The Pastor's Class

Twin Boys

Genesis 25:19 - 27:46
Focal Passages 25: 19 - 26:12 & 27:1 - 46


Again we take a leap forward in our story. Abraham's beloved wife Sarah is now dead and buried. After Sarah's death Abraham took on the task of finding a wife for Isaac. With the help of his servants they found a wife for Isaac among his own people. Abraham made his servants take an oath that they would not allow Isaac to marry a Canaanite woman.

It was at the well in the town of Nahor that they met a relative cousin named Rebekah. The Lord indicated to Abraham's servant that Rebekah was the one for Isaac and the servant lavashed her with jewelry. They followed Rebekah home and it was there that they met her brother Laban. Laban will soon play a very important role in this story.

After the death of Sarah Abraham remarries and has several more children, however, Abraham's inheritance remained with Isaac.

At age one hundred and seventy five Abraham dies and is buried along side his wife by his sons Isaac and Ishmael.

Genesis 25: 19 - 22

19 This is the account of Abraham’s son Isaac.

Abraham became the father of Isaac, 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah daughter of Bethuel the Aramean from Paddan Aram and sister of Laban the Aramean.
21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah. By today's standards that seems quite old. Yet, we know that God has his hand upon this family and that God was active in the selection of a bride for Isaac. The right person is worth waiting for.

Isaac realized that his wife was barren. This was not uncommon in that culture. You will remember that Sarah also was unable to have children until God blessed her with Isaac. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife. Perhaps Isaac understood that his own birth was a miracle therefore he had confidence that God could also help Rebekah.

Rebekah became pregnant with twins and it was a difficult pregnancy. It was as if the babies were wrestling within her. She inquired of the Lord; "Why is this happening to me?" The literal Hebrew rendering of that phrase says; "Wherefore, then, am I?" Possibly Rebekah thought that something was not right with her pregnancy. Many people today question God when babies cannot be carried to term or when they live only a short time after birth. Since Rebekah had trouble conceiving she possibly thought that this would be her one and only opportunity to have a child.

Pastor's Notes

Isaac prayed when he discovered Rebekah was barren. Rebekah prayed when she became concerned about her pregnancy. Prayer is a powerful tool but It does not work the way some believe that it does. Prayer does not have the power to change God's mind about something. It was God's will from the beginning that Rebekah should become pregnant. The power of prayer is in opening our hearts and minds to a greater understanding of God's will for us. Prayer allows us to receive what God has planned for us and to flourish within that plan. Remember when we pray we are to always pray that "Thy will be done." Prayer then is the instrument that fine tunes us for participation in God's master plan.

Personal Notes

Genesis 25: 23 - 26

23 The LORD said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
24 When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. 25 The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. 26 After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Rebekah inquired of the Lord and he answered her. The answer was probably not the one she wanted to hear. These twin boys would have two very distinct personalities and from them would come two nations.

The nature/nurture question is ongoing. It is still unclear just how much we can change or control by the nurturing process. God places within us a certain bent (predisposition). The nature of a child can be channeled and sometimes controlled. But it is unclear as to whether it can be changed. In the case of Jacob and Esau it was determined that one would be stronger than the other and that one would be a leader and the other a servant.

These Fraternal twins were as different as could be. Esau was the oldest and was born with a generous covering of red hair all over his body. The name Esau means "Red" or "Hairy". Jacob the younger of the two was born holding onto the heel of his brother. It was as if he was trying to pull his brother back so that he could be first. The name Jacob means "schemer" or Supplanter.

Pastor's Notes

One of the great challenges of parenting is to identify and celebrate the uniqueness of each child. God, in his infinite, wisdom, has chosen to make us all similar but different. I wake up every morning and look in the mirror and thank God that there is only one of me. Most days it is all that I can do just to get along with myself. How terrible it would be if everyone was just like me. That uniqueness in our children may be seen as a quirk or as a quality. Whatever, it is a gift from God. Thank Him for it and make the best of it.

