It’s only been a week since I started reading the Bible, but it feels like I’ve been working on this project forever! What have I gotten myself into?
Chapter 25- Abraham takes another wife, she has lots of kids. He also has concubines who bear children. He sends them away in favor of Isaac. Then he dies and is buried with Sarah, his first wife. Genealogy of Ismael, Abraham’s first son w/ the servant Hagar. Ishmael dies. Isaac and Rebekah have twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob is born holding the heel of the very hairy baby Esau. Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew.
There are more illegitimate children and dead main characters in the Bible than the Game of Thrones!
I’m not sure how to interpret the story of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob. Verses 29-34:
Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.
I see this going down one of two ways. Either it’s hyperbole- “Little bro, I’m dying of hunger. Yeah, suuure you can have my birthright.” Or, Esau was really dying, and Jacob was a dick. Either way, Jacob is manipulating Esau, but it’s actually part of God’s plan, so whatevs. Cheating your brother out of what is rightfully his, not a sin.
Chapter 26- There is famine, God tells Isaac to stay in Gerar where Abimelech is king. Isaac lies and says Rebekah is his sister, but Abimelech isn’t falling for that again, and calls Isaac on his lies. Isaac ends up doing really well in Gerar, so the locals get jealous and tell him to leave. They bicker over wells. Finally, Abimelech and Isaac make a peace treaty. Esau takes 2 wives.
I’m glad to see that Abraham’s old tricks don’t work out so well for Isaac. Abimelech tells the people not to kill Isaac or touch his wife, but he doesn’t get showered in gifts and profit from the lies.
Verse 34-35: “When Esau was forty years old, he took as wives Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And thy were a grief of mind to Isac and Rebekah.”
Mmm, that good ol’ polygamous biblical marriage! Remind me again why modern society doesn’t allow polygamy even though it has a long history in the bible, but the bible being occasionally anti-gay sex means homosexuals can’t marry?
Also, what does it mean that Esau’s wives were a grief of mind to his parents? Just the usual in-law problems, or what? I want more information! Some comments on the internet suggest that it’s because they were local women who didn’t worship the God of Abraham. I sure wish the Bible were more clear on it’s meaning, instead of having to Google and guess and hope for the right information to present itself.