Isaac married Rebekah and she conceived a set of twins and the two children wrestled in her stomach so they asked God about this. They were told that there were two nations within her womb, who would be divided. The challenge for me is that Isaac loved Esau and Rebekah loved Jacob. I wonder why either parent loved one child over the other? There are patterns of behaviours that we saw in Abraham, that we also saw in his son Isaac, who lied and told Abimelec that his wife Rebekah was his sister. Abraham did the same thing with Sarah when he traveled to Gerar. Both father and son were worried that the men would kill them over their wives, because of their beauty.
We see a scene set for rivalry and competition between Isaac’s sons and Jacob tricked his brother Esau into selling him his birthright. At the end of Isaac’s life, when he would have conferred a blessing to Esau, Rebekah helped to trick him into blessing Jacob instead. The other thing which I am curious about, is why Isaac didn’t have a blessing for both of his children. I appreciate that there was a special blessing for the firstborn child, but if you have a set of twins, why not bless both children. Esau wanted to kill Jacob when he discovered what he did and Rebekah helped him to escape.
Jacob lived with his Uncle Laban for seven years and agreed to work for his daughter Rachel’s hand in marriage. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Rachel’s older sister Leah, who was the less attractive of the girls. Jacob had to work for another seven years, before he could marry Rachel. We saw a pattern of dishonesty between Laban and Jacob’s relationship. You could say that Jacob was reaping some of what he had sown, in tricking his father and brother. Jacob loved Rachel and hated Leah, so God blessed Leah with many children. Rachel’s womb was closed until she prayed and God blessed her with Joseph. Jacob loved Joseph the most out of all his children, because of his love for Rachel.
Jacob’s love and preferential treatment towards Joseph caused seeds of resentment, jealousy and hatred among his brothers. We could say that Jacob learnt this negative pattern from his own parents, who had their favourite among them. When parents have favourites among their children and treat them differently, it sows discord and disunity among them. We are human, so it is possible that some children may have traits that either parent may appreciate more. It should not be obvious to children who the clear favourite is for either parent. Parents should love all of their children and should not show preferential treatment as this leads to rivalry and competition.
“For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10).