Isaac became a troublesome problem for Rebekah, an obstacle in her way. She may have thought “He loves that Esau so! Didn’t he remember that God had told her that Jacob would be blessed, and that Esau would serve Jacob?” If he didn’t fully realize that, she would make sure that he did! Instead of asking God to work things out, she took matters into her own hands. She was convinced that God needed her help. She was out of control.
As a younger man, Jacob had likely delighted his mother when he tricked his brother out of his birthright. In a weak moment of hunger, Esau had sold his birthright for a bowl of stew (Genesis 25:29-34). Thus, Esau despised his birthright. In other words, he didn’t value his birthright. He foolishly traded away a lifetime of potential blessing to satisfy his immediate, temporary hunger.
This trickery would have been meaningless, however, unless Jacob could also get his father to bestow his blessing on him. Driven by her desire to see Jacob get the blessing, Rebekah schemed how best to do it.
One day, her opportunity came. She had been standing outside Isaac’s tent eavesdropping. It probably wasn’t her first time to do so. Isaac had asked Esau to hunt some wild game and prepare his favorite “tasty food,” so he could bestow his blessing on him before he died. (He would live another 43 years since Isaac was 137 at the time and he didn’t die until he was 180 years of age (Gen 35:28), Some people give up living long before they die.
As soon as Esau was safely out of sight, Rebekah and Jacob went into action. Rebekah prepared two choice goats she knew her blind husband loved. She quickly helped Jacob dress in Esau’s clothes and fastened goat’s hair on Jacob’s arms and neck so his smooth skin would feel and smell like Esau’s. In answer to Jacob’s concern that he might get caught, Rebekah confidently said to him, My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say (Genesis 27:11-13). She was out of control.
As Rebekah hurried about the house to fix the required dinner, perhaps she repeated to herself, I’m only accomplishing God’s will. God needs me to help Him out here. Isaac was about to mess everything up by giving the blessing to Esau! And God hadn’t done anything about it, so it’s obviously up to me!
And we can understand her logic. But she was wrong.
We should do what we can, but when we begin to manipulate, scheme or deceive to get what we think is God’s will, we have crossed the line into “helping God out.” Her goal was good, but her method was wrong
The prophecy given Rebekah during her pregnancy was clear–the older would serve the younger. Certainly, Rebekah had shared the prophecy with Isaac over the years. Had Isaac simply forgotten? Not likely. That’s the kind of ammunition she would have used many times as the boys grew older and each parent picked a favorite son. Was his memory fading because he was simply getting older? Possibly, but remember he lived another 43 years. Was Isaac asserting his authority over Rebekah because he saw Esau as more of a leader than Jacob? Maybe. Was Isaac secretly disappointed in his own quiet nature and proud of Esau’s outdoor achievements? Did he dislike Jacob’s momma’s boy persona as too much like himself? Did Isaac like Esau better because he was what Isaac had always hoped to be but knew he wasn’t? Perhaps.
Possibly with his self-respect declining, his eyesight gone and believing he would die soon, Isaac finally chose to assert himself. Giving the blessing to Esau was the wrong issue on which to do so. And isn’t that what happens when husbands shirk their leadership role? Having been dormant for awhile, they often choose to assert themselves on the wrong issue. Then, having made the wrong decision, pride locks them into insisting they’re right! Remember, smart husbands listen to their wives! Wives have a sixth sense, they often see things their husbands don’t see.
However, in this situation, Rebekah bears the responsibility for her dominance; Isaac bears the responsibility for forfeiting leadership and then making the wrong decision regarding the blessing.
How many marriages are like this today? How do marriages arrive at this point where one mate willingly deceives the other as Rebekah did?