Question:

I overheard an argument concerning Esau and Jacob.  One was arguing that they were twins (Genesis 25:21ff) but not identical twins. 

What are your thoughts?


Answer:

Twins are when two children are born to one mother in the same birth. "So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb" (Genesis 25:24). Identical twins happen when one fertilized egg splits into two to form two children. Fraternal twins happen when a woman releases two eggs at the same time and both are fertilized. Identical twins basically look alike because the have the same DNA. Fraternal twins do not necessarily look similar.

"And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man"" (Genesis 27:11). Several times it is mentioned that Esau was a hairy man, but here we are told that Jacob was not. Thus they are fraternal twins.

That's a good simple explanation, easy to understand and makes sense. Thank you.