Jacob, Esau, and the short comings of biblical parents.

Question:

Isaac favored Esau.  Rebekah favored Jacob.  Isaac and Rebekah didn’t love both of their sons equally?  Rebekah told Jacob to put on Esau’s clothes so that he can receive Esau’s blessings from his father.  Why didn’t God stop Jacob?

Answer:

It is fairly obvious that Isaac and Rebekah did not love their sons equally.  This is nothing new though, Noah clearly showed favor to Japheth and Shem over Ham, Abraham showed favor to Isaac over Ishmael, and Jacob infamously showed favor to Joseph over all his other brothers.  Remember that these men and women were not perfect people, they were sinful humans who had wills of their own.

Isaac Blessing Jacob Gioachino Assereto, 1640

Rebekah even stooped so low as to deceive her husband so to advance her own will and see that Jacob would get the blessing from Isaac.  God did not stop Jacob for a couple reasons.  First of all, we are not puppets and God is not a puppet master, God allows us to make decisions that are deceitful and evil, but he also allows us to make decisions that are righteous and ultimately glorifying to him (learn more about God’s will and our will here).  Secondly, God can accomplish his will despite our deception and evil.  Esau may have deserved the blessing by birth right, but he was also an impulsive glutton who had already traded away his birth right to Jacob for some soup (see Genesis 25:29-34).  God had his reasons for allowing this deceit to take place, and ultimately God’s will would be done even in the midst of it.  As you continue to read the story, you see the way that God establishes his people through the line of Jacob.  And as Jacob’s son Joseph says to his brothers at the end of Genesis, “what you meant for evil God meant for good,” this is also the case with Jacob and many others in scripture.

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4 Responses to “Jacob, Esau, and the short comings of biblical parents.”

  1. Brandon Says:

    I am reading through the One Year track as well, and one of the themes I see in Genesis is the free will of humans, but God punishing them for making the wrong choice. Why give free will if they get burned for making the wrong choice? I think I know the answer, but I was wanted to get your take on it as well…

    • MetroBibleBlog Says:

      As I have stated in a couple other posts, God’s primary reason for giving free will has to do with worship of him, and glory to him (see post). This free will gives us the freedom to make our own choices, it does not however, free us from the consequences of those choices. Sometimes those consequences are immediate (e.g. Lot’s wife turns into pillar of salt), sometimes the consequences are slow to come (e.g. Methuselah lived until he was 969 “and then he died”), but there are always consequences. The reason for these consequences has to do with God’s holiness. God is holy, he is untouchably perfect, therefore he cannot stand to be in the presence of Sin. Because sin has become a part of human nature since the fall of Adam and Eve there is separation between God and humans. He has great wrath toward us because of this sin in our lives. Throughout scripture we see God display this wrath, and it reaches a paramount in the New Testament when Jesus receives the weight of God’s wrath on the cross. Of course part of God’s holiness also means that he is perfectly loving, and that is why God provides a way back to him through Jesus. But still we have our free will, the free will to choose or to reject Jesus as Savior. You and I are going to make wrong choices and we are going to get burned for them, that’s the consequence of making wrong choices. But the good news is that even in the midst of our sin and wrong choices God makes a way for us.

  2. Damaris Says:

    Does this mean that God knew what will happen (that Esau will give his birth right to JAcob and Jacob will deceive Esau) because in Gen. 25,23 God tells Rebekka that Esau will serve Jacob but he didn’t MAKE things happen like that?

  3. Simon Says:

    I believe God will make things happen in His own timing. “Secondly, God can accomplish his will despite our deception and evil. ”
    Like for David who could have killed Absalam or Saul, but did not do it the human way. God already said that He would instill David as King and if David did it the human way, he could have taken Saul out, but he waited on the Lord who made it happen. I think if Jacob didn’t deceive Esau, God would have made it happen another way and even more blessings would have been awarded to Jacob for his faithfulness. Is it no wonder we see deception used in Jacob’s children with the whole Joseph thing. Blessing and Cursing…watch the seeds you sow.

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