(KJV)Hebrews 12:16

Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

Hebrews 12:16

μή τις πόρνος ἢ βέβηλος ὡς ἠσαῦ, ὃς ἀντὶ βρώσεως μιᾶς ἀπέδετο τὰ πρωτοτόκια ἑαυτοῦ.

Does the disjunctive seperate the two words fornicator & profane or both of them refer to Esau in the above text?

1 Answer 1


Esau, like Lamech before him, had two wives (Genesis 26:34). Unlike Abraham or Jacob, there does not seem to have been any mitigating factor for this (such as barrenness or deceit). Though not technically considered a sin during Old Testament days, it seems to have fallen out of use by Paul's time (1 Corinthians 7:2; 1 Timothy 3:2 & 12; Titus 1:6). So the word fornicator does indeed appear to apply to Esau, the use of or rather than and being explained by the fact that both categories mentioned in the verse are types of Esau, i.e., one doesn't have to be both to embody his character (or rather his lack thereof).

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