Personal Notes

Genesis 25: 27 - 34

27 The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man, staying among the tents. 28 Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished. 30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!” (That is why he was also called Edom.)
31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”
32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”
33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.
34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.
So Esau despised his birthright.
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Again the contrast between the two brothers is boldly stressed. Esau led the wild life of the hunter, and Jacob followed the more settled life of the shepherd. Jacob is said to have been a quiet man. That word "quiet" in Hebrew has several meanings. It could mean "whole" "complete" or "blameless". The most probable meaning is simply that he was mature or grown up.

Hunting is a "hit and miss" trade. As the narrative suggests Esau was not always successful in his hunting adventures. One day after an extended period of hunting without success he returned home to find that Jacob had cooked some stew that looked and smelled delicious. When Esau asked for some Jacob saw an opportunity to tak advantage of his brother. Jacob put his shrewd bargainning skills to work and ended up with The older brother's birthright.

The Bible says that Esau despised his birthright. Thus both boys are to blame at this point. Esau for not recognizing the value and importance of the birthright and Jacob for his gross lack of respect for his brother and for the social order.

What did Esau give up? As the firstborn he would receive a double portion of the estate. The firstborn was the head of the whole family. Upon the death of the father the firstborn would carry on the Patriarchal tradition.

Pastor's Notes

Both of these grown, or nearly grown, men acted very foolishly. As a parent it is often difficult to watch our children make mistakes and then suffer from their mistakes. It is even worse when the parents become involved. The text is very plain that both Isaac and Rebekah had their favorites when it came to children. This must have lead to some interesting conversations around the supper table. To openly show favoritism to one child above the other will ultimately hurt both children and can even destroy the family.

Personal Notes

Genesis 26: 1-12

26 Now there was a famine in the land—besides the earlier famine of Abraham’s time—and Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines in Gerar. 2 The LORD appeared to Isaac and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; live in the land where I tell you to live. 3 Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you. For to you and your descendants I will give all these lands and will confirm the oath I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and will give them all these lands, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, 5 because Abraham obeyed me and kept my requirements, my commands, my decrees and my laws.” 6 So Isaac stayed in Gerar.
7 When the men of that place asked him about his wife, he said, “She is my sister,” because he was afraid to say, “She is my wife.” He thought, “The men of this place might kill me on account of Rebekah, because she is beautiful.”
8 When Isaac had been there a long time, Abimelech king of the Philistines looked down from a window and saw Isaac caressing his wife Rebekah. 9 So Abimelech summoned Isaac and said, “She is really your wife! Why did you say, ‘She is my sister’?”
Isaac answered him, “Because I thought I might lose my life on account of her.”
10 Then Abimelech said, “What is this you have done to us? One of the men might well have slept with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.”
11 So Abimelech gave orders to all the people: “Anyone who molests this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


This story sounds very familiar does it not? it is parallel to 12:10 - 20 and 20: 1-18. However, the writer makes it clear that it is not a retelling or mis-telling of an older event. There was a famine in the land and Isaac was inclined to go to Egypt. However, The Lord prohibited him from doing so. So Isaac lived among the Philistines in Gerar. Isaac, like his father before him, was concerned about his wife. Evidently, the story of Abraham's deception had been told many times and Isaac thought it worth a try. Therefore, whenever the men would ask he told them that Rebekah was his sister.

One day Abimelech, king of the Philistines saw them "making out" and realized that he had been duped. It is hard to know if this is the same Abimelech that Abraham deceived. If so he would be about 75 years older now. Regardless, Abimelech's virtue seems to surpass that of Isaac's.

Pastor's Notes

Oftentimes our rationale for doing something is that the end justifies the means. Wrong is always wrong and is always seen as wrong in the eyes of God.

Personal Notes

Genesis 27: 1-10

27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”
“Here I am,” he answered.
2 Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. 3 Now then, get your weapons—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
5 Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: 9 Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Isaac became old and was uncertain of the time he had left. He considered this the appropriate time to give his blessing to his oldest son. It would appear that Isaac knew nothing of the fact that Esau had already sold his birthright to Jacob. Even if Isaac was aware of it he was going to have no part of it.

