We are in the World Stream and in the book of Genesis. We are reading from the New Life Translation this week. We pass from the story of Abraham today to Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob.
25 – Abraham takes another wife and has 6 sons with her before he dies. Abraham eventually sends all those sons away. This is what often happens when we have children with someone that there is no bond with. Regret, tension and dismissal. It happens but not always in that same order. [Abraham, though he is to be revered as the patriarch of our faith, he had a streak of misfortunate tendencies that God uses to ensure that we do not worship Abraham. Jews and Muslims, as it turns out, both claim to hold Abraham in very high esteem, while Christians seem to see him, warts and all, for the humanity that he embodied.] Ishmael’s sons are listed next and as prophesied, they lived in hostility. They still do to this day. Isaac finally has twins with Rebekah and his family tensions continue through to his sons and only are destined to worsen as Isaac favors one and Rebekah favors the other. The trickery that Jacob engages in to steal the birthright seems to set the template for the trickery that hounds him with most of his relationships and fate itself throughout his life..
26 – Isaac follows his father playing “duck-and-hide” calling his wife “sister” in hopes it would save his own life. It was a bad idea for Abraham, and it’s a bad idea for Isaac who does the same. We see in Isaac’s life a series of blessings and growth in his flocks. He repeatedly digs wells and then placidly gives them to the jealous and envious without a contest. This is not lauded behavior according to the Jewish people even today. Esau, as you might have thought marries two Hittite women (outside of what he should have done) and this is grief for the family, [duh!]
27 – is a plethora of telling behaviors as Isaac is depicted as blind, oblivious, sedentary, has a penchant for eating too much of “his favorite”, and he’s practically senile. This is abundantly obvious in the Hebrew text. Jacob is scheming as was taught him by his mother. Esau is obsessed with his appetite and sells his future blessing for a pot of stew. [we are reminded of his pathetics in Heb. 12:16-17!] Nonetheless, Jacob tricks his father, receives the blessing, Isaac is mortified, Esau is livid and Isaac prophesies a life of restlessness and violence for Esau. Jacob imagines that he needs to flee and so he does – his mother making certain that Jacob doesn’t marry a foreigner, she sends him to relatives so he will marry “inside the tribe.”
– 28:8 – Jacob is blessed richly by his father and sent off to relatives. Esau sees what the plan is, sees that Jacob is blessed because he will marry someone within the family tree and Esau then makes a hapless attempt to please his parents and marries (another one!) that he thinks, this time, is going to make his parents happy with him.