41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. 42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
The idea of feuding brothers seems to be a recurring theme in the Old Testament. First Cain and Abel, then Ishmael and Isaac, now Jacob and Esau. And in each of these cases either one of the brothers had to leave to preserve the peace, or else a death occurred.
Soon we will also have Joseph’s brothers contemplating murdering him and selling him into Egypt. It seems that Jesus was also rejected by his own brothers. In the Book of Mormon Nephi is conspired against by his brothers Laman and Lemuel. And multiple times we will hear of princes that slay their brethren to take the throne for themselves.
The feuding of brothers is representative of the struggle between all mankind. There is a natural competition within us. Perhaps every child is born equal, but quickly we become aware of all the things that we do not have, and we strive for the advantage over each other.
Even Jesus’s disciples had a competitive spirit, wondering which of them would be greatest in their master’s kingdom, and Jesus had to curtail that rivalry. He reproved them and also assured them with the words “In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2). Which to me is a message of how Heaven is not like earth. Its resources and inheritances are infinite, so competition has no purpose. In Heaven there is room enough for us all.