I was struck by Christian Century editor John M. Buchanan's observation about Esau and Jacob:
Every time I read a portion of the Jacob-Esau saga, I end up reading the whole drama. Esau is so good, straightforward and innocent; Isaac so vulnerable, trusting and human; Jacob so opportunistic, devious and dreadful; Rebekah so committed to the success of her favorite son, Jacob, and so efficient in her choreography of one of history's greatest scams.
And in and through it all, God uses Jacob for God's ultimately good purposes. You simply cannot read this story without being stunned by the mysterious reach of grace. If God can use Jacob, then there is hope for all of us.
The story turns finally on the outsider's magnanimity and graciousness. When Esau and Jacob meet at last, Esau does not kill his brother as he vowed, but runs to meet him, reminding the reader of that aggrieved father in the New Testament who runs down the road to welcome a wayward child home. Esau, not Jacob, represents the radical notion at the heart of Judaism and Christianity that the justice God requires is not revenge but forgiveness.
John M. Buchanan, The reach of grace, The Christian Century, Aug. 12, 2008, at 3 (emphasis added).