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Rebekah's Two Nations

Isaac's birth was the result of a miracle from the LORD to elderly Abraham and Sarah:

"18:11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 18:12 Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? 18:13 And the LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child, which am old? 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah [see Abram and Sarai] shall have a son." (Genesis 18:11-14 KJV)

"21:1 And the LORD [see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken. 21:2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. 21:3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac." (Genesis 21:1-3 KJV)

"Two nations are in thy womb"

As it happened, Abraham and Sarah's son Isaac and his wife Rebekah also found themselves childless after marriage (although for some other reason than old age). In answer to their prayer, the LORD not only gave them one child, but two.

Jacob and Esau

"25:21 And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.

25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD.

25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [see Nativity] are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." (Genesis 25:21-23 KJV)

Esau and Jacob were twins - fraternal twins, definitely not identical, in either appearance or temperament.

"25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.

25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.

25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them." (Genesis 25:24-26 KJV)

The competition between Jacob and Esau began even before they were born ("25:22 And the children struggled together within her" Genesis 25:22 KJV) and continued into their adulthood. Then came the well-known incident of Esau selling his firstborn birthright to his younger brother Jacob for nothing more than a bowl of stew.

"25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents [note: in that regard there is some similarity between the brothers Esau and Jacob and the brothers Cain and Abel; as well as the elder seeking to kill the younger out of jealousy - see My Brother's Shepherd] . 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.

25:29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

25:31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 25:32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

25:33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

25:34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:27-34 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did Jacob and Esau ever make peace with one another? When?
See notes for Genesis 33 at Genesis 32-34


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