For a superior being, you would think God would have made a better match-maker. Sarah didn’t even give birth to Isaac until she was too old to have kids anymore and Isaac’s wife Rebekah was sterile. So, once again, God had to do the deed and “made” Rebekah pregnant (not to say that there was anything carnal about Rebekah becoming pregnant but the fact that God certainly does intervene when duty calls [I’m thinking of the virgin Mary here] is telling. I don’t know of any other cases when God did this, but I’m still only on Genesis and I’m detecting a pattern. And by the way, so far, the Bible never insinuates that maybe the father’s boys can’t swim. It’s always the woman’s fault. The seed of the Bible’s patriarchal worldview is already starting to poke it’s head through like the baby alien in Alien.)
Rebekah complains that the two fruits of her womb were having an MMA fight inside her and God told her that she had two nations fighting inside her and that the younger one would surpass the older one in prominence. Sure enough, when she gave birth to twins, the one that came out first was a hirsute little goblin and the one that came out next was “gripping the older one’s heel,” (Wow. Imagine two Aliens coming out of you and the second one is gripping the heel of the first one!) So, the first one, bearing the name Esau, was quite the outdoorsman and a skillful hunter and his little brother Jacob was a total homebody. So of course Isaac preferred Esau because he could teach him to hunt and make fires and stuff but Rebekah preferred Jacob because he stuck around the tent and kept her company and learned how to cook and clean. So when the boys got older, Jacob was making a stew and Esau came in from hunting all day and he was famished so he asked Jake if he could have some stew. He didn’t even know what was in the stew; he just growled “Let me have some of that red stuff you got in that pot. I’m starving [Writer’s note: I swear that is exactly the verbiage from my Bible.] Jacob did some quick thinking on his feet (and, no doubt, sized up the dim, hairy brute that was his brother) and said, “First give me your birthright in exchange for it.” Birthright meant the right to be recognized as the firstborn and Esau was so dense (and, apparently, hungry) that he grunted “What good is any birthright gonna do me? I’m hungry now.” Jacob made him promise, so Esau said “Fine. You get my birthright. Now gimme some grub.” And he ate some stew, drank some water and went on his way.
As my Bible says, the furry Esau cared little about his hairiness or birthright, but he should have cared about both because in the next chapter, in a twist of fate, his mane led to his downfall. When Isaac got so old he could barely see, he calls his favorite Esau to him and tells him to go out and kill him some dinner and cook him an appetizing meal so Isaac could give Esau a “special blessing.” Isaac must not have been paying a whole lot of attention as the boys grew up because Esau didn’t know how to make an appetizing meal because he couldn’t cook. That was Jacob’s bag. And Rebekah was listening to the whole thing because, on the sly, she told Jacob to go and get her some baby goats so she could make Isaac’s dinner and Jacob could go present it to him and get the special blessing.
“But Mom, Esau’s way hairier than me. What if Dad tries to put his hands on me while he’s giving me this ‘special blessing,’ he said with brow furrowed. “He’ll totally know its me.”
“Just get me the damn asses, junior” Rebekah says. So, while Esau’s out getting some game for his old man, Jacob goes and gets the goats and Rebekah makes dinner. Then she dresses up Jacob in Esau’s clothes and superglues the bloody, hairy skins of the goats she just killed to Jacob’s body and Jacob, looking at his mother with goat blood dripping down his face and arms, thought “Lady, this is never gonna work” but goes off to Isaac anyway.
And, Bob’s your uncle, it does work and blind old Isaac unwittingly gives Jacob his super secret extra special blessing to also be fruitful and multiply. Then Esau comes in with the game he caught for his Dad and prepares an extra special dinner for him and takes it to him. But Isaac just ate and he’s laid back in his recliner with his unbuckled belt and says, “Wait, didn’t I just give you my super secret extra special blessing to be fruitful and multiply?” Esau parts the hair in front of his eyes and says,
“Um, no,” says Esau. “But if you’re full, do you mind if I get down on some of that stew?” Then Isaac realizes it was Jacob the whole time but insists that the matter is now out of his hands.
“I blessed him! Now he must remain blessed!” Isaac whined.
But Esau persisted. “Dude! Just bless me too! How hard can it be?!”
Isaac persisted. Apparently, Isaac was pretty full of himself to think that Daddy’s only got one blessing to go around.
“Your brother came here by a ruse and carried off your blessing!”
Esau, nonplussed by the whole affair at this point, breaks down into bitter sobbing and exclaims “He has now supplanted me twice. First he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing,” he weeps. “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?!”
Isaac replies “I have already appointed him your master, and I have assigned him all his kinsmen as his slaves. Besides, I have enriched him with grain and wine. What then can I do for you son?”
Esau tries one last ditch plea. “Have you only one blessing father? Bless me too!” But Isaac clams up and Esau weeps bitterly and vows that once the old man dies, his brother is toast. Then, when Rebekah gets wind of Esau’s plan to ice his brother (how she came upon this knowledge we don’t know because Esau thought it, he didn’t say it) she pulls Jacob aside and says “Look, Esau’s pretty pissed about this. Go stay with my brother in Haran until he cools off and I’ll bring you back. Must I lose both of you in a single day?”
What the hell do you care Rebekah? You orchestrated this whole “I’ll get Isaac to bless Jacob and he will be fruitful and multiply and Esau can suck eggs” ploy in the first place. And now you feel some buyer’s remorse about it? Please.
So Jacob goes off to Haran, And I don’t know about you, but this supposedly holy patriarchal family of Abraham is pretty shady and guess what? It gets worse. But we will save that for another post.