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May 2016

The Hypertrichosis of Esau

Author Affiliations
  • 1Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(5):592. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4355

The first to emerge was reddish and his whole body was like a hairy mantle. So they named him Esau (Hairy).

Genesis 25:25. New International Version (NIV).

The story of Jacob and Esau is told in the Old Testament book of Genesis (Genesis 25:19-33:20. NIV). Jacob and Esau were the twin sons of Rebekah and Isaac. The story is one of struggle starting before birth and through their adulthood. Esau, we are told, was the first born and was covered with red hair “like a hairy mantle.” Other translations are “garment,” “fur coat,” while others translate it as “it (hair) was all over his body.”