Esau is the original hairy ( se’ar ) man of the Bible (Genesis 25:25), and the reputation goes with the Edomites, his descendants, who live at Mount Shaggy (Seir; Genesis 14:6; 32:3; 33:14; etc.).

He’s not the last hairy man. Nazirites are hairy (Numbers 6:5, 18; Judges 16:22), including the counterfeit Nazirite Absalom (2 Kings 1:8).

Prophets are hairy too. Elijah is called a lord of hair ( ba’al se’ar ; 2 Kings 1:8); as prophet, he is like the Nazirite holy warriors. But he is also linked to Esau, not only because he is hairy but because he has a mantle ( adderet ). Esau is covered with hair like a garment ( adderet ), and Elijah’s mantle ( adderet ) possesses power like the rod of Moses (cf. 2 Kings 2:8, 13-14). Besides Genesis 25:25, the only place where the Old Testament uses “hairy” and “garment” together is Zechariah 13:4, which describes false prophets who are too ashamed to put on a “hairy garment to deceive.”

Esau-Nazirites-prophets: There seems to be a thread, but what is it? Are Nazirites and prophets Esaus, hunters and men of the field among the tents of the sons of Jacob?

Articles by Peter J. Leithart

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