Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rebekah Shares Her Disappointment in Life -- Genesis 27:46

And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am tired of living because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

Rebekah had just finished orchestrating the loss of her eldest son’s parental blessing and as a result caused her younger son Jacob to flee for his life. Prior to this, she had been unhappy that Esau, who had seemingly rebelled and married daughters of Heth against her will, was going to get a better deal than Jacob when it came to inheritance. Now, with that taken care of through her manipulation, she appears to need another cause for her unhappiness.

Rebekah indicates she is “tired of living”. Have you ever known anyone that has felt “tired of living”? Most people wishing God would allow them to die are usually quite old and feel they have seen enough of this world. At their age they feel they are without the ability to do anything about what they see. Or perhaps they have a terminal illness that they just cannot do anything about. When someone is “tired of living” because of circumstances outside of themselves, such as disappointment in the choices that others make about their own lives, then something else is at work. In most cases, that individual is either prone to unhappiness by their personality or they choose to use unhappiness as a tool to get what they want. Neither scenario is healthy for one’s well-being or for any relationship, including spousal, which they may hope to have. In fact, their approach to life actually makes relationships much worse.

Rebekah finds herself being “tired of living” because of Esau’s wives and she fears that if Jacob were to marry from the same local daughters of Heth, that would finish her off. Or least, she would feel there is no point to go on living whatsoever. What a sad state to be in. Can you imagine what the Christian church would look like if every mother or father of someone who had a bad marriage today decided life would not be worth living any longer? What would that mean to the spouse left or the married child, who doing their best in a bad situation, was counting on the moral, and other, support of the parent. As importantly, what Christian influence would remain to influence the moral compass of any grandchildren that a child’s bad marriage would produce? I do not believe any of those choices are in line with God’s intention for our lives, no matter what the circumstances. Our reason and passion for life must not depend on what others, including our own family and that includes our spouse and children, have done or are doing, in their lives. As harsh as it may sound, and as difficult as it may seem, our reason and passion for life must come from our personal relationship with our Maker.

But let us look a little closer to what else Rebekah may have had in mind as she utters these words to Isaac. Is it possible that she is simply just finding a way to express to her husband an excuse as to why Jacob should go to her brother Laban’s place at this time? You will remember that Isaac was old and he needed his sons around to take care of him in one manner or another. We’ll find the answer to that question in the verses that follow.

You will note however that Rebekah does not tell Isaac about Esau’s intentions to kill Jacob in order to spare him grief. That act in itself seems strange, considering she thought little about the grief she herself caused Isaac in bringing about the deception concerning the blessing. Instead she plays on Isaac’s own disappointment about Esau being married to two Hittite women, knowing he would not want that for Jacob. This way she can gain Isaac’s support for letting Jacob go. It was now all to be about Jacob marrying within the faith and within the family. How could Isaac object?

From our continuous timeline study we knew from Genesis 25:26 that Isaac was 60 years of age when he became the father of Esau and Jacob. And using that in conjunction with Genesis 26:34, we can calculate that Jacob was 40 years old when he married Judith and Basemath, the daughters of Heth. We do not know at this point in Scripture how many years later the event of the parental blessing mix-up occurred but clearly Esau and Jacob were well beyond 40 years of age. All this to point out that Jacob was not fleeing to Haran as a young teenager who was in trouble at home. He too was on in his years.

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