This new CSB continues to upset the apple cart (mildly) this morning. This time by taking a word that I barely thought was a word and all of a sudden making it a biblical word. The word in question? Stuff!
Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field, exhausted. He said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, because I’m exhausted.” That is why he was also named Edom.
(Genesis 25:29-30 CSB)
Cruising through a pretty familiar story this morning and then hit the brakes when I encountered a pretty unfamiliar word for holy text, stuff. Only used here in the CSB. Never used in the ESV.
In the original, apparently, it just says, “Let me eat some of this red”, obviously referring to the stew, which is how the ESV translates it. But it doesn’t actually include the word stew. And so, the CSB translators (and it would seem the NASB translators) go with a non-descript term to convey the non-descript nature of the original text. And I as I chew on it (pun kind of intended) it can make a difference as to how you process the rest of the story.
He said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stuff, because I’m exhausted.” That is why he was also named Edom.
Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
“Look,” said Esau, “I’m about to die, so what good is a birthright to me?”
Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore to Jacob and sold his birthright to him. Then Jacob gave bread and lentil stew to Esau; he ate, drank, got up, and went away. So Esau despised his birthright.
(Genesis 25:30-34 CSB)
As I noodle on it this morning, it makes a difference in the impact of the story that Esau sold his birthright for stuff generally rather than for stew specifically. He despised who he was for what he wanted — stuff.
Apart from sovereign determination that the older would serve the younger and upset the birthright norm (25:23), it would seem there was, nevertheless, individual accountability. And given that these things were, at least in part, written as examples for our instruction (1Cor. 10:11), I’m thinking there’s a warning here. That the cravings of the flesh are inclined to tempt us to sell out the things of the Spirit. Often, just for stuff.
In Esau’s case, it was selling out who he was for what would fill his belly because he was exhausted and famished (“I’m about to die”, I think, was being a bit over dramatic). But I can’t help but ask myself, what fleshly, sensual, physical, pleasurable, or prideful stuff am I tempted to sell my birthright in Christ for? What stuff draws me to despise my union with Christ for the sake of the world? Did I mention I think this is worth chewing on? Hmm . . .
Oh, that God would protect me from the allure of stuff. Stew or otherwise. Red or whatever color. But that I would hold fast to being born of God (1Jn. 5:1), birthed by the Spirit (Jn. 3:6), and adopted into the brotherhood of Christ (Eph. 1:5).
By His grace. For His glory.