Isaac: 29. The Family Distracted

Genesis 27:41‑46  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Grace alone secures salvation to sinful man, yet only to such as believe. But God ever carried on, as now also, a righteous government, whereby He deals with every fault among His own. So it was then. The sin of Isaac threw all into confusion, and gross evil ensued on the part of Rebekah and Jacob. So great indeed was the complication, that Esau, ungodly as he was, at this sad and shameful moment seemed more an object of pity than any other concerned, whilst those who really cared for Jehovah's will and blessing exposed His name to dishonor by the deceitful means they employed to gain it. O what sorrows and shame they make for themselves who forget that God cannot fail to accomplish His own purpose, and who in their haste for a good end do not scruple to adopt wicked means!
“And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him. And Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand, and I will slay my brother Jacob. And the words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebecca. And she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, comforteth himself that he will kill thee. And now, my son, hearken to my voice; and arise, flee to Laban my brother to Haran; and abide with him some days, until thy brother's fury turn away; until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget what thou hast done to him: then I will send and fetch thee thence. Why should I be bereaved of even both in one day?
“And Rebecca said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good should my life be to me?” (vers. 41-46).
Thus Esau soon turned from wailing and tears to murderous hatred. It was not Jehovah that he valued, but the blessing; as he had already proved how far he estimated the birthright when he sold it for one mess of food. He was a profane person. This was no real excuse for the misdoing of Rebekah and Jacob; but it aggravated the sin of Isaac. Henceforth hatred of his brother, even to take his life, filled Esau's heart, though he had received the promise of all he cared for, save the supremacy of his brother which his pride could not brook. So he plots with himself, when his aged father departed, or at least the days of the mourning were over, to slay his brother. Truly Esau went in the way of Cain.
But He whose eye is over all hearts kept aged Isaac for a long while to come, and the days of mourning did not arrive before Esau with four hundred men met Jacob to his sore distress; but God turned the heart that meant to slay him to receive the trembling man with kisses and tears. So truly does God dispose, let those propose as they may who know Him not. Cease ye from man whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?
Rebecca was the one to send her beloved child away, whatever it cost her. It was meet that she should be the instrument of his exile whom she had so guiltily instructed; it was meet that she should never again behold in the flesh the one whom she knew was the object of God's favor and the true heir to the promises, as Isaac also was, to the exclusion of both Ishmael and Esau. God is, and must be, and ought to be Sovereign; but God is just, and cannot look on cunning with impunity, while He can have no terms with profanity and ungodliness. She herself therefore has to do the greatest violence to her own feelings as well as Jacob's, and urges his fleeing to Haran, that he might abide with her brother Laban. “Some days” did she say? Ah, poor Rebecca, for many a long year to be cheated by Laban, as you and Jacob cheated Isaac No, never will it be thine, whatever come of Esau's fury and anger, to send and fetch thy Jacob thence. Indeed it is striking that her death is in scripture without notice, We know from chap. 35 that Deborah, her nurse, died in Jacob's company, and was buried beneath Bethel under the oak which thence derived its name of Allon-Bachuth, Oak of weeping. It is certain that Rebecca is not spoken of when Esau and Jacob met at the funeral of their father; whence we may fairly gather that she had died, we know not how long before the most aged of the patriarchs.
But this at least can be said of Rebekah that she shared with Isaac bitterness of spirit over the Hittite wives of Esau, and that she was the more faithful of the two in grief at Esau's godless ways. This was what she pressed on her husband as to Jacob, that he might be saved from so ill an example. Yet there was an impatience in the tone which left not a little to be desired. But scripture tells us things as they were, even of the saints: as it alone reveals God to us.