How to use this site   About Us   Submissions   Feedback   Donate   Links   

Assemblies.org.uk - School Assemblies for every season for everyone

Decorative image - Primary

Email Twitter Facebook

-
X
-

Two Very Different Brothers

Forgiveness matters

by Revd Oliver Harrison

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To use the Bible story of Jacob and Esau to consider the importance of forgiveness.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need to be familiar with the story of Jacob and Esau found in Genesis 25-33. The story is retold in the ‘Assembly’, Steps 1, 5, 7 and 9.

  • Optional: you may wish to ask children to act out the story, in which case you will need four volunteers to play the parts of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Esau. You may also wish to use the following props: a blindfold, two lengths of fake fur with elastic bands to attach, a bow and arrow, a book, a wooden spoon and some boxes made to look like gifts.

Assembly

  1. Tell the story of Jacob and Esau from Genesis 25-33. It is retold below.

    Isaac and Rebecca had two sons. Esau was the oldest. He was big, strong and very hairy. He liked to spend time outside, playing sport and hunting animals for meat. (Optional: Esau picks up a bow and arrow.)

    Jacob was smaller and very clever. He liked to stay at home and do the cooking. Jacob was his mum’s favourite. (Optional: Jacob holds a book and/or a wooden spoon.)

    Some years later, when Esau and Jacob had grown up, their dad, Isaac, said to his wife, ‘I’m old, weak and blind. I might die soon. I want to see our eldest son, Esau, so that I can give him a special blessing from God because he is the eldest.’

    Esau was out hunting and Rebecca loved Jacob more than Esau, so she told Jacob to pretend to be his brother. She suggested that Jacob put some animal fur on his arms so that if Isaac, who was blind, reached out his hands to touch Jacob’s arms, he would be tricked into thinking that it was really hairy Esau! (Optional: blindfold Isaac and attach the length of fake fur to Jacob’s arms.)

    So, Rebecca and Jacob tricked Isaac into giving Jacob the special blessing, which made Jacob more important than his big brother. When Esau came in from working in the fields, he discovered that he’d been cheated and that his father had been tricked.

  2. Ask the children, How do you think Esau would have felt?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Hopefully, the children will realize that Esau would have felt very angry.

  3. Ask the children, How do you think Jacob would have felt?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Hopefully, the children will realize that Jacob would have felt scared.

  4. Ask the children, ‘So, what do you think Jacob did?

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Continue the story of Jacob and Esau.

    Jacob ran away and he didn’t see his brother again for a very long time. However, one day, Jacob heard that his big, hairy brother Esau was coming to see him and that Esau had 400 men with him.

  6. Ask the children, How do you think Jacob would have felt when he heard this news?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Hopefully, the children will realize that again, Jacob would have felt scared.

  7. Continue the story of Jacob and Esau.

    Despite feeling scared, Jacob was a very clever man, so he did two things. First, he divided all of his people and animals into two groups.

  8. Ask the children, Why do you think Jacob did this?

    Listen to a range of responses.

    The answer is that if Esau found one of the groups, he might think that was everything and take it. Then, the other group could escape. Pretty cunning!

  9. Continue the story of Jacob and Esau.

    The second thing that Jacob did was to send gifts ahead to meet Esau, one after another after another. (Optional: use the boxes made to look like gifts if available.)

    At last, after all those years, Jacob met his big, hairy, elder brother. Esau walked up to Jacob and . . . gave him a great, big hug! Both Jacob and Esau cried. Esau had forgiven Jacob. Now, they were both rich men with big families and lots of servants. There must have been a huge party that day!

Time for reflection

Ask the children to imagine being either Jacob or Esau.

Ask how they would have felt before meeting after all those years.

Listen to a range of responses.

Ask the children to consider how they would have felt after they had met and realized that all was forgiven and they were friends again.

Ask the children to imagine being one of Jacob’s sons or daughters, meeting Uncle Esau for the first time. Imagine meeting their cousins for the first time.

Point out that all of our families are different. We all have our squabbles, just like Jacob and Esau. Some of us might not live with our families or have very small families. However, all of us have people we live with and friends.

Encourage the children to think about their families, the people they live with and their friends.

- Are there any arguments that need sorting out?
- Are there people who we need to say sorry to?
- Are there people who we need to forgive?

Forgiveness is very important.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for our families and our friends.
Please help us to be kind and considerate.
When things go wrong, please help us to forgive.
Thank you that you always want to forgive us when we get things wrong.
Amen.

Publication date: February 2020   (Vol.22 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
Print this page