(hairy), the eldest son of Isaac, and twin brother of Jacob. The singular appearance of the child at his birth originated the name (Genesis 25:25). Esau’s robust frame and “rough” aspect were the types of a wild and daring nature. He was a thorough Bedouin, a “son of the desert.” He was much loved by his father, and was of course his heir, but was induced to sell his birthright to Jacob. Mention of his unhappy marriages may be found in Genesis 26:34. The next episode in the life of Esau is the loss of his father’s covenant blessing, which Jacob secured through the craft of his mother, and the anger of Esau, who vows vengeance (Genesis 27:1). Later he marries a daughter of Ishmael (Genesis 28:8-9), and soon after establishes himself in Mount Seir, where he was living when Jacob returned from Padan-aram rich and powerful, and the two brothers were reconciled. (Genesis 33:4) Twenty years thereafter they united in burying Isaac’s body in the cave of Machpelah. Of Esau’s subsequent history nothing is known; for that of his descendants see place entry for Edom, Idumaea or Idumea.
Smith's Bible Names Dictionary (1866).