together a list of Bible verses about reconciliation:

1. Acts 3:19 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.”

2. Colossians 3:13 

“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

3. Luke 17:3 

“So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.”

4. Colossians 1:20-22

20 “And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.

22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.”

5. Matthew 18:15-17

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.

16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Generally, reconciliation implies that everyone makes mistakes, just like Jacob to Esau, as no one is perfect. But eventually, repentance comes after it. No matter how deep their scars have been, in the end, their love, humility, and faith reunite them as brothers. 

Similarly, we often feel anger and hurt when others sin against us. But remember that repentance is the key to releasing those emotions. If someone repents, we must forgive him willfully, just as God has forgiven us. As the verses say, we were once enemies of God because of our sins. But now, because of His sacrifices, we are at peace with God. 

Can Anything or Anyone Supplant God?

No, there is no one and nothing that can ever take the place of God in our lives. He is the only true and living God who deserves our worship and obedience. This is evidenced in the following verses:

  • “See now that I myself am he! There is no god besides me. I put to death and I bring to life, I have wounded and I will heal, and no one can deliver out of my hand.” – Deuteronomy 32:39
  • “For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God?” – Psalm 18:31
  • “Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?” – Isaiah 43:13)

These verses make it very clear that God has told all people that no one and nothing can ever supplant Him. His power and authority are absolute, and He will not share His glory with anyone or anything. This is the main reason why God detests those who worship false gods or idols. God has made it clear time and again that those who worship false idols or gods will be judged. This is evidenced by the following verses:

  • “I am the Lord, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,” – Isaiah 45:18
  • “Therefore, this is what the Lord says: “See, I lay before Jerusalem a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” – Isaiah 28:16
  • Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, and they cannot make a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.” – Psalm 115:46

If we do not want to disappoint God in any way, and if we do not want to bring His wrath upon us, we must set our sights on Him alone. This means that we must put Him first in our lives and make Him our number one priority. Anything or anyone that takes His place in our hearts is detestable to Him and will not receive His blessing. This is very easy to achieve. It all starts with a humble and repentant heart that seeks to please God in all things. When we do this, He will bless us abundantly.

What Are the Things That Non Believers Replaced God With?

Even though it is clear that there is nothing and no one that can supplant God, there are people who have completely removed Him from their lives. What or who do they put in His place? Here are some of the things that nonbelievers have replaced God with:

  • Money
  • Power
  • Fame
  • Pleasure
  • Themselves

All of these things are fleeting and will never satisfy. Only a relationship with the one true God can provide true peace and joy. This is because He is the only one who can truly meet our needs. When we try to find fulfillment in anything else, we will always be left wanting more.

For example, a person who chases after money will never have enough. They may be able to live a comfortable life, but they will always want more. The same is true for power and fame. Even if a person has all the money and power in the world, they will still eventually die. All the things they have achieved and accumulated in this life will be left behind, which means that they have nothing to bring with them when they face God during judgment day.

Even though it may be tempting to think of ourselves as the center of the universe, the truth is that we are not. We were created by God for His glory. When we try to take His place or when we replace Him with someone or something, we will end up with a hollow life. It might look perfect on the outside, but it is empty on the inside.

The best way to practice discernment is to develop a close relationship with God. When we know Him intimately, it becomes easier to see things the way He does. We can also rely on His strength instead of our own. Additionally, we need to be in the Bible regularly and allow its truths to transform our lives. With these things in place, we will be able to see through the lies of the enemy and we will be better equipped to make godly choices.

Bottom Line

In the Bible, the word “supplant” refers to Jacob’s deception in succeeding Esau as the rightful heir to Isaac’s blessing and birthright. Their story teaches us that it’s essential to be honest and not be self-centered just to gain personal interest. Remember that the latter is against God’s will. Matthew 23:15 makes it clear that hypocrites will never inherit His kingdom. So, we must make an effort to be like God and forgive those who supplant or do harm to us. Otherwise, we would have to suffer the repercussions that He has already predetermined for us.


Sarah Goodwin

A passionate Christian and Bible enthusiast, I find joy in delving deep into Scripture and sharing its timeless wisdom with my readers. Through words, I aspire to illuminate the profound lessons the Bible offers, hoping to inspire faith and purpose in every heart. Join me on a journey of biblical exploration and spiritual growth.Enter your text here...

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