Yay, y’all get a brief one.
Abraham gave all he had to Isaac. But to the sons of his concubines Abraham gave gifts, and while he was still living he sent them away from his son Isaac, eastward to the east country.
Only the offspring of Sarah received THE blessing of God, despite Abraham having two other wives (Hagar and Keturah). His other sons were still blessed, and Ishmael was indeed the father of twelve tribes as God had promised, but they were not the offspring of God’s choice: Isaac was.
Isaac and Ishmael his sons buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, east of Mamre…
The two sons did come together to bury their father.
After the death of Abraham, God blessed Isaac his son. And Isaac settled at Beer-lahai-roi.
Once again, Isaac, the chosen son, is connected with the site where God promised Hagar that Ishmael would do quite well himself. I’m sure there is a reason for this, though I’m not sure what it is; since God has a hand in all things, could God have been subtly reaffirming His choice of Isaac as the one from whom the Saviour would come, from whom a great and chosen nation would be born?
And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.
Isaac and Rebekah were barren for twenty years—they’d wed when he was forty, and Esau and Jacob were born when Isaac was sixty. Understandably, Isaac, knowing of the promise, acknowledged God’s hand in all things, including the birth of a child, and went to the Lord about it, seeking a child. When this prayer was granted twice over (they surely had no idea Rebekah was pregnant with twins!), and Rebekah did not understand the difficult nature of her pregnancy, she followed the example of her husband—she prayed.
When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Isn’t this curious? Esau seems to have been a man’s man: rugged, adventurous, practical, not afraid of unpredictability or danger. Jacob, on the other hand…well, he liked hanging out at home, where it was comfortable, secure, and predictable. I hate to say it, but…he sounds like a mama’s boy, and possibly not in a good way. Moreover, to continue in the same ugly vein, by hanging out at home instead of the wilderness, Isaac was around women a lot, and probably picked up some of our bad habits—namely, devious and manipulative conniving. That comes into play in the last part of this chapter, where a starving, exhausted Esau swaps his birthright for a bowl of Jacob’s lentil stew (it wasn’t even rabbit or deer or something, yeesh). By rights, Jacob should have just given his hungry brother some stew, because that’s simply the right thing to do; he didn’t. But Esau, as we read, “despised his birthright”. These character traits will continue to crop up in the story of Jacob.