In the Old Testament, the patriarchal blessing was not merely a father’s wish for his child. Rather, it was a permanent declaration, mediated by God, that often included an inheritance. When Isaac was old and blind, he asked Esau to hunt and prepare a meal, so he could impart his blessing. This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, the Lord had communicated to Rebekah before the boys were even born that “the older will serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23). Second, Esau himself had already sold his birthright to Jacob (25:33). But—in his persistent preference for his eldest son—Isaac determined to bless him anyhow.
Rebekah overheard the exchange and plotted with Jacob to deceive Isaac and take the blessing from Esau (vv. 5–10). Jacob donned Esau’s coat. Rebekah wrapped him in skins, and she cooked a tasty goat meal. When Jacob approached, Isaac was skeptical (v. 21). He queried Jacob’s speed. He touched his skin. He questioned his voice. He asked him straight-up to tell him the truth. Finally, he smelled his clothes, which convinced him. Isaac blessed Jacob.
When Esau returned, he was understandably livid. He begged for another blessing, but Isaac could give no more. So Esau threatened to kill his brother. When Rebekah heard Esau’s intentions, she sent Jacob away. This was the last time Rebekah saw her favored son. She bore the consequences of their deceit as much as Jacob did. And, sadly, we don’t hear much more about her life. The details of her death are not recorded. We simply learn in Genesis 49 that she was buried with Isaac.
>> Rebekah’s story begins with beauty, faith, and love, but finishes with deception, isolation, and unbelief. Her story challenges us to remain faithful throughout our days. May we not allow the concerns of life to fill us with bitterness or tempt us to control. May we trust and obey for all our days that God gives us.
We don’t want anything in our lives to steal one moment of joy from us. Father, forgive our attempts to control events and reliance on our own strength or wisdom. We depend fully on you, our all-seeing God.