5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” (Genesis 27:5-10)
Family dynamics are super dysfunctional in Genesis.
I feel more than a little sorry for Esau in Genesis 27. It’s been pretty clear from the day they were born that their mom liked Jacob best (see Gen. 25:28). But maybe he thought to himself, “That’s ok. I’ll still have Dad’s blessing.” And as any modern day psychologist will tell you, the father’s approval is what matters most to a boy.
So it’s painful for me to read Genesis 27, in which Jacob, the mama’s boy, cheats Esau out of receiving the blessing his father wanted to give him, IN COLLUSION WITH HIS MOTHER.
Paging Dr. Phil…
Keep in mind Rebekah is Laban’s sister (Gen. 24:29). We see in Genesis 29 how Laban himself cheated Jacob, so apparently conniving and scheming run in the family.
But there’s something else to keep in mind, and it may help you feel better about Rebekah. God revealed to Rebekah, even before her sons were born, that the older brother (Esau) would serve the younger brother (Jacob; see Genesis 25:23). Significantly, this is the only time in the Old Testament the Lord spoke directly to a woman. You might be saying, “Hold up—didn’t we just read a couple of days ago how God spoke to Hagar?” (See Day 017) We did. But Genesis 16:7-8 says that is was the angel of the Lord that spoke to Hagar. In Genesis 24:22-23, Rebekah “went to inquire of the Lord” (also a one-time occurrence in the Old Testament), and the Lord Himself spoke to her.
Even if it is a distinction without a difference—most scholars equate “THE” angel of the Lord with a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ—then it is still significant that Rebekah is the only Hebrew woman to whom God speaks directly in the Old Testament.
So Rebekah gets a direct word from God that Jacob is to be the favored child. Scripture does not say that Isaac received that same prophetic word. So maybe Rebekah does what she does because she knows something Isaac doesn’t. Maybe she advocates for Jacob in order to help God out and make sure the prophecy comes true. After all, helping God out and taking matters into your own hands is another trait that seems to run in the family. Her mother in law Sarah did the same thing when she offered Hagar to her husband (see Genesis 16:1-8).
There’s enough drama in this family to fill an entire season of The Young and the Restless. And it’s okay to dislike Rebekah and Jacob, or even Isaac for being so easily deceived. What we will see over and over in this reading plan is that every human character is flawed and imperfect. Jesus is the only flawless character in all of Scripture.