Epistles of Thomas

January 12, 2009

Genesis 25-27

Filed under: Old Testament — Thomas @ 21:11
Tags: , , ,

Genesis 25 records the death of Abraham and the inheritance of Isaac. After Sarah died Abraham remarried and had six sons. However he sent those sons away from Isaac to the land of the east. When Abraham was buried only Isaac and Ishmael are recorded as being present. Ishmael was quite prolific and had twelve sons. Unfortunately, his family lived in hostility towards all the tribes related to them. It is surprising how much attention is paid to the family of Ishmael, the rejected son. Isaac’s family is then mentioned in greater detail. Isaac had been forty when he married Rebekah but it is not until twenty years later that she gives birth to twin sons: Esau and Jacob. Esau was born first and therefore received the advantages of being the first son but it records that “he despised his birthright,” selling it for a bowl of stew.

There are several parallels between Isaac and Rebekah and Abraham and Sarah. As just mentioned, Rebekah did not conceive for twenty years and they had to pray that she would conceive. Then in chapter 26 we learn that Isaac also played the “she’s my sister” game to avoid trouble with the local people. The deceit is discovered but before anyone marries her. Isaac prospers in that land and his crops yield a hundredfold. One night God appears to him in a dream, saying. “I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham” (26:24). It is interesting that although Isaac is the son of promise through whom the descendants will come he is not important in himself. God’s speech is based on Abraham.

This section ends with Jacob consolidating his position as the ‘elder’ brother by tricking his father into giving him the blessing reserved for the firstborn. Rebekah is the mastermind of this plan and it seems her love for Jacob is greater than her love for her husband, who loves Esau more than Jacob. In 25:23, she was told by God that the older would serve the younger but seemingly Abraham had not accepted this state of affairs.

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