The queen of the household was fair. Her eyes glittered and when she sang the larks pitched on her tent and listened to her melodies.
After nearly twenty years of marriage and prayer, she conceived. Often, she felt turmoil in her womb – like a war. Finally, the hour came when the umbilical cords made their separations:
"Let go of me!" said one babe, making the first head-way.
"I want to be first," commanded the other, clutching at the heel of the first.
Barux habu ! (Hebrew for Welcome!) to Gerar, sons of Isaac and Rebekah.
Like two card players, each holding a 'jack of hearts' in hand, Rebekah held one son, and Isaac the other.
“Ha! ha!” Isaac laughed, as he touched Esau’s hairy-red hands:
"These hands tell that you will be a great hunter.“
Rebekah reflected on God’s words of prophecy during her pregnancy: Her younger son would rule over the older.
"You are peculiar,” said Rebekah. “You will be a great ruler.”
To complement Rebekah's belief of her sons' contrasting personalities, she made red clothing for Esau - depicting boldness, while Jacob wore blue for calmness and spirituality.
The boys grew and Isaac continued to love Esau while Rebekah loved Jacob.
One day, Jacob said to Rebekah:
"Mother, I hope we will never be separated. You are worth more than gold to me. Today, I will fill the water jar and grind corn at the mill.”
Meanwhile, Isaac and Esau were hunting.
“You are full of wild actions, son; running through thorns and over-grown grass to chase those on hinder legs.”
“I love the smell of the wild,” replied Esau. I try to be skilful at hitting any target.”
“Oh yes, you can knock a single feather from a bird!” laughed Isaac. “ Such a blessing son, to be young and free.”
However, the thought never occurred to Esau, that as heir of the family, Isaac’s blessing for him was threatened by his twin brother and mother.
A few years later
Then came the golden years for the former well-digger, the wealthy cattle man whose eyes became dim. Frequently, Isaac reminisced on his younger years.
"Come close to me, Rebekah.”
His hands tenderly caressed her face.
“Ha! Ha!” he chuckled. “You are pure gold, rare beauty.“
“I love you, Isaac. May nothing, but death, separate us.”
Esau returned home from hunting.
"Give me victual, little brother. I am as hungry as a bear. “
“What's the deal for the meal?”
“How about your birthright?”
“I am starved! Take the ‘cattle-hawk’ birthright and dish me some of that game stew with lots of beans.”
Back in the tent Isaac laughed as he reminded Rebekah of the incident when he was forced to disown her as his wife. Similarly, Abraham had disowned his wife, Sarah. Both women were beautiful and their husbands would have been killed had they done otherwise.
“Now that’s the wildest thing I can remember,” Rebekah agreed.
A few months later
Isaac’s health deteriorated. It was time for Esau to receive his father’s blessings. That was foremost in Rebekah’s mind, so when Isaac asked Esau to go hunting for a ram and prepare it for him, following which he (Esau) would be blessed, Rebekah plotted against Esau.
The stew which Rebekah had prepared for Isaac, as a part of the plot, was finished brewing. Then trouble started brewing.
“But father knows my voice,” Jacob explained. “He is blind - not deaf. He will feel my hands and know that I am not Esau.”
“The time has come for you to be ruler of a great nation,” said Rebekah.
Like the green grass in the fields where Esau was hunting, green with bitterness were Rebekah’s thoughts.
“Put on Esau’s clothes and take this pot of goat stew to Isaac. It’s just the way he likes it. Hurry!”
“Father, this is the best stew.”
“The voice is the voice of Jacob.”
Feeling the hands of his son who served the meal, Isaac said quizzically:
“But the hands are the hands of Esau.”
“It’s me Esau, your first-born.”
Isaac was tricked!
And Jacob grasped Esau’s blessings.
When Esau heard of the treacherous act he decided to kill Jacob.
Little did the ensnarer know that her evil works would have sparked separation resulting in a great divide.
Rebekah’s glittering eyes danced to woeful rhythms and her heart beat like voices of a dozen drums.
Her voice became thunderous as she exclaimed:
"Run Jacob, run!”
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