a mess of pottage

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 become 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

a mess of pottage

LITERARY, OLD-FASHIONED
If someone exchanges something of lasting value for a mess of pottage, they foolishly exchange it for something of no lasting value. I think he has sold his soul for a mess of pottage. Note: A mess of pottage is a dish of vegetables. This expression comes from a story in the Bible, which tells how Esau was hungry and sold his privileges as first-born son to his brother Jacob in return for this meal. (Genesis 25:29-33)
See also: mess, of, pottage
References in classic literature ?
But he who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage existed, and Judas Iscariot existed, and Castlereagh existed, and this man exists!'
" "In exchange for a mess of pottage.abstaining or supporting Israel in a few UN votes.
It seems that today our pastors have traded agreement on abortion for a mess of pottage.
Journal readers on Tuesday were told that North of Tyne devolution is comparable to the story of Esau, who sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage, a thin gruel.
So in keeping with a biblical theme, I would remind Gazette readers of Jacob's brother, Esau, who it was said "sold out his birthright for a mess of pottage".
Town hall numpties are selling the people's birthright for a mess of pottage.
This sight of the Council trying to 'sell their birthright for a mess of pottage' ' is far from edifying.
It seems, though, that Mr Gambles wants to sell advertising space on the new building for a mess of pottage. Shame on him.
As usual for a mess of pottage to ruthless developers.
A year before Labour started the heavy lifting for the Libyans, the SNP were ready to effectively trade Megrahi's inclusion in the prisoner transfer agreement with Gaddafi for a mess of pottage.
In the Bible, who sold his birthright for a mess of pottage? 2.
Johnson's hero sells his "birthright for a mess of pottage" which, in its biblical allusion, implies spiritual rather than physical death for the hero ....
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. Just something to think about as you ponder the fact that Charlie Keating, like Michael Milken, is out of jail and on the prowl.
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.