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Jacob & Esau

Lesson Set Summary


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The Jacob & Esau lesson set was entirely revised and improved in 2015. 


The Writing Team's Jacob and Esau lesson set covers all the major episodes of Jacob's grand story.

  1. Jacob cheats Esau out ofJacob's Dream by Marc Chagall his birthright to gain his father Isaac's blessing.
  2. Jacob's dream of the Stairway to Heaven.
  3. Jacob is cheated by his Uncle Laban with regard to Leah and Rachel.
  4. Jacob wrestles with God and is given the name "Israel".
  5. Jacob reconciles with Esau.

This set's "whole story focus":
Many of the lessons in this set teach the full story of how Jacob the cheater became one who encountered, struggled with, and was blessed by God, and then reconciled with his brother.

"Whole Story" focused workshops: Video, Bible Games, Drama, Art 3, and Computer* lessons in this set have been written to teach the "scope and sequence" of the Jacob stories as one great inter-connected story.  In other words, they don't just focus on one or two episodes. 

During your 4 to 6 weeks rotation period, we suggest starting with the lessons which tend towards "overview."

Lessons which also focus on specific Jacob stories:
Several lessons in this set also focus on Jacob's two life-changing encounters with God (stairway and wrestling). These include: Art 1 and 2, Cooking, "Science," Puppets, and the game and reflection in the Computer workshop.

To get both the macro-focus on Jacob's entire story from sin to redemption, plus, teach about his important encounters with God (which lead to his reconciliation with Esau), you will probably want to use these lessons to teach AT LEAST a 6 week rotation. 

Our lessons do not make the mistake of turning Jacob's story into a mere moral lesson about "cheating," "family," or "making peace" — though those are certainly good conclusions to draw from the stories. Rather, the Team's lessons focus on God's faithfulness to Jacob, and how it changed him.  Each lesson in this set emphasizes the life application of Jacob's story: that God seeks us out (even scoundrels), wrestles with us, and blesses us, and that moves us to reconciliation with others.


Passages: Genesis 24-34; 27:1-35; 41:44; 28:10-19; 29:15-30; 31:1-3; 32:3-7a; 32:22-30; 33:1-10

Key/Memory Verse: “Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the LORD is in this place – and I did not know it!’”  Genesis 28:16

Rotation Objectives for Jacob & Esau

After completing this Rotation, participants will be able to: 

  • Find the stories of Jacob in Genesis, in the Old Testament.
  • Retell the main parts of the story of Jacob in the correct order.
  • Understand that God's plan of redemption/salvation is at work in Jacob's life and our own, despite our imperfections.
  • Learn they can expect moments of undeserved spiritual connection and blessing, which can become life transforming experiences, which also lead us to reconcile with our brothers.
  • State that the name "Israel" means "one who wrestles with God," and understand that this also describes the nature of our encounters and walk with God: surprising, not always easy, often mysterious, but always blessed.
  • From a human point of view, Jacob's story is one of sin and redemption. This redemption happened because God chose to make himself known to Jacob (twice). 
  • From God's point of view, it is the story of how God graciously works through his flawed children (like us) to fulfill his Covenant promise to raise up a kingdom of priests for the world.


Material in this Rotation Lesson Set

Bible Background for Teachers

Insights into some of the surprising parts of the Jacob & Esau stories. Read why we determine it best if looked at like a play with acts, why Jacob's story is about amazing grace, and why Jacob is US!


Art ~ 3 to choose from!

Art [1]
Make a Jacob's Ladder toy (includes 3 design options) to help cement the lesson into memory as they play with it.

Art [2]
Create their own "Jacob Stepping Stones" out of cement and mosaic tiles to teach either the Ladder or Wrestling Match stories.
Art [3]
Illustrate and create squares for a Jacob Banner-Quilt, which covers the whole story. 

Bible Skills and Games

Teams rotate through a series of "Jake Game Stations" that both teach and reinforce various episodes and meanings in the Jacob story. This lesson's games also teach life application and several Bible skills.


Students work through the episodes of Jacob's story using Awesome Bible Stories interactive Bible software (free to Supporting Members!), then play a software game about Jacob's wrestling match with God that reinforces the story. Finally, students use the software to practice the words of reconciliation.


Teams made Jacob's Lentil Stew, Esau's Hairy Treats, and Pita Peace symbols, then get back together for a Peaceful Feast.


Students use the "Rush Drama" technique to recreate 7 episodes of Jacob's story.

Magic !

This unique lesson looks at the final episode in the Jacob saga — his reconciliation with Esau. It examines the scriptures for clues as to what actions Jacob took to show his desire to make peace with his brother. Students learn how to perform two magic tricks which illustrate and emphasize key concepts in the Bible study, then close with a fun "scenes from a hat" exercise that looks at how tone and posture is important when trying to reconcile.

Shadow Puppets

Students will create a Shadow Puppet play that covers the entire Jacob story. A unique and fun reflection demonstrates the ideas of how God wants to move us! Ample instructions, photos, and a script is included.

Video / Audio Visual

View and discuss an animated video on Jacob and Esau narrative (from the New Super Book Series), but with preparatory and follow-up activities that focus on Jacob's wrestling match with God in Genesis 32.


Things you need to know about the lessons in this set: 

The lessons in this set were written to complement each other. Each lesson approaches the story using a different teaching medium, and each lesson has a slightly different emphasis.  

Whether you use the Rotation Model or not, ideally you would teach SEVERAL of these lessons over a period of weeks in order to fully explore the scriptures and commit them to memory.  


What is the Writing Team? 

Volunteer lesson writers have been getting together to write sets of workshop lessons since 2002. Over four dozen volunteers have taken part in this ministry assisted by professional writers. Because that intensive help required professional assistance paid for by our Supporting Members, only Supporting Members get access to the lessons themselves. It's a major benefit of supporting our site.

In 2015, our volunteer Board began the Writing Team Renovation Project. Every volunteer-written lesson in every set is being improved or replaced by professional Rotation curriculum writers, under the guidance of the Board. Our goal is to make the "WT" lesson sets exemplary of the Workshop Rotation Model style and extra-creative, with the ultimate goal of training and inspiring volunteer writers to new heights. Volunteers continue to work on the WT sets, and you are welcome to join the team by contacting us.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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