Rebekah, on the other hand, seems to be thrilled with the possibility of Jacob receiving the blessing. A blessing given by a father to a son in the presence of the Lord was binding. It was believed that whatever the father pronounced would come to be. This blessing was a major event.

Rebekah sees an opportunity to insure that Jacob is blessed instead of Esau. While Esau is hunting for some wild game Isaac will kill a couple of young goats from the herd and prepare a meal for Isaac.

Pastor's Notes

The term "dysfunctional family" is a modern term. However, it is evident from our text that dysfunctional families have always existed.

The hope of an ideal family is the dream of every newlywed couple. There is in the word of God a model for the ideal family. Ideal families do exist. However, they are rare. In order to have an ideal family every person must be cooperating 100% all the time. In reality that is very unlikely. Families have peaks and valleys. Families have struggles and disappointments. The good news is that God works in and with less than perfect families to accomplish His Will.

Just because your family may be less than perfect it does not mean that God has given up on you. He has not and will not.

Personal Notes

Genesis 27: 11- 25

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I’m a man with smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”
13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”
14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.
18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”
“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”
19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing.”
20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”
“The LORD your God gave me success,” he replied.
21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”
22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked.
“I am,” he replied.
25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.”
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Jacob seems to realize the seriousness of what he is about to do. He said; "if my father realizes that I am tricking him he will pronounce a curse rather than a blessing."

Nevertheless, this mamma's boy, went along with the deceptive scheme that Rebekah had devised. Jacob put goat hair on the smooth parts of his body and then went in to his nearly blind father and presented him with a tasty meal of goat meat and bread. Even though Isaac was skeptical he was convinced because of the goat hair on his hands and arms.

Pastor's Notes

We must be careful what we say. When Jacob was reluctant to go along with his mothers scheme Rebekah stated that she would accept God's curse. Soon Jacob would be separated from his mother for the next 20 years. Rebekah was left to be alone with a blind husband whom she had betrayed.

Family can be the source of some of life's most delightful gifts. Family can also be the source of some of life's most agonizing pain. A vibrant healthy family is one where every member contributes in a positive way and takes nothing for granted. This family had a lot to learn about what it means to be family.

Personal Notes

Genesis 27: 26 - 46

Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”
27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the LORD has blessed.
28 May God give you of heaven’s dew
and of earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”
30 After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”
“I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”
33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”
34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”
35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”
36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”
38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.
39 His father Isaac answered him,

“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.
40 You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.”

Jacob Flees to Laban

41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”
The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.


Father Isaac fell for the deceitful plan schemed up by his wife and younger son. Jacob received the blessing he had hoped for. Life would be kind to him and he would be lord over his brothers.

Esau returned from his hunting and the deception was exposed. However, a blessing, once given cannot be undone. Esau begged for a blessing and received one. However, it was not at all the blessing he desired. Esau's anger was so great he decided that as soon as his father passed away he would kill his brother Jacob. Rebekah knew Esau's plans and sent Jacob away to live with her brother Laban.

Pastor's Notes

It is only at the end of Chapter 27 that we get a glimpse into the problems of this dysfunctional family. Rebekah says to her son Isaac. "I'm disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. Either Isaac and Rebekah were negligent in teaching Esau about proper marriage procedures or he chose to ignore them.

We must be careful to understand why Rebekah was not pleased with Esau's choice of a wife. (Some have used this passage as support in their argument against interracial marriage.) It had nothing to do with race. It had everything to do with worship. God has never condemned interracial marriage. Every person is of equal value and worth before God. He does, however, condemn the marriage of a Godly person to an ungodly person. The apostle Paul made it very clear when he said; Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?

Parents should be very clear on what the bible teaches about marriage. Also parents should teach their children exactly what God expects in the marriage relationship. People who disregard God's recipe for marriage are in serious trouble.

Personal Notes

Created with Logos Lesson Builder - http://www.logos.com/llb