Genesis 27:46 – 28:10
46Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”
1Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him and directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women. 2 Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. 3 God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4May he give the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!” 5Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.6Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, “You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,” 7and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram. 8So when Esau saw that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father, 9Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebaioth.
Rebekah complains to Isaac that if Jacob marries a Hittite woman her life will not be worth living. The next thing we see is Isaac telling Jacob to go back to his mother’s home to find a wife from his own people.
It does not seem that Rebekah’s complaint is completely off base. She and Isaac have had great difficulty because of Esau’s marriage to a Hittite (26:34f) and the thought of losing another son to the same ill conceived choice is a heartache too great to bear for her. It seems here that loving parents are trying to do what is best for their son.
Jacob is not a child. He is at least forty years old and probably closer to fifty, yet he still honours his parents and listens to their collective advice. Some powerful cultural issues at work here but that does not change the fact that parents never lose the responsibility to give good advice to their children and never lose the joy when their children do right and the heart break when they do wrong.
The text reminds us that Esau is not just an innocent dupe of Jacob and Rebekah’s machinations. When he sees that his parents do not like the idea of their sons marrying foreign women he promptly goes to Ishmael and marries someone whom his parents specifically did not want him to marry (28:6-9).
So, Jacob was a schemer and Esau was a vengeful, bitter, hurtful man. Whichever one God chooses to be the father of Israel will be an act of pure grace – as it is with us all.