mess of pottage


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mess of pottage

Something of little, trivial, or no value but which appears to be attractive or valuable on first reckoning. An allusion to Esau in Genesis 25:29–32, who sells to Jacob his birthright to his family's estate for a bowl of lentil stew (pottage). Only after the economic crash did it became fully clear what messes of pottage these sub-prime mortgages proved to be for first-time homeowners. If we allow our obsession with job creation to undermine the health of the environment, humanity will ultimately end up selling its birthright for a mess of pottage.
See also: mess, of, pottage
References in periodicals archive ?
Tory party activists might be tempted to think his weekly sumo wrestling bout with Mr Blair has been sold for a mess of pottage.
History tells us that even if well-meaning legislators replace current laws with more industry-friendly measures, then sometime soon after, the American people are likely to discover that their lawmakers have just bought them a mess of pottage.
Similarly, the exciting Westway project, whose impact on Manhattan in the 20th century would have been comparable to that of Central Park in the 19th, was traded in for the mess of pottage of a brief additional subsidy for mass transit.
Events may prove me wrong, but I think the city fathers of Manchester have sold their birthright for a mess of pottage.
There are too many in Government on the business front, who would betray this nation for a mess of pottage.
When, in what seems intended as a Cain and Abel reference, dirt farmer's son Paul Sunday (Paul Dano) offers to sell out his family's heritage for a metaphorical mess of pottage, Plainview heads for their California ranch, HW in tow as prop, to smooth-talk the old man into selling the drilling rights at a bargain price.
The tragedy is that the members of the Pulitzer family--Emily, Michael and their relatives--have traded their heritage for a mess of pottage--a very large mess of pottage, to be sure, but no more than that.
Now, again, Israel and those who build up the quality of life are to be sacrificed not for a mess of pottage (Esau), or 30 pieces of silver (Judas) but for oil (Blair, Thatcher, et al).